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:::::::::::::: bbs-pr1.txt ::::::::::::::

                      ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
                      ³ The Computer Bulletin Board ³
                      ³                             ³
                      ³  Guide to Public Relations  ³
                      ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
                                  Ver 1.6
                                        (c) 1993, 1994 Robert Parson
                                  NOTICE
            The Computer Bulletin Board Guide to Public Relations is 
       copyright and remains the property of Robert Parson.  You are 
       encouraged to use this guide to help publicize your BBS in 
       particular and to help improve the image of BBSs generally.  
       You are further encouraged to distribute this guide and 
       accompanying materials at your discretion.  However, all BBS- 
       PR files named in this guide must be included in your 
       distribution.  This guide may not be sold for profit without 
       prior approval of Robert Parson, although the cost of disk 
       duplication and postage may be charged.  NO WARRANTY IS MADE 
       OR IMPLIED.  NEITHER ROBERT PARSON OR APHELION PROMOTIONS ARE 
       LIABLE FOR DAMAGES CAUSED BY THE USE OF THIS GUIDE. 
                               Robert Parson
                               2501 Phoenix
                           Fort Smith, AR 72901
                           501 646 9332 (voice)
                                Support BBS
                  Paradox of Arkansas (Fred Ayers Sysop)
                               501 484 0944
                               501 484 0944
                  Jackalope Junction (Steve Prado Sysop)
                               501 785 5381
                     Internet r.parson@genie.geis.com
                              GEnie R.Parson
                             Fidonet 1:3822/1
                             BBS-PR 1.6 FILES
               The following files are part of BBS-PR16.ZIP:
            README.1ST          A brief introduction to what BBS-PR is 
                                all about.
            FILE_ID.DIZ         Description of BBS-PR16.ZIP
            BBS-PR1.TXT         Part 1 of The Computer Bulletin Board 
                                Guide to Public Relations.  The guide
                                you are reading now.
            BBS-PR2.TXT         Part 2 of the Computer Bulletin 
                                Board Guide to Public Relations
            BBS-SAMP.TXT        Sample News Releases and Survey
            PRODUCT.TXT         A questionnaire and discussion 
                                designed to examine your BBS
            SURVEY.TXT          A survey the author would appreciate
                                filled out and returned.
            PR-RATES.TXT        Private Consulting rates for
                                individual BBSs by Aphelion
                                Promotions.
            PRINT-PR.BAT        A printing utility to make 
                                everything look nice and neat.
                              ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
                              ³INTRODUCTION³
                              ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
            This guide came about because of my frustration caused 
       by the poor image BBSs have in the popular media; TV, Radio, 
       Newspaper and Magazine.  First, that image was tarnished by 
       stories of pirated software, then by stories of viruses and 
       most recently the rash of stories involving pedophiles using 
       BBSs to further their illegal activity (child pornography).
            This guide is not intended to be the final word on 
       public relations for BBSs.  Someone is always coming up with 
       a new idea or putting a new spin on an old one.  This is just 
       a basic guide with some general rules of thumb you can use to 
       enhance the image of your BBS.  Keep in mind that there will 
       likely be some things in here that you disagree with.  In 
       that case, I'd like you to write to me, state your case, and 
       maybe you can persuade me to see things differently.  
            In addition, I am not an attorney, cannot provide legal 
       advice, and this is not intended to be a legal guide.  I 
       strongly suggest you hire an attorney familiar with 
       Communications Law and First Amendment issues BEFORE you have 
       trouble.
                                ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
                                ³CONTENTS³
                                ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
       Who "They" Are.........................................1
            The Public........................................1
            The Media.........................................2
       Finding the Media......................................2
            Newspaper.........................................3
            Television........................................4
            Radio.............................................4
       Your Product...........................................5
            You are the BBS...................................5
            Graphics..........................................6
            Making Changes....................................7
       Tools of the Trade.....................................7
            Business Cards and Stationary.....................7
            Brochures and Fliers..............................8
            Do it Yourself or Hire Someone....................9
       News Products..........................................10
            News Releases.....................................10
            Public Service Announcements......................12
            News Conferences..................................13
       Handling the Media.....................................14
       Market Research........................................16
            Creating a Survey.................................16
            Making the Call...................................18
       Crisis Management......................................18
            Friendly Faces....................................19
            First Amendment at Risk...........................19
       Out of the Box.........................................20
       Final Comments.........................................21
                             ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
                             ³Who "They" Are³
                             ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
                                The Public
            A Summer 1993 survey by Dell Computer indicated that 55 
       percent of the public does not take advantage of 
       technological advances.  That in itself is the single biggest 
       Public Relations problem a Sysop faces.  BBS users, 
       obviously, fall somewhere in the remaining 45 percent.  
            Those who fear technology are the ones that are the most 
       difficult to explain electronic communications to.  They may 
       see computers as taking over their lives.  There are chips in 
       their cars, in their microwaves, in their stereos, and in 
       their VCRS.  Computers send them their utility bills, credit 
       card bills, track their income tax payments, and note when 
       their daughter is born.
            Those in that 55 percent are not necessarily 
       technophobic.  Most of them are just technologically 
       disinterested.  These are the people that we should be most 
       concerned with from a Public Relations standpoint.  What they 
       know about computers, modems and BBSs comes from the 
       mainstream media.  A reporter assigned to a story about BBSs 
       may or may not fully understand what they are reporting on.
            The remaining 45 percent includes you and me, the expert 
       user, the average user and the novice user.  This group 
       doesn't need quite as much public relations massaging since 
       it already knows the benefits of using a modem to connect 
       with other people.
            People that were overwhelmed when they first called a 
       BBS and decided it was too tough to try again also fall into 
       that 45 percent.  They have computers, they may be 
       technically adept, they can probably even program a VCR.  But 
       the mysteries of 8-N-1 elude them.  In addition, there are 
       those who were at one time active in the BBS community, but 
       are no longer involved.  Maybe they had a falling out with a 
       Sysop or another user.  These are both disaffected users
            There is also the group of people that have modems 
       because it came with their computer but they have not used 
       it.   Some because they don't know they have one, some 
       because they aren't interested in using it.
            How can you distill all these diverse groups into one 
       simple Public Relations campaign?  Simply put, you can't.
                                                         BBS-PR pg 1
                                 The Media
            News can be defined broadly as something that is out of 
       the ordinary (such as a murder) or something that is a matter 
       of public record (such as a City Council meeting).  
       Generally, though, news is a change in the status quo.
            Many people get upset over what is perceived as a 
       liberal or conservative slant in the news.  Because both 
       sides get upset about slanted news, that indicates to me that 
       most media coverage is unbiased or at least politically 
       moderate.  So-called objective reporting is a relatively 
       recent invention.  Before the American Civil War, most 
       newspapers were just a cut above political tracts.  But 
       journalism history and theory is not our topic.
            Most stories involving BBSs involve a crime that has 
       been committed, usually pirated software, viruses, or 
       pornography.  Even though one BBS may be raided for 
       improprieties, it reflects poorly on the entire BBS community 
       by guilt through association.  This is similar to many 
       American's mistrust of all Arabs due to the misdeeds of a 
       few, as an example.  It isn't fair, it isn't right, but it's 
       The Way Things Are.
                            ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
                            ³Finding the Media³
                            ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
            The easiest way to find out who you need to talk to or 
       write to is by looking in the phone book.  All the TV and 
       Radio stations and Newspapers will be listed under those 
       categories.  You might want to also look for Magazines and 
       News Services.
            A phone call can uncover a lot of information.  You will 
       need the media outlet's voice number, fax number, address and 
       the person to talk to or send mailings to.
            Your best luck in the Public Relations arena is going to 
       be in the local media.  Remember that not all your public 
       relations efforts are going to be successful.  For instance, 
       most News Releases are thrown in the trash.  But if you keep 
       at it your efforts will pay off.
                                                         BBS-PR pg 2
                                 Newspaper
            Because of the rise of electronic information 
       distribution, many people have predicted the demise of 
       newspapers.  That's unlikely, at least for the next fifty to 
       one hundred years.  Yes, readership has declined.  
       Newspapers, though, are chameleons and are able to adapt.  
       Thirty years ago most newspapers looked like the New York 
       Times.  Most newspapers now have much more open and 
       "friendly" looks.  
            They are also the most powerful of all the media.  No 
       other media shapes and forms public opinion to the degree 
       newspapers do.  This is usually because they have larger news 
       staffs and much longer traditions than broadcast media.  
       Print also has a permanence that broadcast does not have.    
            As a Sysop, your Public Relations efforts should start 
       with the Editor or City Editor, whichever the case may be.  
       These Editors will assign stories to a reporter.
            You may be tempted to change your mailing list to a 
       certain reporter.  Although this may seem like a good idea, 
       reporters tend to change jobs on a fairly regular basis (this 
       is especially the case in broadcast media).  You might opt to 
       add a reporter to your list, but make sure you continue to 
       send material to the Editor.
            I do not recommend offering to write a column.  You will 
       run out of things to write about much sooner than you think.  
       Not only that, newspapers have access to syndicated columns 
       that may not deal specifically with BBSs, but will touch on 
       them occasionally.  
            The opinion page provides several opportunities to get 
       your name and the name of your BBS out.  The Letters to the 
       Editor section can be quite effective in telling your 
       message.  You might even be asked occasionally to write a 
       guest opinion.  Use those opportunities whenever possible, 
       but be wary of writing too many Letters to the Editor.  If 
       they get printed often, you will lose your impact and become 
       just another shrill voice on the opinion page.
            News about computers and computer technology tends to 
       become lodged in the Business section of a newspaper.  If 
       your paper has one, you need to put the Business Editor on 
       your mailing list.
           Be careful with multiple mailings to newspapers.  If you 
       have a News Conference, you could have several people from         
                                                         BBS-PR pg 3
       one newspaper there.  There are few things that annoy editors 
       more than finding out that the paper had "overstaffed" a news 
       conference.  It might be wise to note on the announcement the 
       departments or individuals that are getting copies.
                                Television
            Television thrives on good video.  Too often, a story 
       with good video will override a good story with no video.  
       That is part of the reason why even though nearly everyone 
       watches tv news, hardly anyone trusts it.  Despite that, 
       television can get your message across to more people in a 
       shorter period of time.
            Assignment Editors are the people that tell the 
       reporters what stories they will tell that day.  Most of your 
       productive work with tv stations will be with the Assignment 
       Editor.  Assignment Editors work with the Producer, and both 
       are supervised by the News Director.
            Should you be lucky and they are interested in doing a 
       story about the current state of art in BBS technology, 
       remember that you need to make yourself visually compelling.  
       Show lots of activity on the screen, blinking on the modem, 
