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70 Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports 10.1.2 THE SCOPE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS ACTIVITIES The scope of public relations activities is very broad and includes the activities as shown in Exhibit 10.1, as well as others. Exhibit 10.1--Public Relations Tools. Public Relations Tools Earned Media Public Speaking Events Promotions Other Print Sponsorships Communications & Volunteering Source: Oliver Wyman The following sections cover each of these activities. Within each section, the specific marketing tools are ana- lyzed. For example, earned media includes press releases, featured articles and stories, radio and television, and so forth. 10.2 EARNED MEDIA Effectiveness Cost Commercial Service General Aviation Essential Tool $ ··· ··· Definition: Earned media refers to favorable publicity gained through an article in the newspaper or an inter- view on television or a radio station. Unlike paid advertising, earned media coverage often carries more cred- ibility in the minds of consumers because the information is delivered and received through the filter of a credible news organization. Earned media is NOT free. Significant effort, persistence and follow-up are required to successfully generate and sustain earned media coverage. Skillful use of free and low cost marketing techniques can provide a marketing campaign that is larger and more pervasive than often thought possible with a modest budget. Perhaps the most effective tool in the quest to have the largest possible marketing campaign at the lowest cost is earned media. Many airports are adept at getting media attention through press releases, featured articles and stories, inter- views on radio and television, and public services announcements. Special awards and recognition earned by airports also provide an excellent means to attract attention and coverage. Earned media goes out across sev- eral channels including: radio, television, newspapers and magazines, and the Internet.
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Public Relations Tools 71 This section describes a variety of ways to get earned media and how to put together a good press kit that is always available to the media that answers basic questions about the airport. Exhibit 10.2 shows the types of earned media described in this section. Exhibit 10.2--Types of Earned Media. Types of Earned Media Press Kit & Media Featured Articles Press Releases Contact List & Stories Interviews Public Service Awards & Special (Radio & TV) Announcements Recognition Source: KRAMER aerotek, inc. 10.2.1 HOW TO "EARN" FREE PUBLICITY It should not be assumed that the media outlet knows about or understands the value of the airport to the com- munity and its overall economic contribution. Thus, a vital objective of the airport manager is to educate the media outlet about the airport's value. The more the media recognizes this value, the greater the chances for coverage (see Exhibit 10.3). Knowledge of the community and of the audience and a carefully thought out approach to the media can pay big dividends in garnering free publicity. Exhibit 10.3--Coverage versus Perceived Value. Earned Media Coverage Perceived Value of Airport by Media Source: KRAMER aerotek, inc. Apart from being free, another important aspect of earned media is that the coverage may have greater cred- ibility because it is news, not advertising, and the coverage may attract more attention than paid advertising because it is news.
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72 Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports 10.2.2 THE PRESS KIT Effectiveness Cost Commercial Service General Aviation Essential Tool $ ··· ··· Definition: A Press Kit contains information and photos about the airport. It is used to submit publicity materi- als to media for consideration. A typical Press Kit includes the following: · A website or physical cover with the airport's brand (logo, message, graphics, and colors) · Information for media inquiries Office hours Phone numbers How to request an interview Parking and "live broadcast trucks" Airport access · Factsheet about the airport · Image library (photos of the airport) · Airport newsletter · News releases · Staff biographies · Members of the airport governing group (airport commission or authority) · Airport tenants and businesses · Airport statistics · Airport financial records · Business cards and stationery that carry the airport's brand are used in the press kit Radio, print, and television media all have different lead times for submission of publicity materials. Generally, tele- vision requires the longest lead time of 1 to 6 months, and radio and print have the shortest, 1 week to 2 months. To learn about lead time requirements, contact the producer or editor of the specific publication or station. Except in the case of breaking news, press kits need to be sent in hardcopy or electronically well in advance of publication deadlines in order to be considered for placement. Following this general practice will improve the odds for placement of publicity in relevant publications and or at shows.
