Advice on improving press liaison and coverage.

Notes from Klim Seabright.


Press/Publicity Officer – Getting Started (1)


1.      Choose your Press/Publicity Officer (PO). Do you have an expert among your membership or a good “amateur”?

2.      The PO should be a full member of your committee – they need to know what the committee is thinking/planning.

3.      Decide what the priority is – for example, “in 2013 we will recruit more players of a working age/youth”. This helps the PO to seek out suitable opportunities.

4.      Does the PO need any training? – The CA occasionally does such training. Your Chamber of Commerce/Business Link might help. I found a free half day given by the recently retired editor of my local paper.

5.      Give enough space on your club agenda to properly discuss the matter. Make the item nearer to 5.00 p.m. than 8.00 p.m.   Most croquet players are thinking about Horlicks and sweet dreams at about 7.30p.m.

6.      Hiring a PR agency is too expensive for most. Is there a University with a media studies course nearby? If I were a student I would love to have a “real client”, but treat them professionally re money – don’t expect to get something cheaply. You want a first year rather than a third year. Allow for the fact that they will be young and energetic with crazy ideas...great ...perfect. If they come up with “coloured shirts” don’t burn them at the stake. You were also once young and full of energy and drive.   

7.      The PO has to work hard to persuade the local press that Croquet is a Sport and should be included in that section of the paper.

8.      Study the local paper. On which day does “minority/unusual” sport appear?

9.      Invite the sports department to the club. Show them how to play and give them a cup of coffee. Make sure members are around which reflect 3 above. Clothing should be a mixture of white and non-white. Don’t be afraid to be mildly assertive and semi-apologetic at the same time “We are the oldest sports club in Pegout by the Sea you know, are we getting something wrong?”   You want answers to questions such as “which day is croquet likely to appear and when is the cut off for copy”?

10.  You need to be a part of the local scene. One way is to adopt a local charity. The local press is much more likely to publish something related to a well know local charity. The picture of the chairman handing over a big cheque is a bit passé. Look at what pictures get published and see if you can spot a pattern.

11.  Organise a charity event. Try to think of something other than dressing up as Victorians! I selected a local charity which appeared to mean something to our membership i.e. arthritis, diabetes or stroke.

12.  Offer your facilities to something well known in the town e.g. play festival, literary festival, civic reception. You might be a “fringe” facility for a play reading or unpublished authors or something.

13.  Use members other interests to promote publicity “A Lesser Spotted Grizzler was spotted on Lawn 3 by Percy Edwards the croquet club groundsman who is a keen ornithologist” or “Kew Gardens has asked Pegout Croquet Club to keep a very careful eye on the Fourbacticus Orchandii which was spotted by Prof.Wunbach while on a recent holiday in the area”.


Have you thought of the following as a possible fundraiser...? I stole the idea from a church. Each time I make a substantial purchase (double glazing, car etc.) I wait for the final price and then explain that there is one more thing which will “seal the deal” but from which I will gain no personal benefit. The salesman looks surprised and then I say that he must, on completion of the work, give me a cheque for one hundred pounds made out to the club or a specific charity supported by the club. Publicity opportunity?  


Press/Publicity – Tips (Item 2)


Press Releases:


1.      Give contact name and telephone details -  ensure the contact person has all the information

2.      Mention picture attachment and give necessary information such as names etc.

3.      Keep “punchy” and detail the person and/or event

4.      Always type it

5.      Start with impact ...”Fred Blobs has been selected to play for England”... give a “wow “factor if possible.

6.      No Croquet Jargon. “Fred went through one back and set the lawn for a quadruple peel” is no good.

7.      It might not be about Croquet but use it...”Fred Blobs was on his way to Peel Bay Croquet Club to play in the final when he rescued a pet dog from the Sea”.


Sports Report*


1.      Send to someone by name but you might have to be satisfied with Sportseditor@...don’t forget to thank them in advance for publishing it.

2.      Even local journalists receive hundreds of emails each day and so they will thank you if the report is not attached but pasted into the main body of the email.

3.      Work to a “typical” length for that paper.

4.      Don’t cause a fuss if they edit it badly – let it pass (unless it is really serious).

5.      Don’t make it too technical.

6.      Brevity, brevity and more brevity – sorry, not very brief!

7.      I try to get the words “Cheltenham, Croquet, Club, Old, Bath and Road” into each report

8.      Who, what, when, why and how in as few words as possible.

9.      Do it regularly – all tournaments and club days etc.


* I made the mistake of trying to do them all myself. Ask Manager to nominate someone and send to you for editing/clarifying.


Photographs *


1.      I am a keen photographer but croquet is very difficult to make look interesting   everyone looks down and so you may need to pose things –try to come up with an “action shot” –good luck!

2.      Speak to the Picture Editor and try to find out the times when they might have a photo-journalist available to attend and so do the picture then – even if feels like the wrong time of day.

3.      Find out what size and quality of shot is acceptable.

4.      Most local papers will use good photographs – I think the agreement is that they will not be available for public sale.

5.      Have you got a keen photographer in the club?

6.      Look at local paper and you will probably spot a “style”.... leaping in the air.... looking sad.....looking angry..... looking happy etc. You will also be able to spot if they use low angles, high angles etc.

7.      Correct caption and names essential.

8.      Contact the picture desk and ask “what’s the diary like on xxx”....they might be looking to fill space. You might then need to contact members is the depths of February to set up a shot of “Peel Bay members creosote the fence ready for the new season”.

9.      The press are quite cautious about covering an event which includes a politician (Mayor etc.) near an election time.


*You have seen those pictures of people standing around having a lunch-time or evening nibble? Most make the mistake of holding them at the appropriate meal time and hoping that the photographer will turn up. Unlikely, because your local paper probably has one part-time photographer and he can’t possibly get to 17 events all happening at 1.00 o’clock. You might have more luck if you find out the answer to 2 (above) and hold your event then, even if you are stood around at 10.00 a.m. dressed in DJs!




1.      Sensitive subject – you need someone who is good at it and this may not be your chairman. I recall someone telling me that two exceptionally good players were called upon to do a commentary on a croquet match – no member of the public understood a word of it! 

2.      You will probably be contacted by a producer around 24 hours in advance (but not         always). Try to find out about the nature of the programme and the DJ (what kind of style etc.) and always ask if this will be live on air or pre-recorded. Try to find out what you will be asked about. Opt for the latter if you have a choice.  

3.      Expect the words “Posh” and “Violent” to come in at some point.  Have a ready answer (keep it light hearted though). “We had to stop that violence- we were losing too many members”! But be careful with attempts at humour, it can backfire. 

4.      The interviewer may know of a certain difference of view between GC and Association players... so be prepared.  Both, of course, are “superb games which are impossible to compare and contrast” in a 90 second radio slot!

5.      Know the John Prescott story. Whatever your personal view might be, remember that croquet sales increased by 250% immediately after his photograph appeared.

6.      I like to have some prompt sheets in front of me with information that I need to bring instantly to mind when the opportunity arises. These usually included the name of the station, broadcaster and programme name. Your club web address and telephone number of contact person are essential; and some prompt words for the information which you wish to get across. I tick these off as I manage to get them in. Remember that the radio might wish to use the opportunity to speak about “oranges” but you must look for opportunities to speak about “apples”!

7.      Take control by not waiting for a question. Keep your voice light (without sounding manic) .....”good morning secretary” then get straight in with  “good morning Johnny, its perfect croquet weather down here at Peel Bay Croquet Club” or something similar.