       the tangle of wires for the phone lines.  
            Present yourself as a business professional, even if you 
       are operating a one-line, non-commercial system.  That 
       doesn't necessarily mean you need to wear a suit and tie, 
       although that would be a good idea.
            BBSs have become the whipping boy of tv news during the 
       past year.  Sex and Pornography are probably the topics they 
       will be most interested in, especially child pornography.  If 
       you are called out of the blue someday by a tv reporter 
       wishing to do an interview, those are the likely topics.  Be 
       prepared to dodge bullets.  
                                   Radio
            Radio Journalism is a dying art.  There was once a time 
       when no radio station would even think of not having a news 
       department.  Now many stations have only a morning newsperson 
       that rewrites the morning paper, and they might not have even 
       that.  It's very tragic.
            But there are still a very good number of radio stations 
       with active news departments.  For the most part, you will 
                                                         BBS-PR pg 4
       deal directly with the News Director.  Some larger stations 
       may also have an Assignments Editor.
            Radio stations will be looking for stories that can be 
       told very quickly and have good "sound."  Normally, a radio 
       reporter will simply be seeking an interview.  But there may 
       be an occasion in which a reporter is doing a special report 
       or a series.  BBSs don't really have much sound to record, 
       but there is some.  Modem tones, connection alarms, and ANSI 
       music are a few.
            Because the pace of radio news departments is even 
       faster than tv, believe it or not, it won't be uncommon for a 
       radio reporter to call on the phone to get a comment on a 
       breaking story or even a follow-up on a story idea you may 
       have presented them with in some correspondence.
            If you are contacted on a "slow" news day, you and your 
       BBS could be included in a number of radio newscasts.  Even 
       in music intensive formats, radio news tends to be listener 
       active-- that is listeners pay close attention to the news.
            News/Talk stations are particularly good targets.  They 
       are nearly always looking for good people to interview on the 
       air.
                              ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
                              ³Your Product³
                              ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
                              You are the BBS
            First of all, you have to think of your BBS as a 
       product.  Whether you have a 32 line commercial BBS, a single 
       line hobby board or somewhere in between, you are selling a 
       service.  Just as with any other product, you have to decide 
       where and how your public relations efforts should best be 
       spent.  Would you sell Lambroghinis in rural Oklahoma?  You 
       can try, but you probably wouldn't sell very many.  And what 
       happens when your Lambroghini has a major recall?  How would 
       you handle the Public Relations crisis?
            Now may be a good time to look at your BBS and take an 
       inventory.  If you haven't already done so, print the file 
       PRODUCT.TXT included with this package.  It will help you 
       take stock of the strengths and weaknesses of your BBS.  
            PRODUCT.TXT examines the inventory and looks at some of 
                                                         BBS-PR pg 5
       the immediate public relations problems that could occur as a 
       direct result of the features of your BBS.  Since this file 
       goes into depth about particular items on your BBS that may 
       cause some Public Relations problems, we won't discuss it in 
       detail here, but we will touch on some of the same issues.
            The first and foremost question you should ask yourself 
       is "Why should someone call my BBS?"  To answer that 
       question, let's create two BBSs to use as examples:
            Beta BBS has message bases, files and a couple games.  
       Delta BBS has message bases, files and a couple games.  
       Nothing really different here.  The Sysop of Beta BBS is an 
       active participant in his BBS in that he writes messages on a 
       regular basis.  The Delta BBS Sysop turns up on occasion and 
       makes an announcement.  Hmmm.  Looks like Beta has a slight 
       edge; the Sysop doesn't seem so unreachable.  There is 
       nothing wrong with Delta BBS, but it seems so ordinary.  
       There are hundreds of other BBSs using the same software in 
       the same manner and it appears the Sysop is an out of state 
       landlord.  
            If there is only one weapon I can give you in your 
       Public Relations campaign that weapon would be yourself.  You 
       must allow your personality to become a part of the BBS.
            In this manner BBSs are identical to TV News.  They may 
       offer the same plate, but the plate is presented a little 
       differently.  You might like the person who does the weather 
       more than the other station's weatherblond.  That is why you 
       watch Eyewitness News instead of The Newscenter or whatever 
       the case may be.
                                 Graphics
            Sometimes a subtle change in the graphics scheme can 
       make a big difference in how a user perceives your BBS.  If 
       you use a lot of bright,garish colors a caller may get the 
       impression that the BBS is loud and brash.  Look closely at 
       how TV stations use color.  They generally use two or three 
       colors to set the overall graphics image and everything else 
       is either based on those colors or is worked into them 
       somehow.       
            You should also examine how your menus are laid out.  
       Your first concern should be whether they make sense.  A 
       caller shouldn't have to scratch his head trying to figure 
       out what he should do next, unless he really has no idea.  
                                                         BBS-PR pg 6
            Secondly, is the picture busy?  A busy menu page takes 
       longer to draw and is harder to read.  If after the screen is 
       drawn and you find yourself distracted, chances are your 
       layout has too many elements.
            Graphics artists for print publications talk about what 
       is called "white space."  That is the amount of nothingness 
       that surrounds text and pictures.  The more there is the more 
       pleasing to the eye the page is.  There is nothing wrong with 
       using a background to support your menus, but it should be 
       unobtrusive.
                              Making Changes
            Whenever you change or add something you need to think 
       to yourself "Is this something that my users need or want?"  
       You also need to think of the image you want your BBS to 
       present.  If you have a Science Fiction themed BBS, that new 
       CD-ROM of Civil War statistics may not fit in very well.
            I want to make the point, though, that you might prefer 
       to run a BBS that offers something of interest to everyone.  
       But if you do have a thread that runs throughout the entire 
       system you need to think twice before making a change or an 
       addition.  If it doesn't feel right to you then it probably 
       won't be kosher with your users.
                           ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
                           ³TOOLS OF THE TRADE³
                           ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
            You have your computer(s), phone lines(s), software, 
       message bases, and file areas.  But do you have your 
       stationary and business cards?  Unless you are running a 
       commercial system, you probably don't (and many commercial 
       systems don't either).
                       Business Cards and Stationary
            From time to time you'll want to write a letter as the 
       Sysop of your BBS.  This letter may be to a user, your city 
       officials, your Congressman or even to local media outlets.  
       Your letter will carry more weight if it is on stationary.  
       Make sure it has the name of your BBS, mailing address, voice 
       line and data line.  Your name and title are options since 
                                                         BBS-PR pg 7
       you will be signing it anyway.
            If you work as a salesperson, an engineer, or any other 
       service oriented business, you wouldn't think twice about 
       getting business cards.  They are an essential part of your 
       business armament.  You hand them to every new person you 
       meet during the course of your day.  You should do the same 
       for your BBS.  
            Business cards are an effective way of getting the word 
       out about your BBS.  You don't need anything fancy.  Just the 
       name of your BBS, your name, your title, a mailing address, 
       your voice line and your data line.
            As for your title, I would recommend System Operator.  
       The average person on the street, including some who claim to 
       be computer literate, may not understand what "Sysop" means.
            If you have even the slightest reason to write someone 
       on BBS stationary, then you should do it.  Always carry some 
       BBS business cards with you and pass them out at every 
       opportunity.  Stationary and business cards are inexpensive 
       and extremely effective.
            One word of caution, though.  If your BBS is not 
       affiliated with your professional career, you need to make 
       sure you keep the two separated.  This can be a problem when 
       handing out business cards in particular.  You might be 
       tempted to give a client cards from both work and your BBS.  
       Should you do this, the client must be made aware that they 
       are two completely separate entities.  Not only that, but 
       your boss might not be too keen on the idea.
                           Brochures and Fliers
            Brochures are also good promotional items for BBSs.   
       Although they are not as necessary as business cards and 
       stationary, they can be very good tools.  Brochures can be 
       left at computer stores, taken to conventions, or used to 
       send in response to advertising.
            Good brochures don't necessarily have to be 
       professionally produced, printed on glossy stock paper and 
       using four colors.  You can produce an effective brochure 
       using a desktop publishing program at home.  
            A brochure should hit on the main points you want to 
       make, have some graphics, and entice the reader into calling.  
       A brochure is intended to introduce your product to potential 
                                                         BBS-PR pg 8
       callers.  Don't feel you should fill up the entire brochure 
       with a lot of copy.  For one thing, if there's a lot to read, 
       most of it won't get read unless it is extremely compelling.  
       The majority of the time, though, simple will suffice.
            When developing your brochure, you should design it by 
       cutting the page in thirds and deciding what needs to be on 
       which page.  Obviously, you want the name of the BBS, the 
       phone number and maybe a graphic on the front.  You get to 
       the nitty gritty of what is on your board inside.  The middle 
       section of the outside should be left blank so you can put an 
       address on it.
            A flier generally is one page, and follows roughly the 
       same guidelines as those for a brochure.  In general, though, 
       you layout for the entire page instead of in thirds.
            I mentioned "white space" earlier, and I want to 
       emphasize that again, especially in regard to your printed 
       materials.  The more white space you have, the more pleasing 
       to the eye your layout is.  Of course, that doesn't mean have 
       a blank page with only one sentence on it.  You do need to 
       keep your pages from looking cluttered and busy.
                              Do it yourself
                                    or
                               hire someone
            Personal computers have liberated us to do work 
       ourselves that we would previously have hired someone to do.  
       That includes personal publishing.  There are a number of 
       desktop publishing programs available at your friendly 
       neighborhood computer store.  There are even some available 
       as shareware.
       ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
       ³                    Do it yourself!                        ³
       ³advantages                             disadvantages       ³
       ³                                                           ³
       ³inexpensive                            time consuming      ³
       ³print when needed                      dot matrix printers ³
       ³                                       usually inadequate  ³
       ³complete control                       graphics or fonts   ³
       ³                                       may not be available³
       ³                                                           ³
       ³                       Hire someone                        ³
       ³                                                           ³
       ³professional layout assistance         some loss of control³
       ³consistent print quality               large print runs    ³
       ³fast service                           expensive           ³
       ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
                                                         BBS-PR pg 9
            As you can tell from this table, choosing whether to 
       produce your own stationary and business cards or having it 
       produced by a printshop is really as much a matter of 
       convenience as it is anything else.
            When we talk about expensive, that is compared to doing 
       it yourself.  For roughly $75 you can have some basic 
       stationary and business cards printed professionally.  I 
       think it's worth the investment.
            When you think about what to put on your stationary and 
       business cards remember that "conservative never offends 
       anyone."  Keep the layout clean and simple, especially on the 
       cards.  If you have a graphic that is used to help identify 
       your BBS you should use it.
            Colored paper and spot color can be very effective.  But 
       you need to be very careful.  Your information can be hard to 
       read on dark paper.  Spot color is exactly that-- a small 
       touch of color to highlight something on the page.  But it 
       can be put in the wrong place.
            A couple things to note about having your work done 
       professionally:  colored paper and spot color usually cost 
       extra.  The printshop will also likely charge you to have a 
       graphic scanned and placed on your stationary or business 
       cards.