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Public Relations Tools 73 10.2.3 THE PRESS RELEASE Effectiveness Cost Commercial Service General Aviation Essential Tool $ ··· ··· Definition: The press release or news release is a short, written document with a clear headline at the top, suf- ficient facts and quotes to support a news story, brief supporting background on the airport, a date, and con- tact information for journalists who want to follow up with a telephone call to get more information or to arrange an interview. Small airports use press releases to attract media attention, and airport managers report that this is a particu- larly effective and inexpensive way to market the airport. Press releases may get lost in larger markets where they are competing against many other information sources, but in smaller markets, they appear to draw atten- tion. The press releases prompt local newspapers, magazines, and radio and television stations to provide cov- erage both through their primary medium and on the Internet. TYPICAL FORMAT FOR A PRESS RELEASE Press releases are structured using a very specific format (see Exhibit 10.4). Make sure to include the 5 Ws of advertising (who, what, when, where, and why) in the body of the press release. Other techniques to grab atten- tion include (1) a strong lead in sentence, (2) the use of quotes to give the press release a personal touch, and (3) inclusion of human interest highlights. Make sure to include the airport's brand/logo at the top of the press release for easy identification. Exhibit 10.4--Press Release Format. (Your Airport Logo) NEWS RELEASE Date: The date you are sending this to the media FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For more information, contact: (Name, Department, Title) (Phone Number) (Email Address) optional SUBJECT: A brief topic or event description, typically 5 words or less (The body of the press release is very basic; who, what, where, when and why. The first paragraph of the press release should contain in brief detail what the press release is about.) (The second paragraph explains, in detail: who cares; why you should care; where one can find it; when it will happen. Also, included in the second paragraph is generally a quote that gives the release a personal touch.
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74 Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports "Touchy-feelies" go a long way with journalists. Press releases and news stories are boring to journalists with- out a "human interest." The third and generally final paragraph identifies department contact information and where the reader can get information, i.e., website, telephone numbers, etc.). (The content of the press release should be typed in a clear, basic font (Times New Roman is preferred). Your release should be about a page and generally no more than 400 to 500 words. If your press release exceeds one page, the second page should indicate "Page Two" in the upper right hand corner and "more" should appear at the bottom of the first page. Journalistic standards have set basic parameters to define the end of a press release: ### these three # symbols, centered directly underneath the last line of the release indicate the end of a press release. Finally, verify your facts and check your spelling. Once a mistake is printed or reported in the media it is difficult to get it corrected.) ### Source: Content provided by the Greeley-Weld County Airport; Public Information Plan, posted on their website at www.gxy.net IMPROVING THE ODDS THAT THE AIRPORT'S PRESS RELEASE WILL GET MEDIA ATTENTION A press release is more likely to get media attention when it follows some basic rules. · Target specific media (e.g., local community newspaper) that will be interested and a good fit for your airport's specific press release. · Use generally accepted press release formatting. · Provide facts and pertinent information in the press release. · Check your facts and make sure the document is without error. · Include something helpful that the media can quote. · Find human interest topics to include in the content of the press release. · Meet all media deadlines. · Provide complete contact information on all pages of a press release. · Develop relationships with contacts within media organizations over time and nurture those relationships. EXAMPLES OF AIRPORT PRESS RELEASES Exhibit 10.5 is an excerpt from a press release issued by the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. It announces an initiative to enhance passengers' travel experience at this small Pennsylvania commercial service airport with 13,000 enplanements in 2006. The press release includes a quote from the airport director and could be run as an earned media story with minimal changes.
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Public Relations Tools 75 Exhibit 10.5--Press Release Excerpt from Arnold Palmer Regional Airport. NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, Apr. 11, 2006 Airport Authority Launches "Passenger PLUS" The Westmoreland County Airport Authority has given its nod to a new passenger comfort and convenience initiative at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport. It's called "Passenger PLUS" and it's designed to enhance the travel experience before passengers even enter the terminal. After parking at no cost, new luggage carts will soon be available to make getting luggage from the trunk to the counter less of a chore. Carts will also be stationed inside the terminal to ease arriving passengers' burdens. The plan also calls for reconfiguring the walkway from the parking area to the terminal, which should make the short trek even smoother. But the cornerstone of the new convenience-based initiative is the opening of a flight lounge in the terminal lobby where travelers can relax, enjoy a cup of coffee or a soft drink and a snack or even a sandwich (at cer- tain times) while they await boarding. "We're playing to our strengths," said Airport Manager Gabe Monzo. "Comfort and convenience have always been a hallmark of this airport, so we're focusing on the most important aspect of air travel--the passenger." The lounge will feature continental-style offerings in the morning and passengers on the afternoon flights will be able to place food and drink orders with DeNunzio's Italian Chophouse, located on the second floor of the terminal. They won't need to worry about climbing the stairs or missing a boarding call. Wait staff will deliver those orders to the lounge, only a few steps from the security screening area. . . . Source: Arnold Palmer Regional Airport 10.2.4 FEATURED ARTICLES AND STORIES Effectiveness Cost Commercial Service General Aviation Essential Tool $ ··· ··· Definition: Airports usually have good relationships with local newspapers and can encourage travel articles that mention the airfares and air service available from the local airport. In some communities, local newspapers and television stations have run stories highlighting the economic importance of the local airport. Airport open houses, air shows, competitions, and educational events also provide opportunities for featured articles and stories. Featured articles provide excellent free publicity and can be obtained for newsworthy topics. Chances of obtain- ing a feature article can be increased by sending out a press release on newsworthy airport topics or events, or a press kit with a media advisory or cover letter that provides the particular details about the topic or event. In some cases, journalists will want to interview the airport manager as a means of expanding on the content of the featured article, so be prepared.
