How to Harness the Power of Free, Local Media Coverage
We all spend time and effort on social media, websites and blogs to promote our businesses. But there’s another, traditional way to get free exposure to the masses in your area, and it’s often overlooked or dismissed.
That’s free media coverage on TV and radio and in newspapers. Yep, the old dinosaurs still have plenty of value for you – particularly now with so much huge, serious news happening everywhere.
And, you might not realize it, but newsrooms everywhere are understaffed and overworked. They want local, positive stories related to bigger events going on all around us – and businesses helping people stay healthy during a pandemic? Huge. They don’t have time to think about what would be a good idea. They need you to make it easy for them.
In other words: What you do is newsworthy, especially this year. Getting featured or quoted in local media can be highly effective in gaining brand exposure, presenting yourself as a community expert, and building connections.
What makes something newsworthy
The first step in getting the attention of reporters and editors is to come up with a story that fits their needs. They didn’t go to work each morning thinking about how they can promote you or fitness in general. They are probably not aware of what’s trending in fitness – or what you are doing to provide a safe, effective workout to help your community.
They want legitimate news, so make it easy for them to see newsworthy elements, such as:
- Timeliness – Something just happened, is happening, or is about to happen
- Novelty – a new, fresh angle
- Human interest and emotion
- Impact – dollars raised, pounds lost, lives improved
For TV, add in visuals and think about how it looks. People exercising? Responsibly? Happily? GOLD. Examples today include:
- How gyms are helping charities, healthcare workers, and other local businesses through these tough times
- Outdoor exercise classes or group training
- Helping “older” people with online training (This one has it all!)
- If you’re allowed to welcome people into your location, what are you doing to ensure a clean, safe environment?
- Gyms lending or giving equipment to members at home
- Fitness professionals lobbying state and local leaders about Covid-19 restrictions, focusing on how you help people.
Next, you need to contact your local media, whether it’s a big-city newspaper, a free weekly, a radio host, or a TV reporter. Follow these tips.
- Take the time to find the right reporter or editor to email with your pitch. Don’t just call and ask to talk to someone or send an email blindly. Some reporters “cover” local businesses; health and fitness; or “positive” community news. Look for them.
- Point out what makes the story relevant right now or at a specific date in the future (an upcoming annual 10K, a local historic anniversary, etc.)
- Do not suck up and do not insult. No comments about “lamestream media,” “fake news” or, “I know you don’t like to report when good things happen…”
- Be sure your email has your contact information – email, cell phone, land line, social media.
Even before you start pitching your story
Build relationships with local media people even if you don’t have something specific you want covered. Let them know who you are and what you’re all about, and suggest they keep you on file for when they need to interview a local trainer, businessperson, fitness expert, and so on.
- Follow their social media accounts. “Like” or comment on their posts. But don’t be a stalker or too flattering.
- Always be courteous, transparent and honest. Don’t oversell. Don’t engage in controversy about anything. It will only come back to haunt you.
- Stress how you want to help people, and make clear the key messages you promote about health and fitness.
What you do matters. Sometimes, it’s also newsworthy. So, make the most of this potential to reach a huge audience with your message for free.
Schedule a free consultation with one of our Success Coaches to discuss possibilities in your market and other ways we can help you grow your business now and in the future.