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.


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…

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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.


Week 5 catch up – congratulate yourself

November 26, 2015

Another late “weekly catch up” from me! I like to keep things fresh. Thursday is the new Sunday (or something).

Truth be told, I don’t feel I have a great deal to report which is perhaps why I’m dragging my feet. We’ve talked about setting a goal for the 8-week challenge/thing, discussed keystone habits, fessed up to our red flags, and I’ve banged on and on about journalling.

As we head into the second half of our 8 weeks, what would be useful to discuss?

How about celebrating even the smallest successes? I’ll admit that my “measurable” progress with my goals have been up and down, certainly not linear, and I’ve felt a bit like I’m going two steps forward and one step back.

But I’m essentially an optimist and like to see the positives, or at least the opportunities for doing better.

So here’s what I’m giving myself small pats on the back for this week:

– not just keeping up with my dog walking activity since it’s turned so cold and dark, but actually increasing it. I’ve switched my daily schedule around a bit (when I can) so I can make the most of light mornings, and I’ve been heading out for 1 hour+ and tackling at least one decent hill in that morning walk.
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– identifying “red flag” feelings (this week it’s mainly been feelings of frustration about a work project) and doing something proactive rather than reacting by getting all wound up. When I can, I’ve gone for that daylight dog walk when a conference call got rescheduled (etc). Work frustration and feeling “stuck to my chair all day” is a key “red flag” feeling for me, so this week I’ve been trying to flip my reaction to it.
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– going training even when I didn’t feel like it
. For some reason, just this week I have really started to struggle with training after work. It hasn’t just felt a bit hard, it’s felt awful! I can barely keep my eyes open, the drive to the gym is horrible, I feel in a foul mood, and I don’t feel strong at all. So I’ve made it my mission to get motivated: play music in the car or at home before I go, dance about a bit (before I go, not at the gym), arrange training with a buddy, design myself a session I know I’ll love (or that scares me bit!)

– having a full day off when I really thought I needed it. On the flip-side, there was one day this week when training just wasn’t happening. I started getting ready to lift weights, and realised I really, really didn’t want to go. Not only did I not want to go, but I didn’t “need” to (in that my other sessions over the week covered everything). So… I didn’t go. It’s hard to do, actually! But I knew it was the right decision. Instead I ploughed through a load of work, did some housework and got other sh*t done. Later that day, I was due to go boxing (which I love). But the thought just made me want to curl up and go to sleep. So after a bit of soul-searching, I decided to give myself a break. I had an evening at home, and thoroughly enjoyed it. And you know what, the next day I set a new PB in the gym!

What can you congratulate yourself for this week? Even if it’s not something you would normally think of as “good”?

In other news: two new PBs this week! A deadlift PB of 142.5kgs (I’d been stuck at 140kgs for ages and knew I had a bit more in me) and a debatable 62.5kgs for bench. I think my training partner might have helped a teeny bit. It certainly wouldn’t have passed in a powerlifting comp. But I put 62.5kgs on the bar and I pressed it! I’ll get it properly-properly soon, and I’ll certainly congratulate myself for it! It wasn’t so long ago that I couldn’t even bench 60kgs!

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Week 5 catch up – congratulate yourself 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.


Week 3 & 4 catch up (red flags)

November 17, 2015

I really am winning at life with this whole “return to blogging thing”!

You know how it is, the longer you leave something the more difficult it is to get back to it.

So – I’ve just decided to write something tonight even though I’m not sure what I’ve got to say.

We need a catch-up for weeks 3 and 4 of the 8-week challenge/thing.

How have you been getting on?

I can report that I’ve been making slow but steady progress, getting my sh!t in order, knuckling down to a more regular training routine and structured eating plan.

It hasn’t been perfect (what is?) but I’ve been tracking and journalling everything, so I can look back and identify what’s still causing me to stumble, how I can improve, and what I can do better in the remaining 4 weeks of our “challenge”.

In the previous round up post, we talked about keystone habits.
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Today, let’s talk about what I call “red flags”. These are things which you know full well can derail you, and which you can sometimes see or feel as “incoming”, but which can also trip you up when you least expect them.