:::::::::::::: bbs-pr2.txt ::::::::::::::

                              ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
                              ³News Products³
                              ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
                               News Releases
            News Releases can be among the most effective tools you 
       use in your public relations efforts.  This may seem hard to 
       believe, but much of what we read, hear or see in the news is 
       prompted by a news release.  The News Media really does want 
       to know what is going on in the community and News Releases 
       provide valuable tip-offs for stories.
            Among other things, News Releases can be used to make 
       yourself "The Expert" in the field.  There is much attention 
       being paid in Washington D.C. to the National Data Highway.  
       By making yourself the expert in computer communications, 
       local media might contact you for local reaction to a story 
       about the National Data Highway or other topics, including 
       computer pornography.  
                                                        BBS-PR pg 10
            On any given day, a news department can receive dozens 
       of News Releases.  If you send a News Release to a Newspaper, 
       or Radio or TV station, don't assume it will be used.  Lack 
       of a local angle, lack of timeliness, and obvious business 
       promotion are among the reasons most are thrown away.  The 
       biggest portion of those that are thrown out, though, are 
       News Releases that are poorly written.
  ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
  ³                  Topic Ideas for News Releases                   ³
  ³                                                                  ³
  ³New BBS                                          Major New Feature³
  ³Millionth Caller                                 Meetings/Seminars³
  ³Public Service performed by BBS                  Awards           ³
  ³Recent Membership in National Organization       Crisis Management³
  ³Change in Ownership/Management                                    ³
  ³Unusual or Controversial Message Threads or Files                 ³
  ³Local Angle to National Story                                     ³
  ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
            Anyone who has watched tv dramas about reporters knows 
       that the basics of a news story are Who, What, When, Where, 
       Why.  Those are also essential to a News Release.
            You should also strive for clarity and brevity.  Even if 
       you consider yourself a poor writer, if you include all of 
       these factors, your News Release will probably be at the very 
       least readable.
            A News Release should have a Headline, a release date 
       (even if all it says is FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE), and contact 
       information in addition to the news itself.  Put the news 
       release on your BBS stationary and include a business card.  
       Even if your News Release is thrown away, the business card 
       might be put into someone's rolodex.
            Focus on your information.  What exactly is it you want 
       to convey?  The best news releases usually have one specific 
       point to make and everything else supports that one point.  
       Think logically.  Your first paragraph, or the lead to use 
       journalistic jargon, should make your point clear.  The 
       second paragraph should have more information that supports 
       the first, the third should support the second and first, so 
       on and so on.  
            Write simply.  Don't use "big" words unless you 
       absolutely have to.  They won't impress anyone.  You should 
       also write short simple sentences.  Long complex sentences 
       are harder to read.  Newspapers are written at an eighth 
       grade reading level.  Broadcasters have only one chance to 
                                                        BBS-PR pg 11
       make the listener/viewer understand the story.  If you have 
       the media confused you will be ignored.
            Avoid the use of computer, modem or telecommunications 
       jargon.  Jargon that is used should be explained in simple 
       terms.  For instance: "GIFs are pictures that can be viewed 
       on a computer screen."  That may be oversimplified, but it 
       works.
            One page is usually sufficient for a News Release.  Two 
       pages are acceptable, but more than that is pushing the 
       patience of the person you sent it to.  However, if you have 
       material to support your News Release, such as a graph or a 
       table, include that also.  If they want more information they 
       will call you.
            Even if your News Release does not become recycling 
       fodder, it may not be used immediately.  It may be put into a 
       file for future use.  
            The file PR-SAMP.TXT includes sample news releases along 
       with explanations of how and why they were written.
                       Public Service Announcements
            Radio and TV stations devote some programming time to 
       Public Service Announcements, or P.S.A.s.  Newspapers may not 
       call them that, but they run them as well.  These are a bit 
       trickier to write than a News Release mainly because there 
       are fairly strict rules concerning what is or is not a PSA.
       The litmus tests for a PSA are:
       1.  Is the group mentioned a profit organization?
       2.  Is the topic of the PSA controversial?
       3.  Is the group mentioned controversial?
       4.  Will the reader/listener/viewer feel they are hearing an 
       ad as opposed to a PSA?
            If the answer to any of those is "yes" that doesn't 
       necessarily mean it is not a PSA.  Chances are, though, it 
       won't qualify.
            PSAs have much in common with News Releases in that they 
       will include Who, What, When, and Where, but might not have a 
       Why.  If there is a cost involved, that needs to be included 
                                                        BBS-PR pg 12
       as well.
            PSAs will normally be sent to the PSA Director at Radio 
       and TV stations.  PSAs sent to Newspapers can usually be sent 
       to the Editor, who will know which department to send it to.
            Many PSAs can be sent on a postcard.  The file PR- 
       SAMP.TXT has a sample PSA.
                             News Conferences
            My first thought on holding a News Conference is not to 
       hold one.  Unless you have something of extreme importance or 
       of a compelling nature, a News Conference probably won't be 
       necessary.
            There are only two reasons I can think of for a BBS to 
       hold a News Conference.  One is when a BBS is launched, but 
       even that is of marginal news value. The other is Crisis 
       Management.
            Whichever the case may be, you need to be fully 
       prepared.  Have copies of your statement and support 
       materials available to distribute to members of the media 
       that attend.
            If I am hesitant to recommend a News Conference, I am 
       adamantly against a Sysop holding a question and answer 
       session only.  If you have a News Conference, you had better 
       have something specific to say or you are going to alienate 
       those attending.  
            Although it is acceptable to read directly from your 
       printed statement during your News Conference, you need to 
       practice it several times beforehand so you are completely 
       familiar with it.  You might even want to practice the entire 
       News Conference.  This can be accomplished by having some 
       friends or business associates listen to your statement and 
       grill you afterword.  Chances are many of the same questions 
       a reporter will ask will be asked by this "practice group."
            Why do you need to answer questions following your 
       statement?  There may be something in your statement that was 
       unclear, or maybe needed to be expanded.  Sometimes you might 
       even be asked to repeat certain sections.  But when things 
       appear to be slowing down, don't be afraid to call an end to 
       the News Conference.  Make yourself available for individual 
       interviews following the News Conference.  TV or radio 
       stations might want a more intimate sounding discussion of 
                                                        BBS-PR pg 13
       what the News Conference was about instead of the formal 
       statement.  A reporter might have a question he/she didn't 
       want to ask in a group setting.
            Your News Conference will be competing with all the 
       other news events going on throughout the day.  Don't waste 
       time and don't expect everyone invited to attend.  I've found 
       early afternoon or mid morning to be the best times to hold 
       News Conferences.
            News Conferences can be a very productive method of 
       getting your message across.  But they are also quite 
       misused.  Hold a News Conference only if you feel the need is 
       absolutely imperative.
                           ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
                           ³Handling the Media³
                           ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
            Timeliness is a very important factor when sending 
       material to the media.  
            Most News Releases that are not dated can be mailed at 
       any time.  If they are going to be for release on a specific 
       date, they should be mailed one to two weeks before the date.  
       Public Service Announcements and Event Schedules should be 
       sent two to four weeks before the event.
            This gives the media plenty of time to schedule 
       reporters and other resources.
            I do not recommend calling an Editor or reporter asking 
       when your News Release or PSA will be published or aired.  
       They might consider this badgering.  However, you might call 
       and ask if they received it and had any questions.  That 
       doesn't guarantee that it will be used, but it might increase 
       its chances, and you might even find out when it would be 
       used.
            The Media is not the enemy.  When you are talking with a 
       reporter or a group of reporters there is no need to be 
       nervous.  Be friendly but professional.  Treat them as you 
       would your co-workers.
            Generally, be calm but assertive.  You have the 
       information they want.  Because computer communications is 
       still a burgeoning field, reporters may ask what you think 
                                                        BBS-PR pg 14
       are dumb or inconsequential questions.  Just answer them 
       patiently.  Offer information you think is pertinent to the 
       issue.  The more facts they have the more accurate the story 
       will be.
            If you read, see or hear a news story that you feel was 
       unfair in its coverage of the BBS Community, don't be afraid 
       to call or write the Editor or News Director and complain 
       about it.  Don't be angry, but point out what you feel was 
       unfair.  The worst thing you can do is get into an argument 
       with a member of the media.  Any headway you've made 
       previously can be destroyed.  You are more likely to be 
       listened to by being candid but keeping your head on your 
       shoulders.  They might make a retraction to the offending 
       story or offer you the opportunity to set the record 
       straight.  If nothing else, you got it off your chest.
            Video cameras are so ubiquitous these days that you 
       shouldn't give them a second thought.  You should be aware of 
       their presence though.  A dark sport jacket with a light 
       colored shirt works best on camera.  Flashy or very colorful 
       clothes can be very distracting.  The viewer might pay more 
       attention to what you are wearing than what you are saying.
            Never, ever, at any time knowingly tell a falsehood.  
       You'll be caught and you'll be hung out to dry.  If you say 
       something that later turns out to be incorrect, then you can 
       honestly admit your mistake.  In addition, if there is 
       something you don't know, admit that also.  It's always 
       better to admit a lack of knowledge than it is to dance 
       around a question with a pseudo-answer.  You can always look 
       up the correct answer and call the reporter later.
            Drawing on that same theme, if you have gotten into a 
       situation in which you feel you have gotten in over your 
       head, defer the issue to someone you feel comfortable has the 
       proper skills and knowledge.  In most cases, a reporter will 
       accept your suggested replacement.  The only time it might 
       not work is when the reporter is asking about something that 
       directly impacts you or your BBS.  
            This may seem obvious, but you should return calls 
       promptly.  Reporters are always under some sort of deadline 
       pressure.  The sooner you can return their calls, the more 
       they will appreciate you.
                                                        BBS-PR pg 15
                             ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
                             ³Market Research³
                             ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
            Who needs to do Market Research?  You do.  The days of 
       opening up a BBS with a few file areas and some message bases 
       are numbered.  Successful BBSs will be those that plan 
       carefully with an eye toward what users really want-- not the 
       desires of the noisy few.
            While online questionnaires are quite useful, they often 
       don't go far enough or have a large enough base for you to 
       make long term decisions.  The biggest problems are low 
       response rates and questions that answer themselves.  Very few 
       online surveys that I've seen provide enough qualitative 
       information for anything other than short term planning.
            If you are planning on pulling in some new message 
       bases, but want to know which ones will actually be read by 
       users, then online questionnaires are quite sufficient for the 
       job.  But if you plan on opening a new BBS, a major change in 
       image or thrust, or becoming a larger player in the BBS 
       community you probably need to do more than question your 
       active users.
            But there are still times in which you must simply go 
       with your visceral instincts.  If you have just done the most 
       extensive survey in the history of the industry, you may just 
       have to do what your gut tells you to do, even if it is in 
