Communication: what does the press officer do?

One thing is for sure, even if not everyone gets it: marketing and communication are complementary, but they are two different things!Marketing, as we have seen in the previous article, studies the market and the products / services that should be offered while the communication team, particularly the press officer, has the difficult task of communicating the value of products/services offered to the market.

Why ‘difficul task’? Because it is not so easy to communicate what a brand really is and sometimes messages are misunderstood. From this consideration, two fundamental concepts emerge:

BRAND IDENTITY:
A set of ideas and features that a company wants people to connect in their minds with its products or brand.

BRAND IMAGE:
A set of features and ideas that customers connect in their minds with a particular product or brand, whether or not it corresponds to the brand identity. 

In essence, a wrong or non-constant communication policy may have negative effects or, at best, may be ineffective.

Let’s get down to motorsport, what is communication in motorsport? The communication team, or the single press officer, is the client’s interface with the outside world. Writing a press release it is not enough, you have to be a “communication man”, you have to do networking! Specifically, the press officer has the following tasks:

MANAGE THE CUSTOMER’S WEBSITE

The website should serve as a showcase and a point of contact for the team/driver. It must be constantly updated with all press releases that are written over time. A best practice is to add a dedicated page and a page with sponsors’ logos and links.

The idea is that anyone who wants information about the client, his career/story, his sponsors and his other activities can find them on the website.

RELATIONS WITH MEDIA (SPECIALIZED AND NOT)

To give maximum visibility to its customers, the press officer must look for room for press releases and news on newspapers, magazines and blogs, but also on media that are not focused on motorsport! The reason is easily said: not all sponsors have a target audience of motor enthusiasts, or at least not only. Therefore a best practice is to broaden the range of action. For example: do you work for a Roman driver who has sponsors in that region? Contact local magazines to get the news out, will surely make who is investing in the driver happy! It is also always good idea to facilitate the journalists’ work of writing articles: if you will have done the job for them you will have a friend for life! This also applies to the press officer who works for the championship promoter in which your customer is racing. How? Providing your customer for extra-track activities and always providing the required material, such as photos and interviews. An example? If activities such as the classic pit walk are organized, make sure that your customer is always available. Also make sure he is on time…

The main point is: reach the sponsors’ target audience. For the rest, use your fantasy because following the others you will never come first…

WRITE A MEDIA COVERAGE REPORT

Do you know how much it costs to stream a commercial on TV? About 0.15 € per spectator. Let’s make an easy calculation: the Blancpain GT Serieshas more than 2 million viewers around the world, but has a much more targeted audience than ordinary TV shows. Calculator at the ready, to reach the same number of viewers through TV spots, it costs about 450,000 euros as a full budget sponsorship for a car, more or less. Rarely a sponsor fully covers the budget, so with a sponsorship of € 100,000, the sponsor has gained enough for the same number of viewers!

This was a preamble, but it makes the idea: the press officer has to monitor, count and report all the media coverage he has managed to give to the sponsor! The possibilities that the sponsor renew the contract at the end of the season are directly proportional to the coverage you have assured, so GET BUSY!

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