Below are a list of tips and ideas for successfully promoting your diving club.
In order for your club to get noticed by the local media (newspaper, TV and radio), it’s up to you to generate public excitement. The media will only report on topics that interest the public.
Know your product.
Understand and promote your club’s most appealing features.
Do your research.
Get a local media list from your town’s Convention & Visitors Bureau, Mayor’s PR office, or local college athletics department that includes contact names, organization names, addresses, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail addresses. Research the web and check with your tourism bureau and newsstands for free magazines or newsweeklies appropriate for your club. Watch local TV sports reports, listen to the morning radio news programs, and read the sports and community pages to identify writers and reporters who may be interested in discussing diving or water sports.
Talk to the Public Affairs Director at TV and radio stations.
Do this about 4 to 5 weeks in advance to get your team’s info and events on their calendar.
Get to know your media contacts personally.
Your media contacts may ask you to email information to them or contact them by phone. This is often most convenient for them, but do your best to try and arrange times when you can meet with them in person.
Call three weeks in advance for TV, two weeks in advance for print, and follow up the week heading into the event.
Don’t just report the facts. Sell the excitement of the team and the sport.
Reporters must prioritize, and national events often come before local ones. Early-morning programs (wake-up shows) are excellent targets and will often do live remotes at a practice or meet.
Plan and prioritize your media relations campaign for the year.
Do so event by event. Make a calendar as a reminder of key dates, and keep important contacts close at hand.
Include ALL of your contact information in every piece of media information you distribute.
Reporters will often ask, “Do you have anything you can send us?” Typically, they’re referring to a press kit. Your diving club’s press kit should include:
- Detailed contact information: name, phone number, cell phone number, e-mail address, club web site, and back-up contact information if the publicity chair is unavailable.
- Press release for the story you’re pitching.
- Team overview: club roster, where you train, club size and growth, sponsors and supporters and how an individual can join your program.
- Results history: significant performances of current athletes and achievements of notable past divers.
- Athlete bios: headshots and bios of divers and coaches, including name, height, age, birthplace, school, academic/athletic honors, results, etc. Headshots should be 300 dpi.
- Calendar of events including date of meets and clinics.
- Past news articles on the team.
A press release is a written or recorded message given to the media to announce something newsworthy. You should:
- Be clear, concise, and effective. And have a good editor review and edit your press releases.
- Start with a brief, active-voice title that highlights the most important point of the release. (Ex: Jane Smith Wins 3-meter Title at Junior Nationals, not Jane Smith Won 3-meter Title at Junior Nationals.)
- Restate your most important point in the first sentence. Include the date and place of the event.
- Be brief, including only pertinent facts. Press releases should be no more than one page in length when possible.
- Avoid technical jargon. Just because you know what a 103B is, doesn’t mean the reporter will. Anticipate possible questions and by clarifying technical points.
- Close every release by mentioning the next event on your calendar.
- Always include contact information, such as a name, phone number, e-mail address and web address for your club.
Get your club involved in community activities. Consider:
- Public events: Attend fairs, festivals and flea markets a great for free publicity. Set up a simple table or booth to distribute fliers or t-shirts.
- Local organizations: Send information about your group to parent organizations like the Jaycees, Rotary Club, Lions Club, Optimist Club or PTA.
- Sports commission: Connect with the sports commission in your area, who are often looking for new ways to develop youth sports in the community.
- Community calendars: List your practices and meets on bulletin boards at city parks, country clubs and churches.
- Pools: Your club’s information should already be at every pool, and every pool should know how to contact your club.
- Local colleges: Many colleges offer public relations programs, and classes are always looking for semester projects. Talk with the department chair about teaming up with your club to create a free campaign.
These days, a website is a must-have. But be sure to outline a strong strategy for your site before going online. Consider:
- Content: Interesting, unique, and compelling content is key. Give your audience the information they’re looking for, and make sure it’s easy to find.
- Structure: Make sure your site is easy to use. Keep the design simple and clean.
- Graphics: Photographs and video can go a long way for your website. Present your videos and photographs in a way that tells the story of your club.
- Maintenance: Update your site regularly. Search engines (like Google) as well as visitors appreciate new, updated content.
Internal and external newsletters are a simple and relatively inexpensive way to keep organization members, divers, and the community up to date with your club’s latest activities and news. Your internal newsletter can be written with the understanding that your readers are familiar with your club and the sport of diving. Your external newsletter should assume the opposite. It should be written in a way that informs readers about all aspects of your club and the sport of diving.
When distributing your newsletter, consider doing so via email. More and more, eNewsletters are becoming the norm for various businesses and organizations. An eNewsletter is easy to manage and saves on postage costs.