An important part of your career is self-promotion. These public relations tools can be helpful at both the job search stage and when you want to increase your value to current employers and customers. This area provides you with suggestions on how to promote your skills to employers, your local community and more through the media with press releases, personalized posters and hints on how to use your USPTA membership to build brand recognition and image with all the markets you wish to reach.
Tips to Help You Promote Yourself
While the USPTA headquarters does all that it can to publicize the organization and its membership at the national level, the best way for members to gain personal recognition is to promote themselves and their USPTA certification in the areas where they live and teach. The following is a list of ways to promote yourself at little or no cost:
1. State your certification on all pieces of communication including business cards and letterhead, whether you use your club's or the USPTA's. Placing the initials USPTA behind your name promotes your certification and gives you professional credibility. Certified professionals can download a personalized logo on the right under "Downloads." Cost to you - $0
2. Promotional/informational fliers with your name, USPTA certification, facility and the programs you offer. It is a great opportunity to promote any USPTA programs you run at your tennis facility (Junior Circuit™, wheelchair tennis, etc.). Make members of the community around you aware of the programs available to them by a quality tennis-teaching professional. Distribute the fliers at your club, other local businesses, to existing students and potential students. Cost to you - 5 cents to 10 cents per copy or $0 on your personal computer and printer
3. Take advantage of free websites to promote yourself. Your club/facility may have an official website, and if you are not already listed on there, request to at least have your name and USPTA certification with your contact information listed. The USPTA provides all of its members with a free personal website that you can use to promote yourself to other pros, existing students and potential students. With the Web being a primary source of information for so many people, can you afford to not use it as a promotional tool? Cost to you - $0
4. Maximize networking opportunities at your club/facility. Participate in events held there in an effort to introduce yourself and promote what you do as a certified tennis-teaching professional for the club. This is an excellent way to build relationships and recruit new students. Cost to you - $0
5. Take advantage of the USPTA personalized poster. Use this in your office, club, or wherever you see fit to promote yourself and your USPTA certification, and educate your students and club members. This service offered by the USPTA allows Professional-level members to pick the poster of their choice, send in an optimal resolution digital photo (at least 2,272 pixels in width by 1,704 pixels in height, or the highest setting on a digital camera) to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the USPTA will design the document for free. You will receive a PDF that you can have printed as an 11" by 17" poster at your local printer. Cost to you - $5 - $10 printing charge
6. Get social. Social media is a great way to promote yourself. Make a Facebook page or Twitter account for your club or business. Be professional and friendly. Post about events, changes in schedule, news and more. Be sure to share photos and relevant links.
7. Press releases to announce your recent certification, new programs, free clinics, tennis events, etc., are an ideal way to promote yourself to local media such as community newspapers or even your club newsletter. See downloads at the top right for a sample press release. Cost to you - $0 (since it will most likely be e-mailed or faxed)
Certified Logo Tutorial
The USPTA member logo provides a great opportunity for you to promote yourself on anything that you publish. Using the official USPTA logo with your name shows proof of your certification and association with the world's largest tennis-teaching organization.
When you go to download your logo, you will see several options. How you plan to use the logo will determine which option you select.
Non-web-based email program, such as Outlook
Log into Member documents and select Certified member logo. Go to the "Download your logo" section. Select small for the size and JPG for the format. Click "Download this logo" and save to your computer.
Go to Tools within Outlook and select Options. Then click the Mail format tab.
Click on Signatures, then select the signature to edit/create a new signature. Type your signature as you would like it to appear on the bottom of your emails. Then click where you want your personalized logo to go, then click on the picture icon (next to business card). Select the logo from the location where you have saved it and select insert.
Then click all the OKs and your signature should be ready to go.
Web-based email, such as Google
Log into Member documents and select Certified member logo. Go to the "Embed your logo" section. Select small for the size and Link for the embed method. Copy the code on the left.
Log into your Google gmail account. Go to settings, then signature. Click on the insert image icon. Paste the logo code into the image URL field. The logo will appear in the box below if done correctly. Add any other text above or below the logo, such as your name, title, contact information, etc. Then click OK, then save changes. Now, when you send an email, your USPTA logo will always be included.
