How to promote your club
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Working with the Media
It is critical that clubs take an active role in generating publicity for initiatives, events and even individual players. Attracting media coverage, especially through local news papers, is a beneficial exercise for every bowls club and something which can reap dividends. Firstly, it will help raise the profile of your club in the local area and may encourage new members to join.
Getting your club featured in the media will involve establishing relationships with your local press. Many local newspapers now have a limited number of journalists and photographers, many will therefore welcome the contribution of regular contributors that they can rely on to fill the ‘sports’ pages. Whist you should still invite journalists and photographers to events, it is advised to make life as easy as possible by providing both reports and photographs.
Milestone occasions, such as open family days, the staging of a prestigious upcoming event or junior development initiatives, are all items of interest that should generate local media exposure for your club. Don’t forget local politicians also welcome the opportunity to be involved and often come with their own PR machine, which can only benefit the club!
It is worth considering writing stories about one of your members who has become the youngest (oldest) to ever win a club tournament or represent your association. Any club news that has benefitted the community is worth distributing to your media contacts.
Most members will relish the opportunity to see their name and photograph in the newspapers. Not only does it make them proud of their efforts but it also shows what individuals, teams and the club have achieved.
Media coverage provides an avenue for a non bowling audience to follow club progress and development and keep up to date on the achievements and successes. It can also promote the club to those that were unfamiliar of its existence.
Creating a media contact list and keeping it up to date is advisable, this makes it easier to distribute media releases and stories directly to the most influential people.
The Irish Bowls Federation is able to assist clubs to generate media interest and promote news worthy initiatives through a variety of outlets. This includes articles published on the IBF website and our social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. If you have newsworthy items, please send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
5 Top tips to working with the local media
- Provide regular reports (via email if possible);
- Keep reports short and factual (ideally no more than 250 words);
- Provide photographs of events;
- Ensure the names of those photographed are highlighted;
- Include a contact for further information.
Facebook is now arguably the most powerful form of communication across the world, many businesses report that the greatest benefit from FB is the extra traffic that it steers to their site and this can be useful for your bowls club to. Potential members who visit your club from FB are likely to be more receptive than the average visitor, because they already know something about your club and were motivated to visit.
Making the most of Facebook have a unique profile
Make sure your club can be found quickly by having a name and profile picture that is easy to recognise. By all means include your club’s logo, motto, slogan, tagline and contact details. Don’t forget to set your club up as a ‘Facebook group’ rather than a ‘personal profile’. This lets your club visitors and members participate in discussions and upload photos or videos to shared albums.
What’s in it for them?
Give your Facebook fans a reason to return by posting information that they see as valuable. Most club members like to:
- Get up to date information; such as match fixtures and results;
- Be kept informed about any changes happening in the club, such as social events;
- Interact and connect with other like minded members or guests;
- Be rewarded with discounts or promotions for club activities, events or merchandise;
- Get entertained!
Keep it current and keep talking
People now prefer to listen and watch rather than read lots of text. As well as allowing you to post text, Facebook lets you upload pictures and videos on your page. This can be a powerful way to communicate with current bowlers and potential new members, allowing them to see what you have to offer before visiting your premises. A silent page does not present a great impression of your club, so make it vibrant! You can engage members by commenting on what they are posting and asking for their views. You can use ‘Facebook’ to ‘talk’ to other clubs by posting and receiving messages. You’ll have much greater success if you post positive messages about your club that is actually useful or interesting to other users.
Link with other pages
Find other facebook pages related to your club and start commenting on their pages, posts and updates. This is a great way to build relationships with other clubs and organisations and can help add credibility to your page. You can increase your club’s profile on Facebook by encouraging existing and potential new members to click the ‘Like’ button on your Facebook page. Once they ‘like’ your page, they will receive your updates on their wall. This helps build awareness of your club, and to associate your friends with your image.
Integrate Facebook with your website
If you have a club website you can place the Facebook ‘Like’ symbol onto different pages. When someone clicks it, they are taken directly to the club’s Facebook page where they can ‘Like’ it.
Did you know?
Every 60 seconds, 293,000 statuses are updated and 136,000 photos uploaded! You can use your Facebook page to publicise your bowl club, attract other Facebook users and generally create interest in what your club does.
Take to Twitter
Twitter is an information network made up of 140 character messages called ‘Tweets’. It’s an easy way to discover the latest news related to subjects you care about and read messages from users you choose to follow will show up for you to read. It’s like being delivered a newspaper whose headlines you’ll always find interesting, you can discover news as it’s happening, learn more about topics that are important to you, and get the information in real time.
HOW TO START USING TWITTER
Find and follow others. It’s best to begin your journey by finding and following interesting Twitter accounts. By following an account it means their updates will appear on your timeline. Look for other bowls clubs, bowlers and NGBs such as The Irish Bowls Federation, Bowls Scotland and Bowls Australia. A great way to find more interesting accounts is see who those you know or admire are following.
Before you start following users, you will need to create your own Twitter handle (@). Make sure this is something easy to remember and don’t make it too long, for example, The Irish Bowls Federation Twitter handle is @irishbowlsfed
See what’s happening
Tweets from those you follow will show up in a readable stream on your Twitter homepage, called your ‘Timeline’. One you have followed a few bowlers, clubs and other accounts of interest, you’ll have a new page of information to read each time you log in. Due to the 140 character limit, many Tweets will include a link to another website. The Irish Bowls Federation regularly uses hashtags (#). Click hashtagged keywords, such as #Trybowls, to view all Tweets about that topic.
Connect your mobile People who are interested in what you have to say may follow you and they will see all tweets you share with them. It is important to find your own voice and tell others.
HOW TO BEGIN TWEETING
One of the best things about Twitter is that it’s portable. So Why not use your mobile phone and you can provide live updates from events such as an Irish cup or league match or any competition.
Tweets are limited to 140 characters so they need to be short, snappy and to the point. Links, images and videos will help you make the most of each tweet.
BUILD A VOICE: Retweet, reply, and react
Use existing information. Other people’s Tweets can be retweeted to everyone that follows you. Reply with your reaction to a Tweet you find interesting and engage in a conversation, this is an important way to gain new followers. If you don’t Tweet, why should anyone follow you? As you become more engaged on Twitter, others will begin to find and follow you.
TIP: The best way to gain followers on Twitter is to regularly engage and contribute in a meaningful way.
MENTION: Include others in your content
Once you are ready to start Tweeting, consider mentioning other users by their Twitter username (preceded by the @sign) in your Tweets. This can help you think of what to write, will draw more eyes to your message and even start a new conversation. Try including your local newspaper for instance. This media coverage will provide an avenue for people not directly connected with the club or country to follow the development and keep up to date on any achievements successes. It can also promote the club to those that were unfamiliar with its existence.
TIP: If you mention @IrishBowlsFed in a Tweet, if we find it interesting we will retweet it to our followers, this can also be a way to gain new followers.