Bylined Article: “Father’s Day Tradition” article for the Trek Across Maine by Greg Glynn

Objectives:

  • Raise awareness of the Trek Across Maine among soon-to-be-seniors and current seniors who would be interested in participating in the Trek across Maine
  • Position the ride as something anyone can do
  • Highlight the family-friendly atmosphere of the Trek, a Father’s Day tradition in Maine for 34 years
  • Change perceptions about the ride that is it is “too hard” and increase overall participation for the event, including seniors
  • Increase traffic to the Trek Across Maine website

Situation Analysis:

Marshall Communications was tasked to promote and pitch media stories for the 35th Anniversary of the Trek Across Maine in 2019. Research from the Trek indicated people think it would be too difficult or they would have to train a lot to be able to participate. In order to change that belief of possible participants, this article was part of a strategy to change people’s perceptions of the ride.

Tactics:

To change perception, Marshall Communications identified the oldest Trekkers in the event. With the Maine Seniors publication in mind, Greg Glynn interviewed John Harris (age 79) and his wife and daughter for the story. After the phone interview with John, it was clear this was the perfect story. With such a strong connection to the mission of the event, the article was also written to encourage people who might not be able to ride to want to support this family and their emotional story to raise funds and awareness for a great cause.

Methods:

  • While the article was in the June edition of Maine Seniors (hit news stands in May) it took four months of planning to review the editorial calendar and identify John as an interview candidate, and write and pitch the article to Maine Seniors so it would come out prior to the 2019 Trek.
  • Placement in Maine Seniors was important because it is the number one most heavily populated magazine in the state, reaching more than 100,000 people across the state and is distributed to 5,000 waiting rooms.

Results:

  • Trek Across MaineThis is the article that was written for Maine Seniors as seen in May’s issue of the publication
  • Last year (prior to the article), 163 seniors participated in the Trek, this year 190 participated, an increase of 17%; additionally, 90 seniors are already signed up to ride in 2020, well ahead of the typical registration pace
  • There was a 50% increase in total website visits in June
  • Related to changing perceptions of potential participants, the total number of first-time riders increased by more than 100 people compared to last year
  • After learning about John and Heather’s story, the local ABC affiliate in Portland did a story on John and Heather leading up to the ride
  • The client is thrilled with the increase in registrations and now uses the magazine to show sponsors and potential participants that anyone can do the Trek