Skillful use of free publicity. Part 2

Ideas for publicity

To get started, here are a few ideas to consider:

* Pitch a story about how your facility helps consumers save health costs. The media like sharing cost-saving tips with viewers and readers. Pitch this idea to reporters who cover health or consumer news.

* Push your new machines. Got a new machine that works better than the rest? The media love what’s new. Better yet, challenge a TV reporter to use the new machine. Many reporters are hams and love this kind of showmanship. The audience likes it, too.

* Consider talking to reporters about how the Internet is impacting your business, especially if you have a Website. Are people beginning to rely on the Internet for information related to the fitness industry? The media love trends.

* Set up a field trip for kids from a local school and conduct a mini-workshop on fitness. Invite the media.

* Let a few kids run your facility for a day and invite the media.

* Talk to local business reporters about some of the differences between fitness facilities and other businesses, and ask them to do a story on those differences.

* Ride the coattails of national or regional news about the fitness or health industry. Call up reporters and offer to be a source for quotes when that kind of news hits. Reporters always look for ways to localize national news stories, and if they have someone they can call to help them, they will.

Some other ideas for press releases include the follow:

* Use the seasons for releases on tips for staying in shape in the winter or how to not overdo it in the summer heat. Or, offer some of the best exercises to perform to lose weight after overdoing it during the holidays.

* Send out a release on the myth of spot reduction, and give ideas to help people tone up all over.

* Send out a release on new exercises that help condition and strengthen the heart (or any other part of the body).

* How about a release on tips for the perfect workout while on vacation? Remember the key: Connect your facility and the fitness industry to the media’s needs. If you spend just a little time each week thinking about it, you can come up with more ideas to regularly put you in the media spotlight.

Following are some more standard topics for press releases:

* Manager or other staff member attends or presents at a notable conference or meeting

* Hiring new staff

* Relocating

* Celebrating an anniversary

* Donating to charity

* Opening a new facility

Every time your facility’s name is mentioned, it just might trigger people to visit. This can pay big dividends in the long run.

Maximizing your publicity

To maximize your publicity success, view your campaign as a long-term project. Position yourself and your fitness facility as a resource that the media can tap over the long haul. If you chart your campaign, say over five years, it’ll have peaks and valleys, but it will all work together to be a solid and effective publicity campaign that should pump up your profits and keep your business healthy.

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