Hotmail - click here
Mozilla Thunderbird - click here
If you use any other web-based email program, look for similar features or check the help page of your specific email provider/host. Yahoo mail, unfortunately, does not support inline graphics.
Please note that mobile devices are not typically made to support graphic signatures. Typically they sup-port rich text versus HTML.
The downloadable logo is ideal for use on a desktop or laptop computer. The size of the data sent from mobile devices will increase greatly when the logo is included in the signature, so it may not be economically feasible for users since most plans supporting mobile devices don't include unlimited data usage.
There is an app for iPhone/iPad that you can download, which will allow users of these devices to link to the embedded version from the USPTA server. To get access to the app, please follow the link below.
Email signature app for iPhone/iPad - click here
USPTA personal website
Log into Member documents and select Certified member logo. Go to the "Download your logo" section. Select medium or large for the size and JPG for the format. Click "Download this logo" and save to your computer.
Log into your USPTA website (Find it at http://usptafindapro.com, click on Player box and search for your name). Go to the About me, My facility or Upload pictures page. Select a field and click Browse. Select the logo and click Open, then Publish changes.
If you upload this logo on the About me or My Facility pages, it will be placed in a specific location on the page. If you upload it in the Upload pictures page, you can insert it into any location. Please see the personal website instructions for help with this.
Log into Member documents and select Certified member logo. Go to the "Embed your logo" section. Select the size you want and select IFrame for the embed method. Copy the code on the left.
Go to your USPTA website, log in and go to the page where you want your logo. Click Edit page and select the View source icon. In the source view, put your cursor where you want the logo. This will be easiest at the beginning or end of the page. Paste the code. Click the View source icon again to view the page. You can drag the logo around the page, however, you cannot wrap text with this option. (Use the upload image option to do that.) Click the save icon, which will close this window. Then click Publish changes.
Log into Member documents and select Certified member logo. Go to the "Download your logo" section. Select the print option for the size. Click "Download this logo" and save to your computer. This print-quality logo can now be inserted into a newsletter, poster, flier or any other publication.
Enhance Your Public Image
A little community relations can go a long way
Positive efforts in the community can enhance your public image
Whether you’re a head tennis-teaching professional at a club, an independent contractor, high school coach or owner of a tennis club, your involvement with the community and programs you make available often has an impact on the public’s perception of you and your facility’s image. Community relations efforts help build your involvement and standing with the community through programs that are advantageous to both the surrounding community and you and your facility. With that said, community relations definitely plays an important role in promoting yourself and your facility and enhancing your overall PR efforts.
While there are no rules on who you should offer these community programs to, ideally you want to serve area residents who otherwise might not have the opportunity to participate in such programs. While a popular time to hold outreach events is during the holidays, it is important to remember that community relations can be a year-round effort to show continued commitment to and involvement with the community.
There are two great programs that the USPTA has for you to give back to the community in your own way by personalizing each program:
- Tennis Across America™ - Established in 1990 by the United States Professional Tennis Association, Tennis Across America™ is the original, free, grassroots lesson program. The goal of the program is to get people out on the court, playing tennis. The multicultural segment was added later with the goal of reaching various communities and potential players who have special needs and may not otherwise have the opportunity to play.
While Tennis Across America Day is officially celebrated in May, it is not limited to just one day. You can offer free clinics to the public throughout the spring and summer months. Clinics can be directed toward adults, children or both, and may include new, current and former players returning to the game.
Clinics can be held at clubs, public parks, schools and other facilities. Free clinics can take various forms from an introductory Cardio Tennis demonstration and class to an event focusing on children, juniors, or adults to a member-guest clinic at clubs.
- Lessons for Life™ - Lessons for Life became USPTA’s national charitable program in 1999. Through the program, the USPTA encourages its members to use tennis fund-raisers and other activities to help people in their communities.
