Everyone is trying to save money, even the media. It is relatively easy to encourage them to invest in your business, and help you promote, in exchange for making their lives easier. Internet businesses and work at home ventures are in such a hurry to build joint-venture relationships that they overlook some of the old 'tried but true' joint ventures. For community service or entertainment events, enlist newspapers and broadcast stations as cosponsors. Typically, media co sponsorship means you do the work and spend whatever money is necessary; the station or publication gives you oodles of free publicity, reports on it, and/or broadcasts portions of the event. Electronic media are required to provide public service programming as a condition of their license, and publications have a vested interest in maintaining their credibility as the eyes and ears of the community.
Because co sponsorship demonstrates the media outlet's community interest and also lets the public hobnob with media personalities, a suggestion for co sponsorship will often be greeted enthusiastically. What's the difference between the ordinary free publicity you can garner and bringing the station in as a cosponsor? Jordi Herold, proprietor of the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Massachusetts, uses co sponsorship several times a month. Asking for radio co sponsorship "is not asking for something for nothing, but raises the estimation of the station in [the eyes of] it's audience--makes it possible to hear the same music live. It does a lot to contribute to the positive image of the station." Ideally, "it becomes a priority at the station. That's not measurable in times of mention, but it becomes part of the dj's patter on the air--you can't log that, you can't buy that, you can't specify that.
" Newer, smaller media are good bets, says Herold. "We have a station that's new in the area and is competing for market share. If I do a co promotion, I'm likely to get up to 50 free mentions in addition to my paid advertising. With a station.that doesn't have a relationship with the club, I may only get a one-to-one relationship between the spots I buy and promotional mentions. With a college radio station, you can be all over the map without any expenditure of money.
" For live music, radio co sponsorship is an especially valuable endorsement, because the station's promotional spots will give listeners the chance to hear a little of an artist they may not know--and because the station's role as an arbiter of music carries over to readers who see the co sponsorship listed in the newspapers and on posters. It's even okay to have several media cosponsoring an event--if they don't compete. For instance, I organized a candidate forum and got sponsorship--and publicity--from one newspaper, one radio station, and one cable TV station. If I'd wanted to get two radio stations, I would have needed to check with both stations that it was all right to have direct competitors cosponsor the event. Consider cosponsor ships for political candidate forums, live entertainment, fairs and festivals, auctions, and special events.
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