Tips for Garnering Media Coverage
Ways to Increase the Chance of TV News Coverage for Your Dog Show
TV crews are eager to cover local stories and your hometown dog show easily fits the bill. Even if there may be a bigger dog show, your local show can serve as a lead up, building anticipation toward larger shows. Luck sometimes plays a role in the situation, however there are some things you can do to increase your chances of coverage.
To make more likely that the television station will cover your event, offer to send a spokesperson to the studio to conduct an interview. Try pitching yourself or another club member specifically as a spokesperson and getting the station to cover the show through a different angle, such as:
- Explain how a dog show can be used to help potential dog owners decide on the right breed to fit their lifestyle.
- Offer to bring a rare breed (or several) with you -- one that might not be familiar in the local community. Since you will want the media coverage to take place as close to the show as possible you will likely have passed your entry deadline and will have a good idea of which rare breeds will be attending the show. Make sure you point out that these rare breeds will be present at the show you are promoting. Stations and TV hosts love having lesser-known breeds in the studio, especially puppies!
- Address an issue that may already be in the news and can be related to your club or dog show. Buyer beware, in which puppy buyers are urged to be careful when looking for a dog over the internet has been a popular topic in the news. You can offer to speak about how to find a reputable breeder.
- Address any pending canine legislation in the community that your club may support or oppose.
- If you offer agility, obedience or another special event in conjunction with your show, the media may be interested in learning about it and/or having an in-studio demonstration.
Tell them how your dog show stands out from other events that take place in your area -- and make sure you follow through with your claims! The more creative you are with your pitching, the more likely you are to pique the interest of a TV station.
Central Ohio Kennel Club's Experience with Local Media
By Ann E. Keil
*Editor's Note: Ann Keil is currently president of the Doberman Pinscher Club of Columbus Ohio, corresponding secretary of the Miami Valley Boxer Club, and an active member of Central Ohio Kennel Club -- for which she organized the news segment on her local Channel 28 Fox affiliate show Good Morning Columbus with Johnny DiLoretto.
I received a call from Johnny DiLoretto about on Wednesday, January 30th, concerning airing a series of live segments (7 two-minute live segments plus a taped interview) to be broadcast on February 7th. Johnny is a "roving" reporter for Good Day Columbus, the Fox 28 morning news program. Daily, he visits different sites and provides human interest stories about businesses, people, and activities in the mid-Ohio area with live segments. The topic Johnny was interested in was "The Road to Westminster: How to get involved in showing your dog". I recognized the wonderful opportunity to showcase events and organizations in the central Ohio area, plus that there are many more competitive events than just conformation.
I began calling several COKC members to see if they were available or knew of someone interesting who would be available, and to arrange an appropriate location to film. After soliciting several volunteers and securing a location, I realized I had prior commitments, so I asked our COKC president, Meranda Rodehaver, to "wrangle" the segments to be filmed at a local animal care center. I tried to arrange for a variety of interviews to showcase our COKC spring show, Mid Ohio Owner Handlers Association (who provides class experience for persons who want to show their dogs), and the Columbus All Breed (an obedience/rally(r)/agility organization). I also wanted to demonstrate that conformation show dogs are only show dogs for a couple of weeks, a couple of months, or a couple of years, after that they are someone's companions, and have other endeavors in which they can participate or compete. I also felt it was important to demonstrate some of the preparation involved to get to what we see on dog shows on television.
The success of these segments will open the opportunity for other segments which I have suggested to Mr. DiLoretto, such as profiling activities and purposes of local specialty breed clubs, other agencies who use dogs for service (many donated by AKC breeders), community programs involving dogs, etc. Although the Channel 28 website (www.wtte28.com) does not yet reflect our segments, links to COKC and AKC were discussed to provide the public with educational sources.
The importance of such public media cannot be denied. Every AKC club should have a media representative, and some prepared programs (or outlined suggested interviews) to approach all local media with general human interest stories which happen to involve AKC dogs. This is more than profiles on dog shows or showing dogs, but responsible dog ownership and how to responsibly acquire a family pet (hopefully an AKC registered companion).
Pitching the Economic Benefits of Dog Shows
The "big angle" for any news media, but especially television, is all about the money. Using how much money comes into town when your club hosts a dog show is great publicity for the kennel club. The AKC recently updated its Economic Benefit of Dog Shows brochure. Clubs can use it to pitch a "money" story idea.
