Fitpros: Do You Know How To Use Info From Press Releases For Your Own Content Marketing?

August 22, 2016

fitness pro use press release for content ideas

The other day, I shared a press release I’d been sent in a fitpro marketing Facebook group. Some of the fitpros in the group asked me how they should use the info in that press release. Here’s what I told them.

First up: what’s a press release?

A press release (or news release) is a document sent out from a business to members of the media. Any business or organisation with news to announce can send one: brand, business, organisation, charity, NGB, sole trader, or the PR people who look after them.

Press releases are typically sent to journalists (in house and freelance), editors, and bloggers. But there are plenty of ways to access them (or get them delivered to your inbox) if you’re a business owner who writes their own content.

There is tons of info online about how to write your own press release. But what about using other people’s press releases as a useful prompt for your own content? With 26 gazillion (<< estimated figure) press releases being generated every day, why not use the info! Here’s how – and why – you should.

What kind of press releases have useful data/stats in them?

Most press releases will be about product news or business announcements. But some will be story-led (particularly in the fitness industry), and others will use data/research/stats as the “hook”. These are going to be the most useful ones for you as a fitpro in constant need of content ideas!

But I’m not a journalist or content writer like you… how can I access press releases?

Here are some resources – visit the sites, see if they distribute press releases in your industry (but do think outside the box, too), and sign up

e releases
PR newswire
PR web
PR genie
ResponseSource
Sport4Media

I’d also recommend signing up to email/newsletter lists. Fitpros could try signing up for latest news from NGBs (national governing bodies) in sport, sports organisations like UKActive and Sport England. PT and fitness training companies are another great source (the type that deliver training to fitpros). It is also worth trying to get on the email list of leading sport and fitness PR companies (like Promote PR) as they will regularly send out useful news about clients and industry research.

Finding your own best sources of industry news is a bit like building a great swipe file. It takes time. You’ll need to keep an eye out for sources, and then bookmark/sign up to them. It will be an ongoing process. But stick at it and before too long you’ll have a valuable resource.

OK. Got it. So how, when, and why would I use “stats” type press release info?

As a fitpro, you need to generate content, right? (PS If you don’t have time, or hate doing it, I can help << click 😉 ) Blog posts, Facebook posts, ideas for emails, newsletter articles. Every hook and idea helps.

Most of the press releases you’ll get won’t be helpful in this regard. But some will contain stats (from a study or survey), data, or industry insights. And you can use those as a hook for your own content.

Here’s an example:

You get a press release from a PT training company who are promoting their qualification for training older gen pop. As a hook for that press release, they have done a survey into attitudes and misconceptions about fitness. In the release, they give a load of stats from their in house survey.

>> 75% of women over the age of 55 have never gone into the free weights area of the gym. 63% of over-60s believe that lifting weights overhead will damage the spine.<> “Did you know that 75% of women over the age of 55 have never even set foot in the free weights area of a gym? That’s according to new researched published by XX Training Company, who recently surveyed XX men and women aged 50-70.”<<

(Then you'd add your own content, about how you can help older people train safely and with confidence… or whatever it is you do.)

You need to credit the course, and say where the stats are from. All the information you'll need will be on the press release.

Is that helpful? If you have any questions about using press release information for your own content, or about writing and circulating your own press releases, get in touch. I can help!

TheFitWriter Nicola Joyce on Facebook

Fitpros: Do You Know How To Use Info From Press Releases For Your Own Content Marketing? is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

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12 Years In Business (Part 2)

June 3, 2016

Sorry for the cliffhanger!

1st June 2004 was when I set up in business as a freelance copywriter. So, 2 days ago, I wrote a quick blog post about how I got to that point in my life and career.

Recap here if you need to catch up.

So there I was, in 2003. I’d just been made redundant from my Conference Production job. And I was ready to move out of London.

I made my way to Southampton (long story involving a man, which is another story for another day, preferably over a gin & tonic please… although you could read this if you can bear it!)