       total disagreement with what the research says you should do.
            The easiest, least expensive, and probably the most 
       effective research for BBSs to do is call-out research.  Pick 
       up the phone and start dialing.  But you must have a method.
                             Creating a Survey
            Depending on what you want to find out, you'll want to 
       angle your research in different directions.  A person 
       setting up a new BBS is going to need information different 
       from that an established Sysop would need to consider whether 
       to expand or add services.
            For our purposes, let's assume you want to do some basic 
       research on the group of people that use modems.  To make 
       things as easy as possible, we'll assume you will be 
       conducting 100 surveys.  This does NOT include people who 
       hang up on you or you terminate because they do not fit the 
       demographic profile you are looking for.
                                                        BBS-PR pg 16
            The first thing you'll need to determine is the 
       demographic breakdown in your community as a whole.  What is 
       the percentage of men and women and their age groups?  This 
       information can easily be found at your local library.  Use 
       the most recent census data available.  Take those 
       percentages in each age/sex demo and conduct the same number 
       of surveys (23% women aged 25 to 32 in your community, then 
       23 surveys with women in that age group).
            The first thing you need in the survey is a set of 
       Terminal questions.  These questions help you determine the 
       age and sex groups you need, whether they own computers, 
       whether they own modems and how often they use modems.  If 
       they don't answer any of the questions in the appropriate 
       manner, you break off the interview.  These people are NOT 
       included as part of your 100 completed surveys.
            If you want an overview of the BBS community compared to 
       the community as a whole, you will need to keep track of the 
       people that are terminated.
            Since we are developing a profile on the modem using 
       public in your community, we need a set of questions to 
       determine how often they use them and in what manner.  We 
       then need some questions to find out what services they use, 
       what activities they participate in, and what they might see 
       as any shortcomings. 
       Finally, some questions on their hardware and software.
            All these numbers can be inserted into a spreadsheet 
       program.  From there you can make pie charts or bar graphs to 
       represent just about anything and help you make planning 
       decisions.
       There is a sample survey in the BBS-SAMP.TXT file.
            Here are some terms that are in the sample survey that 
       you might want to know:
            PROMPT-- Ask about listed items.  Subject may offer one 
       or more.
            QUERY-- Ask for more, do NOT specify.  Ask "Anything 
       else?" and write down responses
            (see XX)-- Depending on response to a question, then go 
       to the question with that number (eg: see 5B)
            SPECIFY-- Subject may offer an answer.  If not, ask.
            TERMINATE-- Bring to an end.
                                                        BBS-PR pg 17
                              Making the Call
            You don't need to buy a list in order to make call out 
       research.  All it takes is a phone book or city directory.  
       City directories are helpful in that they will have phone 
       numbers and addresses that may not be in the phone book.  
       City directories are also expensive, especially when compared 
       to that phone book you received when you ordered a phone 
       line.
            Starting with the first residential listing, keep 
       dialing down the column until you are able to get a completed 
       survey.  Skip the rest of that column, next column and start 
       at the top of the following.
            For example, if you have a three column phone book (most 
       are), you get a completed survey on the tenth call in the 
       second column.  Skip the remainder of the second column, skip 
       the third column, and then start again at the top of the 
       first column on the second page.  This will give you a fairly 
       random sample.
            Also make sure you do not purposely call business 
       numbers.  Businesses get irritated when people make 
       unsolicited calls.  Many individuals do as well.  Expect a 
       lot of people to hang up on you.
            ALWAYS thank the person at the end of the interview, 
       even if you terminate them after the first question.
                            ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
                            ³Crisis Management³
                            ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
            The first thing to remember about Crisis Management is 
       to avoid creating one.  That isn't always possible.  In that 
       case, the second thing to remember is "Don't Panic."  You 
       simply don't have time.  Always keep your head.
            It's quite unlikely BBSs will be responsible for 
       volcanic eruptions or toxic waste dumps.  Most crisis a BBS 
       would be involved in are legal in nature.  If that's the 
       case, you'll need to contact your attorney at once.
            In fact, you might even want to consider keeping one on 
       retainer or having a pre-paid legal plan.  Your attorney 
       should be familiar with communications law and First 
       Amendment Issues.  Your local Bar Association should be able 
                                                        BBS-PR pg 18
       to help you find one.
            The media has easier access to prosecutors than to 
       defendants.  That is why in most criminal cases it appears a 
       suspect has already been convicted and hauled off even though 
       the case has not yet been brought to trial.  The good news is 
       that more defense attorneys are becoming media savvy and are 
       willing to make statements to reporters.
            Most of the time, the best thing to do is to let your 
       attorney do your talking for you.  Among other things, that's 
       what you are paying him for.  He will know what can and 
       cannot be said in public and is in a better position to deal 
       with legal intricacies that may come up.
            For now, the online community tends to rally around BBS 
       operators who have been accused of improprieties.  Unless 
       your counselor objects, you can begin drumming up support 
       from within the industry.  Among other things, you can make 
       legal documents available in computer readable form.  Contact 
       industry magazines such as BOARDWATCH, BBS CALLERS DIGEST and 
       CONNECT and let them know what is happening.  But you should 
       always advise or consult your attorney before doing any of 
       this.
                              Friendly Faces
            I've made this point before and I'll make it again.  
       Reporters assigned to cover a story involving BBSs or other 
       online services may not fully understand the industry.  Some 
       of them may even be technophobes.
            With that in mind, there is another position you can 
       work yourself into.  That is the position of the Local 
       Expert.  For sake of example, another Sysop has run into 
       trouble with the law.  You could make yourself available to 
       help explain what some of those complicated technological 
       terms are all about, making sure you stay clear of the legal 
       issues involved.  You may not get your face on TV or your 
       name printed in the paper, but you will be providing a 
       valuable service to your local media.
                            The First Amendment
                                  at Risk
            The online community is under attack.  There are many 
       in government who apparently believe First Amendment freedoms 
       should not be extended to BBSs and other online services, 
                                                        BBS-PR pg 19
       even if they don't explicitly state this.  The Clipper chip 
       is just one example.
            The battle lines are being drawn in the courts and in 
       the mainstream media.  Solid wins in the justice system will 
       help ensure a place for the First Amendment in the future.  
       Diligent and deft manipulation of the media will help ensure 
       public support for the online community.
                             ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
                             ³Out of the Box³
                             ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
            Many Sysops set up a BBS in a cloistered room, hunch 
       over a brightly lit screen late at night tweaking here and 
       tweaking there.  "Heh!" they think, "this new door game will 
       bring me a few more callers!"
            Wrong.
            You can be assured that new game is A) already on 
       another BBS in town, B) the potential new callers won't know 
       for sometime that you have it or C) potential new callers 
       won't care that you have it.
            The game can wait 'til tomorrow.  Do something that is 
       more likely to bring in potential callers to your BBS in 
       particular and into the BBS community generally.  Get out of 
       the house.
            Chances are your BBS or the local BBS or Sysops' 
       Association sponsors a picnic or some such at least once a 
       year.  Although this is a good idea, it usually is a 
       gathering a modem users.  You need to become more involved 
       with the community as a whole.
            There are many, many opportunities to create a good 
       public relations image within the community.  Even though the 
       mainstream media should be a part of your public relations 
       efforts, you do not have to rely on them to tell your 
       message.
            Your local Chamber of Commerce probably has some sort of 
       monthly or annual list of events going on in the community.  
       There should be several that you can attend or co-sponsor on 
       behalf of the BBS.  You can also make yourself available to 
       talk to Service Clubs and Youth Groups.
                                                        BBS-PR pg 20
            Have you thought of conducting a seminar?  Let's face 
       it, BBSs are not among the easiest computer applications to 
       use.  You could teach users and potential users about 
       telecommunications and BBSing.  With more and more BBSs 
       connecting to the Internet, a seminar on how to use the 
       Internet could be quite valuable.  As an aside, you might 
       even be able to bring in a few bucks by conducting seminars.
            Schools are another place to make your mark.  Donate 
       your time to teach a class or be a guest in a class.  You 
       might even consider donating your old equipment to an 
       elementary school when you upgrade to newer equipment.  That 
       might even bring you some good press coverage.
            If you have a laptop or an older computer you wouldn't 
       mind toting around, take it with you with a scaled down 
       version of your BBS to show people what it looks like.  Very 
       few things work better than a good visual aid.  
            If you produce a newsletter for your BBS that is mailed 
       to users on a regular basis, add the local media outlets to 
       your mailing list.  Just as with News Releases, most 
       newsletters will be thrown out.  But sometimes someone will 
       grab an idea from one and produce a story from it.  By golly, 
       you'll probably be the first person they call.
            Everyday thousands of cars go past yours or you pass 
       them.  Bumper stickers are moving billboards.  Make them 
       available anytime you are out meeting the public.  Because 
       you must make a quick impression, just have the name of your 
       BBS and the data phone number printed on them.
            Coffee mugs and t-shirts are good promotional items that 
       can also bring in some money.  Sale items such as those are 
       really best for larger commercial systems, though.
                             ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
                             ³Final Comments³
                             ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
            I am quite conscience of the fact that I did not discuss 
       paid advertising in this manual.  Among the reasons:
            1.  This was intended to be only a brief discussion of 
       Public Relations.
            2.  Paid advertising can be quite expensive, and most 
       BBS do not have the money to do it.
            If there is demand for information about advertising for 
       BBSs, it will be included in future editions.
                                                        BBS-PR pg 21
            Thanks to Fred Ayers of Paradox of Arkansas BBS, Steve 
       Prado of Jackalope Junction BBS, and Mary McGuire of KMAG-KWHN 
       Radio, all of Fort Smith, AR.  Their comments, suggestions 
       and complaints are greatly appreciated.
            The current edition of BBS-PR (BBS-PRxx.ZIP) will always 
       be available on Paradox of Arkansas BBS (Fred Ayers, Sysop) 
       and Jackalope Junction, (Sysop, Steve Prado).  I will answer 
       E-Mail, snail mail and even discuss some problems on the 
       phone.
            I am also available for private consultation.  See the 
       file PR-RATES.TXT to see what services are available and at 
       what cost.  Even though News Analysis is one service 
       available, I encourage you to send copies of News Releases, 
       newspaper articles, and audio and video (vhs) tapes of 
       broadcast stories with no obligation to engage my services as 
       a consultant.
                             About the Author
            Robert Parson is a Broadcast Journalist with over 15 
       years experience to his credit.  He is a former Contributing 
       Editor for "International Online Magazine," a magazine door 
       available from Arkansas River Valley BBS, Russellville, AR 
       (501 968 1931).  Robert is an active participant in his local 
       BBS Community.
            This Guide is dedicated to the First Amendment.  Freedom 
       of Speech is our single most important Constitutional 
       Guarantee.
       Robert Parson
       2501 Phoenix
       Fort Smith, AR 72901
       501 646 9332 (voice)
       Paradox of Arkansas BBS 501 484 0944 or 501 484 1043
       (Fred Ayers, Sysop)
       Jackalope Junction BBS 501 785 5381 (Steve Prado, Sysop)
       R.Parson (GEnie)
       R.Parson@genie.geis.com (Internet)
       Fido  1:3822/1
                                                        BBS-PR pg 22