Karen Cottingham, the publicity chair for the Salisbury Kennel Club in Maryland pitched her club's dog show to the local TV station and focused on the economic benefit for the community. With their three-day weekend and over 1,000 dogs per day, the cluster brings in more than $1 million to the local economy.
"That's news they can get their teeth into," says Cottingham.
Besides pitching to the media, clubs can take a grass roots approach to getting the word out to the public about their event. Go to the local chamber of commerce and visitor's bureau and leave judging programs and brochures as free giveaways. Invite local politicians to present trophies or have local radio talent give away admission tickets as part of a contest and then allow the station to broadcast from the dog show site. Put up posters in area veterinarian offices and hand out flyers during the club's weekly training classes.
Catering to kids is another great way to increase attendance and gain media attention. Hold an art contest in the schools; offer prizes for the winners, such as publication on the catalog cover. Write a media alert describing the great photo opportunity of the winner's presentation between groups.
Touting your club's event as an economic benefit to the community as well as a great family outing will surely land your club in the headlines.
AKC Registration Statistics Available for Top 50 Cities
To officially launch the results of the 2007 AKC registration statistics, AKC spokesperson Gina Lash appeared on NBC's Today Show along with puppy representatives of the top five dog breeds in the nation (the Labrador Retriever, Yorkshire Terrier, German Shepherd Dog, Golden Retriever and Beagle) as well as the Bulldog, which muscled its way into AKC's Top 10 list for the first time in almost 75 years.
Following this appearance, the AKC Communications department hosted a press event and photo opportunity inside AKC's Manhattan headquarters. Members of the media were invited to meet and photograph dogs and puppies representing the top five most popular breeds in America and watch the Bulldog get fitted with a custom #10 jersey to mark his rise to the top ranks.
The announcement of America's most popular dogs according to AKC's Registration Statistics on January 16, 2008 has reached almost 350 million people to date. Media coverage received as a result of the announcement, press event and press release includes articles in People Magazine, USA Today, New York Daily News, New York Post, Newsday, the homepages of yahoo.com and aol.com, Live with Regis and Kelly, FOX5 News Live and Headline News.
In addition to the national press release detailing America's "Top 10" dogs, AKC also sent press releases to 50 U.S. cities, listing their specific "Top 10" breeds. Coverage from this initiative to date includes articles in the Boston Globe, Washington Times, Denver Post, Tucson Citizen, and Seattle Times, as well as TV segments on CKLC (Knoxville), WMAQ (Chicago), WPVI (Philadelphia), and KXAS (Dallas.)
How do the Top 10 breeds in your city compare to the National Statistics? A list of the top 10 breeds in the top 50 cities according to AKC's 2007 Registration Statistics is available here. If you don't live close to any of the listed cities, you can compare dogs at the state level. If your club is a specialty club, try pitching a story about where your breed ranks in the nation.
Statistics are a great way to get the media's attention. When you can compare trends from your area to those on a national level, you're certain to pique a reporter's interest. A full list of registration statistics for the top 50 cities and all 50 states is available upon request. Contact email@example.com to get the full registration statistics for your top 50 city or state.
When pitching registration statistics to media, mention breeders in your club willing to act as spokespersons or breed experts. Remember, media aren't just interested in the breeds that made the top of the list; any rare breeds in your community are sure to draw attention. When dealing with television media, this is especially useful and you may be asked to bring several of these interesting animals on air!
Donations are a Great Way to Help Your Community & Garner Publicity
Donating time, money or supplies to local organizations can be a great way for your club to become involved in its community. Not only does it benefit the organization that receives the donation, but local reporters and officials also become aware of the club and will recognize you as the resource for any dog-related issues in the community. Donations can be large or small -- anything that fills a need in your area. Don't forget to send a media alert to the press and stage a presentation ceremony with the receiving organization so the press can take photos. Ceremonies don't just make the act of giving official they make everyone involved come away with a good feeling about what they have done. Following are some donations ideas that clubs can use, whether the budget for giving is small or large.
One possibility is donating AKC magazine subscriptions to your local library or school. We suggest a subscription to AKC Family Dog for local schools and the children's section of the public library, and the AKC Gazette for the adult section of the public library. Clubs also often donate AKC books to libraries and schools such as The Complete Dog Book, The Complete Dog Book for Kids and the Dog Care and Training Book. You can also drop off bookmarks or coloring books (available through our Public Education department), or let librarians know that your club is available for children's presentations or demonstrations.