Once there, I took a role via a recruitment agency. Trouble is, their geographical knowledge of the south coast wasn’t great. And my knowledge about the A-road system in that part of the world was nonexistent. As a result, my new job turned out to be a couple of hours away. My heart wasn’t in it from the start. Quite honestly, I was terrible, and I made no effort to be better. I sometimes wonder if I wanted to be sacked? Anyway, I was.

In hindsight, I should never have taken another “real job”.

I should have made the leap right away.

But I guess I needed to be certain….

I’d always wanted to write as a career. As a kid, I wrote (terrible) short stories, meticulously hand-written in A4 hardcover notebooks. One of my clearest memories of primary school is when a local author came in to give us a talk. I studied English and critical writing for both my BA and Masters degrees. And my 32-year streak of keeping a journal recently made it onto BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour.

At the time, I was training to swim the English Channel. I thought to myself, look, if I can’t get a foot in the door as a sport and fitness journalist with a first-person feature story about swimming the bloody English Channel, then I clearly can’t pitch, can’t sell, and can’t spot a good story. I’ll give it a go.

And that’s what started it all.

From that initial feature, I struck up good relationships with the Editorial teams at various sport and fitness magazines. Over the years, my journalism career grew, and I’ve now written for consumer magazines, trade journals, the membership magazines of NGBs, the Washington Post, and books published by The Observer and by Weider/Muscle and Fitness.
nicola joyce journalist
Early on, I realised that I would struggle to build a business on journalism alone. I wanted to be more commercial, to deal with clients, to have a scalable business, and to make more money.
nicola joyce copywriter
So I took on copywriting work for local businesses. My journalism skills and experience were a useful foundation.

I networked relentlessly. I put myself out there at fitness industry events (Paul Mort’s FEB was pivotal for me). I took training courses with industry bodies and with independent copywriting coaches. I studied sales, marketing, advertising. I branded myself, walked the talk, and grafted hard to deliver good work.

And now it’s 2016. I can’t quite tell you how I got here. A strong brand, good quality work, focusing on a nice. Tenacity, consistency, and enjoying what I do.

A lot of exciting things are happening at The Fit Writer towers. Business is changing, and I’ll be rolling out at least one new service soon.

But copywriting for the fitness industry will always be at the core of what I do. I love it.

…I’m so glad I was made redundant in 2003!

See you at:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

12 Years In Copywriting Business: Part 2 is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


12 years in business! (Or “Why Being Made Redundant Was The One Of The Best Terrible Events In My Life”)

June 1, 2016

nicola joyce freelance copywriter the fit writer

12 years ago today, I officially set up in business as a freelance copywriter.

In 1999, I left Uni after hanging about for an extra year doing a Masters (partly because I wasn’t ready to leave).

I worked in admin for a holiday company in my University’s city (mostly because I wasn’t ready to leave) and then made my way to…where else… London.

I lived in a houseshare in Archway with Uni mates. I shared a house in the wilds of South Woodford with one Uni mate, our very old landlord, and his disgusting German Shepherd dog. I lived in a beautiful house with my new London friends (and – randomly – a friend from secondary school) in Tulse Hill. We said we lived in Dulwich.

I worked in “conference production”, which these days would probably be called Content Development & Offline Marketing For Corporate Events (or something).

The company was owned by a huge publishing brand. My job involved interviewing very high-level execs, extracting research information from them, and writing it up into various formats (including the titles, topics, and structure of the conference, as well as the copy for the conference brochure, promotional web copy, and letters).

This was before email was widely used in marketing. And long before social media was big enough to be a marketing tool.

I went in at the very lowest level, and eventually became a Lead Producer in two different conference departments.

The in-house training was market leading at the time. It set the blueprint for various conference companies which followed it its footsteps.

It taught me…

** to think VERY quickly and commercially.

** to come up with themes, topics, and titles against tight deadlines, and to write them in the most compelling way. Our events lived and died by delegate bookings. Not enough sales? Your event would be cancelled, and you lost money (for the firm, and for yourself).

** to be fearless about picking up the phone and asking strangers to give me their thoughts about industry trends.

** how to write for the web, for email, for direct mail, for marketing and sales, for post-sales.

** how to use my curious mind to learn just enough about a lot of topics in a very short amount of time.

Then I was made redundant.

