By Tammy Knox
When Hoosier Park opened for business in 1994, marketing the harness racing product was very different than it is today. Stories were written and faxed to news outlets with hopes that someone inside the newsroom would see it, pick it up and re-type it for their broadcasts or publications. Photos were sent through the mail and had to be processed to reproduced for any type of use. Even sharing photos from track to track was a several day process, meaning a good marketing had to really think ahead to make sure all components were in place before a story was released. As one can imagine, most of those stories never made it past the fax machine waste basket.
In the late 1990s, websites emerged, which offered a slightly better avenue to get information into the proper hands of the news media. The racetrack’s website became its daily newspaper where stories could be uploaded and racing fans could read the latest news right from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Stories were also written and emailed in to media personnel with hopes they would be picked up and could move through the process of cut and paste to get air time or in printed material.
Hoosier Park was very fortunate to have Rick Teverbaugh in the sports department at The Herald Bulletin in Anderson, Ind. Rick took an interest in racing and covered a lot of racing on his own. When he had commitments that prevented him from heading out to the track, he would work to get at least part of stories placed in the paper.
Twenty years later, marketing and public relations is shifting gears once again. With the dominance of social media, apps on smart phones and other digital processes, the way information reaches the media has to be timely, efficient and relatively small. Three years ago, a group from Centaur Gaming attended the Racing Symposium in Tucson, Ariz. and one of the guest speakers was an editor from the New York Times. She explained the process of providing stories had been altered in their company. Most of their reporters were limited to 165 word-stories in the actual printed paper. Through their research, they found most people don’t have the time, or willing to take the time, to read large stories anymore. They want the story to be straight to the point and something that can be scoured over in a couple of minutes.
Because of these trends and shifts toward social media, Standardbred racing in the state of Indiana is also moving toward several new outlets for news, information and social media posts. The Indiana Standardbred Association’s website is currently under restructuring efforts to bring those involved in the sport a quicker, more comprehensive format that will deliver the news in timely fashion. The ISA’s social media platforms will get more aggressive, providing updates on horses, individuals, county fairs and business aspects of harness racing. The ISA Magazine will also find an online presence through the new Website.
The target for the launch of the new ISA Website was mid to late June. Social media was also scheduled to pick up momentum with the start of the county fairs in the state beginning with the Miami County Fair in Converse, Ind. Through a joint effort with the Indiana Standardbred Breed Development personnel, photos, stories, results and point standings should be easier to access as a result of the upgrades.
We encourage all ISA members and Indiana harness racing enthusiasts to check out the new look of the ISA Website. Updates on the progress of the new design will be provided via social media.
To search for the latest news from the ISA, visit the following online locations:
ISA Website: indianaharness.com