How to get your gym in the press

Christina Eccles is the Editor of Workout Magazine, one of the UK’s top industry magazines. Christina has been a journalist for 10 years and has been the editor at Workout Magazine for the past three, so she certainly knows a thing or two about attention grabbing stories and what will make your fitness club newsworthy!

We met with Christina to learn what gyms can do to get noticed by the media and raise their profile.

The Fitness Network:

What sort of news are you interested in hearing from gyms?

Christina:

I don’t really have a set criteria, it could literally be anything interesting which a gym or trainer is doing. I am always really keen to hear any success stories from gyms whether that’s from members, staff, or a particular event that’s gone well, such as an open day or charity fundraiser.

I think anything that’s going to help inspire other operators or which showcases how you have boosted business for your club is always great to share, as well as news stories that relate to best practice. Any stories relating to trends that you may have noticed in your club seem to go down well with our readers.

The Fitness Network:

And what really ISN’T news?

Christina:

To be honest I think I’m quite lucky really, I never really receive anything too out there for our readers. I would say though that for industry trade press, stories around training plans and fitness regimes don’t really work for our readers. However, that’s not to say it isn’t newsworthy as this may work on a local level if your paper features a health and fitness section. It’s definitely worth picking up the phone and finding out, as being featured in your local media can be a great way to raise the profile of your club and your personal trainers.

The Fitness Network:

What is the best way for a gym to grab your attention?

Christina:

I think a phone call is always the best way to start but, personally I really like to try and visit a facility I am writing about, if I can, as it really helps me to create a picture in my mind when I am writing an article. So an invite always goes down well.

I run a regular feature in the magazine called ‘Challenge Christina’ so if your facility has anything new or a bit unusual, that’s certainly going to grab my attention as I am always keen to try out the latest trends.

As social media is growing within the industry, that’s always another great way to grab our attention, particularly video content. So if you’ve got something interesting happening at your facility, perhaps a new class or an event then make sure to post the details on the Workout Magazine Facebook page or tag us in your Twitter posts as you never know, it may just get included as a feature!

The Fitness Network:

How important is it to have images which depict your stories? (And what makes a good image)

Christina:

I can’t stress enough how important images are, you wouldn’t believe the amount of great stories we receive without the right imagery.

“Getting the right images are so important as they will really bring your story to life”

Getting the right images are so important as they will really bring your story to life. It’s particularly important when showcasing any refurbishments or new additions to your facility. You should also always try and include an image when announcing new appointments, as a picture helps our readers to put a face to a name. Including good quality images may also increase your chances of gaining a bigger piece of coverage.

Top tips for images:

1. Invest in a digital camera to have at your facility as photos for print need to be at least 1mb in resolution, ideally the higher the resolution the better though.

2. Make sure the picture you are taking is clear and in focus. There’s nothing worse than receiving a great story with blurry photos.

3. If you’re hosting an event and taking pictures make sure you have permission from the person in the photo. Also, if you are sending photographs to a magazine or your local paper also make sure they are clearly labelled as to who’s in the picture.

4. Finally, try and make sure your photos are bright, colourful and as eye catching as possible if you can!

The Fitness Network:

As well as working with titles like Workout, what other ways can gyms raise their profile?

Christina:

There are lots of things that gyms can be doing to raise their profiles both nationally and locally:

1. Social media is a great way to start, we’ve seen a huge trend of clubs uploading top tip style video from Personal Trainers. It’s also a great way to interact with your customers and gain new ones as you could offer virtual tours of your facility.

2. Enter your club for an award, this could be anything from a local business award or even the National Fitness Awards. They are a great way to raise your club’s profile and to celebrate the hard work your team has put into the club.

4. I’d also recommend that gyms should engage with their local community – find out what events are happening and see how you can be a part of it. That also means contacting your town’s local paper. Invite them down to come and see how great your facility is or even offer them a free guest pass.

5. Last but not least, and something which a lot of gyms tend forget is to position yourself as an expert and find out what your staff specialise in. Let the media know you are available to comment on a specific area, whether that’s nationally or locally as journalists are always on the look out for expert comments for features.

 

Posted in Gyms & Clubs, Most Popular Interviews, The Fitness Network.
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