About the Author

Who is Robyn
Robyn Braley is committed to helping Rotarians grow their clubs to become better equipped to help people who need help. He has led two club teams that were awarded RI PR Awards and served as the District 5360 PR Chair. He has been a Rotarian since 1999.

Rotary Speaker
Robyn draws from his experience as a Rotarian and as a Communications Professional to share ways to more effectively tell the Rotary story to your community. He starts by asking the questions, "Is your club ready to grow, and why does it matter?" The ultimate focus is on attracting new members.

He is available to speak at District Conferences and Rotary leadership training institutes. Content also applies to other not-for-profit organizations.

Free Content for #Rotary and NFP Use
Please use any posts for Rotary District or club Newsletters. Include the profile at the bottom of each article, Robyn's headshot and a link to this blogsite. Let him know and he'll promote it to his social media followers.

Contact him at robyn@unimarkcreative.com

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

81 Amazing Acts of Kindness That Will Change Your Life and Someone Else's

Written by Robyn T. Braley

We shouldn’t need to be prompted to show kindness to those we meet every day. However, it is easy to become so absorbed into the fast pace of life that we don’t see the needs of others, even when they are an arm's length away.

As Rotarians, our motto is Service Above Self. We demonstrate organized acts of kindness through the humanitarian work we do in our communities and around the world.

However, I heard a story about a  senior executive of a service organization who would periodically dress like a homeless person. He would lie near the doorway of locations where meetings he was about to speak at were being held. It was revealing how many stepped over him before someone knelt to ask if he needed help. He made his point!  

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

How to Attract the Kind of Media Attention You Really Want! 9 Info Packed Posts!

Attracting Traditional and
Social Media Coverage

Written by Robyn T. Braley

Attracting media coverage for your Rotary club's story requires ... well ... errr ... ummm ... a great story! I can't be any more direct than that.

Once you have the story, you must know how to package and pitch it.

Following are 9 posts that will help you attract mainstream and social media coverage. More than that, these practices, protocols and insider secrets may even help you increase the media coverage of your story or event. 

If you are experienced working with media, you may want to cherry pick posts according to interest. However, if you are a media newby, reading the posts in the order they are listed will help you create a successful media plan for your story. 
The purpose of a release is to capture the attention of media editors, producers, journalists and bloggers. You have seconds to do it. But, there is more! It must also accommodate online distribution. More

Identify More Than One Story Angle and Increase Media Coverage

Written by Robyn T. Braley

It’s about the angle. It doesn't matter how comprehensive and accurate your media contact list is if you don't have the basics of your story pitch down pat.  

Every day the Media is inundated by story possibilities. You need unique, unusual and creative ideas to cut through the clutter. 

An editor, producer, reporter or show host will take 4-5 seconds to decide whether to consider your pitch or to trash it. If you don’t have a strong angle, or hook, the decision will be easy for them. With a quick click your story will be deleted as they move on to the next story idea. 

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Combine 'Social' with 'Media' for Greater Impact Around Your Big Event

Written by Robyn T. Braley

This is the last post in our series about how to build a media campaign for Rotary Clubs and other community organizations. In this final article, I wrap up the series with ideas for integrating your own social media campaign into your strategy. This will be a natural transition to our next series about developing a custom social media program for your club.

As a quick review, throughout this series I have used the term media convergence. Social media (SM) is totally integrated with mainstream media.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

The Big Day; What You Need to Know to Make Your Media Event the Best it can Be

A media scrum may be part of your event.

Written by Robyn T. Braley
We began our media series by suggesting ideas for story angles that would attract the media. In review, one media draw may be a high profile speaker. Another could be the presentation of a large cheque to a community not-for-profit agency. 

Media might be interested in a story about the  a team from your club that just returned from a developing nation where they personally delivered a small fleet of refurbished ambulances.

