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How to Build Relationships with the Press

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Hayley SchnellNews travels at the speed of a tweet these days, so it’s important to know who reports it. It’s even better to be on good terms with those who find and drive the news. Are you familiar with your local newspaper, TV and radio stations? If not, you should get to know them because they can serve as key assets in promoting your business.

Think about it: In-club marketing and social media efforts are great, but they can only go so far. Your Facebook page may have 1,000 likes, whereas a TV station gets tens of thousands of viewers during the 6 p.m. news. You can get a far bigger platform to share all the exciting things you’re doing if you reach out to the media. With public visibility and credentials, the aid of a media reporter is something you’ll certainly want to leverage.

Here’s how to start building relationships with the press:

Do your research. Through interactions with the press you’ll have the opportunity to maintain a presence in the public eye. To get started, study up on what news outlets are in your area. Look for newspapers, magazines, TV stations and radio stations. Through this initial work, you’ll gain a better understanding of how stories are told and the names of the professionals who cover them.

Reach out to local journalists, especially those who specialize in the topics of fitness and wellness! Don’t wait for them to come to you — start the conversation on your terms. If you have a favorite station or publication, now’s the time to introduce yourself and tell them what makes your business newsworthy. This shows initiative, which could go a long way when a reporter is looking for story ideas. Genuinely read and comment on their articles. Engagement is great for all parties involved.

Know your pitch. What qualifies as news? Anything that’s timely, unique and meaningful. That being said, you need to sell your story. Send an email to a reporter and tell them what makes your pitch special. Be as detailed as possible with the five W’s: who, what, when, where, why. You need to grab their attention and leave no doubt in their mind that they need to cover your event or special business offer.

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Hayley Schnell

Hayley Schnell is a communications manager at Lift Brands. She can be reached at hschnell@liftbrands.com.

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