In addition to promotional literature the press and media is a key element in promoting and selling the sport of orienteering. It is hard to guarantee coverage in the national media so websites and the local media (newspapers, radio, TV) are vital sources for increasing awareness of our sport as well as social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. All clubs need to appoint a Publicity Officer to liaise with the local media and to create and distribute press releases and promotional material. Clubs should also consider having a group to run and monitor their social media sites.
Below are a few key messages about orienteering to help you promote the sport.
- The aim is to navigate in sequence between control points marked on a unique orienteering map and decide the best route to complete the course in the quickest time.
- provides outdoor fun for all the family
- is a challenging outdoor adventure sport
- exercises both the mind and the body
- combines running with decision making and adventure
- combines outdoor adventure and fun
- is a safe, fun sport for children and adults
- combines running or walking with map reading and decision making skills
- is intelligent running!
- provides a healthy mix of physical activity and mental decision making
- offers an interesting twist on running.
The Benefits of Orienteering:
- Combines physical speed and endurance with metal sharpness and decision making
- Builds general fitness and stamina, without putting too much strain on the body
- Provides an opportunity for ‘plodders with brains’ to beat the fast runners
- The courses change all the time so it keeps you interested
- Replaces stress with adventure
- It helps develop decision making and team working skills
- You get to visit lots of new places and spend time in the Great Outdoors!
- An ideal introduction to adventure racing
- Provides a safe, fun environment in which to have an adventure
- Provides physical and intellectual development
- Helps develop spatial awareness
- Children are allowed the freedom to roam out of sight in a controlled environment
- It’s ok for kids to get muddy and dirty
- Teaches children about the countryside
- Children learn to read maps and navigate
- It’s educational and fun!
Where to Promote Orienteering
The best places to promote orienteering are:
- Local schools, colleges or Universities
- Local leisure centres
- Other activity groups such as the local running club or ramblers group
- Other interest groups such as the scouts or WI
- Through the local Council (Speak with the Sports Development Department for support)
- Through the local media (Newspaper, Radio, Regional TV)
- Websites (Search for both local and National websites that will promote orienteering)
- Word of mouth, tell as many people as you possibly can!
- Social Media like Facebook and Twitter
- You Tube videos
Facebook is an excellent way of engaging with people who are interested in orienteering.
Ten Top Tips for More Facebook Followers
1. ASK FOR LIKES
As simple place to start, ask your staff and partners to 'like' your Facebook page then suggest they invite their friends and families to 'like' it too. This is often a great way to get the ball rolling and gather a few hundred fans. Once you have more fans you can ask them to spread the word too and invite their contacts to like your page. Having some kind of incentive (and a goal number) often helps here. Perhaps a competition to win an iPad 2 that you will draw from all fans when you reach 1,000, or letting people know that you will donate £500 to a relevant charity when you get to 5,000 fans.
2. SHARE YOUR LIKE BUTTON
Take the code from Facebook that makes the 'like' button transportable and add it to the signature of the emails of all your team. Here is a link to the instructions to do this...
You could also create an email message, featuring this like button for your page, and distribute it to everyone you have on your contacts database via email. Include a nice message that says something along the lines of "we are planning to share lots news, tips and offers on our Facebook page and to get started we are working hard to increase the number of fans we have. Please click the ‘like’ our page to ensure you don't miss out."
3. SPREAD THE WORD
Make sure that the fact that you have a Facebook page is communicated on all your traditional and online marketing material. Include the click through button on your website, ezine, email signatures along with printed material - business cards, leaflets, posters.
4. LIKE OTHERS
'Like' other influential pages and supporters which could include local businesses, charities, industry bodies, media groups.
5. GET OTHER COMPANIES TO LIKE YOU
Ask other companies to add your page as a like to their pages too. You may need to literally ask them to add you where you feel you have a strong relationship.
6. USE PHOTOS
Upload a selection of photos from your events, launches, teamshots etc. Create albums for events as they happen and then upload lots of photos of people enjoying themselves! Encourage your members and staff to upload photos from key events throughout the year. Send a simple email saying something along the lines of "We are planning to increase the content on our Facebook page. Please share your photos!" You may want to add simple guidelines to show how they do this.
7. TAG PHOTOS
'Tag' as many people in the photos as you can. When you tag a photo a message will appear in that person's wall - eg The FIA has tagged you in a photo in its album called Summer BBQ 2011. This will alert their friends to the fact that your page exists.