:::::::::::::: bbs-samp.txt ::::::::::::::

                      ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
                      ³ The Computer Bulletin Board ³
                      ³                             ³
                      ³  Guide to Public Relations  ³
                      ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
                                  Ver 1.6
                                Samples of
                               News Releases
                       Public Service Announcements
                          Market Research Survey
            For the record, the BBS, all events and persons are 
       fictitious.  However, the address and phone number is mine.  
       If you feel any of these samples would be useful, feel free 
       to adapt them for your needs.
       APHELION BBS
       2501 Phoenix
       Fort Smith, AR 72901
       501 XXX XXXX (data)
       501 646 9332 (voice)
                                         For Immediate Release
                       INTERNET COMES TO FORT SMITH
            Aphelion Computer Bulletin Board System has now 
       connected with the Internet.  The Internet is a worldwide 
       network connecting Universities, Research Centers, Government 
       and Business with electronic mail, news, public message 
       bases, and computer programs.
            This is the first time the Internet has been publicly 
       available in the Fort Smith area.  System Operator of 
       Aphelion BBS, Robert Parson, says "The heart of computing is 
       being able to share information.  Now users in Fort Smith can 
       easily share information with the world and gather 
       information from sources they couldn't reach before."
            Aphelion BBS will provide a free Electronic Mailbox to 
       anyone wishing to receive private messages.  A rate of $6.00 
       an hour will be charged for all other Internet resources.
            Computer users can dial Aphelion BBS at 501 XXX XXXX 
       with their modem at speeds up to 14,400.
       For more information call Robert Parson at 501 646 9332 
       (voice)
  1. 30-
  • The Internet news release is a simple product announcement. It says the Internet is available, explains why this is news (first time publicly available) and also explains how to access the BBS. It also provides a "warm body" with a quote, and how to contact the "warm body." This is also an example of a "hard news" type of news release. It states the facts with few embellishments. The next news release is a bit more complicated since it starts with a softer lead, or beginning. It has a "feature" feel to it. *
                                                       BBS-SAMP pg 1
       APHELION BBS
       2501 Phoenix
       Fort Smith, AR 72901
       501 XXX XXXX (data)
       501 646 9332 (voice)
                                            For Immediate Release
   