For clubs wanting to make a larger donation, look into raising money to buy or support a police dog for the local police precinct. Some clubs have bought one outright or donated money towards the purchase of a K-9, or have paid costs associated with transporting, training the dog or maintaining training facilities if the precinct already as them. Other clubs have bought protective vests for their local K-9s or pet oxygen masks for the local EMTs to use. In a similar vein, some clubs, such as the Newnan Kennel Club in Georgia, sponsor guide dogs. They pay for the costs associated with training and receive regular reports on the dog's progress.
Tools for Working with the Media
How to Build a Media Kit for Your Club
To build community awareness of your dog club assemble a media kit and send it along to local outlets when you aren't having any events. That's right! Send this when there is no news to report. Make this a way to let reporters know that your club exists long before any events, meetings or programs are planned. Reporters will tuck away such a kit in their filing cabinets and the next time a dog issue become a public matter or your event is nearing, they will know where to go for local canine and breed experts.
But these kits are also great resources on club information for new or potential members. Customize this for potential members by adding a membership application or for new members with a letter from the club president with warm greetings explaining ways that new members can volunteer within the club to promote responsible dog ownership and the sport of purebred dogs.
What to include:
- Business or Rolodex card with club logo, contact numbers, e-mails and website
- Business card of club president, secretary or spokesperson
- Most Recent Press Releases
- Club Fact Sheet:
- Founding date, history, AKC-affiliation
- Membership demographics
- Breeds represented
- Location of annual AKC events
- AKC Educational Brochures (complete list here)
- Most recent club newsletter
- Newspaper clips and photos of past events
- Events Calendar:
- Dog shows
- AKC RDO Day
- Meetings (awards, annual, public programs)
- Fun Days
- Meet the Breeds
- Canine Good Citizen(r) test
- Microchip Clinics
- Health Clinics
How to Become a Television Spokesperson
Here are some tips from Tyne Horvath of the Mahoning-Shenango Kennel Club on becoming a television spokesperson. Using these methods, Horvath was able to schedule several media interviews leading up to, and the day of, her kennel club's dog show.
Three Weeks Prior to Event:
- Gather from the Web sites of your local television stations: address, phone number and email address.
- Find someone in your club to be an on-air spokesperson
- Find out who handles community events (sometimes this is posted on the Web site or you can call the television station's main number), and inform them of the dates of upcoming events. Tell him or her your club spokesperson is available for an interview and can appear with various breeds of dogs to promote the club and event. (Horvath advises that once you have done a TV appearance, the station will anticipate and welcome you back the following year.)
- Order from AKC: public service announcement (PSA) videos. To view these videos go here.
- Use your Kennel Club's stationary (with club logo) to design a cover letter. With the letter, mail the press release (with all details of the show) and one of the PSA videos. In the letter explain:
- Your club's purpose
- How your non-profit organization gives back to the community
- Why the station should cover your event
- Include name, address, phone, and email of designated contact
Two Weeks Prior to the Show:
- Deliver "Publicity Package" in person or by mail. Call in advance to let the station know the package is coming. Horvath says, "It helps if you're on a first name basis with a specific person."
- In a large envelope include:
- On the outside:
- Name of event
- Dates of event
- Attention to:
- Return address
- Inside include:
- Cover Letter
- Press Release
- PSA Video
- Self addressed stamped envelope for return of video
- On the outside:
- Make a follow-up phone call to make sure package was received and ask if the station is interested in interviewing your spokesperson
- Try to line up appearances with stations and club members. Horvath's club lined up interviews one week prior with 12 different breeds represented, another two days prior, and two live from the show grounds.
One Week Prior:
- Make appointments and finalize appearances
- At each appearance be sure to:
- Show various breeds of dogs
- Talk about events at show
- Discuss judging process (what judge looks for, etc)
- Explain that shows are a good place to talk to breeders
- Spectators can see event demonstrations
- Mention vendors and merchandise available
- For large shows: Emphasize how it helps the local economy
- Ask segment producer if he/she can provide a copy of the segment on VHS (most stations work with beta tapes which can only be viewed with special equipment), if not, ask a family or club member tape the segment when it airs
- Call stations to thank them for media coverage
- Pick up videos if not mailed back (to use again next year!)
