Ever wonder why that one business owner keeps showing up on your local news station? Sometimes it can seem like reporters keep sources in their back pocket, individuals who are ready at a moment’s notice with a perfect, punchy soundbite. Well, here’s the lowdown — they do. You can get that call too though, if you just use public relations to build your own reputation as a fitness guru.
First — be your neighborhood fitness expert
- Judge a competition; lead fitness industry forums; assume leadership roles.
- Write an article or (e)book that takes a stand on an important health topic.
- Promote your track record of fitness industry success through social media, website, advertising, and more.
- Publish endorsements or testimonials from players in the fitness field.
Then, leave a trail of success
- Publicize your publicity. Your website should include a media page showcasing industry or individual awards, your bio, your health club’s history, and any existing media coverage. When the media discovers you, this page becomes their “fact-checking” section, the site where they check name spellings, titles, timelines, etc.
- Maintain social media sites correctly. It’s tough to run a busy fitness center and keep up with the voracious appetite of social media. If you can’t assign an employee to maintain multiple sites, select the couple your members prefer and build a following through those. It’s better to look really good in an elite few sites than struggling along in a dozen.
- Keep LinkedIn and Twitter up-to-date and respectable. They will be used to verify your qualifications. Finally, search the web (Google, Bing, Safari, Yelp, or Duck-Duck-Go) for your company/personal name regularly to tackle and correct bad information before it becomes filler copy.
Got that? Now to meet a reporter, do this:
- Introduce yourself. Reporter names and email addresses are readily available on corporate websites. Or call for contact info. If you’re at an event covered by local news, again, introduce yourself, get their information, and follow up. Position yourself as knowledgeable in your field. Be prepared to explain why.
- Have something to say. Remember, reporters need news for their viewers, not for your bottom line. Here’s when you invite them to experience a trendy new exercise class, describe a relevant fitness movement, or provide an interesting perspective on a timely health issue.
- Keep written communication short – less than 150 words.
- Add an action-oriented subject line.
- Offer to get on the phone with them.
- Be available and ready to discuss your topic when they call.
- Follow up by phone. Get to know them. This reminds them of your gym’s unique features and builds a camaraderie as you learn about their goals, interests, and current projects. Patience pays off.
Remember to handle the gym interview professionally
- Be prepared. Decide who speaks with the reporter, where they will take him or her in your health club, if there will be any additional people involved, and provide everyone with talking points.
- Be succinct and interesting. Stick to the question. Don’t babble or use shady language. If you’re not sure a colloquialism is fashionable any longer, don’t use it.
- Provide relevant material ahead of time, such as video clips, bios, photography of your fitness studio and staff. This all makes it easier for them to put together a news clip quickly.
Don’t ghost your media contact
Reporters were the first social media – they’ve got an enormous glut of time to fill with noteworthy, compelling stories. Call them if there’s an interesting event – even if it does not relate to your business. Bring them up-to-date on changes in the fitness world, offer story ideas relating to the gym business, and provide background material they can use as research. Before you know it, you’ll be on his or her A-list for comments.
I know, you’re wondering, is expert status worth it? Yes.
Even though there are dozens, if not thousands, of ways to publicize your business, old-fashioned journalism coverage still wins for credibility. It’s about third-party verification: You know a lot about fitness. Now a respected someone says the same thing. Your job as a gym owner is to tap into that social capital and promote yourself as a person they can trust to provide accurate, timely information of interest to their community.
A well-run gym requires an organized staff and a plan for success based on understanding the numbers behind your sales. At Gym Insight, our gym management software provides a clear, transparent picture into your company’s financials. Our software is built in-house, by fitness club owners. There are no cumbersome third-party plug-ins or complicated protocols, and it’s available for a single, low monthly subscription price — no hidden fees, no links to your payment processor. Call us today for a free demonstration on how we can lower your software management costs and free up more of your capital!