Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What You Say Impacts Who Your Association Is

I’ve been writing for 40+ years for The Associated Press, as a PR professional for three different organizations, as a speech writer and now as a blogger. So I recognized the importance of what you say and how it impacts your association.

So, when I found a Google News Alert “showcasing” four “events” that I might attend (if I lived on the Mississippi coast), I'm thinking which would I select based on the items in the news:
  1. Kiwanis meeting: noon, Victor Mavar Sr. Community Room, Hancock Bank, 888 Howard Ave., Biloxi. Program presented by Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway. Details: 385-0856.
  2. American Business Women’s Association membership drive meeting: 6 p.m., Holiday Inn, U.S. 49, Gulfport. Details: 831-4072.
  3. Patt Odom workshop: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 22-26, Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center, 1600 Government St., Ocean Springs. Cost: $270 members and $320 nonmembers. Details: 818-2878. 
  4. Uncorked, A Cellar Event: 6 p.m. doors open, IP Casino Resort and Spa, 850 Bayview Ave., Biloxi. Sixth annual fund-raiser for the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce. Tickets: $75. Details: 604-0014.
An announcement about your next meeting may not seem like much but it has a major impact on whether your members give up 2-3 hours of their valuable time and pay to attend.

So, here’s how these made me feel:
  1. A weekly Kiwanis meeting. Ah, featuring the Mayor. But, what the heck is he talking about?
  2. ABWA’s membership drive? Really exciting isn’t it. So, if I attend, I’ll probably get “roped in” to selling members. You want me to pay to do this? Forget it!
  3. An expensive workshop. Who is Patt Odom and what’s her workshop?
  4. Uncorked cellar event? Sounds intriguing. Might be fun. Maybe I should attend ... oops it’s the 6th annual fund-raiser? Humm ...
What about you? Which would you attend?

How might we rewrite these notices (recognizing that the media will edit them down) to grab my attention (or the attention of a prospective member/attendee)?
  1. Check the length of these notices. Create your own short version. The less you give, the less the media can edit. Give them a sound-bite sized notice.
  2. Think like a member. Why would I give up 2-3 hours (and money) to attend this event? Write the 1-3 sentence with that it mind. Start with a “grabber” headline. Then, give facts: date, local, who to call, website, etc.


  1. really nice post. the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation transforms workplaces with women and employers.the business women network encourages partnership to create successful workplaces. The mission is to create successful workplaces for women, their families and employers.

  2. Understand. But, this notice in the local paper doesn't give a prospect any idea of what you do. Realize the paper controls what is printed yes as I noted above your chapter's need to provide short copy that gets the message across without the paper's edits.