How to Write an Effective Press Release
Do you have trouble writing press releases? Trying to pen a persuasive release for press can be a daunting task. To make that process easier, AKC has created a Media Templates web page with fill in the blank media materials. However, if you are tasked with writing something that doesn't already exist in template form, here is an article with a lot of helpful tips straight from a member of the media. Check out this article written by Houston Chronicle columnist Ron Consolino and get some great tips: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/5695264.html
Finding Spokespeople in Your Club
Legislative Liaisons give dog owners a voice in government, Canine Ambassadors spread our messages in schools and Public Education Coordinators reach out to our communities. These three positions play an important role in gaining publicity for your club and are a great source to tap for potential spokespeople. They possess the knowledge and resources to effectively communicate the responsible dog ownership message to some of our most important audiences: lawmakers, children and the local community.
The publicity garnered through media attention can put your club in the community spotlight. Whenever your Canine Ambassadors visit a school or other community center, when your PEC's hold an educational event or your Legislative Liaisons meet with legislators, it is important to give the media a chance to capture the moment. If your club doesn't have a member who holds one or more of these important positions, you may consider addressing this at the next general meeting. Perhaps someone who might be willing to fill the job does not know the position is available. Others may know of the vacancy but feel intimidated to take on the task. If you offer your support and a helping hand with the new position, you may see others who are more willing to step up to the challenge.
Community Outreach Ideas
Ideas for Hosting a Meet the Breeds
Meet the Breeds continues to be one of the main attractions at the AKC Eukanuba National Championship and at the AKC RDO Day flagship events in New York City and Raleigh each year. This special feature can be held at your AKC RDO Day event, or any other club-sponsored event throughout the year. The most convenient location is a local dog show because many breeds are already available. Club members can also bring AKC-registered dogs not entered in the show to a Meet the Breeds educational booth as long as the doggie participants are restricted to the Meet the Breeds booth area.
Below are some tips from Houston Kennel Club Delegate Carol Williamson on how she conducts Meet the Breeds at the Reliant Park World Series of Dog Shows. There are other ways to do it, but this description will get the ideas flowing.
"Meet the Breeds" -- What is it?
"Meet the Breeds" is a special event where breeders/exhibitors/handlers are invited to present their breeds to the spectators at our Reliant Park World Series of Dog Shows cluster. Quality representatives of each breed are presented to give the public a point of comparison before purchasing a puppy. By educating the public before a pet is purchased, we hope to decrease the number of dogs straining rescue programs.
The Meet the Breed ring allows spectators to interact with a breed. Educational materials are provided for each specific breed and for those who don't have a specific breed in mind.
How Does It Work?
Throughout each day of our cluster's all-breed shows, participants bring their dogs into the Meet the Breed ring in one-hour increments. Spectators are invited to the event through pre-show publicity, breed presentation schedules posted throughout the show grounds, and over the public address system. Each year, approximately 60-65 breeds are presented. We try to present a mix of very popular and rare breeds with a particular effort to present breeds which have suddenly been spotlighted by a movie or other publicity.
The "Meet the Breed" ring has breed "stations" of grooming tables and/or seating units. Conversations/presentations are one-to-one or in a small group with a question and answer session between the representatives and spectators. Spectators are encouraged to touch the dogs and really get to know the breeds. Presenters are encouraged to discuss the good points, bad points, and health concerns of their breeds.
How Many Dogs are Needed?
We schedule 4 to 5 breeds per hour in the ring at the same time and request to have at least 1 adult male, 1 adult female and 1 young dog present of each breed. We ask presenters to have examples of any variations in color or size within a breed. If a breed is split into varieties we try to have them scheduled at the same time.
Breed coordinators for several breeds which experience fairly major changes in energy levels as the dogs mature have preferred to bring a young dog, a 2 year old dog and a 4 year old dog so that the change in personality and energy levels can be seen.
How Much Space is Needed?
We started with a 35' x 35' ring. As the public became comfortable with coming into the ring, we found we needed larger and larger rings. We have the luxury of having as much space as we need available to us and we now use a ring approximately 40' x 80'.
Because we invite spectators into the ring to see the dogs, a smaller ring can become too crowded for the number of spectators who want to participate. A larger ring can be intimidating and cause people to hesitate to walk into the ring. Each size has its pros and cons.
