Promotional Tips for organizers
From Choppy Wicker, president of Sherwood Marketing (and husband
of a reporter!)
www.SherwoodFarmGroup.com (also, see previous discussions, slides, and Terri's
1. News Media. --The mentality of reporters
and other media news directors.
• Consider the average reporter: their daily challenge on the job
is to find new and fresh material, so anything you can do to make
their job easier will increase your chances of receiving publicity.
• Work collaboratively with area installers or groups so that there
is one main voice (vs half a dozen sources who compete for the
time of each reporter.)
• Lay the groundwork well in advance of your Tour:
-- Identify the media that
serve your area, not just the big papers and TV stations, but
also all the little community
papers, home & living
guides, cable TV stations, radio talk shows, etc.
-- Read, watch, or listen to each news outlet to get a feel
for where your publicity would best fit, who the reporter is,
and what sort of angle might be best.
-- It’s a good idea to offer several different angles
so that each medium has something unique. For instance, the TV
might want the big story, the local context, and an interview
you or a solar customer. The little community paper wants
a story about someone in their town or hamlet. The Business Review
to know the commercial potential. The local Home & Living
publication wants to know about the homeowner’s perspective,
ease of construction, benefits, and resale value.
-- Rank the media for desirability for your Tour purposes and
contact the most likely reporters, discuss their needs, and
offer to meet
them or give them additional background and materials. Bring
along your Tour information, a solar toy (from a real toy
to a full-sized
roof panel and demonstration device), a simple brochure on
PV and other solar, and an accurate list of current government
Tell them the questions (and answers) that most people ask
-- ALWAYS be available for questions from the reporters. If
they have a hot question and can’t reach you, you may not
be happy with what they print or show. Never let a reporter
end up on your
answering machine. Give them your home and business phone,
your cell phone, your wife or (and?) girlfriend’s phone,
etc. The reporters are like birds; if there is no seed when
to the feeder, they’ll look elsewhere. If you are the
reliable Go-To Person on solar, they will turn to you not
only for this
event, but also whenever an expert quote is needed for future
stories. Likewise, they will welcome hearing from you with
-- Ask for early inclusion in the media calendar of public events.
Increase your visibility as the date approaches, with larger
stories or interviews. Remember: the point of “news” is
that it has to be NEW. Have a Plan-B for adverse weather
so that people
know it’s either rain-or-shine or will be rescheduled.
Aim for a simple branding image, such as yellow balloons or yellow
sunflowers. Put this everywhere… on your posters, yard signs,
public service ads, handout literature, etc.
Consider a branded “ticket” that prospects get at the
event or ahead of time. This not only identifies them as part of
the tour (especially if they paid a fee), but serves as advance
publicity (“Ask me about Solar Tour Sept 12th 2009”.)
This ticket could be a shirt badge, car bumper sticker or car window
The ticket could be available in advance to people who are encouraged
to go to your Tour website to perhaps get a discount if there’s
a charge for Tour. Once there, it could be downloaded immediately
(or capture their name first, since that’s the whole point)
and presented when showing up. This is better than handing the
tickets out to unqualified leads, so you get a more qualified list.
• If you bring in more money than needed for expenses, let people
know where the excess will be going to (hopefully to a well-liked
• Network and promote not only with community groups like Rotary,
Scouts, etc., but also with other Green organizations. Make contact
with local volunteer firefighter meetings to give PV basics (including
safety) and invite them to the tour; these guys and gals are a
great market and have lots of local connections. Invite the local
tax assessor and building inspectors, so that they will be more
• Contact your local board of realtors to offer information about
solar systems and ask that information about the Tour be included
in their member newsletter and calendar of events.
Get involved with educational youth programs (like the Scouts,
Boys & Girls Clubs, Y’s, and Civil Air Patrol) to spark
their interest, get them started on projects, and interest their
parents in coming to the Tour.
• In the months before the Tour, park your flashy Tour-mobile (or
company truck) at public events such as community picnics, ballgames
or other gatherings; be available to answer questions and promote
the tour. If you are collaborating with competitors, work out who
will cover each event (or maybe several of you are there.)
• Sell ads in your Tour Guide. You and installers, as well as related
businesses (green construction, insulated windows, etc.) can fund
the costs of the Guide and more.
companies grow sales by using tech marketing expertise.
Click Here for more details on why green is red hot.