Just because you’ve selected an audience to message to doesn’t mean there’s only one way of reaching them. Hearing about RecycleMania from multiple sources helps raise the profile of the competition by generating buzz and excitement. So don’t just utilize your school’s sustainability newsletter to get the word out. Find innovative ways to reach new audiences with blogs, campus media outlets, res hall newsletters, back of the stall flyers – wherever your audience goes, take your message to them!
Keep these tips in mind as you’re crafting messages:
- Emphasize positive messages over messages that criticize people for not doing better.
- Don’t automatically lead with the environmental benefits of recycling. Incorporate the economic advantages of recycling, or highlight the many products we use every day that contain recycled content.
- Relate recycling back to your specific school instead of talking about it broadly.
- Coordinate your activities to fit your goals and messaging. For instance, if you’d like to decrease the amount of recyclables ending up in the trash stream, engage in some dumpster diving and do a waste audit in a highly visible area.
- Involve students in crafting the message. They are often full of creative ideas and may even know what will work better than you do.
- Don’t put out all your messaging at the beginning only to let it peter out throughout the competition. Think strategically about timing messages so that your audience maintains interest and becomes curious about what’s coming next.
- Portray recycling as a normalized behavior conducted by everyone. We are social creatures after all and while we may not always admit it, we do like to feel included by participating in what’s popular.
Being very familiar with the audience you’re working with is extremely helpful in making sure your messages are actually resonating. Is your school big on sports? Reach out to well known athletes on campus to be spokespeople for the competition and utilize sports graphics and your mascot throughout your messages. Have a large focus on engineering at your school? Include technical information about the recycling process within your messages. These types of strategies help promote recycling in ways your audience will be responsive to.
Below are several ideas that you can customize for your campus as you’re implementing your communications strategy. And remember to always tailor your message to your audience and keep in mind your overall goal for the tournament!
- Utilize the expertise of your school’s communications department to write and distribute a formal press release to both campus and off campus media outlets.
- Come up with trivia and other challenges on Facebook and Twitter to get students interacting and see if you can get students to extend the challenge by reaching out to friends at rival campuses.
- Create a dedicated RecycleMania webpage with up to date competition results and provide recycling facts specific to your campus. Or highlight various staff on campus that work on recycling, to bring a human face to the process.
- When planning attention getting activities make sure your campus paper and local media get notified well in advance.
- Take plenty of photos of your events. They serve as an engaging visual story of the competition and promote the idea that recycling is all the rage on campus.
- Reach out to high profile bloggers on your campus to encourage write ups about the competition and spur some friendly taunting with rivals.
- Collaborate with the department that manages the school’s main website to score some prime real estate on the campus homepage during RecycleMania’s kick off week.
- Cozy up to your campus newspaper to see if they would be willing to run a regular weekly column during the Tournament that provides updates on the school’s ranking against your school’s rivals.
- Print out updated scorecards showing your current results each week and post them to the same consistent locations throughout campus.