Q. How have you successfully gained media attention for your facility?
A.G. Paul, The Sound of Freedom USA, Ozark, Mo.
A. If there is one thing that I have learned in my 40-plus years of owning my own residential construction business and the past four years in the shooting range business, it is this: The media is always looking for a story. So, let them know you are knowledgeable and are willing to contribute to their story.
When we first started construction of The Sound of Freedom USA, we contacted our local business journal publication, so that it could do an article on the construction of the gun range. After we opened The Sound of Freedom USA we contacted it again to let it know we were willing to have an article written about us telling our story of how it all came to be. During that period we created our website, working very hard to build a strong, powerful and easily locatable website. We also created a blog to build a buzz about the business, and we networked the new business by having booths at local trade shows to expose our business and name to the public. By doing this, we were able to meet several different local media outlets.
For several months prior to and after our grand opening we worked with local radio and television stations and print media to publicize our business. Our type of business was attractive for them, as it was something different, and they felt it would have an impact on the area. During that time we also canvassed local businesses, such as the local realtors, where we distributed more than 500 flyers through their local brokers’ offices.
We are on a major highway between two populated cities and only five miles from a third. We joined all three Chambers of Commerce. In my opinion, it is critical to network and to be active in your community, not just with the Chambers, but also with community and charitable organizations. Get involved, get involved and get involved.
The media, especially television and print, have regularly contacted The Sound of Freedom USA for information and editorial comment on issues pertinent to national and local firearm issues. We are now the “go to” business for the conservative side of the issue or story related to firearms. They also archive footage of our gun range and use it quite often when they don’t need a live feature. We have worked with NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox affiliates.
The bottom line: Get involved in your community. This will bring your name and your business to the forefront of the media’s “go to” list when they are in search of someone who is willing to be a positive voice for the firearms industry. It will provide you the opportunity to be that voice, which, in turn, promotes your business both directly and indirectly.
Tom Deets, SharpShooters USA, Roswell, Ga.
A. SharpShooters USA works closely with local municipalities and police departments who utilize our range for firearms training and qualifications. This connection with local law enforcement enhances our outreach into the community. They speak highly of our facility and recommend SharpShooters to citizens who are looking for a safe place to shoot and take instructional classes.
We are connected with local community organizations and work with many charitable organizations to raise funds and awareness for their particular causes. We donate items and merchandise as prizes and silent auction items. Our range is often a stop for poker runs and motorcycle rides. SharpShooters USA makes our facility meeting rooms available to civic and veterans groups, shooting sports clubs, to name a few.
We make our facility available to host charitable events.
All of this adds to our local visibility and enhances the public’s perception of the shooting sports industry. Many of the relationships mentioned above have generated media attention for our facility, including radio, television, Internet and print media.
At SharpShooters USA, we always welcome the opportunity to meet with the media to positively represent the firearms industry. Having a close connection with our community has resulted in media looking to us as the “expert” in the shooting sports industry. We always welcome local or national media when there is an interest to discuss firearms industry issues, positive or negative. Furthermore, all media personnel are offered the opportunity to shoot on our range with one of our instructors to better understand the shooting sports industry and related issues.