                INTERNET SEMINAR SPONSORED BY APHELION BBS
            Navigation of large computer networks is much like 
       navigating the ocean.  It takes time, practice and 
       instruction.  The Internet is, if not the largest, one the 
       largest computer oceans.
            Aphelion Computer Bulletin Board System is sponsoring a 
       seminar designed to help computer users learn to navigate 
       through the Internet.  "This seminar will focus on Electronic 
       mail addressing and file transfers," according to System 
       Operator Robert Parson.  More seminars dealing with other 
       aspects of the Internet are planned.
            The Seminar will be held Saturday, October 9 at 1:00p.m. 
       at the Fort Smith Public Library.  The cost of the seminar is 
       $5.00, which will pay for materials used by participants.
            Aphelion BBS recently made the Internet available to 
       computer users with modems.  E-Mail boxes are provided at no 
       cost.  Other Internet services are available for a $6.00 an 
       hour charge.  Modems can connect to Aphelion BBS at speeds up 
       to 14,400.
            For more information about the Seminar or Aphelion BBS, 
       call Robert Parson at 501 646 9332 (voice).
  1. 30-
  • The seminar news release is quite similar to the new product announcement in that it says what the seminar is about, where it will be held and why it is being held. The charge for the seminar was included since it was necessary, but it was buried deep in the news release. If you'll notice, both of these news releases have a contact name and number. This is critically important on any news release. If a media outlet can't find someone to talk BBS-SAMP pg 2 to about a story, it will usually end up in the trash. The following news release is a local angle to a national story. *
       APHELION BBS
       2501 Phoenix
       Fort Smith, AR 72901
       501 XXX XXXX (data)
       501 646 9332 (voice)
                                              For Immediate Release
                       "Kiddie Porn" warning blasted
            The Justice Department recently warned parents to 
       examine their children's electronic mail for possible signs 
       of contact by child molesters.
            The System Operator of a Fort Smith Computer Bulletin 
       Board says BBSs are being unfairly singled out as a source of 
       this illegal activity.  Robert Parson of Aphelion BBS says 
       "The Justice Department has bruised the entire BBS community 
       because of a few cases."
            Parson adds that as far as he knows, there has been no 
       activity involving child pornography or other illegal 
       activities in the Fort Smith area.  "All the Bulletin Boards 
       that are in operation in Fort Smith are on the up and up.  I 
       invite anyone to call any of them and look for themselves."
            Aphelion BBS can be reached at 501 XXX XXXX by any 
       computer user with a modem at speeds up to 14,400.
            For more information Robert Parson can be reached voice 
       at 501 646 9332.
  1. 30-
    • This is based on an actual news story from September 1993. The Justice Department did issue a warning to parents advising them to check their children's electronic mail. This news release accomplishes several things. It blunts the impact of the Justice Department warning, Robert Parson is seen as an expert in the field, and the invitation BBS-SAMP pg 3 to call ANY BBS could expand the user base of the BBS community (although Aphelion BBS will likely be the first one called). You could also include a list of BBS names and numbers with this News Release. The "-30-" at the end of each of these stories indicates that, yes, the story has come to an end. If there were two pages, the first page would have a notation at the bottom of "-more-" Let's try something fairly simple: a Public Service Announcement. *
       Who:  Greater Fort Smith System Operators' Association
       What: Seminar
       When: Saturday, October 9, 1:00pm
       Where: Fort Smith Public Library
       Topic: How to use a Computer Bulletin Board System
            There is no cost for this seminar.  For more information 
       contact Myron Aberchrombie at XXX XXX XXXX.
  • First of all, I want to know just who these guys think they are having a FREE seminar when I'm having my FEE-BASED seminar! At the same place even! What gall. Anyway, that's just one form a PSA can take. One of the nice things about that format is it can fit on a postcard, which has a lower postage rate. But some people prefer to write them similar to a news story. Now for something quite a bit more complicated. The following is a statement for a News Conference. *
       APHELION BBS
       2501 Phoenix
       Fort Smith, AR 72901
       501 XXX XXXX (data)
       501 646 9332 (voice)
                                                For Release 10-9-93
                                                              1:00p
         Statement by Aphelion BBS System Operator, Robert Parson
                                                       BBS-SAMP pg 4
            I am very distressed that the Justice Department raided 
       and shut down Aphelion BBS yesterday as a threat to National 
       Security.
            I have allowed the People's Front for the Liberation of 
       Refrigerator Magnets to have a forum without fear of 
       recrimination.  But as the raid proved, I was apparently 
       wrong.
            Yes, the PFLRM is working toward separation from the 
       Nation of Cellophane Tape.  The People's Front, though, 
       should have the opportunity to have its opinions and views 
       out in the open as any political party does.  
            As the System Operator, I have always encouraged freedom 
       of speech, no matter what form that speech takes.  There have 
       been times in which some users have left messages I felt were 
       not just politically incorrect but downright vile.  However, 
       that is what the First Amendment protects.
            I am looking forward to the coming days in court and 
       firmly believe that we will find that the Constitution and 
       the Bill of Rights do have a place in modern society.
       I will answer any questions you might have.
  1. 30-
  • Obviously, the Justice Department wouldn't raid a BBS over something like this. But just the same, this is an example of Crisis Management. It is a firm statement made at a News Conference, and an invitation that representatives of the BBS are open to meet with members of the media. Should you be raided, you normally won't have a News Conference. The judge would probably place you under a "gag" order, which prohibits you from talking publicly about the case, or you would be advised by your attorney not to say anything. Let's just hope you never get raided. Here is a News Release designed primarily to keep your BBS and your name in front of an editor. *
                                                       BBS-SAMP pg 5
       APHELION BBS
       2501 Phoenix
       Fort Smith, AR 72901
       501 XXX XXXX (data)
       501 646 9332 (voice)
                                         For Immediate Release
            The Information Highway that has captured the 
       imagination of Government and Communications Firm Officials 
       is still several years in the future.  Right now, though, 
       Fort Smith residents with a computer and a modem can call 
       over a dozen Computer Bulletin Boards and exchange messages, 
       download files and even play games.  Several are connected to 
       national message networks.  Here is a list of BBS numbers in 
       the Fort Smith area:
       (a list of several numbers.  If you live in a large city, you 
       may not want to list all of them)
            Although the exact number cannot be determined, there 
       are an estimated 57,000 Computer Bulletin Board Systems in 
       the United States.  For more information, call Robert Parson, 
       the System Operator of Aphelion BBS at 646 9332 (voice).
                                    ***
                                                       BBS-SAMP pg 6
                         ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
                         ³Market Research Survey³
                         ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
       Hello!  I'm ____________ From Paradigm Research.  We would 
       like to ask you a few questions here on the phone if you have 
       a few minutes.  We are not trying to sell you anything.
       1.  Are you  12-18  19-24  25-42  43-55  55 or over
       2.  Do you own a computer?   Y  N  (if N, terminate)
       3.  Does your computer have a modem?  Y  N  (if N, terminate)
       4.  Do you use your modem (prompt)
       often (see 4B)  occasionally (see 4B)  seldom
       (if SELDOM, terminate)
       4B.  How often would you say you use your modem? (prompt)
       less than once a week    once a week    twice a week
       more than twice a week
       5.  Do you have accounts on any national online services?
       (if Y then prompt) (if N, go to 6)
       America Online   Compuserve   GEnie   Delphi   Prodigy
       Other ________________________________________________
       5B  What is your average monthly bill? _______________
       6.  Do you call any local Computer Bulletin Boards?  Y  N
       6B.  (if Y, then query)  Which ones? _______________________
       ____________________________________________________________
       6B1.  Have you subscribed to or donated to any local Computer 
       Bulletin Boards?  Y   N
       6C.  (if N, then query)  Any reasons why you don't?  
       ____________________________________________________________
       ____________________________________________________________
       7.  What would you say you do most often?  (no prompting)
       play games   download files   read/write messages
       other (specify)  __________________________________________
       8.  What type of computer do you use?  (no prompting)
       IBM or compatible  Apple (any)  Commodore/Amiga
       Other _________________________
       9.  How fast is your modem?  _______________________________
       10.  What modem software do you use? _______________________
       Thank you for your time.
                                                       BBS-SAMP pg 7
            I would like to know what Public Relations efforts you 
       are conducting.  Send copies of your News Releases, brochures 
       and fliers, newspaper clippings, even audio cassettes of radio 
       newscasts and VHS copies of tv news stories to:
       Robert Parson
       2501 Phoenix
       Fort Smith, AR 72901
            Survey results can be sent to that address, or to my E- 
       mail addresses:
       R.PARSON on GEnie
       r.parson@genie.geis.com on the Internet
       ROBERT PARSON on Paradox of Arkansas (Fred Ayers, Sysop)
       ROBERT PARSON on Jackalope Junction BBS (Steve Prado Sysop)
       1:3822/1 Fidonet
            These will be part of a continuing research project I am 
       conducting.  If you would also like personalized analysis of 
       materials you have sent, please see the file PR-RATES.TXT.
                                                       BBS-SAMP pg 8

:::::::::::::: file_id.diz :::::::::::::: The Computer Bulletin Board Guide to Public Relations ver 1.6. Several text files Sysops can use to help improve the image of their BBS and the BBS community as a whole. New in this version: Market Research and expanded Crisis Management Information. :::::::::::::: print-pr.bat :::::::::::::: @echo off @cls echo ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ echo ³ This batch file will print all the files in ³ echo ³ The Computer Bulletin Board Guide to Public Relations. ³ echo ³ Because of the page format I used, you need to make sure ³ echo ³ your printhead is at the top of the page. ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ This batch file does a simple "COPY FILENAME.TXT PRN" ³ echo ³ because the DOS PRINT command spews out form feeds where ³ echo ³ there should be none ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ If you do not wish to use this batch file, press ³ echo ³ CTL-C to abort. ³ echo ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ echo Is your printhead at the top of the page? echo If not, make the appropriate adjustments now! @pause @cls echo ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ echo ³ Now printing ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ The Computer Bulletin Board Guide to Public Relations ³ echo ³ Version 1.6 ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ by ³ echo ³ Robert Parson ³ echo ³ ³ echo ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ @copy bbs-pr1.txt prn @copy bbs-pr2.txt prn @cls echo ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ echo ³ In just a moment, we'll print out some samples ³ echo ³ to accompany The Guide, but first, this commercial ³ echo ³ announcement: ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ At this writing, BBS-PR16 is being supported on ³ echo ³ Paradox of Arkansas BBS (501) 484 0944/(501) 484 1043 ³ echo ³ Fred Ayers, Sysop ³ echo ³ Jackalope Junction BBS (501) 785 5381 ³ echo ³ Steve Prado, Sysop ³ echo ³ My thanks to Steve and Fred ³ echo ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ echo Is your printhead at the top of the page? echo If not, make the appropriate adjustments now. @pause @cls echo ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ echo ³ Now printing ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ Sample News Releases, Public Service Announcements ³ echo ³ and Market Research Survey ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ If you find these helpful please let me know ³ echo ³ Robert Parson ³ echo ³ 2501 Phoenix ³ echo ³ Fort Smith, AR 72901 ³ echo ³ Paradox of Arkansas BBS (501 484 0944/(501) 484 1043 ³ echo ³ Jackalope Junction BBS (501) 785 5381 ³ echo ³ Internet r.parson@genie@geis.com ³ echo ³ Fido 1:3822/1 ³ echo ³ Voice phone (501) 646 9332 ³ echo ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ @copy bbs-samp.txt prn @cls echo ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ echo ³ This next file will help you look for some potential ³ echo ³ Public Relations problems with your BBS. ³ echo ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ echo Is the printhead at the top of the page? echo If not, make the appropriate adjustments now. @pause @cls echo ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ echo ³ Now printing ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ A worksheet to help you analyse your BBS, and a ³ echo ³ discussion of that worksheet. ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ ³ echo ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ @copy product.txt prn @cls echo ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ echo ³ Next, a survey I would like to have filled out and ³ echo ³ returned. Again, those addresses are: ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ Robert Parson ³ echo ³ 2501 Phoenix ³ echo ³ Fort Smith, AR 72901 ³ echo ³ Paradox of Arkansas BBS (501) 484 0944/(501) 484 1043 ³ echo ³ Jackalope Junction BBS (501) 785 5381 ³ echo ³ Internet r.parson@genie.geis.com ³ echo ³ Fido 1:3822/1 ³ echo ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ echo Is your printhead at the top of the page? echo If not, please make the appropriate adjustments now @pause echo ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ echo ³ Now printing ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ The BBS-PR Customer Service Survey ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ There is no registration charge for using ³ echo ³ The Computer Bulletin Board Guide to Public Relations ³ echo ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ @copy survey.txt prn @cls echo ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ echo ³ I am available for Public Relations Consultation for a ³ echo ³ fee. ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ This next file is my rate schedule. ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ Robert Parson ³ echo ³ 2501 Phoenix ³ echo ³ Fort Smith, AR 72901 ³ echo ³ Paradox of Arkansas BBS (501) 484 0944/(501) 484 1043 ³ echo ³ Jackalope Junction BBS (501) 785 5381 ³ echo ³ Internet r.parson@genie.geis.com ³ echo ³ Fido 1:3822/1 ³ echo ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ echo Is the printhead at the top of the page? echo If not, make the appropriate adjustments now @pause @cls echo ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ echo ³ Now printing ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ The Public Relations Consultation Rate Card ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ Among the items available: ³ echo ³ News Release Writing $25 ³ echo ³ Analysis of News Stories $50 ³ echo ³ BBS-PR: The Seminar (for groups) $2000 ³ echo ³ (see printed file for details) ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ Robert Parson ³ echo ³ 2501 Phoenix ³ echo ³ Fort Smith, AR 72901 ³ echo ³ Voice phone 501 646 9332 ³ echo ³ Paradox of Arkansas BBS (501) 484 0944/(501) 484 1043 ³ echo ³ Jackalope Junction BBS (501) 785 5381 ³ echo ³ Internet r.parson@genie.geis.com ³ echo ³ Fido 1:3822/1 ³ echo ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ @copy pr-rates.txt prn @cls echo ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ echo ³ ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ ³ echo ³ ³ ALL DONE!³ ³ echo ³ ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ ³ echo ³ Thank you for using ³ echo ³ The Computer Bulletin Board Guide to Public Relations ³ echo ³ ³ echo ³ Don't forget to send in your Customer Service Survey! ³ echo ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ :::::::::::::: product.txt ::::::::::::::