How Do You Gather and Schedule Breeds to be Presented?
The Meet the Breed Chairman contacts local specialty clubs and local all-breed clubs -- either by letter, phone or by speaking at meetings -- and solicits breeds and breed coordinator volunteers.
The first person to commit a breed OR a person appointed by a breed club who committed first becomes the breed coordinator for that breed.
We have found that freeform, one on one conversation about the breeds work best as does giving the breeds as free a hand as possible in presenting their breeds.
Breeds are scheduled from hour to hour, beginning on the hour and starting approximately 45 minutes to an hour after the breed is judged. This eliminates the need for additional grooming and spectators can touch the dogs without disturbing grooming preparation. It also allows handlers who are approached by spectators to ask the spectators to meet them later in our ring when more time can be taken to answer the spectators' questions.
Are There Any Rules for Participants?
To totally eliminate any club liability or conflicts pertaining to the sale of puppies, we do not allow puppy sales to be discussed in the ring. Our scheduling is done through a breed club representative and we encourage the contact for breeder referral of a local breed club to be given out rather than information on a specific litter.
How is the Ring Set Up?
The ring works equally as a "square" or "rectangle". Within the ring, we generally set up two areas with two grooming tables each and two areas with three or four chairs each. Chairs are positioned around the outside of the ring. People flow and space usage tends to be better if table and chair groupings are interspersed. The center of the ring can easily have a chair grouping if an additional breed presentation area is needed. If an extra table grouping is needed, it should be positioned along the edge of the ring and a chair grouping moved to the center of the ring.
Government Officials Have Pets Too!
Successful government relations can help us maintain our rights as dog owners. With event sites becoming scarce and dangerous dog legislation threatening many communities, it is vital for clubs to establish relationships with local officials. Some simple research can reveal whether your local Congressman or Senator own a purebred dog. This is a great excuse to invite him or her to your next club function. If possible, try to arrange a meeting between your official and a club representative who can express legislative concerns on behalf of the club.
Even if you are not facing any controversial issues in your area, it is important to introduce your club to both local and federal politicians so that when future issues arise you can work to effectively resolve them. You could take things one step further and invite legislators to present an award at your dog show. Both the official and the club will benefit from the publicity, and you'll really cement the relationship. When one club invited their Congressman to present the Junior Showmanship Award at its event, he put the picture the club took on his own web page. It was great publicity for all!
Another way to make great government contacts is by holding a lobby day on the state level, much like the lobby day AKC holds every year at the nation's capitol, just with local officials instead. For information on AKC Lobby Day or for legislative materials and services provided by the AKC, visit the Government Relations Department.
Garnering Publicity While Giving Back to Your Local Community
Clubs are constantly searching for new and creative ways to give back to the community. The Antelope Valley Kennel Club, Inc. (AVKC) thought of a unique donation to help out the local fire department. AVKC donated dog and cat oxygen masks. Many fire departments do not have equipment to help four legged creatures for several reasons: they don't know it exists, they don't have the funds, or they simply did not think of it. Some fire departments have canine employees used to detect arson and search for victims. The oxygen masks would come in handy for canine fire fighters and for four legged victims often rescued from fires. This would be a great story for the media because it focuses on firefighters, pets, and volunteering.
AVKC was praised in the Antelope Valley Press for its supporting role in the community. In addition to the media coverage, AVKC President Adrian Sanches and Director Betty McGehee were presented with a Proclamation by the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors for the club's generous donation. Ceremonies such as this create great photo opportunities for the media so don't forget to invite them!
Host a Microchip Clinic with AKC Reunite
Hosting a microchip clinic at your dog show or as a stand alone event is a great way to gain publicity for your club and meet your Statement of Compliance. Microchipping appeals to a wider base since it is in the best interest of all pet owners to permanently identify their animals. Newspapers and TV stations are more likely to cover a story that is inclusive of more viewers. Hosting a clinic in conjunction with a dog show may increase media coverage and spectators. If you expect a large turnout, hosting the clinic as a stand alone will provide you with the opportunity to allocate more resources to publicize the event and reach out to attendees.
Are you interested in hosting a clinic but don't know how to get started? Here are some tips to get you on the right track:
- Download our helpful checklist.
- Plan early! Be sure to order the microchips at least two weeks prior to event.
