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Pebbles to Boulders: Best Ways to Publicize

Tuesday, 2 November 2010 - Posted by Mort Cooper

When operating programs that require participation, one important element is needed: participants. So this is obvious, and there are several ways to communicate with the public the fact your program is looking for participants. Just like many things in life, there is more than one way to achieve results. The same applies with recruiting new participation in Little Rock curling. Let us take a look at various ways to communicate with the public.

Normally, in previous blogs, I leave the best suggestion for last, but when discussing promotion, it is difficult to qualify and quantify results. However, there is one ‘time tested’ approach that out does them all and I believe is the best means to promote. This is to operate a successful program and let the word of mouth reach out to the public on how positive and fantastic the program is. If the kids are happy, the parents are happy. If the parents are happy, they will continue to ensure the kids arrive on time for curling. The parents will tell other parents and so on and so on…..

Conversely, if the program is not successful and full of issues, the word of mouth can work against you. It is human nature to speak more of things, which are negative than it is to speak of the positive. Negative communication is louder and travels further than positive communication. Social researchers have proven this to be true. Therefore, it takes more effort to have positive communication flowing.

Communication and publicity does take effort. This might be best left to a volunteer to organize and tackle the project. Remember; distribute the workload, with many hands making for light work amongst your many tasks of operating the section.

Within the letter to Little Rockers prior to the curling season, remind your curlers to speak with friends at school, or at other activities about the fun you have at Little Rocks. Add a publicity page of information within the envelope so the kids can share it with their friends.

Little Rockers

The club newsletter is an obvious source of communication, but should never be forgotten. I have had curling grandparents be reminded of Little Rocks within the newsletter. They then pass on the information to their grandchildren. Adult members of the club by just seeing the notice in the newsletter about Little Rocks could be speaking with neighbours and pass the word on to young families. Remember to use photos. Photos stimulate conversation. What is it they say, a picture paints a thousand words!

Notes to schools, is another obvious communication vehicle. However, some school boards do not allow this type of publicity for some reason. I do not know what they have against good healthy physical activity to be promoted within the community. What better community than the school community to reach your target audience. To get around this problem, again have the kids take notices to school and pass them to their friends.

Non-paid advertising within community newspapers is a very good means to reach the public. Community newspapers are always looking for stories. Yes, I know it is hard to believe, but they really are looking for stories. So this type of publicity may not be at the start of the curling season, rather part way in the season when your section is active and available for photos to be taken. Newspapers are short of staff, so you or someone else might have to write the story about Little Rock curling or special person within your section. Talk with the papers editor first, to get the advice and direction on what to do. If you can establish a relationship with the paper, this can be a valuable tool in the years to come.

Media releases, to reach out to all media, can produce more non-paid advertising opportunities. The releases do not have to be earth shattering news, but rather basic information like, the curling season is to start, or the club is hosting a family spiel or the club is hosting a Little Rock spiel where teams from out of town are to attend. Exposure to the public, no matter how small is good publicity. The amount of the space you get in the news may not be very big, but to be mentioned is huge.

Websites are great for taking your message to the masses.

In this world-wide-web world we live, the internet is certainly an area of focus. If your club does not have a web site, then it should be moving on this sooner than later. Families do so much research on the internet these days. I know our last vacation was totally organized via the internet. Now of course some technical experience is needed with web sites. Some friends of mine say it is not as tough as you might think. Having a page on a web site can create unimaginable returns. By having access to the world-wide-web opens doors through search engines like Google and Yahoo. I was very very surprised in researching for this very blog, I searched for ‘Little Rocks curling’ and numerous results came up with Little Rock pages on club web sites. I certainly look forward to researching more. Turns out I have a friend in Elmira, Ontario who has his own Little Rock blog to communicate with his membership. On a few occasions, he has even referred to my CCA blog for information and expertise. That was certainly flattering.

While I do not subscribe myself, the social networks via the internet, i.e. Facebook, and You Tube, are turning to be a more direct link of communication than the radio and newspapers. The young people are right into this form of communication, and come to think of it, are they not the market we are trying to reach….. Hello!!! More and more businesses are spending their advertising dollars establishing and maintaining social networks than on media advertising.

I hope everyone is enjoying the start of the curling season. Remember that Little Rocks is an entry level, fun curling activity for kids. Do not stop utilizing different forms of publicity throughout the season, for new Little Rock members can be introduced at anytime without disrupting the current membership too much.




About Mort Cooper
Mort Cooper has been a curling administrator for over 25 years, beginning with 10 years as the Executive / Technical Director for the Ontario Curling Federation. He spent 3 years as the Curling Professional at Brantford Golf and Country followed by 10 years as Club Manager / Ice maker at the Brant Curling Club and one year as the General Manager of Guelph Curling Club. Presently, he is working on a semi-retirement career with a few outdoor pursuits, one of which is a member of the Canadian Ski Patrol System with Snow Valley Ski Resort in Barrie. In a volunteer curling capacity, Mort's career is highlighted with 10 years service as the Technical Advisor with the Uniroyal Goodrich World Junior Curling Championships, and along with his wife Donna, are major contributors to the Tim Hortons Little Rock Resource Guide. Mort acts as a resource on Little Rocks and is a Business of Curling Facilitator with the Canadian Curling Association.

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