Presenting a Citizen of the Year Award to a community leader is a natural. Or, the Rotary clubs in your area may be the host club for your District Conference that has a myriad of interesting keynotes and breakout sessions.

A Play by Play Account

This post shares details of an event produced by the Calgary West Rotary Club. All photos were shot at a Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta leadership forum we hosted. At the time, the club had 80 active members.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Tribute to Dr. Marmie Hess; Rotarian, Humanitarian and Philanthropist

Guest Post Written by Steve Allan*   


Marmie Hess was a Rotarian. She was  also an Officer of the Order of Canada and a proud Albertan. She received Honorary Doctorates from three Alberta Universities. Most of all, Marmie was a great humanitarian and philanthropist who cared deeply about her community. 

She received many accolades that many close to her weren't even aware of because Marmie didn't talk about them. She was a humble person who thousands simply called friend.

Dr. Marmie Hess
It may seem out of place to find a personal tribute on a blogsite about branding. But Rotary is all about people working together to make a difference. That, in a nutshell, is the heart of the Rotary brand.

This is the story about a lady who lived her life guided by a clear set of values and principles. That was the heart of her personal brand.

She recently died at the age of 100. Steve Allan, the Past District Governor of Rotary District 5360 gave a moving tribute at the celebration of Marmie’s life.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

How an Attitude of Service can Impact Your Rotary Media Event

How you treat the media will impact your story
Written by Robyn T. Braley

Part 1 An Attitude of Gratitude 

You have organized a great media event to announce an exciting new program that will benefit the entire community. 

You crafted a killer news release and carefully assembled a media kit packed full of relevant information. 

You’ve contacted the media by email, social media and telephone. You dropped off or mailed media kits that answered all the questions. Spokes-people are on stand-by. 

Now you wait on pins and needles hoping - even praying - journalists will come through the door to cover your event.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Tips for Building a Quality Media List for Your Service Club

Just a few of the stories we've placed
Written by Robyn T. Braley

There are different names for it. Pitching the story. Selling the story. Placing the story or getting media coverage!

Whatever you call it, your goal is to generate media coverage for your cause, event, notable speaker or any other story related to the work of serving your community.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Six Types of Media Exposure you Need to Know About

Story coverage takes thought and planning.

Media is inundated by requests from worthwhile not-for-profit organizations which all need - and deserve - publicity. 

Each one comes requesting news coverage, sponsorship, and "free" advertising.

But, successful media campaigns don't just happen. They are well planned and executed. Excellent Public Relations resources are downloadable from the Rotary International website. 

In this post, I provide further background to information published there. I have outlined 6 ways to receive media exposure
Media convergence' old and new!

Let Me Be Clear

But, first, a clarification. When I use the term “media,” I include both social and traditional. In the age of media convergence, one is totally integrated with the other.

How does it work? If radio, TV or newspapers run a story about your project or event, it is usually posted online. It is then promoted through the their social media channels.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Why Media Kits Play a Key Role in Engaging Media. Tips

Media Kits help generate news
 Written by Robyn T. Braley

This post is part of a series about how to develop a media program for service clubs and other not-for-profit organizations. The series answers the question, “How can we generate media stories about our cause?”

Why a Media Kit
Why do you need a media kit? To answer this question, let me ask another. “How do you tell the story of Rotary on single page?” The short answer is, you can’t.

The story is complex and has many layers. If you try to tell it in a single multipage document crammed with information, readers will become frustrated and confused. In the end, few will read any of it.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Pitching a News Story Requires a Well Crafted Media Release. Why? Tips!

Dr. Bob Scott (Polio Plus) Interview with CTV
If you have ever pitched a story to the media, the first thing you will be asked is to send your story in writing. 

You must send a document that will get their attention and then draw them into the story potential.

Media specialists do not differentiate between mainstream, online or social media. When we do story placement campaigns, all media forms are automatically included in our strategies.

Let’s clarify meaning. A release should be called a “news” or “media” release, not a “press” release. The term “press” dates you and is not relevant today.