- Work with a veterinarian you are familiar with and arrange for them to volunteer their time to implant microchips at your clinic. Veterinarians, in kind, can promote their practice during the clinic.
- Secure staffing to assist the veterinarian, help with paperwork.
- Have a set time for your clinic (i.e. 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.) to maximize turnout and not waste volunteers' time.
- Have a table available to place small animals upon while implanting the microchip.
- If your event will be held outdoors, have an alternate rain date and list this date on all promotional materials.
- Have the right materials.
- A multi-system scanner that reads or detects ALL microchips, like the AKC Reunite Proscan 700
- AKC Reunite Enrollment Forms
- AKC Reunite Promotional Materials
- Spare change and a cash box
For more detailed information and resources to make your microchipping clinic a success, visit www.akcreunite.org/clinics.
A Little Thanks Goes a Long Way
In July, the AKC, AKC Reunite, and the Iams Company, sponsored and the AKC Parent Clubs Committee hosted the 2007 AKC Parent Club Conference in Peachtree City, Georgia. At the meeting, parent club representatives signed cards and wrote notes to the Governor, thanking him for the city's hospitality and reminding him of the many issues dog owners and breeders face today.
Following the conference, a group of parent club, AKC, AKC Reunite and canine legislation lobbyists (identified in above photo caption) delivered the cards to the Governor's office at the state capitol in Atlanta and held a photo opportunity.
The cards recognized Georgia as a dog friendly state and also Georgia's commitment to responsible dog ownership. There were over 350 cards presented to Governor Sonny Perdue.
In addition the Governor was reminded of the 107 AKC-affiliated clubs in Georgia and the more than 424 dog events those clubs put on during the year in Georgia. Dr. Carmen Battaglia gave the Governor, who is a veterinarian, an update on the number of animals recovered through the AKC Reunite program.
This is a great way to address important legislative and community issues every time your club has a dog show, whether it is a breed specialty or all-breed show. Your club can set out cards for club members and exhibitors to sign, expressing their thanks to the state governor or the mayor of the city that hosted your show. By holding a photo opportunity and inviting the media, you are not only informing the local government about dog-related issues, but you are getting your message out to the public.
The AKC Canine Legislation Support Fund
In 2008, AKC recently the Canine Legislation Support Fund in response to inquiries from dog lovers who wish to send donations to support AKC's efforts to protect owners' and breeders' legislative rights. The recent defeats of the proposed mandatory spay/neuter bill in California and the 2006 New York State measure to ban ear cropping and tail docking have inspired dog owner to stand together in defense of their rights. The monetary assistance provided by individuals or clubs will enhance AKC's efforts to defeat the onslaught of negative legislative initiatives. Contributions to the Canine Legislation Support Fund, which are not tax-deductible, can be made online or via check. More instructions can be found here.
Publicizing AKC funds and encouraging your fellow club members to donate to AKC's efforts, either on their own or through a group fund-raising effort, is a wonderful way to create public awareness of dog-related issues going on in your neighborhood. You can add publicity value to an event by informing the media of your fundraising efforts and offering to provide experts from your club to speak on the issues affecting dog owners.
Highlighting the Accomplishments of Your Club's Junior Members
Clubs understand that Junior members are the future of our sport, but there is no time like the present to honor the exceptional things Juniors are accomplishing. Whether a Junior has qualified for a prestigious competition such as the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship or Westminster, or has taken an active role in representing your club in the community, the media is always interested in hearing about young people and their dogs. One recent club heeded this advice and received media coverage when they honored a Junior member who won a prestigious competition through his school. You can read the article here. Read an article about the Junior's accomplishments in AKC Jr. News.
Reaching Out Through Your Club's Local Police Precinct
One great way to give back to the club's community and generate great media coverage is to make a contribution to the local police precinct's K9 unit. Many clubs have had success with donating bullet proof vests and other supplies to protect the K9's while they work. Recently, the Great Kingsport Kennel Club, Inc. of Kingsport, TN was recognized by its local newspaper for its contribution to the financing of the Kingsport Police Department's canine training facility.
Another great way to give back is to set up a fund that directly contributes to cover medical, training or replacement costs for a local police K9. Check with your local police department before setting up a fund to determine where funds are most needed. It will be different for each area because the medical costs and training costs may be paid in different ways. Many police department K9 units are suffering budget cuts because of the current state of the economy. In some communities K9's may not be replaced upon retirement because the department can't cover the cost of purchasing and/or training a new K9. This is a great opportunity for AKC clubs to pitch in and keep the K9 unit healthy and strong in its community.
