Because Hub On Wheels had been in existence for a few years, we recommended a multi-pronged approach to increasing visibility of the new race, without losing sight of Hub On Wheels. We decided to utilize our media partners from the previous years – CBS Radio Boston, Comcast and other local organizations (MBTA, Wall Media, Yelp, etc.) to help us spread clear messaging about the two events.
In addition to utilizing our media partners, we conducted a major outreach to traditional trade, national, regional and local media outlets. We used a variety of race-focused pitches to help secure stories, including profiling local racers and the big-name racers, piggy-backing off sponsor events (i.e. Wheelworks hosted an event to which we invited local racer Mark McCormack), using a “worst-to-first cycling city” approach, etc. We also used the Boston Bikes Facebook page and Twitter to help generate publicity and spread the word about the two events. We also recommended using coverage of the race to promote Hub On Wheels for the following day, in the hopes of boosting day-of registration for Hub On Wheels.
Because Boston had been annually voted as one of the worst cycling cities in America, we were able to capitalize on that with the trade publications, helping us to land feature stories in Bicycling magazine, VeloNews, Bicycle Times, Daily Peloton, etc. In addition to the trade coverage, major Boston publications – Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Improper Bostonian, Boston Magazine, Metro Boston, etc. — also had significant pre-event coverage, while New England Cable News did a live broadcast from the race for their 9pm news, one of the most-viewed newscasts in New England.
As a result, there were an estimated 10,000 spectators for the men’s and women’s races and more than 4,000 people signed up to ride in Hub On Wheels (would have most likely been closer to 5,500 if it had not been raining the day of the ride).