I mentioned in a previous post that I believed if bloggers were serious about what they do, then they should consider joining professional writers’ organizations. As previously stated, I think that not only does it provide credibility, but allows members to network extensively – not only with each other, but potential employers and other industry representatives.

As it turns out, POMA is holding a membership drive. From the “Why Join POMA?” section of their website:

What is POMA?

The Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) is an organization of outdoor writers, photographers, broadcasters, videographers, illustrators, artists, editors, producers, firms and organizations dedicated to hunting, shooting, fishing, trapping and other traditional outdoor sports.

How does POMA differ from other national, regional or state outdoor communicators’ groups?

POMA is focused on communications professionals, firms and organizations who derive their primary income from the outdoor industry. Additionally, POMA and its members are focused on maintaining the integrity and future of the traditional outdoor sports such as hunting, shooting, fishing, trapping and other traditional outdoor pursuits.

Who is eligible to join POMA as a voting member?

Applicants for voting membership in POMA must meet stringent requirements based on criteria established by the board of directors.

Are corporate, industry, organizational and agency members welcome?

Absolutely. Corporate Partner membership is by board invitation only, and for those organizations that subscribe to POMA’s mission, charter and bylaws. Suggestions for Corporate Partner membership may be sent to [email protected] for processing.

POMA’s Corporate Partners (CPs) are just that – partners. They hold a seat and a vote on the board of directors. In addition, the CP Advisory Council addresses CP-related issues and questions and makes recommendations to the POMA board. For more information on CP membership, please contact Corporate Partner board member Vickie Gardner.

Corporate Partners may apply online, or print an application and mail it to headquarters. After submitting the online membership application, CPs may make payment online or request an invoice and mail payment to headquarters. All membership applications are predicated upon board approval.

Is it true that you are ineligible for membership in POMA if you belong to another outdoor media organization?

No. In no case does membership in another journalists’ organization disqualify or otherwise influence an application for POMA membership.

Noting a substantial cost in the dues structure, what can I expect to get in return for my annual investment?

POMA’s dues are higher than some other journalists’ associations [$200 for individual members, $500 for Corporate Partners]; however, when you study the focus of the organization and the criteria for membership, you will quickly identify POMA as a network of the outdoor industry’s most notable communicators and Corporate Partners.

As a member of POMA, you join and gain access to an exclusive network of professionals, the most accomplished in the industry, and benefit from a level of membership services not offered by other organizations.

POMA is service focused, emphasizing business dealings, technology, Internet use and other elements critical to profitable business operation.

Is the media member application process difficult? Does it require numerous tear sheets and other evidence of qualification?

Definitely not. Because we realize that time is a valuable asset and believe in the integrity of our applicants, POMA’s application process only requires media member applicants to list the required number of credentials for the past year. No tear sheets or editor letters are required.

Before applying, please read the membership criteria carefully.

You can apply online in minutes, or print and mail in an application.

How do I pay my membership fee?

Pay by credit card, e-check, PayPal or by mailing a check to headquarters. After submitting your application, you are taken directly to the payment options page. To pay dues now, click here.

How long does it take for my application to be considered?

POMA bylaws regulate the approval or denial of all membership applications. After receipt, applications are forwarded to the membership screening committee for consideration. The committee generally makes decisions within 10 days. Regardless of the committee’s decision, membership is not activated until the dues payment is received.

If a voting membership application is received without enough credits listed, but the applicant qualifies as an associate member, associate member status will be granted until all required information for voting membership is provided.

Applicants are notified of approval by e-mail, so please make sure that your spam filters accept e-mail from addresses with the @professionaloutdoormedia.org extension.

If an application is denied, the prospective member has the right under POMA’s bylaws to appeal the committee’s decision.

Do I have direct access to POMA’s leadership?

Yes. Via the Web site, e-mail, telephone and postal mail, members have direct access to the board of directors and POMA’s Executive Director Laurie Lee Dovey. Contact us.

What are POMA’s business address, phone number and e-mail address?

POMA’s daily administrative affairs are handled by Executive Director Laurie Lee Dovey and Executive Assistant Shelly Moore. POMA, P.O. Box 1569, Johnstown, PA 15907, 814-254-4719, [email protected]

Does POMA offer annual or semiannual conferences?

Yes. POMA’s annual business conference is considered one of the premier benefits of membership. The three-day conference offers seven to 10 business sessions, field day, editorial content gathering sessions, evening networking gatherings, and much more.

Here is a summary of benefits:

Concrete & Measurable Benefits

POMA offers some of the most innovative membership benefits of any media organization. Take a look at what POMA is doing for its members:

Welcome Packet — New and renewing members receive a welcome packet that includes a hard-plastic POMA ID card, window decals and additional membership information. Carry the ID card in a wallet or purse or have the card punched so it can be worn on a clip lanyard as a conference/trade show badge.

Web Site — POMA’s Web site is divided into two sections, one for the public and one for members only. The public site (www.professionaloutdoormedia.org) provides a general overview of POMA, the mission statement, irrevocable charter, bylaws, membership criteria, membership applications and a FAQs section. The Members Only Web site (www.professionaloutdoormedia.com) requires an individual username and password to access. It houses all information pertinent to members.

