It is extremely important for students to raise awareness of their team, of FIRST, and of FIRST programs in their community. However, the Midnight Mechanics recognize that doing this is difficult.
WORKING WITH THE MEDIA
Build a contact spreadsheet
Go online and search for local newspaper/written publications, television stations, and radio stations within your community. Locate the names of the editors, writers, reporters, hosts, and news desk representatives and compile their contact information. Trust us! By having a spreadsheet with all of their contact information, it will make sending out press releases and media alerts easier for your team.
Sending out a press release
Press releases are tricky little things. They have to be worded just right. A good press release is structured like this:
One you have your press release drafted, send it to all of the contacts on your spreadsheet. Always send out the press release two weeks in advance. During the week up, send it daily.
You won’t know if you will get media coverage unless the media contacts you or unless they arrive the day of your event.
CREATING THE TEAM IMAGE
Team shirts are extremely important in developing an overall team image. It is the most visible representation of the team in the community and at a regional competition. While you can decorate it however you like, be sure to include your (1) team name, (2) team number, (3) school, and (4) location somewhere on the shirt – so that it makes identifying your team easier! Some teams have even elected to acknowledge their sponsors.
If you are looking for a vendor, the Midnight Mechanics would love to connect you with our friends at Spingboard Partners!
At regional competitions, teams usually provide trinkets or give-a-ways to other teams, judges, VIP guests, and prospective sponsors. Teams have elected to give away buttons, planes, necklaces, hats, bouncing balls, etc.
Usually, though, these items feature the name and number of the team – again, you want those items to be associated with your team!
If you are looking for a cheap vendor for buttons, the Midnight Mechanics would love to connect you with our friends Clever Promotions!
At regional competitions and in general, it is always advantageous to have handouts detailing different aspects of your team. These handouts give judges and members of the community tangible information to take away from your pit or your booth after they’ve spoken to you. It gives them something to refer back to or something to use to further understand your team.
It is recommended that you team create literature that describes:
(1) Robot specifications
(2) Team involvement in the community
(3) Business plan
(4) Impact of FIRST on team
(5) Impact of FIRST on school
(6) Impact of FIRST on community
(7) Innovative communication system
(8) Team partnerships
(9) How to get involved with FIRST
Remember, this is just a suggested list! You are always welcomed to make more!
Other fancy, fancy stuff
Your team should think about doing some crazy cheers, rituals, etc. It all adds to the crazy atmosphere that is FIRST and makes the experience that much more fun!
"Through FIRST, I have been able to build friendships that I am sure will last my entire life."
KATRINA WONG, Midnight Mechanic
Katrina Wong (right) entered the magical world of the Midnight Mechanics as a freshmen in high school. She began her FIRST career as a member of the Community Partnerships department, organizing and facilitating community events. At the Los Angeles Regional, her first regional, she was excited to meet students, like Monica Fernandez (left), who were just as crazy about FIRST as she was. Today, although Monica is off at Purdue University, she still maintains contact with her fellow Midnight Mechanic.
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