CONTACT - July 2016
Vol 14 # 7
In this issue:
Another Field Day has come and gone! Thanks to everybody who got out and participated. As of July 5, over 1,100 score summaries have been received via the online Field Day reporting page.
Numerous proclamations were made in support of Amateur Radio from state government down to the local level. Congratulations and thank you to all those who worked to get Amateur Radio acknowledged in your communities.
So how were your PR outreach efforts? I recently asked the following questions on the ARRL PR email reflector:
1) What kind of outreach strategies worked for you this year? What didn't work?
2) What PR tools or guidelines provided by ARRL did you use? What did you come up with yourself?
3) There was the new social media bonus available for using Facebook/Twitter/etc. Did you take advantage of it? If so, how?
4) Did you try anything new in 2016? If, so, what?
5) List your one big takeaway from 2016 that you would share with other groups just getting started in PR outreach.
6) Did you have any visitors from served agencies, or any elected officials? If so, what was your successful pitch to get them to come out?
7) What kind of media coverage did you get? What was your ratio of media asked vs media who showed up? How did you pitch the media? Press release? Phone call? Social media? Something else?
8) How many visitors to your site did you have? How did they learn about your site? How did you engage them? How many interested people signed your guestbook or left an email address? How do you intend to follow up with them?
Post your answers to the PR reflector and let’s get a dialogue going. If you’re not a member of the PR reflector, let me know and I’ll add you.
The ARRL will sponsor a 2016 Atlantic Season Hurricane Webinar on Thursday, July 21, at 8 PM ET (0000 UTC on Friday, July 22, UTC). The approximately 90-minute session will address the role of Amateur Radio during the 2016 Hurricane Season. Anyone interested in hurricane preparedness and response is invited to attend this online presentation.
Topics will include a meteorological overview of the upcoming season; Amateur Radio station WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center: Who We Are and What We Do; ARRL Media and Public Relations; the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN); the VoIP Hurricane Net, and ARRL coordination and interface.
The program will include presentations by representatives of the National Hurricane Center and WX4NHC, the VoIP Hurricane Net, the HWN, the Canadian Hurricane Centre, and the ARRL. Webinar registration is open to all, but should be of particular interest to radio amateurs in hurricane-prone areas. The webinar will conclude with a Q&A session.
While this article is targeted toward businesses, the non-profit sector —including YOUR local Amateur Radio group — can benefit from acting on these strategies as well.
“People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.” PR is more than waiting for a natural disaster to show up and then talking to the reporter. Successful community engagement and recognition of any outreach effort begins with a plan. These are the key questions your group should be asking before it undertakes any PR outreach.
Did you know there is a membership organization for PIOs and other organizational spokesmen? The NIOA “…promotes professionalism and encourages stronger media relations by providing educational information, training opportunities and regional support for the information officer. NIOA members are spokespersons from local, state and federal government, representing law enforcement, fire, medical, emergency management, transportation, public works and other public safety and emergency services agencies.”
We’ve seen a lot of PR opportunities for Amateur Radio in recent weeks. Field Day; earthquakes in Central America; storms, floods and other natural disasters throughout the US and Canada; ARISS QSOS at your local school; several conferences and Maker Faires. And the National Park Service. Wait, what?
Yep. For those who missed it, 2016 is the Centennial of the National Park Service. The actual anniversary is August 25. ARRL has had a year-long event, National Parks on the Air (NPOTA), to help NPS celebrate. Many of the 484 eligible NPS units have been grateful for the extra attention they’ve been getting, especially the smaller units. Not all the NPS units have the visibility of Yellowstone or Yosemite; some are very small buildings or patches of land. I had the pleasure of activating both Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in New Hampshire and the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Vermont over the holiday weekend. They knew about NPOTA and were delighted to have a ham transmit from their park. When I asked if they had any plans for their actual Centennial date, both parks said they were going to have an open house, with lots of activities. I then received a formal invitation to put both units on the air on August 25, as part of their overall celebrations.
If you have an NPOTA-eligible site near you, now is the time to reach out to them and plan an activity. Many parks are very appreciative of the attention, and it’s been one of the best tools all year to get the ARRL logo in front of the general public. Check out all the NPOTA rules and activation guidelines first, then contact a park to see if they would host an NPOTA activation on August 25.
Thanks for all you do.
Sean Kutzko, KX9X
Media and Public Relations Manager