Getting your club into the news

Securing coverage in the national or local press is one way to increase the profile of your club and to potentially get some new members though the door. Andy Brown looks at what all pros can do to get more exposure.

While the old adage that any publicity is good publicity is, quite clearly, nonsense (a member being dramatically sick with food poisoning after eating at the clubhouse or being turned away despite adhering to the dress code won’t do anything positive for a business) it is also true that there are more mediums than ever before in which to get your club into the news. This isn’t an article about social media as that is a topic that deserves a stand-alone article, but there are ever-increasing blogs and websites about golf which you could look to get into. While local papers are no longer the force they once were (according to the Press Gazette there has been a net loss of 198 local newspapers since 2005) they should still be one of your first ports of call as the chances are the local paper goes to the same area that your prospective members will come from.

The local TV news station or radio may be a harder nut to crack but there’s no reason your club shouldn’t try as news organisations are actively looking for stories. Despite Trump’s claims about ‘fake news’ they have a certain amount of space they have to fill. So how can you ensure it is your club that fills this space? How do you get into the media?

Compile a list
Make a list of all the news outlets that it would benefit you and your club to be featured in: blogs, local newspapers, local TV and radio and so on. Then do some research and find out the best person there to make contact with – it will help you if you have somebody’s name, rather than just putting ‘hello’ at the start of an email.

What’s the hook?
This is the nub – why is it newsworthy? Your club getting a new member isn’t as this happens at a club somewhere in the UK every week, but perhaps the club getting its 1,000 member since it opened and presenting them with a gift could be. Have a look at what other kinds of stories the media cover to get a sense of what they might be interested in – health, fitness and obesity are big issues. Why not get five members to have wearable technology devices which track steps for each round they play in a month. You could then contact your local news outlets with a story about how many steps they had done between them in a month by just playing golf.

If you are coaching juniors then consider how this could be used to get into the press – the angle could be a particularly successful player or how, with school holidays upon us, you are running junior coaching. This is relevant as parents will always be looking for ways to keep their children entertained during the holidays.

Make it easy for them
As a rule editors are busy people – the easier you make it for them, the more chance you have of getting coverage. If you email with a press release make sure that it is immediately obvious why it is newsworthy, so contain this information at the start. If it is a press release about the club raising £5,000 for charity then the first line should say this, name the charity and how many people took part. If possible then also send some high resolution images as if there are images along with the release it is more likely that it will be used. If you are sending a press release then check it for spelling and grammar; everyone makes mistakes but with spellcheck and a couple of read-throughs you should be able to keep this to a minimum.

Consider advertising
It is important to state that this not the case with all media outlets. However, for some the line between advertising and editorial has become smaller. To advertise in your local paper may cost less than you think, a few hundred pounds may be enough for a half page advert or even more. If you have advertised with a media outlet then they are more likely to run the coverage you send them.

Write an expert article
With money often tight at local news organisations, the offer by someone to write a free article or even a regular column will always be considered. As a golf professional you are a highly-skilled individual – why not contribute a monthly column that looks at the common issues you see with your clients and how these can be fixed. It is a good way of getting your face and name out there and increasing your personal profile and that of the golf club.