Fundraisers can take many forms, such as tournaments, pro-ams, auctions, black-tie dinners and clinics. Lessons for Life is officially celebrated in October, but events may be hosted any time during the year.
Other examples of community relations programs may be as simple as donating old tennis balls and racquets to local elementary schools that lack athletic funds. If you are a high school or college coach, you can invite students from a local elementary school or kids from a local after-school program (YMCA or Boys & Girls Club) to a match on campus. If you host tournaments you can donate a portion of the proceeds to a local charity or take the proceeds from a weekend of lessons and donate them to a worthy cause in your community. If you already have an existing program, this is a great time to really promote it within your community. All of these are great ways to promote interest in the game of tennis while giving a little back to the community.
However, don’t feel confined to the programs listed here. These are just a sampling of programs you can offer. There are a plethora of possibilities in giving back to the community – just remember, be creative and innovative and most of all have fun! Not only will you be giving back with an activity you enjoy, but you will also encourage and stir interest in tennis for potential students after your event.
Don’t forget to notify the media of your upcoming tennis community relations efforts through a media alert (which is the featured tool this month) that has all the event details and key photo opportunities. The media does like to cover community outreach events, especially when kids are involved.
Attracting Media Attention
Getting the media to publicize your story or cover your event may seem like a daunting task and sometimes even impossible, especially in larger media markets. However, there are several ways that you can help increase your chances of getting attention and build long-term relationships with your local media. Remember, publicity is free and the generation of media coverage is an important tactic you can’t ignore to gain tremendous exposure for yourself, your facility and your programs.
Follow the tips below to help enhance your chances/relationships with the local media.
- Know who your local media are. Familiarize yourself with your media members at your local paper, radio and television stations, and websites or blogs. Seek out those who are specific to your content such as sports editors, writers, reporters and calendar editors, etc. In addition, familiarize yourself with the media outlets’ preferences for receiving news and reporting news.
- Build relationships with your local media. You will want to do this especially with key contacts (as mentioned above). Start building an open and approachable relationship, so the media members can count on you as an honest source and you can count on the media members. Periodically call or email them to keep in touch and keep them in the loop about happenings in the industry and what you are doing. Even better, invite them out for an occasional cup of coffee or breakfast, outside of just asking for coverage for a story. It is also important to invite them to events such as tournaments, events at your club, free clinics, etc. When you do get media coverage, be sure to follow up with a phone call, email or thank-you card to show appreciation for publicity they have provided for you.
- Pitch story ideas. Pitching is basically selling and like anything else, you need to sell your product (story idea) to the media and make it stand out from the rest. If you feel you have a newsworthy topic or event, then be sure to pitch it to the media with ample time. Be aware of the media outlets and the deadlines they are working with. Calling to pitch a story idea around deadline time is NEVER a good idea. What is the best way to pitch an idea? You can pitch a story using several methods, including by letter, phone, email or fax. The key is to determine the particular media contact’s preference in receiving pitches. (There is a sample pitch letter on the next page.) For items that require more immediate coverage you should send out a press release or media alert.
- Position yourself as a valuable contact for local media. Remember, it is the job of media to come up with story ideas and produce stories so if you can demonstrate that you are a key source of information with interesting news stories, you will be esteemed as an indispensable media contact. If you have story ideas, newsworthy items and events, the media will be interested in receiving them.
The media provide a window of opportunity to reach a broad audience that would not otherwise be possible for an individual to reach. Taking the time to get to know your local media and enhance your relationships is definitely worth the time and effort.
USPTA Personal Website
USPTApro.com is a personalized website for USPTA members. It allows you to input content and market yourself and your accomplishments in the broadest sense. This valuable benefit is free to certified members of USPTA. You may promote yourself to owners, managers, potential employers and students. The site features your biography, information on your facility, tennis tips, and links to tennis, business and family-related sites. There are also pages for your lessons, events and news. Click here for a working sample.
- Go to usptafindapro.com to find your website.
- Click on the "Find-a-Pro" button under "Players," and do a search for your last name.
- Click on the personal website link in your listing.
- Log in with your last name and member number. (The login is at the top left corner.)