I’m getting much better at seeing my own “red flags” coming at me, and better too at identifying and understanding them.

The clever bit, of course, is in dealing with them! Not sure I’m quite there yet, but here’s what I try to do… when I remember…

Here are some of my red flags (in the context of sorting out productivity, eating habits, and healthy lifestyle changes – my general aims for this 8 week challenge)

Being tired
– What I do about this: go to bed! If this isn’t practical, then I just try to be gentle on myself. Take a rest day from training if I’m feeling really rubbish. Or go for a walk instead of a hard training session.

Creating too big a calorie deficit (either from food in, or energy out)
– This is an obvious one, but it’s something I still find difficult. Maybe it’s from doing so many years of bodybuilding contest prep in a row, or maybe it’s just that I’m not very good at maths. But I can quite easily go “too low” in calories either from not eating enough, or from expending too much energy. And then after 5 days, almost like clockwork, my body sends me very clear signals!

Being pissed off at having to walk the dog in crappy weather
– This sounds really silly, but I’m just being honest! If it’s dark, cold, raining and/or blowing a gale, I can feel “hard done” by and get in a really foul mood about life in general LOL! What I do about it: just try to calm down. Walk the dog, but then come home and take my time getting warm and dry, and chilling the f*ck out…

Feeling “left out” (possibly what some people call FOMO – fear of missing out?)
– An odd one to try and describe. Because I live alone, I can sometimes feel as if every one else (yes, every single other person on the entire planet) it out doing amazingly fun things, and I’m just at home, and nobody knows where I am or cares… wah wah wah… (you can probably see how this can quite easily turn in to a negative mindset, especially if combined with “being tired” and “having to walk the dog when it’s really windy”!) What I do about this? Get a grip. Call a friend. Or just chill out at home and do something I enjoy. Mainly get a grip 😉

Having hunger or cravings triggered by something I see or hear
– I’m sure this one is something leftover from contest prep. I can quite easily have cravings triggered by the oddest things: a lyric in a song, a fleeting glimpse of someone’s food on social media, even an advertising billboard. What I do about it: I don’t watch TV, and if I did I wouldn’t be one of those people who watches Bake Off when trying to eat healthily. If I know I’m in a particularly vulnerable mood, I will switch radio stations when adverts come on (no, I don’t want Burger King’s new breakfast menu!) I don’t follow many foodie-type accounts on Instagram, particularly not the IIFYM type ones.

Procrastinating over a piece of work
– I love my work, and most of the time I can’t wait to get my teeth into each day’s project. But sometimes, let’s be real, I’m just not feeling it. It could be the work itself, but more likely it’s me. I’m tired, I don’t want to be sitting at my desk for such a long time, I want to be a stuntwoman or a jockey instead. What I do: unless I’m up against an immediate deadline, I switch my focus and do something else instead. The only rule is, it has to be something else productive, which will free up time later so I can do the work I’m avoiding. So I might do business admin, or update my website, or answer email enquiries.

Feeling lethargic or generally “blah” for any reason
– We all get those days when everything just feels flat. Life is boring. Work is boring. Walking the dog in the rain is boring. What I do about it: usually go and train 😀 If that’s not practical, I do something to just get my energy up. I live and work by myself, so putting cheesy 90s dance music on and dancing around the kitchen is an entirely doable thing for me. The dog is used to it, and there’s a big tree outside my window so nobody can see in.

Right, told you today’s reboot blog post might be a bit random.

What are your “red flags” which can lead to bad choices or poor habits which you’re trying to avoid?

Coming soon:
– I’m doing a powerlifting meet! (Blog post featuring photo of new shoes)
– Why I love boxing so much
– 7 signs you might be thinking about doing another bodybuilding comp

Chat with TFW on social media
Here’s where you’ll find me:
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Week 3 & 4 catch up (red flags) 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.