                       ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
                       ³The Computer Bulletin Board³
                       ³ Guide to Public Relations ³
                       ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
                                  Ver 1.6
                               BBS Analysis
                              ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
                              ³BBS INVENTORY³
                              ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ

BBS Name Sysop_ # of Lines Highest Speed Slowest _

Software CPU speed HD size_ speed_ Graphics: Ansi Rip NAPLPS JPEG Other (specify) _

General Interest? y/n or Special Focus (specify)?

# of Users # of Active Users _ Average User Age Predominantly Male/Female Aliases permitted y/n Subscription (price) Variable access for variable price y/n Donations y/n Free y/n FILES # of File Areas_ # of CD-ROMS FREQ permitted? y/n Virus Check? y/n Outdated files deleted? y/n Primary Archive Type PKZip ARJ ARC PAK Other

File Distribution Network? y/n Adult Files? y/n Youth Files? y/n

                                 MESSAGES

# of Message Bases # Local # Echos

Echo Networks _ _ _ _ _ _

Adult Message areas? y/n Youth Message areas? y/n

Offline Mail Reader .QWK? Proprietary? Both?_ Is mail compression type user configurable? y/n DOORS # of Single Player Games # of Multi-Player Games_

# of Magazines/Newspapers_ # of Databases_

                                   MISC

Bulletins: How Many?_ Updated frequently?_

Node Chat? y/n

Association memberships _ _ _ _ _ ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ ³Your Product³ ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ You have to think of your BBS as a product. Whether you have a 32 line commercial BBS, a single line hobby board or somewhere in between, you are selling a service. Just as with any other product, you have to decide where and how your public relations efforts should best be spent. Now may be a good time to look at your BBS and take an inventory. The Inventory included at the beginning of this file will help you take stock of the strengths and weaknesses of your BBS. Some of these things you may already have thought of. Others possibly not. Whatever the case may be, this is a very subjective matter and there are no right or wrong answers. We'll take this step by step and briefly examine some of the immediate public relations problems your BBS may present and some ways to solve those problems. I want you to bear in mind that it is NOT my intention to tell you how to run your BBS. In addition, I don't think there are any "bad" features for a BBS, except of course those that are patently illegal. If anything like that is implied, it wasn't intended. BBS NAME: The name of your BBS should be chosen very carefully and it should be in keeping with the overall tone of the BBS. Chances are you wouldn't want to call your BBS "Thunder of Cloven Hooves" if the emphasis is on scholarly Biblical discussions. Sysop: If you are known to users mainly as the Sysop, that could be creating an aloof image. That could be the image you want. On some larger boards with staffs that may be the best way to handle administrative duties. But if you want to have a more folksy and personable board you need to make yourself known. Create an account with your name, if you haven't already done so. Encourage users to refer to you with your name, instead of The Sysop. YOUR PRODUCT pg 1 General Interest/Special Focus You may want to have a BBS with a little bit of everything for everybody. Even with cable becoming more prevalent, the three major broadcast networks still have the largest viewership. A General Interest BBS with a very large plate to offer will draw users but could overwhelm some users, especially new users. A BBS with a specific interest runs the risk of being too narrowly defined. There is probably a market for a BBS about horse racing jockeys six feet and taller with green eyes, but it's also so specialized it would attract few callers (if any). Users Most BBS have very large user lists. Many of those lists are bogus in that they reflect all the people that have visited since the BBS was established. Some Sysops routinely clean the chaff out of the user lists. This is a good idea in that it makes it easier for Sysops to keep track of who is active and who is not. In addition it helps users who log in only occasionally. If a user hasn't logged on recently he has usually lost track of what happened the last time he was on. It reminds occasional users that it might be a good idea to stop in more often. Money: As I'm sure you are aware, a Bulletin Board can cost a lot to operate. The trend is to charge some kind of subscription. There are a number of different ways in which to do this. A very large portion of the BBS community believes that charging for access violates the spirit of freedom of information that has been intertwined with personal computers since their introduction. You will face that sort of resistance, especially if your BBS has had a history of access at no charge. FILES: File areas are arguably the heart of a BBS. And just as with a human heart, they can create a huge amount of trouble if not properly taken care of. File Requests can be a valuable promotional tool. Many software companies allow potential buyers to request a demo YOUR PRODUCT pg 2 from their support board to try the software before purchasing it. Some BBSs allow downloads of certain informational files without having the caller registered or verified. This is potentially a very powerful feature and probably should be implemented on your BBS if it isn't already. A file explaining your policies, the message bases available, some hints on how to use your BBS (especially if it uses a less well known software package), and maybe even a registration or subscription form. This gives the user an idea of what your BBS is like and can leave him with a good feeling in that he received something without having full access. BBSs are commonly cited as a major source of computer viruses. If you take great pains to check all files for viruses before making them publicly available then you can put many users' minds at ease. Make sure you promote that often on your BBS and in any advertising you do. Sometimes a virus will sneak through even the best virus checkers. Track down the offending file, delete it and apologize to those who downloaded it. But gently remind users that you are not responsible for damage caused by the virus. They downloaded and used it at their own risk. Message Bases: If File Areas are the heart of a BBS, then the Message Bases are the soul of your BBS. That is where your users have the biggest opportunity to contribute to the board. This is also where you have the biggest opportunity to set the image of the BBS. Your message bases can be wide and varied or narrow and focused on just a few topics. Keep in mind not everyone is going to be tactful and considerate. Some are rude and downright mean. Nationally echoed message bases can be a valuable asset to your board. But there will be times when there are matters of interest in Waxahachie, Texas that folks in Erie, Pennsylvania won't be interested in. Chances are you have at least one message base that is specific for local matters. You may want to consider opening up a few others depending on the demand from your users. DOORS: Your choice of Door programs create a twofold public relations challenge right out of the box. First, there may be times in which you add a door that doesn't quite fit the YOUR PRODUCT pg 3 image you are trying to create on your BBS. In that case it's a fairly simple matter to remove the door program. Second, a very popular door could tie up your BBS for hours a day with just a few users, causing frustration to others. This is particularly true of games. MISC: Most BBSs run a screen full of Bulletins when the user logs on. These bulletins should be updated as often as possible. Callers need to know what's going on with your BBS, even if it's just the latest scores for "Red Dragon." Most users don't read the bulletins on a regular basis. But, they leave the impression that you have a "happening" BBS. A business owner I once worked for said to me "The impression that we have business generates business." He always made sure there were cars in front of his business, even if they belonged to employees. Your bulletins can be the cars in front of your business. Curiously, though, a lot of bulletins can also turn away a user. If you have a potload of bulletins, you might want to think about moving some to areas in which they are more appropriate. Bulletins of game scores might be moved to a gaming conference, as an example. Rules, policies and news should be the primary considerations when developing log on bulletins. There are several BBS and Sysop groups and associations that you can become a member of. There might even be one or more in your area. They are sources of support, solutions, and other information. If you are having trouble with another sysop, the association can be a place to arbitrate your difficulties. If worse comes to worse and you run afoul of the law as a result of your BBS, the group may be able to put you in touch with some legal help. A meeting can also provide you with the opportunity to unwind after a hard day of slaving over a hot keyboard. I strongly recommend joining a group. YOUR PRODUCT pg 4 ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ ³GOAL SETTING³ ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ Even if you don't run a commercial BBS, you should think of it as a business. There is hardly any business that does not take an inventory on a regular basis. Any business that does not analyze itself occasionally is doomed to failure. Every six months or so, sit back and look at where your BBS has been, where it's at and where it's going. Do you have specific goals in mind? What are you doing to meet those goals? How is your Public Relations campaign reflecting the climb toward those goals? Whatever you are up to, PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE. Tell your users what's going on. Tell your co-workers. Tell the dog. Get the word out on the street somehow. This is only a cursory look at some the things you should be aware of from a public relations standpoint as you examine your BBS. You might want to do things differently. Public relations is an art, and you may prefer to do yours in oil while I prefer chalk. I encourage you to write me and let me know what your are doing in the area of Public Relations. Robert Parson 2501 Phoenix Fort Smith, AR 72901 501 646 9332 (voice) Paradox of Arkansas BBS 501 484 0944/501 484 1043 (Fred Ayers, Sysop) Jackalope Junction BBS 501 785 5381 (Steve Prado, Sysop) internet r.parson@genie.geis.com GEnie R.Parson Fido 1:3822/1 YOUR PRODUCT pg 5 :::::::::::::: pr-rates.txt :::::::::::::: ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ ³BBS Public Relations³ ³ Aphelion Promotions³ ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ Robert Parson 2501 Phoenix Fort Smith, AR 72901 501 646 9332 (voice) Support BBS Paradox of Arkansas (Fred Ayers, Sysop) 501 484 0944/501 484 1043 Jackalope Junction (Steve Prado, Sysop) 501 785 5381 Internet r.parson@genie.geis.com Fido 1:3822/1 ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ ³ BBS Rate ³ ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ News Releases $25.00 per News Release News Analysis $50.00 (BBS must provide newspaper clippings, audio cassettes and VHS video tapes of stories to be reviewed) Interview Coaching (in person) $300.00 + expenses BBS Launch Services $500.00 + expenses (non profit BBS) $1000.00 + expenses(for profit BBS) BBS Analysis $100 + LD costs (non profit) $250 + LD costs (for profit) ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ ³Sysop Association/Group Rate³ ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ News Releases $50.00 per News Release News Analysis $150.00 (Association must provide newspaper clippings, audio cassettes and VHS video tapes of stories to be reviewed) Interview Coaching (in person) $600.00 + expenses BBS Analysis (community-wide) call for rates CONSULTATION RATES pg 1 ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ ³BBS-PR: The Seminar³ ³ $2000 ³ ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ The BBS-PR Seminar is an intense workshop designed to give Sysops more detailed information about Public Relations and the News Media. The Seminar uses The BBS Guide to Public Relations as a basis. ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ ³Research Services³ ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ Media Market $15 per hour (one hour min.) Names, addresses and phone numbers for TV, Radio and Newspaper outlets in your community. Market Research Call for Rates Design, conduct and analyze consumer market surveys ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ ³ DAMAGE CONTROL ³ ³CALL 501 646 9332!³ ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ Even though News Analysis is one option available for personalized consulting, you are invited to send News Releases, newspaper clippings, and audio and (vhs) video tapes without obligation. This is part of a continuing project to keep track of Public Images of BBSs. CONSULTATION RATES pg 2 ÉÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍ» ºBBS-PR Supportº ÈÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍͼ Support for The Computer Bulletin Board Guide to Public Relations is available on Paradox of Arkansas BBS, Jackalope Junction BBS, on GEnie and through the Internet via my GEnie address. Paradox of Arkansas BBS Fred Ayers Sysop 501 484 0944/501 484 1043 Jackalope Junction BBS Steve Prado Sysop 501 785 5381 Fido 1:3822/1 Internet r.parson@genie.geis.com GEnie R.PARSON There is also a topic supporting BBS-PR in the BBS Roundtable on GEnie. To join GEnie 1. Set your communications software to: o 300, 1200, or 2400 baud o local echo (half duplex) o 7 data bits and 1 stop bit o even parity You should save the information sent to you in a file. 2. Tell your communications software or modem to dial: In the United States: 1-800-638-8369 In Canada: 1-800-387-8330 3. When your modem connects, type "HHH" Do not type too quickly, but don't use more than a second to type each one. GEnie will respond with the prompt "U#=" 4. Type "XTX99566, GENIE" 5. Follow the instructions on the screen to apply for your account. Before you finish, GEnie will issue you a user ID number and temporary password, your GE Mail address, and GEnie access numbers. Clients in the United States and Canada can contact GEnie's Client Services Department by calling the toll-free number: 1-800-638-9636 If you are a user outside the United States or Canada, call: 1-301-251-6475 We are available to help you Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. To midnight and Saturday, Sunday, and GEnie holidays noon to 8 p.m., Eastern time. If you call about a problem, please be ready to tell the representative what your problem is and what you were doing when it occurred. :::::::::::::: readme.1st :::::::::::::: This is the Computer Bulletin Board Guide to Public Relations. It is designed to help Sysops create a Public Image outside of the BBS community. I have tried to jam as much solid information about Public Relations into as small a package as possible. There is no intent to tell Sysops how a BBS should be run. If that is implied at any point, I apologize in advance. All files in this guide are © 1993 and 1994 Robert Parson. BBS-PR is provided free as a public service of Robert Parson and Aphelion Promotions. No donations are asked for or are expected by your use of this guide. BBS-PR is supported on Paradox of Arkansas BBS (Fred Ayers, Sysop) 501 484 0944 and 501 484 1043 and Jackalope Junction BBS (Steve Prado, Sysop) 501 785 5381, and in the BBS Roundtable on GEnie. Private Consulting Services are available at cost from Aphelion Promotions. For rates, see the file PR-RATES.TXT. ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ ³What's New! with Version 1.6!³ ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ A brand spanking new section on Market Research, including a sample call out survey. Crisis Management information. PRODUCT1.TXT and PRODUCT2.TXT have been combined into one file (PRODUCT.TXT). Some sections in PRODUCT.TXT have been removed because I thought I was telling Sysops how to run their BBSs. A nifty new print utility (PRINT-PR.BAT) that should overcome some of the page break problems in previous editions. Because of this, I had to split the primary BBS-PR (which ran into 64K printer buffer problems) file into two smaller files. They are BBS-PR1.TXT and BBS-PR2.TXT. Thank you for your support of The Computer Bulletin Board Guide to Public Relations. Robert Parson 2501 Phoenix Fort Smith, AR 72901 501 646 9332 (voice) 501 484 0944/501 484 1043 Paradox of Arkansas, Fred Ayers, Sysop 501 785 5381 Jackalope Junction, Steve Prado, Sysop GEnie R.Parson Internet R.Parson@genie.geis.com Fido 1:3822/1 :::::::::::::: sdn.id :::::::::::::: BBS-PR 1.6 The Computer Bulletin Board Guide to Public Relations DOS 1-TEXT NEWS GUIDE JOURNALISM MEDIA RESEARCH RADIO TV NEWSPAPER FILES: bbs-pr16.sdn Author: Robert Parson Registration: None! A set of text files to help Sysops conduct thier own Public Relations campaign outside of the BBS Community. Topics covered include how to write a News Release, finding the right media contacts, how to handle an interview, Market Research and other valuable information. Includes sample News Releases and a sample questionaire for Call Out Market Research. If you want your BBS to get to the next level of Public Awareness, you need to read The Guide. Even if you aren't a Sysop, this package can still help your group or orginsation with its Public Relations efforts. Written by an established and active Broadcast Journalist, this Guide gives you the basic tools to conduct an effective Public Relations campaign. Hardware Requirements: None ( SDN.ID Format Copyright 1994 SDN International 203.634.0370 ) :::::::::::::: survey.txt :::::::::::::: ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ ³ The Computer Bulletin Board Guide to Public Relations ³ ³ ³ ³ Customer Satisfaction Survey ³ ³ ³ ³ Private Consultation Rates ³ ³ ³ ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ Thank you for reading The Computer Bulletin Board Guide to Public Relations. Please take the time to fill out this survey and return it. Doing so puts you under no obligation to send money or hire my services as a private Public Relations Consultant. I only want to make this Guide more useful to you and other Sysops. You can either mail this survey or upload it AS A MESSAGE (not a file) to the BBS-PR Support Board, Jacalope Junction (Steve Prado, Sysop). Thank you in advance, Robert Parson 2501 Phoenix Fort Smith, AR 72901 501 646 9332 (voice) 501 484 0944/501 484 1043 Paradox of Arkansas BBS (Fred Ayers, Sysop) 501 785 5381 Jackalope Junction BBS (Steve Prado, Sysop) Internet r.parson@genie.geis.com Fido 1:3822/1 Name _

       Mailing Address ____________________________________________
       City ______________________  State _________ Zip ___________
       BBS Name ___________________________________________________
       BBS Phone Number _________________  BBS Software ___________
       # of incoming lines _____________   # of users _____________
       Is there a fee or subscription charge for access?  How much?
       ____________________________________________________________
       Do you have adult message areas? y/n        file areas?  y/n
       Are you a member of any message networks?  If so, which ones?
        __________  __________  __________  __________  __________
       Are you a member of any File Distribution Networks?  If so, 
       which ones?
         __________  __________ __________  _________  __________
       Does your BBS have a gateway to Internet? y/n
       Did you find BBS-PR to be useful? y/n  In what manner?
       ____________________________________________________________
       ____________________________________________________________
       ____________________________________________________________
       What parts of BBS-PR did you find most useful?
       ____________________________________________________________
       ____________________________________________________________
       ____________________________________________________________
       What would you like to see expanded?
       ____________________________________________________________
       ____________________________________________________________
       ____________________________________________________________
                                        CUTSOMER SERVICE SURVEY pg 1
       Did you find anything particularly useless?
       ____________________________________________________________
       ____________________________________________________________
       ____________________________________________________________
       Before reading BBS-PR, what sort of Public Relations efforts 
       were you conducting?
       ____________________________________________________________
       ____________________________________________________________
       ____________________________________________________________
       Did reading BBS-PR cause you to make any Public Relations 
       efforts?  If any, what were they?
       ____________________________________________________________
       ____________________________________________________________
       ____________________________________________________________
       Other Comments
       ____________________________________________________________
       ____________________________________________________________
       ____________________________________________________________
       Where did you get your copy of the Computer Bulletin Board 
       Guide to Public Relations?  ______________________________
       __________________________________________________________
       Would you be interested in a newsletter dealing with Public 
       Relations matters for BBSs?  y/n
                                        CUSTOMER SERVICE SURVEY pg 2
/data/webs/external/dokuwiki/data/pages/archive/bbs/bbspr.txt · Last modified: 2002/03/18 04:33 (external edit)