Agricultural Communications, Purdue University
An electronic newsletter with communication tips and information

April 1998

We're STILL Having Technical Difficulties!

Remember last month when we explained that we were having technical difficulties with "On Target"? One of the problems had to do with what we called "funky line wraps" some people were seeing at the receiving end.

Well, we're still having that particular difficulty.

Our short-term solution (at least we HOPE it's only short term) is to insert manual hard returns at the end of every line. We got this idea from Harold Brown, Delaware County. (In case this info helps, we send "On Target" out in 10-point Geneva type.)

Let us know if "On Target" still looks funny to you.

And, again, please bear with us as we try to tackle the problem. It may take us several months and several issues of "On Target," but we'll continue working to make it as accessible as possible.

The Ag Comm "On Target" Team

Super Newsletters: Dollar Bill Rule for Great Graphics

(The following is adapted from: "Creating Super Newsletters: A Training Curriculum for Cooperative Extension Staff, Module 4," University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service, June 1997.)

The "Dollar Bill Rule" is an easy way to tell if you have too few graphic elements on a page, too many, or just the right number.

Use just enough graphic elements to engage readers, but not so many you overwhelm them. Here's where "Dollar Bill Rule" comes in. Take a dollar bill. Lay it on your page. It should touch at least one graphic element (it can be typographical): an illustration, chart, pull quote, headline, photograph, or clip art.

Try moving the bill around on the page, and see if it passes the test every time. Then try a new page. If the dollar bill doesn't touch any graphic element, you might add something to that page for interest. If the bill touches more than four elements, reevaluate how many graphic messages you're trying to communicate at once.

Counties Count in Marketing

Advertisers target their marketing messages to the audiences they want to reach with information about the specific products or services they sell. We in Extension could be doing the same thing.

Easier said than done, right? After all, Extension's audience is EVERYBODY. Extension is for farmers, consumers, kids, retirees, the rich, the poor, city dwellers, suburbanites, leaders, and--well--those who are not leaders, etc., etc.

How can we market Extension to an audience that's so broad and so diverse? The answer is that we can't and that we probably shouldn't try.

What we can do is capitalize on something advertisers call "market segmentation." General Motors, for example, doesn't advertise cars to the masses. GM advertises Pontiac Firebirds to the young and adventurous, Cadillac Sevilles to the financially flush, and Chevy Cavaliers to the not-so-financially flush. (Note: This doesn't describe everyone who owns one of those cars, but it describes the audiences GM targets for its marketing efforts.)

We certainly don't have GM's advertising budget, but we do have a prime position in our marketplace--or marketplaces. Each day in Indiana, Extension reaches thousands of people in close to a hundred counties through:

We reach these people with the appropriate information because we are right there, in each county, and we know our audiences and their needs.

The problem is that we are not doing enough to market Extension as we are reaching and teaching those people. We're blowing countless chances to market at the county level.

Now, I'm not suggesting that we should stop serving and start selling. It's not an either/or proposition. What I am saying is that we could be doing both. If we don't, our days of serving may be numbered.

Some of us are doing both, effectively marketing Extension in our counties as we fulfill our land-grant mission. Ag Comm has held some focus group and listening sessions with educators to find out how they reach their county audiences.

In 1998, we will be offering marketing tips, techniques, tools, and templates you can use to better tell Extension's story. We'll introduce that information in a number of ways, including right here in "On Target."

In the next "On Target," I'll offer some quick tips for marketing while we work.

When Does Your Information Add Up to News?

When it comes to having an impact on people in your community, nothing is better than a front-page story in the local newspaper. However, sometimes it's hard to figure out what makes news news. Consider a basic equation. News is news when it appeals to the audience's:

Occurrences, information, or events become news if they have:

Is your information, story idea, or event announcement of consequence to your community? Make sure your message to the publisher or reporter spells out the importance of your information. Answer for yourself "Who cares?" and "So What?" Then make sure the reporter or publisher understands also. When a piece of information is presented out of context, people often have difficulty assessing what consequences that information will have in their lives. The Head, Heart, Pocketbook equation places the information in context.

Head + Heart + Pocketbook = Consequence

Remember this, and you'll more easily be able to judge what makes news news.

Grammar Trap: Farther vs. Further

These two words are commonly used interchangeably, but there is a difference between them.

"Farther" refers to physical or geographic distance.

Example: The apartment I want is farther from my office.

"Further" is more abstract. It refers to time or degree or quantity. It's another way of saying "additional."


Thanks to Oscar Nagler, Agricultural Communication, for suggesting this topic. If there's a grammar (or usage) trap you'd like me to discuss or if you have a tip that will help the rest of us avoid one, please let me know.

We want to hear from you. Do you have a communication question? Do you have a comment on this issue of "On Target"? If so, please e-mail any of our writers or On Target's managing editor, Kevin Smith.

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