Public Relations

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Setting up a system of public relations for the shop to help attract and retain members.


Action Items

  • Laser Cutter Fundraising
  • Michele to contact Rocket Westies about what members of Rocket Westies would contribute labor to the project.
  • Jeff to contact city about logistics of blocking off streets for events. Ben T. said Chad Emerson might be a good person to contact.
  • Jeff to create a planning calendar
    • Jeff to add generic non-pig roast WLRH PSA recording for 3 months after Pig Roast. Ben T. volunteered to voice it
  • Jeff to solicit people to take shifts for the pig roast


Calendar (TBD)

Calendar (Sorted by Date)

  • WLRH Radio Advert
  • NextDoor Advert
  • Events (Classes, Talks, etc)
  • Collaborations (Hyp, HARC, 3D printing companies, Mindgear, etc)
  • Media: Valley Planet, Huntsville Times, Blogs
  • Professional Groups: IEEE, etc
  • Donation Solicitations (Coscto, etc)
  • Fundraising Programs (Discount Cards at Popeyes, etc)
  • Getting on Calendar of Local Events
  • Maker of the Year
  • Update facebook page info for Makers Local facebook page (not the Friends and Makers Page). Currently missing short description.

Maker of the Year

  • Recognizing non-member maker achievements in North Alabama would be a way to promote maker culture, and also promote the shop.
  • Some kind of physical award made on a 3D printer or laser cutter or something
  • Nominations open to public, voting done by members?

Press Release Example

Makers Local 256 hosts free DIY Tech Expo

Huntsville, Al (August 14, 2010)-- Makers Local 256, Alabama’s first hacker space and make shop, will be hosting a free Do-It-Yourself Tech Expo from 5:00 - 10:00pm Saturday, August 14. Starting at 5pm, members of Makers Local will be presenting the recent projects they have assembled at our work shop, including a metal forge and foundry, a 3D printer, QR matrix barcodes, vacuum molding, silk screen printing tshirts, and more. We will also be serving barbeque starting at 7pm, and talks will go on through the evening until 10pm. Members of Makers Local will be on hand to answer questions and give tours of the shop. Makers Local is about collaboration and learning to develop projects; so attendees are welcome to play and get hands on experience with our projects, bring something to work on, or just find like-minded tinkerers for a friendly work environment.

For more information about Makers Local or the DIY Tech Expo, please visit

Makers Local 256 203 Brown Street Huntsville, Al 35805

NPR advertising

Because it's public radio, getting an ad on the local NPR station is free and actually really easy. In Huntsville, the point of contact for station WLRH is Bobby Milk, whose email address is in the press database. Bobby suggested sending an email to ask for an appointment about 3 weeks before the event. Like most ads, it takes a few repetitions for it to sink in with a listener, so the more times they hear it the better. Just like with most advertising, listeners tend to tune them out, but if they're someone who would be interested in the event, it could still take a few times before they actually listen and process the ad.I've only done this once so far, but here was my experience:

  • They make an appointment to meet you during business hours
  • There two kinds of promo - 30 seconds and 60 seconds, the 30 seconds get played more often.
  • All the relevant promos are shuffled to play at random times throughout the day until the the event happens
  • Bring the text you want to read in writing, they'll need to review it as there are some restrictons.
    • You cannot say an event is free, but you can say it is "open to the public."
    • You cannot say to visit your website, but you can say "there is more information at [url]."
      • I'd like to ask him why these restrictions are, it probably ties to their status as a government sponsored public radio station.
  • Their staff does not record the audio, that is on you. Don't have a sore throat when you go.
  • They will record multiple takes if you run long or too short (my goal was to read for 30 seconds, the first time I was 32)
  • They'll play it back for you to make sure you approve of how it sounds

Recording Volunteers

Recording an ad is fun and only takes a few minutes after you arrive at the station. If you want to volunteer to record an ad to promote an event at the shop, add yourself to this list below and I'll let pick one at random when as they come up.

Sponsorship Solicitation

We could put together a more elaborate package, a proposal document to ask for sponsorship from some of the companies here in Research Park. Imagine if we could get Mark Spencer to donate some money to the shop on a regular basis? Or maybe Boeing wants to hang a banner up in the shop when we do an Open House, but they give us a few hundred dollars to have it up there? A marketing package, sort of a big brochure, would be our pitch to ask companies and organizations if they could help with the shop. The cost to mail these out would be surprisingly cheap. This is how the political campaigns get their fund raising done, and the follow up rate is about 10%. For every hundred of these they mail out, they get about 10 responses and they start talking about money.

  • Increase public awareness with untargeted media coverage - basic fluff pieces from general news, helps to ensure that people in charge of donations from these groups have heard of us before we send them a solicitation
  • Copy of a shop newsletter? - merits its own project and wiki page
  • Donations on this scale are usually targeted, in the sense that we are asking for their money so we can (verb) - like a highschool sports team asking for money to buy new uniforms. We could be raising money for something specific, so the donators know what they're accomplishing when they give us a check.
    • Laser Cutter
    • Infra structure improvements
      • more shelving
      • improving our electrical setup
  • Solicitation package should contain
    • mission statement,
    • verification of our 501c3
    • brochure content
      • About Us
      • completed projects
      • group history
    • Published content from our blog

After we identify a foundation/charity/company to ask for a donation or grant, we can investigate and find out who specifically do we talk to about supporting Makers Local. Rather than simply send a generic first contact email to a bulk email address, we can message that specific person whose job it is to meet with organizations like us. This is the person to whom we issue press releases and invite to the shop before we send them the solicitation package.

  • Identifying this person - is there a general job title?

Related Information