September is National Preparedness Month
The Department of Homeland Security has designated September National Preparedness Month. Check out the link on the government web site dedicated to pet owners. Having your club pitch the importance of having a pet emergency evacuation plan is a great tie in to National Preparedness Month and AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day also in September. The AKC, American Veterinary Medical Association, and other animal organizations worked with the Department of Homeland Security to create the Ready Brochure. For more information visit the AKC Disaster Preparedness page.
Try writing a press release to the local media, holding a "Preparedness Seminar" for your community or writing a letter to the editor. Disaster pitching tools are available on the Club Communications page. You can choose to emphasize the importance of preparing for whichever natural disaster/s your area is most prone to or you can choose to cover a wider variety of natural disasters. If your area is not prone to natural disasters or you think your community is less receptive, then you might try a more general approach by discussing the importance of being prepared to evacuate your home at any moment. Home evacuation can be necessary to escape a natural disaster, house fire, or terrorist attack. The point is not to create panic, but to make others feel safe in their readiness to deal with unexpected emergencies.
Have You "Winterized" Your Dog?
February and March can be treacherous months for man and beast alike. "Have You 'Winterized' Your Dog" is a flier that you can pass out or post at club events, pet supply stores, dog parks and veterinary offices.
Another great way to spread the word is to encourage your local media to feature Winter Weather Tips. While the press is busy reporting on school closings and providing tips on how to stay warm for the winter, remind them of the importance of protecting our beloved canines. You can send them a press kit with a press release containing Winter Tips, a flier and a fact sheet about your club.
If you are contacting television stations you can offer to bring some "Winter Weather Breeds" for a segment about breeds that were developed for work in cold climates. You could also offer to bring in some breeds that owners should "bundle up" before heading out into the cold. Be sure to bring some examples of appropriate outdoor gear, such as boots and a warm jacket.
Unique Ad Idea Puts One Club on the Mat
Who knew that promoting your club could be as easy as eating out? When the Nutmeg Weimaraner Club of Connecticut was looking for rescue volunteers, permanent homes and foster homes for Weimaraners in need of assistance, they bought a placemat ad at a local restaurant. Whether you are looking for new club members or advertising your show, a placemat ad can be an easy way to get the word out about your club.
As a captive audience, most diners at the neighborhood diner or café will read or at least glance at the placemat while waiting for their food. Placemats are a good place to showcase your club since restaurants are extremely high-traffic and are visited by the members of the community that you will be targeting as potential club members or volunteers. These ads are also ideal for clubs with limited budgets, or those that want larger ads than the traditional newspaper classifieds allow. Since most people love dogs, any dog photos you include will immediately draw attention to your ad.
Start collecting placemats from your local restaurants and ask your fellow club members, friends and family to do the same. Is there a particularly popular restaurant in your town? Are families your main source of volunteers and they frequent the Main Street Café? Start there -- contact the organization listed on the placemat or talk to a manager to learn about how to place an ad. The ads can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, but make sure you include a website or phone number for people to contact your club.
Linking to the AKC Web Site and Copying Web Content
Linking to the AKC web site is a great way to put potential dog owners in touch with a resource to continue their research. For example, if your club is an Obedience club, you may link to AKC's Obedience pages. This saves your web master the work of recreating pre-existing information and you will have more space available to devote to club specific information. AKC has established guidelines when linking back to its web site. Click here for more information.
Keep in mind that reproducing material from the AKC web site is different from linking to information. There is a specific set of guidelines when reproducing web material and those who wish to use it must apply for permission. See AKC's Reproduction of Online Materials Policy for more information.
The exception to the Reproduction of Online Materials Policy is the AKC Syndicate which is available for club newsletter editors and the media. The information on the AKC Syndicate is designed specifically to be run in newsletters and other media so feel free to re-print it in your club's next issue.
AKC Syndicate materials also make ideal submissions to your local media. Articles and Public Service Announcements can be submitted to the editors of your local newspaper. Editors often have blank spaces to fill, and print ready materials are handy in such situations. This is a great way to get a message out to the community and even catch the attention of the editor. You may find them coming to you for ideas the next time they have space to fill!