- Updated: 06 May 2015
4. More Tools and Tips for Positive PR
Have a press kit on hand to share with reporters who request information about the WBCCI and your local Unit. Though reporters no longer have time for overwhelming paper-based press kits, you may be asked to provide one on disk that includes photos and background information. Have one handy; use the WBCCI materials found online and supplement it with information about your local Unit.
Materials from this website may be copied to a disk, or direct reporters to here to learn more about the club. Finding facts about the club to share with local reporters, bloggers, travel and RV writers, public relations professionals, and prospective members is easy; simply visit this website. All of the information online is approved, will continue to be updated, and is ready to be copied into your PR and marketing materials, club communications, and shared online. Copy, but not change the text found online. You may add localized information.
Basic facts about the WBCCI are all online here, as well as information about:
- Wally Byam
- Airstream, Inc.
- Airstream trailers
- WBCCI history
- WBCCI International Convention and Rally
- WBCCI Organization and Leadership
- Member testimonials
- Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the WBCCI
Use ONLY “Image Library” photos, supplied on this disk or here online LINK: http://wbcci.org/club-information/about-us/media/image-library. Photos found in the “Gallery” section of www.wbcci.org, on the Airforums, or on Facebook or other online sites may or may not have been given unlimited usage permission by their photographers. Image Library photos have all been authorized for re-publication use. Be sure to include a caption and copyright notice, found with the photos in the Image Library.
Other items to include in your press kit include:
- WBCCI news articles and press releases (at LINK http://wbcci.org/club-information/about-us/media/wbcci-in-the-news
- Latest issue of the Blue Beret (at LINK http://blueberetonline.com/)
- WBCCI marketing materials (at LINK http://wbcci.org/club-information/general-info-and-forms)
Add your own localized information:
- Recent Unit newsletter
- Newspaper clippings featuring your Unit
- YouTube videos
- “Backgrounder” or fact sheet about your Unit on WBCCI letterhead (found in http://wbcci.org/club-information/general-info-and-forms). Include your Unit name and description/lboilerplate; website, Facebook and Twitter URLs; and the contact information for your Unit PR volunteers.
Meet your local reporters and editors. Invite a reporter to camp with your Unit to learn firsthand about Airstreaming and the fun, fellowship and adventure offered by the WBCCI. Consider inviting a reporter to lunch or coffee to establish a relationship and position yourself as a resource. Keep your meeting to 30 minutes or less. Do your homework; Google the reporter first and read a few of their articles. Bring your press kit on disk. Keep in touch—email your Unit newsletter to your media contact. Be friendly; say “here’s what’s happening in our Unit this month,” and casually offer story ideas and access to members.
Keep a media log. Keep track of the reporters that contact you, and a collection of all your positive press. If your rally is visited by a member of the media, search online afterward to find all the links of the coverage, make PDFs, and save them to a separate file.
Say thank you. If your story is published or broadcast, send a thank you note to the reporter or editor. Do not mention any errors or unmet expectations. State that it was a pleasure to work with them and that you’re always available to help in the future. Enclose your Unit business card.
Be available. Reporters are always on a deadline. Respond to their needs immediately, and make it easy for them to contact you, day and night. Assign a backup contact.
Expect the unexpected. Breaking news may take priority over your event, even if a reporter has promised to attend. Be prepared to shift to a different approach or angle; reporters and editors determine what is news. Be adaptable, but keep your message foremost in your mind.
Piggyback on the PR efforts of others. If your rally or caravan is in town to participate in an event, ask the organizers or local Chamber of Commerce to share the news of your involvement.
Select the right spokespeople: Your Unit president, and one or two outgoing members who will boost the image of your Unit and always speak positively about the WBCCI and their enthusiasm for Airstream travel. A PR volunteer and/or spokesperson should be designated at each rally to respond to the media, convey messages, and describe your Unit and its mission. Ensure that they are well-versed in the same talking points. Explain reporter’s expectations and focus to your spokesperson, and make sure they are available. Consider recruiting a spokesperson who speaks non-English languages in the community.
Be visual. Few sights are more stirring than a large Airstream rally or caravan, with flags flying and aluminum gleaming. Offer to conduct interviews where the background promotes the image you’re looking for. Hang banners and signage, tidy up, gather members to be part of the scene. Wear your badge, beret, or rally “costume.”
Showcase your members. Suggest WBCCI members with historic Airstreams or wild restorations and decor, and those with interesting backgrounds, hobbies, vocations, and ways they use their trailers for a human interest story.
Pitch in. Think about community service and relevance to the local area, and offer to partner with a local nonprofit during the rally on a project. Invite the news media to witness your volunteer activity.
Be your own citizen journalist. If you haven’t already, establish a Unit Facebook page and Twitter account, and follow members of the media. Post about rallies, caravans, and members; upload all your fun photos and YouTube videos. Engage your members who blog. If you obtain press coverage, share the link to the story online early and often. Republish news links using a URL-shortening service (http://tinyurl.com/ or http://goo.gl/).
Keep your Unit website up to date. Reporters will research your site. Stock it with timely information and your key messages. Keep all contact information current. Link back to www.wbcci.org.
- Plan ahead. Think carefully about the main messages you’d like to get across, for different media. Printed news is generally more in-depth; TV is more visual and measured in seconds. Radio requires quick, strong soundbites. Mentally prepare your 20-second talking points.
- Inquire about the interview. What is the reporter looking for? What’s the goal of the story? Will it be live, or taped? When will it air or be published? For radio, will listeners be calling in?
- Think of an opening and closing anecdote to illustrate your message.
- Keep your goals in mind. An interview is less of a conversation with a reporter, and more of a vehicle through which you reach your audience. Keep control of your message.
- There’s no such thing as off the record. The microphone stays on until it’s removed. If you don’t want to see it in print or on TV, don’t say it.
- When a question is asked that you can’t or don’t want to answer, simply say “I don’t know the answer to that” and talk about what you prefer to say instead. Make every effort to provide the answer to the reporter’s question later. Never say “no comment.”
- Don’t look at the camera. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
- Relax, have fun, and be yourself. Reporters are supportive and want their story to turn out well. When you look good, they look good.
- Avoid jargon, club acronyms, and technical language.
- Keep your answers on target. When you are finished with your statement, simply stop talking and wait for the reporter to ask another question. Awkward silence will be edited out.
- If you are being filmed or taped and you don’t care for how you answered, simply ask to start again. Tell the reporter you think you can do better. They want the sharpest soundbite for their story and will be glad to work with you to get there.
- Remain upbeat and enthusiastic. Your passion for Airstreaming is your best asset. Stay focused and positive. Smile!
- Avoid looking shiny. On a hot day, take a few minutes to freshen up and powder your nose.
- Don’t ask to review the story before it’s published, or ask if it will be positive.
- At the end of your interview, a reporter will ask if there’s anything else you’d like to add. Yes, there is! Decide what you’ll say in advance.
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