For fit pros it can be difficult coming up with new things to write about for your press release every week and often you can feel like you’re banging your head against a brick wall as you just seem to get ignored week after week.
This week I am going to give you the inside edge to get into your local paper. I used to work for my local paper as a journalist so I know the kind of things they’re looking for and more importantly the kinds of stories they are NOT looking for, so you can stop bashing your head against that brick wall.
First let’s tackle the things they won’t publish. They won’t publish your new class timetable they would rather you take out an advert. They won’t publish the fact that one of your clients has dropped a dress size; again it’s just promoting your services for free. They won’t publish an article about a new awesome class you’re running, again they will tell you to take out an advert.
However, there are ways you could get all 3 of these articles published with a little help. You need to make your stories newsworthy, give them an angle, and think like an editor. What would make your new class timetable newsworthy? What kind of angle could you put on it? Well you could invite your local rugby club down for some taster sessions, pictures of fit men doing Zumba and Pilates will go down a storm – or you could attempt a world record and try and do as many classes as you can in 24 hours, local papers love this kind of thing. Try and think in pictures – what pictures would look good.
How do we get the woman who’s dropped a dress size into the paper – unless she has an amazing story to tell (like it helped to save her life, or she managed to conceive after trying for ages) then it’s going to be hard. But what if you add up all the weight lost by your clients over the last year – or the last 10 years depending on how long you’ve been teaching? What if that added up to 10 double deckers or an ocean liner? Now you’ve got a story with an angle and some great pictures to go with the article.
You have a new class running – how can you get some publicity? Admittedly it’s not the greatest news story in the world so how can we turn it into the greatest news story in the world? What if the class was totally created by you – it was the new Zumba! You would have to big yourself up in your press release and get quotes from your clients who claim it’s better than Zumba, get them to tweet and Facebook about it to all their friends and tag the local paper of course, tweet a video of your class to a celebrity like Cheryl Cole and tell the paper you’ve sent it to her, if she tweets you back – you’re in, no problem at all! And if she doesn’t – tweet another celebrity until you get one who does. Local papers love a chance to put a celebrity on the front cover, so you see you could even make front page news with that one.
Five other quick ways of getting in the paper are
1: Hold a charity event or appear at a charity event
2: Call up with a comment on a national health story
3: Enter a team into a major event like Race for Life
4: Invite a reporter down to your classes for a month for free so they can write a feature piece about your classes
5: Get a local celebrity to come to your classes
And here’s another insider tip for you – local papers go to bed on a Wednesday, meaning the content is given a final proof read and it gets sent to the printers. So Tuesday is quite a good day to contact your local newsroom as they are looking for things to fill the paper and they might have a big hole on page 11. If you can provide them with a story – quotes and pictures, imagine how happy they would be.