How to Help Your Club Steal the Show If you’re in charge of media for your club, you’ve probably received an abundance of tips for generating publicity: Give awards. Hold a contest. Network. Get to know reporters. This is all great advice, but there are unique approaches as well. Here are some ideas that can give your club extra time in the spotlight: Market the odd or humorous. The Bowsman Lions Club in Manitoba, Canada, did some research about the “Biffy Burning”—the burning down of a local outhouse on New Year’s Eve in 1966. “It’s Bowsman’s claim to fame,” said Past President Corey Hurren. Townspeople did it as a tongue-in-cheek gesture to start the town’s centennial celebration in 1967—and to commemorate the arrival of new sewer service to the area. For reasons nobody really knows, the burning outhouse is even included in the Bowsman Lions Club’s logo. When Hurren posted some funny details and photos about the Biffy Burning on the club’s Facebook page, it caught the attention of Frank Fieber, editor of Northroots magazine. “We discussed this event and a few other subjects that he might be interested in using as articles,” Hurren says. Try blogging. Do a Google or Bing search to find blogs that cover subjects such as impaired vision, feeding the hungry, dog guides, school supplies for disadvantaged children or other causes in which your club is involved. You’ll probably come up with dozens of websites. Then get in touch with the author(s), and ask to do a guest blog. Bloggers are always looking for fresh content, so they’ll probably appreciate it. You also can start your own blog— it’s not hard to do. Just try a site like WordPress to get started (it’s free). If you enjoy writing, you might even find it therapeutic. While you’re at it … Interview other people. Talk to civic leaders, politicians and folks who specialize in causes you care about. “By featuring interviews with other people on your blog or website, you can tap into their audience, as most people like to promote their own interviews,” notes writer Dave Navarro of Small Fuel Marketing (smallfuel.com). Share the spotlight. The Ponchatoula Lions Club in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, uses its Facebook page to publicize not only its own events but also the events of other nonprofits in its parish, as well. The club also adds community news and other local tidbits. “We use it generally to help promote the many wonderful things occurring or existing in our town,” says Joey Drude, a member of the club’s board of directors. “It’s been really good. I have people that are calling us and asking about events.” Drude says the Facebook page, not even a year old, has made a tremendous “splash” in the community. Consider club twinning The International Club Twinning Program is a way for Lions clubs in different countries to “link up” with each other. (More information is available at lionsclubs.org.) How can this help you get noticed? You can: • Put out press releases about joint endeavors with your twin club (for example, a fund-raiser for Oxfam or the American Red Cross). • Generate more interest in your website by posting photos and details about your twin club. • Ask your twin club about publicity efforts that have worked for them. • Share your Facebook posts with your twin club (whose members might pass them on to friends worldwide, or even in your neighborhood). In this age of global communications, you might even gain a new member from it.
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