SCCA In the Media recognizes just some of the attention the Club garners from media outlets across the U.S., Canada or elsewhere. Usually, focus is on event coverage or neat stories about regions or members appearing in newspapers, TV clips, magazines or websites. Usually, SCCA In the Media doesn’t note pre-event promotion -- because many regions do great work placing events on activity calendars produced by local media. However, we deviate today after seeing mention of an SCCA activity in The Parkersburg News and Sentinel.
The story, titled Sports Car Club of America sponsors autocross at Grand Central Mall, promotes an event put on by SCCA’s Southern West Virginia Region. It provides the core “who, what, when, where and why,” but also includes a little flair while supplying basic information about autocross and the Sports Car Club of America®.
For example, take the passage stating, “Autocross is one of the most popular forms of motorsports. Anyone can participate and it does not require a specific license or certification.”
… or …
“All that is needed is the desire to have fun with your car and enjoy being around a great group of people. Competitors range from 18 to over 70 years old. Even minors with a driver’s license can compete with parental authorization.”
Written by a trained journalist who did her/his research? Nope. The article was crafted by Les Pritchard, Southern West Virginia Region’s Event Chairman and Treasurer -- who has no previous newspaper experience.
“I just made it easy for them,” Pritchard said about the piece he wrote and submitted to The Parkersburg News and Sentinel. “We’re really pleased with the amount of interest the article generated.”
SCCA In the Media provides a link to Pritchard’s work so others can, well, “borrow” from the prose -- understanding that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Also offered are some tips for approaching local media outlets.
1) Do your homework: Read your local newspaper or its website and learn the names of the Entertainment/Local News/Sports editors/writers you want to reach.
2) Check the very bottom of stories for contact information of those writers/editors you wish to reach. Or click on the writer’s name at the top of the story to perhaps uncover contact info.
3) PICK UP THE PHONE! Don’t be afraid to call the writer/editor and BRIEFLY present your information. Let them know this is a LOCAL activity, FREE to spectators, and this activity isn’t really known by locals. It’s fun, free, colorful and loud.
4) Tell the editor/writer you’ll email over all the info. Use Pritchard’s article as a guide, but insert pertinent info for your Region’s event. Include one or two GREAT hi-res photos -- but no more. Too many photos will be rejected by most media outlet email systems.
5) Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn’t. “Stuff” happens. If your region’s news doesn’t get covered, don’t get discouraged. Take a breath, let a little time pass, then try again.
Kudos to Les Pritchard and SCCA’s Southern West Virginia Region for their tact and initiative. We hope their success serves as a guide for others.