Saturday, July 18, 2015

Vice President of Public Relations Insights

Provided by David Penrose, June 2015 LACE Trainer

There are three primary areas for the VP PR to develop over the course of their term of service. First, it is important to understand the specific ROLE they play in the organizational structure of the club. Second, it is important to understand the RESPONSIBILITIES they will be expected to fulfill to the best of their ability. Third, to know where they can find as well as create RESOURCES to effectively promote the activities and benefits of being a Toastmaster.

For this article, I thought I would focus on one of the greatest resources and club promotion tools available to ALL Toastmaster Clubs - the web portal available through FREEToastHost. I have been developing websites since 1996, so trust me when I tell you that our FREE web portal is an incredibly flexible environment for the VP PR to have access to.

The most important challenge to the VP PR is to convince the members, through demonstration, that the Club site is capable of being a “One Stop Shop” for your club members and prospects. Quality and flexibility are evaluated on two axis, the first axis is the degree to which routine functions can be automated. The second axis is the degree to which other functions can be created.

Routine Functions
Your portal manages the following routines … 
a) maintain an information menu structure; 
b) the meeting information/directions allows for the use of GOOGLE maps; 
c) click on the Contact Us link and an email form pops up sending the email to any single or multiple officers; 
d) the meet our members page automates the creation of a photo directory allowing members to provide direct links to their social media accounts; 
e) the Club Calendar makes it easy to add items to a calendar and include a link to more information;
f) the Public Downloads allows you to create public/private files that your members or prospects can download and give you the power to set access permissions.

Create Functions

This is the part that I can’t seem to get enough of … because it is organized so that someone with just a little bit of HTML experience can create MEDIA RICH single pages. What do I mean? 

a) on the site sample, my club page (, I have on every editable page a banner across the top which remains visible as the viewer scrolls down the page, that’s where I update our NEXT meeting date and time. You could put anything there - like announcing an Open House, a Club Contest, announcing a visiting Dignitary. Of course, you could also publish that a meeting is cancelled or rescheduled;
b) I have added a print button/icon which will print the webpage when pressed. The code is a single line of text;
c) I have also discovered how to import the complete or recent posts of a blog that is external to the club site. For example, I have created a blog called http://fdc2.blogspot.comwhere I am chronicling my experiences and observations as the Area C2 Director. I use a feed from that blog to display the six most recent posts. I have also added the Founders LACE feed to my clubs site;
d) the use of custom images, audio and video are a great way to add extra value to your club site. With a little knowledge and creativity, you create and display an event flyer, embed video from YouTube and even display an audio player. Think about recording club speeches and actually posting them for the world to see on your club site.

If you haven’t considered all that is possible with this FREE service, now would be a great time to sign in and look around!

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