I had a fab time at Fit Pro talking about Twitter and How To Get Into Radio and it reminded me how a lot of fitness professionals don’t really know how to get free publicity.
Many people in the room didn’t even have a Twitter account let alone use it for business.
And only a handful had been on radio.
So today I thought we would go back to basics and look at how to start getting into the media with the help of newspapers and magazines.
How To Write For Newspapers and Magazines
You probably think you’re not good enough – Or that you don’t have a story to tell, or that you’re not an expert and who would want to listen to you anyway.
But I am here to tell you none of the above is true.
In fact the opposite is true.
You most certainly are good enough – everyone has a story to tell whether it’s about themselves, their clients or the world in general, you most definitely are an expert if you work in health and wellbeing, ask yourself this question: “Do you know more than the average man in the street?” If you’ve studied and sat exams or worked in the industry for a while the answer is a resounding YES and that makes you an expert. And trust me lots of people will be interested in hearing your expert opinion especially when it comes to their health.
Right, now we cleared that up let’s get down to the nitty gritty about how we write for your newspapers whether that’s in your local parish – your nearest town or city or online – I’m sure we would all love to feature in the Huffington Post and it’s a lot easier than you think.
The first thing we need to do is establish which paper to go for and look at their audience.
When you are writing you are not out to engage the journalists and editors – your task is to grab their audience and get their attention. So study who the audience is and speak their language.
If you are trying to get into a newspaper the best idea is to send a Press Release in (I will attach my template and guide).
Now don’t go overboard with words here and let’s not get bogged down in the detail.
You need six paragraphs at the most and the final section at the bottom of the page should be your Editor’s Notes where you put in all that detail they need but you don’t want it clogging up the main story. Things like contact numbers and website addresses – any links to studies or other organisations you may have mentioned.
Make sure your introduction or first paragraph tells the entire story in one sentence WITHOUT any of the detail.
So for example: New super-food is set to revolutionize the diet world.
Then in the following paragraphs you would outline the detail and get some quotes in.
For magazines it’s slightly different you want to pitch your story and you only want to send about 3 paragraphs in.
Again you need to tell the whole story without too much detail in the top paragraph then more detail in the second and third when you outline what kink of piece it is going to be – for example, a light hearted look at…. or a serious political look at – you get the idea?
Magazines work 3-6 months in advance so you need to be thinking ahead all the time when pitching them ideas. I’ve known journalists hold onto a story for an entire year before printing so get in early and be prepared to wait it out.
With newspapers it depends what kind of newspaper it is. For online it’s pretty instant, daily papers have a fast turnaround too and for a weekly paper I would say get your pitch in 2 or 3 weeks ahead if you can.
Sometimes your story might be reacting to a national trend or story and in this case you need to act immediately. Everyone is online nowadays to reaction can be pretty instant.
Who do you need to contact? Well don’t bother the Editors is rule number one. Go for the News Editor on the newspapers and the Features or Lifestyle Editor on the magazines. These are the guys who make the decisions and they are the ones who liaise with the Editor.
Nowadays a lot of journalists are freelance and so you can find them on Help a Reporter Out [HARO] or Journorequest on Twitter.
All you need to do is put yourself out there and big yourself up but not by talking about yourself. Talk about issues – talk about the subject, talk about case studies (with their permission of course) and become the Go To Expert in your town.
Trust me, the journalist is dying for you to get in touch because they are not experts either and need people like you to help them out.
Yvonne “Getting back to basics” Radley xx
PPS: THE BIG ME UP PODCAST is coming soon