But having a compelling story to tell, is just the tip of the iceberg. Delivering this story in a newsworthy and timely manner, while ensuring you target the right media outlets to gain maximum exposure, takes time and the expertise of a public relations professional.
The power of good public relations has the ability to soar your story to success, while at the same time giving you a powerful voice across the airwaves that can shape the community’s perception of your sport.
Breaking through the newsroom noise to gain prime place in the faced-paced news feed- isn’t simply sending out a media release and hoping it flies. It takes a carefully thought out PR strategy that looks at your ultimate goals, your target audience and the key messages you want to sell to the general public.
Media training is essential
Understanding how the media operates, what is deemed newsworthy and how to deliver a complete packaged story, is vital in gaining the most exposure and brand visibility for your air sport. Sustainable Marketing Services recently conducted media training for 65 instructor pilots- all members of the Hang Gliding Federation of Australia. During this event, pilots from across Australia learned how to share their sport successes with media by telling a compelling, newsworthy story. They were briefed on the types of media outlets, tips on how to engage the interest of journalists and how to prepare for a media interview. Being unprepared in front of media, or not coming across as an expert in your field, will determine if your story takes flight, or crashes and burns.
Tell a compelling story that gets media excited
In an information-saturated world, it’s important to understand not only how you can maximise your exposure with time-poor journalists, but how you can tell a compelling story that hooks the media, demands their attention and potentially sees your sport splashed across tomorrow’s front page newspaper.
For Ballina-based paramotor pilot and instructor, Andrew Polidano, utilising the skills and tips learnt through recent media training with Sustainable Marketing Services, he was able to identify that his recent Australian-first feat- flying a paramotor aircraft from Lake Eyre- Mt Kosciuszko with six other pilots, was a newsworthy, timely, human-interest story. Engaging our professional public relations services, Andrew was amazed at the level of traction the story gained in such a short amount of time.
“On behalf of our team, we and in awe of the professionalism of Sustainable Marketing Services. We have learnt so much and look forward to more adventures and more positive media coverage for the sport,” he said.
“I think the concept (and frustration) that media only covers accidents needs challenging. Our sport and our adventures sell well.”
Set your target and ensure your pitch is perfectly tailored
When developing a PR strategy and media list for Andrew and his team’s amazing Australian-first feat, it was important that we understood who and what media would be interested in and then tailoring our messages, story content and each individual pitch so that it would resonate best and gain the most exposure.
Firstly, developing a media list required research on each of the six pilot’s local media outlets. Local communities love to relish in the successes and achievements of their own. Word-of-mouth in local communities is very powerful andpersuasive. It’s all well and good to target national media outlets with large readerships and viewers- as we also did, but community radio and newspapers shouldn’t be underestimated in their reach and their power to tell your story.
For example, we pitched the story to Andrew’s local newspaper- The Northern Star, illustrating clearly why this recent paramotoring milestone was of interest to their local readers. We highlighted the most newsworthy elements of the story- the distance they travelled, that they were equipped with a two-stroke engine and that they braved wild weather to achieve the mammoth feat. Providing spectacular vision and images of their expedition, as well as making Andrew available for an interview and photoshoot, was icing on the cake for the journalist.
Our pitch to the Editor was:
Local Story- Australian-first for Ballina Pilot
Local Ballina, paramotor pilot, Andrew Polidano has recently achieved an Australian-first feat, travelling 1600km from the lowest point of the country at Lake Eyre (49ft below sea level) to the highest point of the snow-capped crest of Mt Kosciuszko (7310 ft above sea level)- equipped with a two-stroke engine on his back.
To achieve the mammoth milestone of the longest paramotor climb, Andrew and a group of skilled pilots- aged between 23 and 62, braved the wild weather of the Antarctic blast and turbulent thermal gusts to reach ground speeds of up of to 100km/hr, over the two-week expedition.
Please see attached the media release, for your consideration. I have also attached some high res images from his expedition.
Andrew is available for interviews on: XX
Thank you for your time.
Not only did this story make front page news in The Northern Star,but the story was shared with their sister newspapers; The Gympie Times,The Morning Bulletin in Rockhampton, The Sunshine Coast Daily and the Daily Examiner. One tailored pitch, that generated coverage across five different newspapers.
Be prepared to face the media
It’s great to start off your interaction with media by utilising the skills and expertise of a public relations company, that understands when, how and who to approach with the story, but it’s equally important that the people behind the story (the human-interest element) are also available to speak and have their voice heard.
One of the pilots, who flew with Andrew from Lake Eyre-Mt Kosciuszkowas 62-year-old Canberra-based pilot, Dr Peter Evans. After initially being nervous and hesitate to speak with media, Dr Evans was provided with dot points and tips from Sustainable Marketing Services, that gave him the confidence to be interviewed by the Canberra Times. Some of these tips included;
- Reading the press release before speaking with the journalist, as well as taking it with him for the interview.
- Not to feel pressured to fill in gaps (pauses), it’s okay to think before answering a question
- The journalist is looking for a human-interest angle, they want to know about you, your passion for the sport, why you took part in the expedition and your personal experiences.
- In the event that media asks a question about the safety of the sport, focus on “yes the sport is safe today. The equipment is very safe today. We get good training and the Hang Glider Federation of Australia is always looking at what can be done to make it even safer.”
- If there is an opportunity to give the sport a plug, please say something along the lines of “if you are interested in this fun sport, you can find a training school on the www.hgfa.asn.au to take the next step.
See the Canberra Times article here
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. A press release with a punchy headline may get some attention, but in our case, the spectacular vision of our pilots flying over the Flinders Ranges and high over Mt Kosciuszko, was what made media outlets- especially television, sit up and take notice. Delivering a newsworthy release, high resolution images, pilot contact details for interviews and vision, was a complete, professional package that made the time-poor journalist’s job a little easier for them. After pitching to media, it was important that we followed up with phone calls, providing another opportunity to sell the story. This was the case with Win News in Northern NSWthat ran the story prime place during their evening news bulletin.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary meeting.