Week 2 of 8 (and a word about Keystone Habits)

November 3, 2015

How is it Tuesday night already? This is my check-in post for the end of week 2 of our 8-week challenge/thing. Never mind that the end of week 2 was…er…Sunday.

Still. Moving on!

In last week’s round-up post I explained that I’d spent the first week tracking things and sort of observing myself from afar, gathering the data about the things I wanted to work on over these 8 weeks, so I can see where I need to make some changes.

This week just gone I’ve been focusing on making those changes.

As explained in the initial post (here), I’m using these 8 weeks to work on a business plan (not suitable – yet – for talking about here) and for working on my somewhat haphazard eating routine.

Week 2 was good. About 75% good, I’d say. Which is presumably some kind of improvement (74%? Not a clue. I do phrases, not percentages.)

What went well:
– I planned almost all of my meals
– I tracked everything (I use myfitnesspal)
– I definitely ended up eating less than I have been!
– I remembered how much I actually enjoy eating pretty simple meals and snacks, and I didn’t miss the “extra bits and bobs” I cut out.

What still needs work:
– Weirdly, I’ve actually been under-eating a few days a week, and this isn’t helping me achieve the consistent balance I want. Perhaps I’m still in that contest-prep mindset? I don’t know. But on a few days last week I ended up towards the lower end of the calories I need to fuel my everyday activity and training. This isn’t the plan at all – the whole point of this 8 week thing for me is to work out a good consistent plan which gives me what I need, every day. No ups and downs.

Measurable progress:
– I weighed in at the start of the 8 weeks, and have weighed in once since. I’ve dropped a small amount of weight.
– I’ve gone down one notch on my gym belt.
– I’m sleeping a lot better.

Right, I’m shattered from tonight’s boxing session. Before I sign off, let’s talk about something useful: keystone habits.
powerofhabit-loop
Keystone habits are those habits which are fundamental to your day going well. If you don’t do them, it feels like your day can easily spiral out of control and get away from you. But if you do them, everything else falls into place.

Keystone habits are linked to other good habits (for example, training in the morning means you choose healthier food for lunch….) They set in motion a kind of chain reaction that help other, less fundamental, habits take root.

I’m big on habits and I’m always reminded how integral my own keystone habits are to the success (or not!) of my day, particularly when I’m trying to work on changes to diet, activity levels, productivity at work, or sleep.

Here are my keystone habits

– Writing in my paper journal every morning before I get out of bed
– Planning my meals (however loosely) for the next day
– Writing a to-do list for the next day
– Moving my a$$ every day (usually training, of course, but if not training then a really decent long/hilly walk with the dog)
– Eating at the table (as opposed to standing up, or on the sofa)
– Leaving my phone downstairs when I go to bed

If I do all of those, I can be pretty sure that the rest of my day will go well. I’ve just noticed that they top-and-tail my day, actually!

If I don’t journal in the morning, the day starts running away from me without me “checking in” with myself and I feel a bit…disconnected.

If I don’t work up a sweat doing something physical every day, I feel lethargic and crappy and can end up moping about making rubbish food choices in the evening. (I never said this stuff makes logical sense!)

You can read more about keystone habits in Charles Duhigg‘s book The Power Of Habit (I listened to it on Audible.co.uk)

What are your keystone habits?

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Week 2 of 8 (and a word about Keystone Habits) 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.


Week 1 of 8 (I’ve got the info, now to use it!)

October 26, 2015

Here we are at the end of the first week of 8-weeks of “getting sh!t done” We’ve got about 10 people along for the ride, including Tara at Sweat Like A Pig (she blogged about her goals here).

As explained in the original post, I’m using the next 8 weeks (7, now!) to knuckle down and get more consistency in a few areas of life: work and business (which I won’t be blogging about cos it’s a future project), and eating. I won’t ramble on about it again so check out the post if you want.

So, one week in and what have I learned?