But it was OK. Around that time, I’d met the guy who would be my husband (then my ex-husband), and I was training to swim the English Channel. I was growing, and I’d outgrown the conference world. Truth be told, my mind was already out of there.

You might think that’s when I set up “thefitwriter” and went freelance.

You’d be wrong. I had one more lesson to learn…

Keep up with me on social media
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

12 years in business! (Or “Why Being Made Redundant Was The One Of The Best Terrible Events In My Life”) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


Step-by-step guide to getting featured in local magazines

January 10, 2016

How would you feel about being the health or fitness expert in your town’s local lifestyle magazine? Pretty good, right? Imagine it: a page (or a double page spread) every month with your words, your logo, your business name.

How can that local health and fitness column be yours?

Novemberweb

I’m going to show you. You might think “why me?” Well, why not you. You’re good at what you do, aren’t you? And you genuinely want to help people in your local area with health, fitness, nutrition?
Plenty of fitpros want to be in their local magazine. But hardly any of them will actually take action.

Here’s how to get your content published in local lifestyle magazines.

1) Get The Magazines

Firstly, you need to actually get hold of physical copies of local magazines. Go for a wander round your town, look in dentists’ reception areas, hairdressers, health food shops, railway station waiting rooms. Maybe your town has a local magazine or two put through the door – great, you already get those. Keep hold of them. Ask local friends and family which lifestyle magazines they receive or read, then find a copy.

2) Read The Magazines

Crucial step! What content is already in them? What type of person reads them? Will it be a worthwhile use of your time?  If they already have a health/fitness contributor, they probably won’t want another (but if you’re very niche and think it’s still a fit, go for it, just be very clear on why you should be featured). Familiarise yourself with the topics, style, angles and type of content they feature. Get to know the magazine, audience and advertisers.

3) Check Out Their Online and Social Content

Now you’ve narrowed it down to 2 or 3 local magazines. Go and find their Facebook page, Twitter feed and any other socials. Look at their website. Aim to familiarise yourself as much as possible with the magazine’s content and ethos. Now, when you make contact,  you look like you’ve done your homework and you can speak their language.

4) Find The Correct Contact

This is the easy bit. The editorial staff will be listed in the magazine and/or on the website. If there’s a health/fitness editor, contact them. It’s unlikely, though. The team is probably pretty small, so contact the editor.

5) Get Your Ideas Together

What can you offer this magazine? You need to show that you will be a never-ending source of good content. You’ve read the magazine, you’ve looked at their online content. It shouldn’t be too difficult to come up with 3 or 4 ideas for a column. Think about your local demographic. What will they want to know? Think time of year, local events, awareness days, hot topics, things which these people will be wondering or talking about. Present your ideas as solutions to things readers want to know.

6) Write An Intro Email

There are a number of ways to actually get in touch. But I think the best way is to send an introductory email to your editorial contact. Just as with your own email marketing, think about email subject line. Then simply introduce yourself and say what you want to do. Be clear, concise and polite. If you need some pointers on this, I can help so please get in touch Here’s a rough outline:

  • you notice they don’t currently have a health/fitness contributor
  • you’re a local expert with XYZ credentials
  • local people are currently talking about XYZ
  • you would love to contribute monthly content to the magazine
  • here are a couple of examples
  • you can quickly provide compelling, engaging and accurate content on an ongoing  basis
  • and you can provide high res images

7) Send It, Then Follow Up

Follow up with a very short email after a couple of days. Then a phone call if necessary. Keep a note of responses. Start a spreadsheet of magazine, editor, contact details, when you got in touch and what the outcome was.

8) Be On The Ball

Editors need contributors who are reliable. Make sure you give them exactly what they ask for in the brief (no more and no less). Meet their deadline. Provide logos, images and whatever else they ask for. It goes without saying that you’ll need to make sure your copy is accurate, so check for typos and errors.

9) Didn’t Work? Try Another Magazine

If your follow ups lead to a “no”, move on to the second magazine on your list. Simples.