Crafting for Success

The purpose of a release is to generate TV, Radio and newspaper stories. But, there is more! It must also accommodate online distribution. A media release must be formatted for posting on websites, blogsites and online newsites.  

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

How the Calgary West Rotary Club Attracted 25 New Members in 18 Months

Unified clubs can do great things!

There is a simple definition of the word brand. Your brand is what others think it is. 

But, the heart of a brand goes much deeper. What you think of yourself and your organization will dictate how you shape it's brand in a way that engages others.

The heart of a strong Rotary Club brand is the feeling of pride members have for their club and the work of Rotary. If they feel good about their club, they will be fully engaged in fellowship and in community service. They will influence others to collaborate and even become members.

Background; The Can-do Club

The Calgary West Rotary first met in May, 1967. The club soon became known as a "can-do" club that was known for it's service projects. 

They reached far beyond what could reasonably be expected from a club of 80 to 100 members. Thousands of lives throughout the world were forever changed due to a collective passion for service and making a difference.  

8 Posts Packed Full of Tips for Growing Your Rotary Club Speakers Program

Robyn Braley speaking at a District 5360 event
Written by Robyn T. Braley

A strong speaker program is key to sustaining a healthy and vibrant Rotary club. Meetings are a time for coming together, being refreshed, renewed and re energized. 

Every time I tweet the following from our BTRB twitter account I receive retweets. 

“If you want to develop a positive outlook, hang out with positive people. Rotarians know that positivity is positively contagious. That's a positive!" 
-Robyn T. Braley 

It is safe to assume you have experienced more than one occasion when you were going through a rough patch in your career or personal life. As a Rotarian, going to your meeting or anywhere else was the last thing you wanted to do. 

But you went. Unexpectedly, the speaker that day said something that lifted you up and caused you so see things differently.  Their topic had no relevance whatsoever to what you were going through.

I've had troubled times when stimulating conversation with fellow Rotarians around our luncheon table raised my spirits. More than that, the discussion caused me to think differently about my problems. I found a solution when I thought one was impossible.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Part 5; Tips for Promoting Guest Speakers as Membership Growth Tool

Mountaineer and Speaker Tom Valentine
Written by Robyn T. Braley

This is the last in my series about how to develop impact Rotary Club meetings. In this post, I explain how to bundle programs to make them easy to promote within your club and community. 

Developing a quality speaker program engages and inspires Rotarians. Great programs can also play a significant role in attracting new members and raising the club profile in the community.

Creating Promotable Concepts

There is no one way to do this. You might choose one outstanding speaker to build a promotion campaign around. Another approach is to bundle 3-4 programs representing the variety of topics offered during a typical Rotary year. 

  • Not-for-profit leader
  • Business leader
  • Educational leader
  • Sports leader
  • Healthcare leader
  • Media personality

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Part 4: Field Trips Play an Important Role in Rotary Program Scheduling

Let your imagination go wild. Why not?
 Written by Robyn T. Braley 

Field trips can play an important role in a club schedule. They provide an opportunity to “experience it firsthand” rather than just hearing about it from a speaker in a meeting.

As leaders, Rotarians are well versed about many aspects of their communities. Field trips to manufacturing plants, public infrastructural facilities, agricultural facilities, human service organizations, food processing plants or other destinations can provide background and understanding about important things you would not gain through a speaker or video alone.

Touring a not-for-profit center that has requested funding support can help to clarify their need. Visiting a drop-in shelter or food bank can be deeply disturbing and provide first hand knowledge about the issues they face.

Field Trip Purpose

  • To gain insight and knowledge
  • To experience processes and procedures
  • To provide unique fellowship opportunities

Field Trips require a lot of work to organize, promote and stage. If you have 3-4 per year, that is a lot. As a rule of thumb, if there is no value in visiting a site other than hearing a good presentation, then book the program for your club.