I used the first week simply to track, watch and assess where I’m at. Unsurprisingly, the numbers tell me that I’m eating too much. But I also realised that my food is kind of all over the place. Some days I’ll eat too little (because I’m busy, or haven’t got myself organised, or because I just don’t realise how little I was eating). Inevitably, a couple of days of this leads to overeating.
Protein Bars
I can also clearly see repeat offenders in my diet, things which aren’t bad per se but which are definitely tipping me into over-eating territory. Protein and energy bars/flapjacks being one! But now that I’m aware of just how many I’m eating/how often, I can reduce it. Doesn’t help that I’m about to write a protein bar product review article for a client…

Armed with all the info, I can crack on with levelling things out and getting some consistency in there. Even if all I do is end up on the same average numbers across the week, I think it’ll do me a lot of good to be more balanced and mindful of it on a daily basis.

As we head into week two, then, my goals are to keep tracking food (all the time, not just when I remember or when I’ve eaten things I’m not mildly embarrassed to write down!) and to try and even things out across the week. Oh – and I’m going to go to bed earlier! I suspect that fixing this one (bad) habit could help me in all sorts of ways.
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How are you guys tracking, measuring or motivating yourselves?

I do a lot of writing stuff down (as you might expect). I keep a paper journal, which I write in every morning (just a few minutes to jot down what I want to achieve, what I need to do, etc) and then every evening (rounding up how I’ve done and how I’m feeling). I also journal online (Penzu – it’s great) which I have open on my work computer and update as I go along.

For bigger-picture stuff, such as how I want to tackle this 8-week challenge, I just use a wall-planner and work back from my final goal, breaking things down into weekly or even daily goals.

I don’t use apps or any online tracker, mainly because nothing online can ever properly replace writing things out by hand for me.

Let me know how you’re getting on!

Chat with TFW on social media
Here’s where you’ll find me:
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Week 1 of 8 (I’ve got the info, now to use it!) 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.


Who’s up for joining me on 8-weeks of “getting sh!t done”?

October 21, 2015

Ages ago, I did a 50-day accountability thing here and on Instagram which went down well, with a group of friends (and strangers) following along and using the check-ins to hold themselves accountable to their own goals.

Well folks, it’s just over 8 weeks until Christmas (sorrynotsorry!) so who’s up for an 8-week group check-in/accountability thing (<< technical term)?

Why now?

I don’t know about you, but as the nights draw in, I start thinking more about getting myself organised in terms of business, admin, house stuff and goals. Less time outside, more time in the house seeing the gaps in my organisational skills, I guess. 😉

8 weeks seems a nice stretch of time to work steadily towards a goal, and it takes us to almost-Christmas, which is satisfyingly timely.

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So, who’s in?

Here’s what I suggest:

– pick your goal. You don’t have to tell me (although you can if you want – I like to chat – you can find me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram). It could be getting fitter, creating more consistency in your training, losing weight or making some physique changes, maybe it’s something to do with your work or business, it could be putting out content to your clients more frequently. Have a think. Whatever that thing is that’s niggling away at you – that’s the thing to get done!

– plan, then track. What we measure, we can change. Some of you might like to journal, some might like to use an app, others might like the satisfaction of ticking boxes on a tracker.

– set out the weeks (and/or days) for our 8 weeks and commit to it, with your mini-changes set out along the way
professional blog content writer

What will I be using the 8 weeks for?

It’s going to be getting some consistency in my diet. Not dieting for weight loss or eating in a deficit, but getting some kind of consistent plan in place. At the moment, I track my food some of the time, but not all of the time. This means I don’t know what’s working, and what’s not.

Whether or not I compete in the next few years, I still want to make changes to my physique as a bodybuilder. And unless I have a consistent diet in place, I’m not going to know what’s helping and what’s hindering.

So my plan for the next 8 weeks is to keep track of food, get carbs and calories up to a decent level (and consistent on a daily basis), and to find out what my body really needs to grow.

Just a short one for today to see who’s up for this. I’ll check in once a week and share an idea for planning, routine, habits…

Sound good? Let me know who’s in. I’ve got my eye on a couple of you already 😉

Chat with TFW on social media
Here’s where you’ll find me:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Who’s up for joining me on 8-weeks of “getting sh!t done”? 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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