10) Still Didn’t Work. Have A Plan B

If you’ve exhausted all the relevant online and print magazines in your local area, there’s one more thing you need to do. Do not let that content go to waste. You came up with several ideas for articles. So use them: on your own blog, Facebook page, in emails, as video…. just use them.

11) It Did Work: What Now?

Now you’re the magazine’s go-to fitness expert, how can you make the most of this valuable relationship? Who’d like a blog post about what to do once you’re an established contributor?  Let me know.

Here’s another blog post from TFW which might help: How Fitpros Can Connect With Editors/Bloggers/Media

I hope this works for you, or at least gives you some ideas (or a kick up the bum!) Let me know how it goes. You can get me here in the comments section or at Facebook
or Twitter.

Step By Step Guide To Getting Featured In Local Magazines is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


Should a fitness copywriter have writing experience, fitness experience, or both?

January 5, 2015

The internetwebs – particularly social media – has flattened the landscape somewhat. It’s democratised things. Instagrammers with a good set of abs and a frisky amount of followers brand themselves “fitness models”. Clients no longer necessarily need to see their PT. And prefacing your online biography with the word “[aspiring]…” seems enough to do away with the need for a portfolio, qualifications, or real-life experience. In any sphere.

I feel I may have got off on the wrong foot with this one. So, before you all think I’ve got an axe to grind (I haven’t – if I had, I wouldn’t waste time grinding it, I use it to tackle my garden), I’ll explain the context for today’s post.

My client-now-friend Mike Samuels of Healthy Living Heavy Lifting recently posed a question to his Facebook followers: “do you need to actually train people to coach online and write about fitness?”

The video post prompted responses from trainers, coaches, PTs and PT clients. And from me. I responded as a copywriter. More than that, as a copywriter who specialises in writing about, and for, fitness businesses.

So, of course, my reply to the writing portion of the question was a resounding “no”. Although I do have extensive experience of training, being coached, and even competing in various sports, I don’t think this is a deal-breaker. After all, I also write for a funeral car company, and I’ve never designed a car, driven a hearse, or arranged a funeral. My fitness clients include businesses whose niche is running (I haven’t run properly for years) and post-partum yoga (I don’t have children, and corpse pose is my favourite because it involves lying down and having a nice sleep).

Now, granted, the context of Mike’s question was a PT who had approached him, asking about moving into exclusively online coaching and writing about fitness, rather than face-to-face PTing.

But it got me thinking.

In this online age, where boundaries get blurry and self-styled job roles merge, what do clients actually prefer?

A copywriter who can write about fitness?

Or a fitpro who can write?

Does it no longer matter? What’s more important: official training and experience in writing, or hands-on experience of the topic being written about?

Can a writer understand enough about a topic to be able to write about it with authority? And can a topic-expert know enough about how to get inside a reader’s head to write content which persuades and engages?

I don’t know. But I’d love to know your thoughts, particularly if you have ever commissioned anyone to write content for your business (or publication).

*No axes were ground during the composition of this blog post*

Should a fitness copywriter have writing experience, fitness experience, or both? is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


I’m on a podcast (… so now you can hear what I sound like… !)

August 18, 2014

Screen shot 2014-08-18 at 17.37.57

Check my riddims! Not only am I blogging twice in the same day (!) but I’ve been interviewed on a podcast.

(Fun fact: “Be on a podcast” was one of my goals for the year. TICK!)

The lovely Katie Bulmer-Cooke interviewed me for her podcast – you can listen to the episode (number 7 I believe) here or directly on Katie’s website.

If you like it, share it!

Here’s what you’ll find out by listening to my interview:

– why fitpros and fitness businesses need to create more content
– how to reuse every single bit of content you produce
– the sporting challenge which kicked down the door and started my freelance writing career
– why your writing is part of your brand
– how to deal with awkward situations like… um… interviewing an Olympic athlete whilst they’re taking an ice bath
– how to find something to blog out within 30 seconds (it’s so easy!)
– why I think of myself as “a little dog” (did I really say that? I’m so weird)
– what I sound like when I guffaw at my own jokes

Thanks for the interview, Katie! x 🙂

I’m on a podcast (… so now you can hear what I sound like… !) is a post from the Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


Easy ways to generate content for your business blog

July 24, 2014

Do you struggle to find things to blog about? If you’re a sole trader, owner/manager, or the person responsible for marketing, chances are you have a business blog (if you don’t… start one!)

