Club Insider

PR 101

Navigating Your Local Media Market

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Nancy TrentNancy Trent

Local publicity sells, and now more than ever, it is extremely important to effectively market yourself and your memberships to local media. Building relationships with media in your region can help turn you into a local "media darling," someone journalists can count on and members love. Becoming a media darling will result in increased brand awareness, but becoming a local media darling means a better bottom line for your business.

When it comes to marketing in these exciting times of growth and increasing competition, efforts should be predominantly focused on generating awareness, enhancing your reputation and building credibility, all to help boost sales by getting your brand mentioned for free in magazines, on TV and radio shows, in newspapers and on websites and blogs.

Club managers must be sure to put an emphasis on "sell through PR," publicity that drives members to buy memberships as opposed to "vanity PR," publicity that drives people to recognize your company and vendors that focus on helping facilities market their memberships regionally and locally.

As a club owner or manager and local business operator, you are already paying attention to your local news, politics, sports, tourism, member's affairs, businesses and campuses, and so are people in your community. People are still reading their local newspapers. In fact, not only are they reading articles about memberships and services available in clubs, such as spa services, group fitness training and social events, but they are clipping them, saving them and referring to them at the counter. If your memberships, services or expertise are featured in a local newspaper, you should be prepared for new members to walk into your facility, with an increase in new membership and ancillary sales, too.

As a PR-savvy business operator, you should strive to be a part of your community and engage with your potential future members. By getting involved in local events, providing giveaways and building relationships with news personalities, including newspaper reporters, weekly magazine editors, city guide writers and morning radio DJs, you'll form relationships that can result in important and helpful publicity. Contact your tourism bureau, local chamber of commerce, universities and corporations. See if there are any opportunities to sample or sell memberships at events that may already be going on. You will be considered an integral member of the community, and you will further establish your business place as a valuable "go-to" venue.

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