Sunday, May 22, 2011

Not just press releases

With the Internet and social media, the ability for a club public information officer to get the word out about their local club activities is greatly enhanced.

Tips for using online news outlets for Public Information Officers are:

1.  Find your local media pages.  Every newspaper, radio station, and TV station now have web pages.  Many of them offer local calendars.  Add your club meetings and special events to those pages to enhance the chances that the media will cover your event.

2.  Craigslist and Ebay both have community sections where one can announce club activities.  Is the club planning a special event?  Does the club want visitors to know what the club is talking about at the next club meeting?  Bookoo is a new site on the scene with local pages opening frequently.

3.  Don't forget Twitter and Facebook. Many of your local media already use these tools to promote to their customers.  Following them, you can also announce your activities.  This, too, may increase the chances that your event will receive media attention.

4.  Blogs like this, WordPress, and LiveJournal offer the ability to make a club page at very little cost.  This can be exploited to Twitter and Facebook through a variety of feeds.  The output of this page, for example, automatically update the Twitter feed at @ARRL_OK with no additional work past setting up the feed.  If you set up pages at all three, one post on one can update the other two using a feed.  One would certainly consider setting up club sites on all three, even if only one is used, in the case that someone might set up a bogus page on the other one.  Don't forget to include your Twitter feed on your blog.

5.  Email lists like YahooGroups and GoogleGroups are great for sending one email to reach local members.  YahooGroups even has a calendar that would allow club members to input their special dates, ex. birthday, anniversary, holidays, in addition to the club events, assuming, of course, the group is closed to non-members.

These are just a few ways to leverage the online tools for the Public Information Officer.  It's not just about sending a press release once per month any more.  It's becoming increasingly more important to give the person on the street access to information that will make them want to be a ham radio operator and participate in your club activities.

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