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76 Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports 10.2.5 INTERVIEWS (RADIO AND TELEVISION) Effectiveness Cost Commercial Service General Aviation Essential Tool $ ··· ··· Definition: Airport managers have an opportunity to be interviewed by the media for airing on local radio and television shows, especially newscasts. As the person being interviewed, there are some general guidelines to follow for radio and television shows. They may sound obvious, but they are still worth remembering. · Be prepared. Bring pertinent materials with you to the interview, even if you have sent them in advance. · Deliver your message. Prepare your own message and make sure that you have thought of a short, memorable way to explain it. · Augment the interview. For a television, use visuals including photos, slides, and print materials. · Develop a list of questions. Prepare the list for the interviewer to follow. This will make the interviewer's work easier, will guide the content of the interview, and will ensure that the main topics are covered. · Find out the details of the interview. Beforehand, find out the length and topics that the interviewer wants to cover (in addition to the questions you provide). · Dress appropriately. You represent the airport, so dress appropriately for both television and radio interviews. · Obtain a tape of the interview. Use the tape in future marketing efforts (e.g., website stream). 10.2.6 PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS Effectiveness Cost Commercial Service General Aviation $ · · Definition: A public service or community service announcement is a non-commercial advertisement broad- cast on radio or television that is intended to raise public awareness about specific issues at the airport. These days, public service announcements about airports are typically about security levels and safety. 10.2.7 AWARDS AND SPECIAL RECOGNITION Effectiveness Cost Commercial Service General Aviation $ · · Definition: Awards and special recognition provide a way for airports to attract earned media, either through a press release, featured article, or interview.
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Public Relations Tools 77 Exhibit 10.6 is an example of an announcement from the Greeley-Weld County Airport regarding receipt of the "Outstanding Airport Award" from the Colorado Pilots Association. Exhibit 10.6--Greeley-Weld County Airport Outstanding Service Announcement. GREELEY-WELD COUNTY AIRPORT AND BUSINESSES RECEIVE SERVICE AWARD The Greeley-Weld County Airport, and two of its based businesses, will be the recipients of the "2005 Outstanding Airport" awarded by the Colorado Pilots Association this Saturday, November 5th, 2005 at Centennial Airport in Englewood. The award is presented by the Colorado Pilots Association to those airports and airport businesses which have provided exceptional service to the flying public. Harris Aviation, which also operates Peak Flight Support at the airport, and the Barnstormer Restaurant, were both named as key contributors in the success of the airport in the association's decision to make this award. The level of customer support provided by both businesses was noted by members of the Colorado Pilots Association as being exceptional in nature. Additionally, the association, in making their decision, quoted the Greeley-Weld County Airport Authority's commitment in making numerous physical improvements to the air- port over the past few years, and its exceptional management of the facility, as another key factor. Source: Greeley-Weld County Airport; www.gxy.net 10.2.8 TIPS FOR USING EARNED MEDIA An important ingredient to any publicity campaign is making the right media contacts and then developing and nurturing those relationships over time. However, it is not enough to know the contact person; it is also impor- tant to have newsworthy stories. That means it is important for the airport to be (1) innovative and creative in the activities it chooses to pursue and (2) strategic about the ways it publicizes those activities. Earned Media the Right Media Contact Plus a Newsworthy Story MEDIA CONTACTS Regarding contacts, each media organization is run differently, and the most efficient way to identify the right individual in a given organization is to call and ask who covers the airport. Some general guidelines for locat- ing the right person in media organizations follow: · News stations--assignment editor, further delineated as morning, evening, and weekend assignment editors · Television programs or features--producer · Public service announcements--director of public or community affairs · Radio programs--program director or, for a news item, news director · Newswires--reporters for specialized stories; or editor or bureau chief for smaller shops · Newspapers--reporter who covers airports