8. PLAN ACTIVITY
Develop a very simple excel spreadsheet with each of your events along the top axis and along the left axis activities such as messages on wall, photos taken, upload photo, tag photos, make video etc. In the boxes write the initials of who is going to be responsible for each of those activities.
Create 'events' for your fundraising events and send invitations to ask people to attend. Details of how to do this are shown in this link.
10. SHARE GREAT STUFF
Remember it's not just about attracting fans on Facebook, but keeping them and interacting regularly.
Here are some things you can do to increase engagement with your fans:
- -Share lots of tips and useful information
- Offer competitions and discounts to your connections
- Invite them to make suggestions and shape your product
- Give recognition and celebrate their success
- Ask for opinions and include polls and research
Local newspapers are a fantastic way to reach the local community and engage with your target audience. The local press respond to local people, so make sure you develop a relationship with them. The first thing a club needs to do is appoint a Club Publicity Officer. This person must be a good writer and confident at speaking/liaising in order to build relationships and will be the contact person for all media enquires. The local newspapers are important as they can:
- raise public awareness and interest in orienteering, local events and the weekly club night
- inform the public of where they can try orienteering and what the sport is about
- show the public what the sport is really about
- attract new members to the sport and the local clubs
- keep the public informed of club members (local people’s) achievements
- show the public what orienteering events (particular major events) bring to the local area
- Start with the heading Press Release and date it
- Have your logo/event name prominently in the top right corner so it is easy to identify
- Create an interesting headline
- In the first paragraph try to include who, what, where, when - keep it short and to the point.
- The second paragraph should go into more detail about the event and orienteering
- Include quotes to give the story a personal perspective and to emphasis points
- Grab the journalists attention in the first two paragraphs, they cut from the bottom up
- Any other information which is relevant and of interest should be included in paragraphs 3 and 4
- Try to keep the press release to a single side
- Allow margins for editors to make comments
- Use short paragraphs to make it easy to read
- Limit the information to facts
- Close the press release by putting ENDS.
- Include “Notes for the Editor” about orienteering in general and the club e.g. where and when it meets and contact information.
Sending a Press Release
Send your Press Release to the contact you have already established or to the email address given on the publications website if no contact is identified. You should then follow this up with a phone call to check they have received it. You could also take this opportunity to invite the journalist to your event/club night to have a go themselves or interview members of the club. After your event send a nice photograph and a brief write up, telling them how many people attended and some quotes from people who came along and had a positive experience.
- It is best practice to seek the permission of the person photographed.
- You must have parental permission for children under 18. Further information can be found here.
- Try to avoid rigid photos - try and capture the adventurous nature of orienteering. A photograph should capture the excitement of the sport.
- Try to allocate a member of the club to be in charge of photography capturing the excitement and fun with a picture.
- Always include a caption with each photo
- Credit the Photographer
- Photographs must be taken using a high quality digital camera
Interview with the Media
Sometimes a journalist may require an interview, particular if they are writing a feature article. Interviews can take place face to face or by telephone or email. You should choose a suitable person to be interviewed who is relevant to the feature. This person should:
- be able to hold a good conversation
- know positive facts about orienteering, the event and the club
- be prepared
- be factual and interesting
- not use jargon
- speak clearly
Receiving a Media Enquiry
- A media enquiry is usually a request for a comment in conjunction with an event. This is usually positive and is only finalising the details of the story but a media query can occur if a negative situation has arisen.
- Assess what the journalists requires – can you answer the question?
- If you do not know the answer, do not bluff, explain you do not know the facts but you will get back to them in a specific space of time.
- Ensure you call them back even if it is just to say you are still making enquiries.
- If the issue in question requires a statement from the National Office say you will get the relevant person to call them back.
- Portray a positive message and persistently restate it.
- Do not say No Comment!
Dealing with a Negative Media Enquiry
- Don’t panic. Remain calm and keep a sense of perspective.
- Brief colleagues on the situation
- Don’t forget to tell the National Office staff – the media may contact the National Office so they need to know the facts.
- Keep the people involved informed
- Prepare a press release to put forward your side of the story
- Always be positive
- Be aware of some journalist’s search for ‘an angle’, which could, in their terms, make it newsworthy.
- If you are unsure what a question is trying to achieve, ask for clarification
- Always get back to the journalist if this has been agreed