One of the biggest grumbles I hear from people with work-related blogs is “I don’t know what to blog about!”

Yes, you do. And I’m going to tell you how to uncover it.

professional blog content writer

I’ll aim this at fitpros and brands/businesses within the fitness and wellness worlds, cos that’s who I work with. But, really, this advice could apply to anyone in any sector. I’ve actually written something similar – based on a presentation I delivered to a local business networking group (none of whom were fitpros) – you might like to read my advice for small businesses – why write in your authentic voice

Here’s a professional copywriter’s advice on how to generate blog content every single day (your only problem after reading this will be finding the time to blog it all. Hint: get in touch with me 😉 )

What are your clients talking about?
– you see your clients regularly, and you have a good relationship with them. You’re not just a fitpro to them, you’re a sounding board, a therapist, a friend. They tell you what they’re worried about, what they’re excited about, what confuses and intrigues them about health and fitness. They are your eyes and ears – listen to them and they’ll tell you what your next potential client is almost certainly thinking about.

What do your clients ask you?
– what do your clients actually ask you? What exact questions do they come to you for, looking for an expert answer? In their eyes, you’re the expert, and that’s how your blog is going to position you, too. Take those questions, and blog with an answer to them. Chances are, someone is actually Googling that question. SEO, my friend, SEO…

What’s hot in your industry right now?
– You know what’s creating waves in your industry. Regardless of how seriously you take the latest discussion/argument, or how long you think the next fad is going to stick around, these things are on your prospects’ radar, too. So blog about it. Your opinion, your advice, your experiences.

Use the news
– Had a news story broken which affects or feeds off the fitness industry somehow? The news is a great resource for your own blog posts. There’s something in the news every day which somehow refers back to health, fitness, weight loss, wellness. Use news, stats, research. Local news (great if you’re trying to dominate your local area) and national news. Link back to the story for better SEO.

Memes and infographics

– Content is about more than just words. It’s becoming increasingly more visual. Consider making memes and infographics to illustrate your blog posts and to give you another angle on creating compelling content which your followers are likely to share and engage with.

Numbered lists and top 10s
– Stuck for a blog post? Here’s an easy way to break your writer’s block: choose a topic, and do a “top ten reasons why….” or “ten easy ways to…” type post. Easy to write, easy to read, great to share.

Create a theme
– Use regular themes within your blog: perhaps a mindset/motivation post on a Monday, a workout type post on a Wednesday, a healthy recipe on a Friday. Not only will this make blogging easier for you, but your readers will come to expect the content and will look forward to their favourite posts from your blog.

And here are some practical tips (because it’s all very well having all those fabulous ideas, but you’re busy and likely to forget them)

carry a notepad and pen with you at all times. Or have a note-taking function on your phone/tablet. If a brilliant idea for blog content strikes whilst you’re rushing between clients, setting up your circuit class stations, or making a coffee… make sure you can make a note of it

Just do it. Don’t procrastinate. The nice thing about blogging is that you can do it quickly and get it out there. And it’s a medium that lends itself well to being time-sensitive and reaction. So… just get on with it

Reuse and recycle your content. Once you’ve written your blog post, use that bad boy! Push it out via your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other social media (personal and business). Put it in an email and send it to your list (with links to your website of course). Use the first paragraph in your digital customer newsletter with a juicy enticement to click through. Add it as a Facebook note. Consider using it as part of that ebook you’ve been meaning to write for a year. You get the idea

– have an editorial schedule. Treat writing, and blogging, as part of your business strategy (because it is)

– set aside regular time for blogging, just as you schedule in time for other business matters

– and… outsource! If you can’t do it yourself, or don’t want to, contact me. Writing content (including blog content) for people just like you is exactly what I do as a job. You have no idea how many of the fitness industry blog posts out there were written by me!

Easy ways to generate content for your business blog is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


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