How Great PR Can Elevate Your Air Sport Event To New Heights

The power of great public relations can see your air sporting event soar to success- building brand visibility, increasing your exposure and connecting to a wider audience.

In an information-saturated world, it’s important to understand the key principles of PR and how they can generate a buzz, excitement and interest in your event, breaking through the newsroom noise to gain prime place in the faced-paced news feed.

Firstly, PR is not advertising, it is a ‘persuasive business’- the key to effective communication. The ultimate objective of PR is to influence an audience through lead-generating content and great story-telling, promoting your event to gain exposure for the sport, attendees and securing membership.

To achieve maximum media coverage for your air sport event, it’s not as simple as sending out a press release and hoping it flies. It takes a carefully thought out PR strategy that looks at your ultimate goals for the event, your target audience and the key messages you want to sell to the general public. Here are four ways to successfully obtain publicity and interest from media so that your next air sport event takes flight.

Cast your line with a compelling hook

Model Boeing 747

Constructing the largest radio-controlled jumbo jet model aircraft in the world - Wingspan February 2018

Today’s news cycle is fast, furious and spat out as quickly as it was digested. Journalist today know that their audience don’t have time to waste. They want stories that will entertain, interest and enlightened them- all in a single sentence. A great way to find a hook that will reel media in and hold their attention, is finding something unusual or unique about your event, or add a human element to your story. Find a person who has a compelling story to tell, who can speak directly to the interests of the target audience and get their attention. For our client, the Hang Gliding Federation of Australia- who were part of the recent Paragliding World Cup in Bright, Victoria, we found local pilots for our media outlets and a world record holding pilot who would speak directly to the local readership. When we pitched the media release to ABC radio, we included details of World Number 6 Australian pilot, Kari Ellis. Having previous media experience, Kari spoke well on radio, had an interesting story to tell listeners and highlighted the HGFA’s key messages -promoting hang gliding as a safe, thrilling, growing sport.

Set your target so you hit the bulls eye

Hang Gliding

Image courtesy of  Jo Hjortshoj

Don’t expect to just send out press releases to media and get front page coverage. When developing a PR strategy, it’s important to understand your target audience and tailor your messages so that they resonate with them. Ask yourself, who is likely to attend our event and what style of publication would be the perfect fit to sell your messages and ultimately give your sport a platform? When developing a media list for the Paragliding World Cup, our team of PR specialists looked at national and local sporting publications, tourism bodies- who would promote the cup on their events page, television sports segments and air sport industry media outlets. We looked closely at each of their demographics and targeted our individual pitch with lead-generating content and human interest stories that would resonate with their audience and gain the most attention.

For example, when we pitched to SBS World News, we looked at a multi-cultural angle that would speak directly to their audience. An Iranian-born, hang gliding pilot became the face of the story, telling how he had escaped a war-torn country, finding his wings in the paragliding world in Australia. The story was one of their leading pieces on their Sunday night world news program and had 45,000 views online within the first week it had aired.

Make sure you are pitch perfect

Paraglider Sonya Fardell

Image courtesy of  Jo Hjortshoj

When pitching to media, you have to put your salesman hat on and look at how you can best sell your event in a single sentence. Having only a small amount of words to pitch your event to a time-poor journalist, it’s crucial you have the most important, newsworthy information up front and that you don’t bury the punchline. Ask yourself, what is the most interesting, unique and newsworthy element of your event? It’s important that you are professional and polite with media and that you make their job easy for them. This means doing the dirty work to get results- finding sources, interviewees, providing vision and images as well as meeting their tight deadlines. For our pitch for the Paragliding World Cup, we grabbed media’s attention by stating it was the first time in 20 years Australia had hosted the event, with more than 120 international pilots taking to the skies over Bright.

Go the extra mile

Good PR gets your event some exposure but great PR goes the extra mile, with local, national and international coverage that highlights your air sport, educates the general public and elevates your brand. Building a rapport with media goes a long way, not just for this week’s event but for when you need future coverage. It’s about delivering quality content that is factual, interesting and targeted to their readership/viewers. After pitching to media, it’s important to follow up with phone calls, providing another opportunity to sell your event. Though be aware, there is a fine line between pitching a story and pestering a journalist.

Understand when an opportunity isn’t going to happen, but make sure you’ve covered all bases. After the producer of the Today Show stated that they wouldn’t be able to get a film crew out to Bright for the World Cup, our PR specialists offered to provide vision from the flight zone, understanding what would be of interest to their viewers and delivering it right on deadline. The story became the leading sports story in their hourly news bulletin.

Watch the Sports section of the Today Show discussing the start of the Bright Paragliding World Cup 2018

How can Sustainable Marketing Services help?

Sustainable Marketing Services have a proven track record in helping air sport organisations elevate the profile of their brands, generate leads and help retain existing members.

We have strong experience working with the MAAA and the HGFA to name a few.

Sustainable Marketing Services can develop marketing, public relations, digital marketing and social media tailored for your organisation.

Meet us for coffee, we're happy to share our knowledge and understand how we can help your organisation take flight.

Contact us on 1300 699 085 or email us at now for a complimentary meeting.

Where to from here?

Feel free to give us a call on 07 3821 3939 or email us to discuss your project and how we can help you.

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