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OrganizationRaennah Mitchell
TypePart Time
Application DeadlineNovember 2, 2018
College Degree Required?No
Phone(434) 982-2983


The Festival seeks a publicity and digital marketing professional or organization to develop and execute marketing and publicity strategies in a promotional campaign for the 2019 Virginia Festival of the Book that will increase attendance and grow the profile of the Festival and its speakers. Festival staff has developed its own promotional campaigns for a number of years; we’ve identified this responsibility as one that could be handled by outside, professional support.

CLICK HERE to download the full request for proposals as a PDF.


The Virginia Festival of the Book is a program of Virginia Humanities, the state humanities council, a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation and a non-academic department of the University of Virginia. The Festival was founded by a group of community members in 1994 and first presented with support from Virginia Humanities in the spring of 1995, attracting more than 3,000 attendees over three days. Celebrating its 25th year in 2019, the Festival takes place over five days each March, has attracted more than 30,000 annual attendees, and is recognized as a well-organized event that presents nationally- and internationally-known authors in engaging programs that are accessible for all.

In a typical year the Festival will present about 80-100 author programs in local K-12 classrooms (private to the school communities) and about 130 public programs, of which 6-8 require a paid ticket; the majority are free. The Festival counts more than 200 community partners, including local nonprofit organizations, venues, schools, booksellers, and University of Virginia departments and institutes, among others.

The mission of Virginia Humanities is to connect people and ideas to inspire engagement and deepen mutual understanding. The Festival supports that mission through programs devoted to books, reading, and book arts.

Festival staff will provide the Virginia Humanities branding guide, along with Festival materials to be consulted as communications materials are developed.

The Festival maintains the following communications channels:

Job Duties

Our goal is that the professional or organization will:

  • Work with Festival and Virginia Humanities Communications Director to develop a strategic communications plan for the Festival and a schedule of execution, including but not limited to social media, print, radio, television, and media partnerships.
  • Develop content for the website, e-newsletter, and social media accounts to engage and grow the Book Festival audience.
  • Manage Book Festival accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, including engagement with participating authors, publishers, and other partners. Provide measurable metrics in the strategic communications plan.
  • Develop and execute a publicity plan for pre-Festival outreach to bookstores, libraries, and other like-missioned organizations across the region.
  • Research, develop and pitch a range of creative stories to media and build on existing (personal and institutional) relationships with key media. (Festival staff will provide a current media list.)
  • Brief key media on the 2019 Festival program and coverage opportunities.
  • Liaise with media contacts during the Festival, arranging and facilitating interviews with Festival speakers and media coverage of programs.
  • Execute post-Festival follow-ups with media contacts.
  • Report on media coverage for the 2019 Festival, including social media metrics and a full list of press clippings.

Note: Festival schedule content, as published on the website and in a printed schedule (distributed by the Daily Progress and Festival staff) are not within the scope of this project.

Skills Required

The successful respondent will have:

  • A minimum of five years of professional experience and possess full-service, in-house capabilities for the work described
  • Experience, knowledge, skills, and qualifications relevant to the work described (see below)
  • Competitive cost of services

Experience required:

  • Demonstrated experience and success in special event publicity and marketing
  • Excellent communication skills
  • An established network of media contacts, with a strong focus on arts and culture media, locally, statewide, regionally, and nationally
  • Working knowledge of local, regional, and statewide media networks
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including strong grammatical and proofreading abilities and a close attention to detail
  • Ability to generate creative content and deliver coverage across a variety of outlets
  • High proficiency in social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and an advanced understanding of concepts / resources related to social media growth
  • Strong self-motivation and self-initiative, as well as effective and efficient time management skills
  • Affinity toward literature and literary culture is preferred. Do you like to read?

Additional Info

We request proposal submissions in pdf form, sent to, by end of business, November 2, 2018. We anticipate meeting with a short list of respondents and selecting the successful proposal by Monday, November 14, 2018.


  • Before the end of November: Festival staff would plan to meet with the successful respondent to provide extensive background materials in support of strategy development.
  • By December 14: The successful respondent will provide a draft campaign plan.
  • By December 21: Festival staff will provide feedback.
  • By January 4: The successful respondent will have an approved plan to execute, and begin implementation.
  • January 15 (tentative): Festival staff publishes majority of the Festival schedule on the website
  • January 25: Complete schedule will be published online
  • March 17: Official Festival program published as insert in the Daily Progress
  • March 20: 2019 Festival begins
  • March 24: 2019 Festival concludes
  • By April 10: The successful respondent completes the project with a report on the campaign, including social media engagement metrics and press clippings.

Elements of proposal

We request the following elements in a proposal:

  • Description of the professional or organization, including a general overview of relevant experience and credentials. This could include no more than one page outlining strengths and distinguishing skills or capabilities.
  • Brief bios of the team members providing these services.
  • A representative selection of social media ads and posts, e-newsletter copy, press releases, traditional media advertising, etc., created for current and past clients. We welcome examples of similar projects.
  • Three references from current or recent clients.
  • Detailed project budget, including total cost