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Does Your Chapter Have a PIO?

By Does Your Chapter Have a PIO?

December 2016 

A Chapter Public Information Officer Can Help Spread the Word About Your Activities

How many times have you as an EAA chapter member thought, “It’s too bad that the community doesn’t know about all the good things our club does?”

Getting the word out is actually quite easy if your chapter is active with programs such as Young Eagles, aircraft construction, or fly-ins.

First you need a member who is willing to serve as public information officer — to write articles and take photos at your events.

Articles for the print media should be short and concise, including all pertinent information. Think in terms of who, what, why, where, when, and how. Remember to get the correct spelling of any names you use. Run the article through spell-check and have another person read the document for accuracy.

Compose a list of local newspaper, magazine, television, and electronic media editors. This information can usually be found on the masthead of a publication on the second or third page. This will provide you with names, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers.

When you send out your write-up with photos to the media outlet, always put it in the form of a press release with the appropriate date. Example: PRESS RELEASE 11/10/2016. End the release with your name, title, address, and phone number. You do this so that the recipient knows who is sending it and what organization is involved. Media outlets sometimes need to contact you for more photos or will assign the story to a reporter, who will have a few more questions.

Most media outlets are used to receiving articles and JPEG photos via e-mail. Try to limit the number of pictures you send so you don’t overload their server.

Newspapers usually print the story within a few days if they feel their readers will be interested. Sometimes they are happy to get a story by e-mail that they can use to fill space, and yours may be the first one they pick up. Magazines take some time. It can be two or three months before you see your article. This is a normal lead time for them.

In some cases, when you see your article in print it won’t look exactly like the one you sent. That’s okay. It has been edited. The important thing is, you got the information out and your chapter got some good publicity.

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