Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2013

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HOW TO GET PRESS FOR YOUR PRACTICE Appearing in the media, whether online, in print, or on radio or television, is a great way to enhance your credibility, demonstrate your knowledge to potential clients, and increase the visibility of your business. It's important to remember that the public is incredibly media savvy; people can, and do, discern a difference between paid advertising and editorial coverage. Far more weight is given to editorial coverage, which is considered to be real news—information of value that can be trusted and acted upon. Most massage therapists (myself included!) don't have the budget for extensive advertising campaigns. Editorial coverage is free and can accomplish many of the same goals of advertising—increasing visibility, building name recognition, demonstrating your expertise, and motivating potential clients to seek you out—in a more cost-effective way. SECURING EDITORIAL COVERAGE How do you convince the media to use you as a source? That's the question public relations firms have spent decades trying to answer. There are only a limited number of opportunities to appear in the press. Though there are now more media venues than ever before, thanks to the Internet, which increases the chances for even the smallest business to get some coverage, the environment remains competitive. Every day, editors, news directors, reporters, and webmasters have to decide who is worthy of their media outlet's limited space. There are some hardand-fast rules: breaking news stories of national and local importance get the lion's share of space, and, depending on your region, sports and weather coverage can eat up a good chunk of the attention. What makes up the remainder? That depends, in part, on the judgment of editors and news directors. Every business is built on relationships, and that's especially true of working with the media. If the space is available, and you've got a good relationship with a reporter or editor, you have a better chance of getting coverage than a stranger who calls to get her grand opening covered. BUILDING STRONG RELATIONSHIPS Building bridges with the media comes down to one simple concept: the easier you are for them to work with, the more likely they'll cover you. The question then becomes: how do you make life easy for the media? 72 massage & bodywork november/december 2013 Something is newsworthy when it is unusual, interesting, or important enough to merit coverage. Talk to the Right Person Not every media outlet is appropriate for every story. You'll want to research the media in your area, and where you'd like your business to be covered. If you're considering newspaper coverage, read that newspaper. Ask yourself what section your story might be appropriate for, and learn who edits that section. If you're interested in being on radio news, listen to the types of stories covered. Does your story fit, or would it seem out of place? Most media outlets tend to repeat themselves, covering stories that are very similar to topics they've already aired. Does the show offer on-air interviews, or is it only the DJ reading news stories? If you're looking for television coverage, pay special attention to locally produced programs. What types of stories are covered? What is the coverage style—folksy and down-home, in-yourface confrontational, or somewhere in between? Internet-based media are a little different. Some sites are incredibly local, like city-wide web magazines, while others are far more general. As a rule of thumb, you want to explore web coverage on sites visited by your clientele and potential clientele. Most people don't travel far for massage, so that may limit you to local web sites. On the other hand, if you're in a tourist or destination location, you have greater options available. You want to reach out only to the ideal type of publications and media outlets for your practice and story ideas. Where your name appears will reflect on your image, so the coverage must be positive.

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