I just sent out a Press Release to our local media reps. It made me think that I should send out a Blog to you about how to do this to get Free Press in your community. Here's the premise and approach...
Who has the money to take out ads in magazines or newspapers or create a commercial for the radio or television? If you're like most fitness businesses, you don't! But there is a way to get free advertising but you have to work for it.
• Develop a list of key local media contacts in your area including print, radio and TV
• Complete regular mail-outs, emails and fax-outs to develop relationships. Tease them with some health and fitness information. For example, state "I was just at IDEA, The International Health and Fitness Conference in Las Vegas and I learned some of the most incredible exercises for the abdominals. It's stuff you've never seen before. Call me if you'd like to hear more about it" or "I was just at the IHRSA show in San Francisco and I've got to tell you about some of the hottest and craziest equipment new on the market" or offer a human interest story about one of your clients and their success- with their approval of course. Just wet their taste buds and you can expect at least one or two call backs from each of your efforts. Of course each time they run your idea, you are mentioned as the Health and Fitness expert and you can also ask for your business and your number to be listed so people can contact you if they have further questions.
• Offer to write a free weekly/monthly fitness column. The time spent writing the article will be well worth the advertising value.
• Offer key media contacts a couple complimentary sessions so they can try out your services and see what it's all about. Perhaps propose a “Media Fitness Challenge” or “Getting into shape” challenge and rival reporters and producers of various networks against each other. The press you get will be huge.
I can use myself as an example of just how much free advertising you can get. When I first moved to Vancouver, BC, and developed my new business, I started doing regular fax-outs and mail-outs. In the beginning the response was poor. But after a few months, I started to get at least one or two call backs from every effort. Soon I was being quoted in various sources and being asked to appear on local radio and television shows for 3-5 minute guest fitness appearances. In the beginning, I wrote so many free articles and did so many free appearances but the exposure I got was priceless. Then I had my first big break. The Province Newspaper, our daily Provincial newspaper in British Columbia, with a very large circulation, asked me to write a weekly fitness column for them. And get this, they were actually offering to pay me! Can you imagine how much it would have cost me to actually purchase the type of exposure I have received. Then as a result of the newspaper exposure, I was asked by a local publisher to write a book. One-year later "Go For Fit - The Winning Way to Fat Loss" was printed and launched. I started being asked to write by national magazines like Chatelaine. Then I gained interest on the international scene and was asked to do some work with the prestigious Shape magazine. I co-founded and edited a local health and fitness magazine, Go!
Then I got married and moved to the states and had to start all over from scratch. So I repeated the same process. Took about a year of these weekly press releases and teasers and then we got our big break. We were asked to write the weekly fitness column for the Columbian, our city newspaper. Did that for about 3 years. Then got our next big break when the Oregonian, our state newspaper, asked us to start a weekly fitness column. Been doing that for years now and the exposure is incredible!
And all of this exposure by just committing to do some work for free in the beginning. Sometimes new trainers expect things to just happen. If you want to succeed, you will have to work at it. Remember this, what goes around, comes around. And your efforts will not go unnoticed! Short team pain for long term gain!