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Public & media relations tips

By Steve Bareham, Editor

There are many ways to communicate with golfers and guests. Some are more effective than others, some cost more than others, and some are more complicated than others. The challenge facing managers is to understand the entire mix of advertising media, media relations, and public relations options, and to manipulate their potential to maximum advantage.

Everyone knows what advertising is, so no elaboration is needed, but clarification may be required about media relations and public relations:

Public relations includes ongoing activities to ensure that your club has a strong public image. Public relations activities are designed to help the public understand your mission, purpose, values, and the entire range of your products and services. Thus, all of your marketing has public relations implications and should be conceived, managed, and evaluated accordingly. 

Media relations is part of public relations, to be sure, but is focused specifically on the way you structure and manage contact with media representatives for news and features, public service announcements, sponsored programming, etc. A good media relations program can net enormous returns in exposure that is in addition to your paid advertisements. The critical point here is that this exposure can be largely FREE. In the Third Millennium, there are more media options than ever before: daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, magazines, radio, television, websites, weblogs, film, and video logs.

The new media—specifically the Internet—should not be ignored. It offers enormous potential, and it can be very economical. Witness the success of electric blender maker, Blendtec. Posting to YouTube using just a webcam and simple backdrop, a Blendtec spokesman grinds up everything from golfballs to iPods to lighters. Search YouTube.com for “will it blend,” and you’ll see that Blendtec spots have attracted more than 20 million viewers in a very short period of time...and all this coverage is free! Mozilla, Facebook, iPod, and many other companies have benefited similarly from huge, inexpensive exposure.

Media relations & public relations

Meta-marketing specialists understand the power of structured and comprehensive public and media relations programs as cost effective means to build credibility to maximize guest, and potential guest, awareness of products and services.

Notably, public and media relations have higher credibility quotients than paid advertisements because of the subtle third party endorsement. Plus, potential exposure can be achieved for far less cost than paid ads.

While it is more difficult to track and evaluate public and media relations than it is advertising, it is possible. The tradeoff is that planning and implementation of these tactics is usually quite efficient both in terms of fiscal expenditures and time. The usual tools employed in public and media relations include all of the following:

  • an overall plan that aligns with corporate vision/purpose
  • comprehensive media lists
  • media tours [one person or as a group]
  • key communicator tours (prominent individuals)
  • news conferences
  • news releases
  • media kits (print and electronic)
  • public service announcements
  • media kits
  • speakers bureaus to address service clubs, chambers of commerce and other community groups
  • webcasts
  • weblogs
  • media training for staff and board members
  • editorial page articles
  • letters to the editor
  • public service announcements
  • special events
  • trade shows
  • photography: e.g. www.flickr.com
  • video e.g.: www.youtube.com
  • audio tapes
  • news clipping service
  • community meetings
  • quarterly newsletters and
  • annual reports (print and online)

Since public and media relations initiatives are generally structured to announce something "new," the challenge for club staff is to apply all their creative energy to ensure a constant supply of ideas that will stimulate guest enthusiasm and understanding.

Create an overall plan

The first step should be to create a plan that starts with goals and objectives that align with organizational mission and purpose. Define the target audiences and the target messages. Plan how your media relations program will fit with your other marketing communications programs. Establish, in advance, how you want to measure the success of your program. By examining the foregoing list, you can appreciate that assembling and implementing a comprehensive plan is a considerable undertaking. 

 

 

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