Telling STMA's Natural Grass Story
How to Tell the Natural Grass Story
Public Relations Program Managed by Buffalo Brand Invigoration Group
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Summary: Beginning in November 2013, Buffalo developed and implemented a public relations plan to position STMA and its members “in the news.” Program tactics include:
- Developing a calendar to leverage major sports events throughout the year by pitching the sports turf manager’s involvement in management and preparation of the playing surfaces.
- Conducting in-person and phone interviews with STMA members to glean story ideas from professional, collegiate, K-12, youth, parks and recreation, academic and commercial segments who manage baseball, football, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis and other outdoor sports surfaces.
- Packaging relevant story themes and pitching them via phone, e-mail and in-person to journalists working in the print, digital and broadcast media.
- Ghostwriting educational articles and placing these in trade and consumer media outlets.
- Crafting news releases on a variety of topics and distributing them to national, regional and local media outlets covering news, sports, business, lifestyle, environmental and other topics.
- Extending publicity by sharing editorial coverage with STMA’s Twitter followers and Facebook fans, as well as creating a publicity highlights booklet.
Results: During the program’s first year, awareness of the STMA and the work of its members increased significantly. Highlights include:
- Securing nearly 100 media placements in print, digital and broadcast outlets, including Bleacher Report, Boston Globe, CBS, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Detroit Free Press, FanSided.com, FOX News, Indianapolis Star, Minneapolis Star Tribune, NBC, NPR, Sports Illustrated, The Globe & Mail, The Los Angeles Times, The Tennis Channel, USA Today, Washington Post and others.
- Arranging coverage for STMA member Michael Hopkins in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” section, representing the first such sports turf inclusion in the magazine since the weekly column debuted in 1952.
- Submitting ghostwritten educational articles to outlets such as Athletic Turf, BallParkBiz.com, ExpertBeacon.com, National Association of Sports Commissions, National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, Parks & Rec Business, Patch.com, Public Management, Recreation Management, SportsBusiness Journal, Sports Field Management, USA Today and others.
- Growing STMA’s Twitter following from less than 100 to 1,300-plus in 12 months.
- STMA Natural Grass Task Group: STMA has created a task group to focus on promoting the benefits and possibilities of natural grass for use on athletic fields. The task group is identifying the information and education needed to promote the viability of natural grass fields. It is also defining the decision-makers to target with this information and is collaborating with other organizations to advance this message.