When Was the Last Time You Submitted a Press Release?

July 31, 2011

I’ll bet it’s been a while…if ever. The press release is one of the most misunderstood and underutilized marketing strategies in the fitness industry. By submitting quality press releases to your local media outlets, you’ll get plenty of free publicity for your fitness business.

Press releases are a free form of promotion, and are one of the most powerful. Getting mentioned by a reputable source is much more powerful than a postcard campaign or other advertising you might be planning. Getting mentioned in local news media outlets lends credibility to your health club and will allow your target audience an unbiased way of getting to know you and your business.

First of all let’s discuss what a press release is. It is simply a method of letting reporters and news outlets know about your health club or something that is relevant to your business that would be of interest to their readers, viewers, and listeners. Once these groups receive your press release, they then determine if it’s worthy of mention in their report.

The press release itself is meant to report something newsworthy, not to be a vehicle for self-promotion. Of course you get to mention your business and how it relates to the newsworthy information, but you cannot blatantly promote your services. Your press release needs to be of interest and add value to the readers and listeners of the media outlet you’ve targeted, otherwise they’ll never promote your news.

If something related to your business is worth announcing to the community, submit it for consideration. If you don’t have any new events or business related topics to submit, it’s always a good idea to submit a topic that is relevant to a current event. But if you snooze, you lose. You typically have a very small window of opportunity to submit a timely press release related to a current event before it becomes forgotten news.

Here are some examples of newsworthy information you can submit:

  • You created a self defense class for women at your facility
  • Your facility is a local drop off station for a canned food drive
  • Your facility is celebrating its anniversary
  • You feel that energy drinks are making people fat
  • You are opening a new location in town
  • One of your members lost a significant amount of weight
  • You agree with a local politician’s stance on health care reform

When your press release is picked up by a local news agency, not only will it provide you a nice piece of social proof, it will also get the attention of other news agencies. When one news group picks up your press release, it exponentially increases the chances of getting picked up in other outlets.

How to get them to pay attention to your press release

First of all, make sure the information you send is worthy of their attention and valuable to their readers and listeners. Also make sure it fits the niche of the media outlet you’re targeting. For example, sending a Obama-supportive topic to a heavily conservative news source wouldn’t be the best idea. Or discussing energy drink consumption to a newspaper whose readers average age is 65.

Another thing you’ll need to do is find a “point person” at each news agency. You only want to submit your press releases to one primary person…preferably someone who likes you and your business. The best way to get them to like you is to give them press releases that their audience will be interested in. This will make their job easier and cause them to pick up more of your press releases.

Here are a few more recommendations

  • Find someone who knows someone at the local newspaper, TV station, or radio station. This is an easy way to find a good contact person.
  • Be sure to send your press release to only one person at that business.
  • Be sure you submit only quality information. It’s okay to send a new press release once per month, but make sure it is interesting or important.
  • Keep your press release short. You have plenty to say, but keep it as brief as possible, focus on the key points and keep it at a manageable length. No one wants to spend time reading a 4-page press release.
  • Including a photograph with your press release could increase your chances of getting noticed.
  • Have someone edit your press release. Misspellings and grammar errors are unforgivable.
  • Some people prefer receiving press releases via email, some via mail, some in person. Find out what your contact prefers, and deliver accordingly.
  • Don’t give up. Not every press release will be picked up, but continue submitting. Eventually one will and you will develop a relationship with that news outlet.

Follow these tips and you’ll find yourself with plenty of free publicity from your press releases.