Posted on Nov 05, 2021
While Public Image is the responsibility of every member of a Rotary, Rotaract or Interact club, the chair, director or coordinator of Public Image whether at the club, district or zone level, has a key role to play to assist club and project leaders to tell their Rotary stories in the wider community and ensure that a club's image and brand are defined, strong and sustained.
Here are some various tips and guidelines to assist your club in enhancing its Public Image:



What is earned vs. owned vs. paid media?

Most public relations, marketing and advertisement professionals would be very familiar with these terms and meanings. As Rotary members in the community with a great deal to share to an external audience you should be familiar with these concepts also and therefore properly equipped when considering your marketing tactics.

However, you should first think about what your goal is. Marketing tactics don’t always need to be driven by numbers and many times the engagement with your audience is more valuable.

Earned media refers to the content and conversations about a Rotary-based organization or activity that we as members or clubs influenced but is created by someone else and published somewhere other than your channels. This includes news media coverage, social media mentions, shares and retweets, and blog posts.

Earned media coverage carries more credibility than owned and paid, but it requires you to cultivate strong mutual relationships with journalists, influencers and your target audience.
In some communities, clubs are lucky enough to have photos and reports of their service and events published regularly by a local newspaper. However, other clubs may find it disheartening to send information to media and not see the story taken up.

As people of action, we need to be persistent. Never give up and keep trying with local news outlets. In the process, identify useful information such as: who are the key decision makers, what are the best times of the day to get the attention of the chief of staff or news editor, and, what type of story best entices their readers. Such knowledge when put into practice will maximize the chance that your club's story will get a run.

Here are some tips from industry professionals about how to communicate your requests or story leads with a newspaper or media house:
  • Do it in the morning
  • Focus on ordinary people and the human angle
  • Prepare the main points and messages and have facts ready
  • Be flexible. Stories may need to shift around according to priority
  • Give as much notice as possible
  • Call back quickly
  • Get to the point - add details later
  • Keep it simple...especially quotes
  • Think outside the box: not just photos but videos and sound grabs too
Owned media refers to any channel or profile controlled and maintained by a Rotary-based organization, such as a club website, social media channels and blogs. You control both the content and media channel.
Paid media is any form of media that a club or district pays to use. This includes sponsorships and advertisements. You can control the content, but not necessarily the media channels used to disseminate it.
While each element has its own role, they are equally important as part of your club's marketing strategy.

In guiding your club's public image, be strategic about how one or all these elements can help you achieve your objectives. Each has a different audience so think about who you want to talk to. For example, will paid media give you the best chance of reaching your fundraising goal? Will earned media boost your membership? Is your sole focus on owned media and can you ensure it is kept updated and relevant?

Before jumping straight in, think about your objectives again.

Earned media carries a lot of credibility. It tends to be measured by its advertising value times four. For example, if a newspaper charges $100 for a quarter page advertisement and the story you secured in the newspaper (due to a relationship with a journalist) is a quarter page, the PI (Public Image) value is about $400.
On the other hand, if fundraising is your goal paid media may give you the best chance of reaching that. You might need to pay for some advertising if you need to reach a wider external audience to achieve a certain goal. This probably would be more beneficial than trying to secure an earned media piece.

You can also measure the success by tracking clicks to a website after the advertisement has been placed.

Also think about who your audience is. If you need to reach other Rotary members, then paid or earned media probably won’t be useful to you. Owned media would be your best bet in reaching your audience. You can use your social media channels and websites to create content that is relevant.

Usually, you can measure success of websites by using analytic tools, while social media will offer you information about likes, engagement, shares, retweets and more.

This comes back to what is your club's ultimate goal. A goal may not be about numbers, but, more to do with your target audience coming on a journey with you – whether that is becoming a new member, fundraising, or teaching someone about Rotary.

Each situation is unique, so if you have any questions on your marketing strategy please contact the District 7030 Public Image Team.


What is the most important reason that Rotary clubs strive to maintain an active Facebook presence? Most may say it is to engage current members, attract new members and encourage community support of a club's service projects. 

Given that nowadays there are many Facebook users in every one of our communities, Facebook updates provide a huge opportunity to connect with Facebook users and expand the reach of your club and its membership.

When people are thinking about joining a Rotary-based organization, the first thing they most likely do is research local clubs. 

Your club's Facebook page provides the opportunity to showcase it as a dynamic organization, dedicated to community service, philanthropic activities, fun and fellowship. 

Your club's Facebook presence should complement your club’s website to enhance its relationships with your community and educate those interested in understanding the values and impact of a Rotary-based organization. When your charity work is featured or a new club member is highlighted, others are encouraged to get involved or are enticed to find out more! 

Many hands make light work! Most members are registered on Facebook so challenge all those people to be active on your club page, as well as, the district page.

When members themselves engage with a club's Facebook page with a "like" or by providing and sharing useful content, like pictures and comments, we all become Rotary brand ambassadors. 

When this happens, something powerful occurs on Facebook...INFLUENCE. Our brand ambassadors’ SHARING of their content INFLUENCES others to become INVOLVED by joining and/or supporting Rotary-based organizations.

So...How can you immediately boost the effectiveness of your club's Facebook page?
  • INVITE your friends to follow the page, using the INVITE link.
  • LIKE and SHARE posts that excite or inspire you to your personal page.
  • TAG sponsors and supporters or the District 7030 page if a post is relevant or beneficial.
  • EMPHASIZE the diversity and fellowship of your membership.
  • POST only your best photos of people of action.
Use Facebook to the fullest advantage and tell the world that Rotarians are smart, compassionate, inspiring and persevering.


Taking the Public Image courses on the My Rotary Learning Centre will greatly assist Public Image knowledge and efforts of club leaders and members.

There are a number of courses available in the Learning Centre in My Rotary. These courses are interactive and some can be completed in less than 15 minutes making them ideal for time-poor Rotarians. You will, however, have to log in first – so make sure you have an active account on My Rotary. If you do not know how to do this, talk with your club secretary.
Some of the Public Image training topics available in the Learning Centre include:
  • Building Rotary’s Public Image
  • Our Logo: Representing Rotary
  • The Rotary Brand
  • Public Relations and your Club
  • Promoting your Club as People of Action
You can also learn about the basics of public image through various Zone 34 and District 7030 resources and events such as monthly webinars or even attend the Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) training courses
For those of you looking for a refresher, check out the compilation of public image training videos and webinars available via the District 7030 YouTube Channel.
For those who are time-poor, you can start off by familiarizing yourself with the following key documents which will allow you to start pitching your stories confidently and take advantage of the extensive research Rotary has done to inform organizational branding and marketing policies.
  1. Telling Your Story - 5 Questions To Answer
  2. Rotary Storytelling In The Media
  3. How To Create Powerful Images
Using these three guides will get you and your club off to a good start, but it is always better to spend some time exploring the other resources available to assist you in enhancing your club's public image.


When it comes to public image, any and every club leader, chair, director and member has access to the personnel and support resources provided by the District 7030 and Zone 34 Public Image teams.
No matter the size or scale of a question, a concern or an issue, these teams are here to serve its clubs and members how ever and when ever possible. 
So...Feel free and don’t forget that you can always reach out to the District 7030 or Zone 34 Public Image teams with any public image related inquiries.