Become Your Sponsor's PR Department

Become Your Sponsor's PR Department
By Don Terrill (c)2005

Public relations is a way of influencing the public's opinion of an organization's products or services. It is distinct from marketing as it is generally not aimed at directly selling the companies products or services.

PR Benefits:
  • More credibility - The public views most advertising, if at all, with a skeptical eye. Since PR does not look like advertising, it is seen as more credible - and thus, more effective.
  • Less cost - Not only is PR more effective, but much of it costs little to nothing. Well, unless you're paying someone to do it for you.
PR Ideas:
  • Post to message boards - You can't be blatant because they'll run you of the forum, but you can add the companies website to the signature of your posts. Just make sure your posts are informative, not advertising pitches.
  • Create a website - If you have a team website, you can create a page or section on your site to promote your sponsor. Show the product in use. Forget the ad pitch.
  • Give a testimonial - Give the company an honest testimonial they can use in their promotional material. Don't make it cheesy.
  • Get testimonials - Get positive quotes from others and send them to the companies marketing department.
  • Write articles - Not a sales pitch, but an informative article which includes the use of the companies wares. Racing Articles is one place to post them.
  • Write a column - If you can convince a publication to give you a column, great - you can use it to slip in your sponsors. Be discreet! Phil Veldheer is a master at this.
  • Create a blog - Can't get your own column? Start your own by creating a blog. That's exactly what I did at Raceology.
  • Offer yourself up for company advertising - Maybe your sponsor wants to run your face in an advertisement. Tell them up front, you'll be available for anything they need.
  • Create marketing material - Don't wait for them to ask, send them; photos, testimonials, product experience, etc. Anything you think they could use.
  • Get interviewed - Not only does it get you some exposure, but it gives you the opportunity to mention your sponsor. Again, be discreet! Have some how-to info? Be a guest on Speed Talk.
  • Send out press releases - You don't want to send out company press releases, but you can surely send out team press releases that include comments about your sponsor.
Other PR Tips:
  • Don't be boring - It's the last thing you want to do if you're trying to attract attention.
  • Create media contacts - It'll take a while, but spending time cultivating relationships with the media will pay huge dividends.
  • Target their audience - Where are their customers? What publications do they read? Don't waste your time with the local newspaper unless your sponsor has customers there.
Of course, all of the above will be a lot easier if you truly believe in your sponsor's products or services - It's hard to fake enthusiasm.