Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Public Relations Experiment

A month or so ago I volunteered for the role of publicity officer for the ACT Junior Chess League. In part this was because the job was vacant, but also because I wanted to carry out a little experiment. Having hovered around the edges of media for a number of years (magazine editing, radio presenting), I knew that often the media is willing to run stories, if they are (a) interesting and (b) written by someone else.
So in my new role I try and send out one press release a week. I normally do this on a Monday and it goes to the various newspaper, radio and television outlets in Canberra. It is a single page press release and focuses on a different chess story each week. Sometimes it covers an event, and other times it deals with a specific player. The idea is to get the local media used to the idea that there is always something 'happening' on the local chess scene.
So far the take up rate has been pretty good. I've sent out 4 press releases and they have generated a number of stories. The two most popular ones concerned Emma Guo being picked for the Olympiad, and Andrew Brown winning the NSW Open. The Andrew Brown story seemed to resonate well with the local media, as I played up the "Canberra player beats Sydney's best" angle.
So I suggest that this is a strategy that can be copied within any chess 'market'. Media contacts are not hard to find, and once you have a mailing list, just send them something new or significant each week. As long as they can ring you back, you should generate plenty of stories.

1 comment:

Libby said...

It's the old "Field of Dreams" remastered as "Board of Dreams" because if you write it they will come.

They won't think every chess story is gold but they don't think about chess at all unless somebody tells them about it.

Be careful about busting that old whinge that poor old chess can't get a go in the big bad media.