Getting press for your club

Here are a few tips that will help your group get more media attention.

  1. Get to know the names of editors and staff writers of your local newspaper(s) and establish personal contact with them. Learn who writes regularly about environmental issues, outdoor recreation, fitness, and endurance sports. Take note of regular columns and think about ways that news of the work and events of your organization can fit into their reports. Send all press releases and other group information to a specific person--not to the Sports Editor or Outdoors Editor.
  2. Invite key editors or writers to your trail building and maintenance sessions or new rider clinics. Trailwork can be photogenic and the volunteer spirit is contagious. A staff reporter can generate an appealing, full-page article with a couple photos in a couple hours on a Saturday morning.
  3. Quantify your volunteer work. Write short press releases when you achieve milestones, such as 1,000 hours of volunteer trail maintenance. Produce a year-end press release that provides an overview of your group's volunteer efforts to improve public recreation opportunities.
  4. Present year-end awards to local citizens who have done great work for trails. Select club members, land managers, leaders of other trail user groups, and members of the business community who have actively supported trails efforts. Make the award ceremony an event, invite the press, and prepare a press release.
  5. Don't just think locally. Bike Magazine, Dirt Rag, Mountain Bike, Mountain Bike Action, Mountain Biking and Bicycling publish articles about innovative or stellar local mountain bike advocacy. Read these magazines carefully and stay in touch with the person who compiles information on your section of the country.
  6. Keep your press releases short and to the point. One page is best. Three or four concise paragraphs is ideal. Don't include quoted statements from club leaders or land managers unless they really say something meaningful--something that isn't explained in the text.
  7. Invest in good photography. Hire the best local photographer you can find for brochure photos, press photos, and slide documentation of trailwork projects. Many first-rate photographers will shoot your event for free and charge your group only for processing.