POMA Briefs — This newsletter is e-mailed to members biweekly, except in the months of POMA Briefs’ quarterly printings. It’s also archived on the Members Only Web site. A great way for new members to acquaint themselves with POMA’s services and history is to read the back issues of POMA Briefs.

CP Focus — Corporate Partners (CPs) receive a quarterly newsletter focused on CP issues and services. This publication is compiled by the CP board member and sent by e-mail as a PDF attachment.

Annual Business Conference — POMA holds an annual business conference incorporating business sessions and field events. The purpose of the conference is to help all members, media and corporate, grow their businesses and to offer networking opportunities.

Money Line
— Job opportunities and market listings are e-mailed weekly to members. POMA members often have access to these opportunities before they are listed anywhere else. This service isn’t just for media members. Career opportunities for PR specialists, graphic designers, sales and marketing people and more are included.

Business Discounts Program — This program offers discounts on valuable business products and services for all POMA members. Discounts on travel services, advertising, Web site hosting, cameras, computer equipment and much more are included. The Business Discounts Directory, on the Members Only Web site, is updated quarterly.

Trade Tips — This Web-based business service offers vocational and business enhancement tips that cover a wide range of subjects for both media and CP members.

Tech Talk
— This Web-based service offers tips and info on technology, from products to Web sites to computers and software to Internet techniques. Tons of helpful tips for both media and CP members are included.

Tele Seminars
— Thirty- to 90-minute educational teleconference sessions on business, craft, finances and technology offer members opportunities to continue to grow their businesses. Some of the teleseminars have included how to self-syndicate your work and digital photography tips. No other media organization offers this service to its members. The only charge to attend sessions is the long-distance fee for the call.

— Here is a program created especially for a group of members under 35 who are focusing on bringing the industry’s young professionals —journalists, marketing and communications people — together so they can network and build relationships now that will serve the industry later as they move up the corporate and freelance ladders. Veteran members enjoy working with this group to help them provide the services that young professionals need to be successful at work and life.

Member Spotlight — Getting to know fellow POMA members and networking with them is one of the most valuable organization benefits. Spotlight affords members the opportunity to post briefs about themselves with an image or two on the Web site. All Spotlights are permanently archived on the site.

CP Corner — Utilizing a real-time, interactive online posting system, CPs post 50- to 250-word briefs to the CP Corner section of the Members Only Web site for review by members.

Member News
— This section highlights members’ accomplishments, and can be posted to by the membership.

Real-time Profile Update System — Using this system, members ensure that their contact information is always current. The system is also connected to the application process, so new members can access their profiles the day they are approved.

Online Membership Directory — The online directory is set up to work in concert with the application and member profile update systems, ensuring that directory information is current. Members may search the Media, Corporate Partner, Retired and Public Agency databases on several criteria such as name, company and state. Results are listed with a link to the contact information for each member shown.

Quarterly Directories — Printable PDF-format membership directories are posted on the Web site quarterly. The directories are easy to access and print. This system allows POMA to keep the directories as current as possible.

Individual POMA E-mail Address
— Members may request a personalized e-mail address, such as [email protected] Sign-up information is included in the Members Only section, under “Your Own POMA E-Mail Address.”

Member Mailing Lists
— The POMA membership mailing list is available to all members for no fee. The list is delivered in an Excel format that includes mail and e-mail addresses and telephone numbers.

Trade Partnerships — POMA is the first and only media organization to become a member of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and Archery Trade Association (ATA). Membership in these organizations has helped POMA to establish mutually beneficial partnerships with these three key trade groups. POMA is committed to having an annual presence at these organizations’ trade shows to interact with POMA members in attendance.

POMA/NSSF Grits Gresham Communicator of the Year Award; POMA/RBFF Homer Circle Fishing Communicator of the Year Award and the POMA/ATA Fred Bear Archery & Bowhunting Communicator of the Year Award
— These awards are tremendous benefits to the organization and communicators who receive the honors. The awards were developed through partnerships with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and Archery Trade Association. The awards are presented annually at premier functions at the SHOT, ICAST and ATA Shows, respectively.

Discounted NSSF Individual Membership — The NSSF offers POMA members an exclusive half-price individual membership. This is an important benefit because it allows POMA members to take advantage of a competitive health insurance program.

Archery Trade Association (ATA) Partnership — POMA has developed a partnership with the ATA to foster increased interaction between the ATA and the media. This partnership will benefit all POMA members who write in the archery and bowhunting markets.

Special Press Credentials
— POMA works with a variety of organizations to garner special credentials for POMA members that afford easy registration and access to events. POMA also negotiates exclusive POMA member services and benefits at many of these events.

Surveys — POMA’s leadership wants to hear from members on a wide range of organizational issues. So, from time to time, surveys or links to online survey forms are e-mailed to members. By participating in these surveys, members help to shape POMA, its direction and the services it develops.

So, there you have it. Go take a peek at the POMA Website and think it over!