Last week we got an e-mail from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing’s media relations department asking us if we wanted to join their mailing list. TC sent a response thanking them for asking before they added us but said we would likely not use anything they sent. They of course added us anyway.
Fast forward a couple of days, they sent an e-mail through their list that we thought was kind of interesting (we stand corrected I guess). Here is the gist of it:
Our goal is to work with you in order to increase the reach of social media outlets in today’s coverage of motorsports by providing you with better access to those that make the news…We understand the challenges social media outlets can face…To that end, we have created specific media lists with the idea of delivering an increased level of access to social media outlets covering our race teams that traditional media outlets have always enjoyed.
Essentially what they are doing is giving those working social media (Web 2.0 if you will) in the sport a platform for access to their organization. This includes, according to the e-mail, teleconferences and online chats with team executives, drivers and crew members and access to “exclusive online content and photos.”
While we likely won’t take part in any of their offers, I think it is a fantastic idea. As you know TC and I do this on the side, but there are a lot of people out there (you might be one of them) working very hard to get their blogs and Web sites going, without the access members of the traditional media have.
These sites though are no less important than the newspaper and TV outlets. Millions of people access NASCAR news online everyday and if as a team you aren’t giving people the talking points, someone else will.
The most important part of public relations (and media relations encompassed within the discipline) is controlling your message. If you can directly bring people stories, unique content and access, odds are they’re going to be a lot more fair to you and they are going talk about you a lot more. When it comes down to it, that’s what the business part of this sport is all about.
Beyond helping out those in social media, all of these teams really need to start looking at other Web 2.0 tools like Twitter (our friend Kerry Murphey has put together a list of NASCAR twitterers), Facebook and YouTube (EGR has recently started up a page). From the quick searches I did, I couldn’t find many teams doing these things; and I think it’s crazy they aren’t.
General Motors and likely your member of congress twitter; I even know of health care systems that use it. I can be a fan of politicians, artists and products on Facebook. And I can watch a lot of stupid stuff on YouTube. NASCAR teams are almost non-existent in these realms though.
At the end of the day, none of this stuff takes a whole lot of time to create and maintain (and it’s free!), and if it means you can get your sponsors out there and maybe make a new fan it will all be worth it.
Kudos to EGR for thinking outside of the box, it is a good start.