Help! A Local Newspaper Has Asked Me To Write For Them!

February 5, 2016

fitpro writing for local newspaper

A local newspaper has asked me to contribute regular articles. Help! What do I do next?

I had a call from a fitpro today who was asking for my urgent advice. Months ago, he’d contacted various local newspapers and magazines, offering to write one-off or regular editorial. Life got in the way, he didn’t follow up. (Hey, at least he pitched them! It’s more than most fitpros do!)

And then, today… after all these months… one of those local newspapers emailed him. “Hi, if you’re still interested in writing for us, we’d love you to contribute fitness articles…”

Here’s the advice I gave to that fitpro.

What To Do If A Newspaper, Magazine Or Online Publication Asks You To Write Something For Them

(PS: Dont’ forget, I wrote a blog post about exactly how fitpros can get featured in their local lifestyle magazine)

1. Do a happy dance
2. Email them back.
Say something like:

“Hi [name],

Thanks very much – yes, I’d be delighted to write for [publication name] and would be able to supply great content every [week/fortnight/month*] to meet your deadline.

For this first article, can you let me know:

– word count
– deadline
– do you have any topic in mind? or would you like me to send a couple of ideas?

Moving forward, I’d be happy to send you over a few ideas at the start of every month if that would help with your editorial schedule.

Best wishes,

[you]

*depends on whether it’s a weekly/monthly/other publication

3. Wait for them to get back to you. If you haven’t heard within 24 hours, give them a call. It’s fine, after all they offered you this opportunity, so they’ll want to hear from you.

4. If they ask for ideas before you submit your article, think about
– the readership
– the other kind of content they cover in the publication
– topics relevant to the area and community (assuming it’s a local magazine)
– wider topics (health and fitness awareness days, health and fitness topics in the news)
If it’s a weekly publication, remember that they’ll like things which are as timely as possible, or which are pegged to something which has happened or been discussed very recently

5. Once you’ve got the go-ahead, make sure you submit your article:
– on time (never ever miss their deadline)
– with minimal fuss
– in the exact format they require (if you are sending it as an attachment, don’t label the document “Article for paper.doc” or “Fitness article.doc”. Name it the agreed title of the article.
– with any extras they’ve asked for (high res image, headshot, your biog)

6. Don’t send them something you’ve already published elsewhere (like on your own blog or your Facebook page). Use your own blog posts as ideas, sure. But don’t duplicate. If the publication happens to be following your blog, and see the duplicated content, they might feel it devalues their own published article.

7. Don’t forget a call to action. Obviously you won’t be able to put in a strong sales-type CTA. But add something at the end of your article: a question, an invitation to leave a comment or engage with you (or the newspaper) on Facebook, or something to make the reader take some action – even if that action is pondering a question you’ve posed.

8. Send as much of a biog as you can. Be a bit cheeky here – include your name, business name, title “local weight loss expert” or “town-name’s top personal trainer”, and even include your website and social media links. They can always leave them out, but they won’t put them in fi you don’t send them.

9. Ask if it will also be used online or on their Facebook page. Then keep an eye out for it and like, share, tag and link – make the most of that online content.

10. Get hold of a copy of the article. Consider scanning it in and using it on your website or social media. Or just keep it and build up a portfolio.

11. Don’t use it to line the guinea pig’s cage.

Help! A Local Newspaper Has Asked Me To Write For Them! 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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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.


thefitwriter profiled on Fitcetera’s Yeah She Lifts

March 6, 2014

This week I’ve been interviewed by Georgina over at Fitcetera for her series about ladies wot lift called “Yeah, She Lifts”.

nicola joyce yeah she lifts

Check it out here (please excuse the overshare – I don’t think I’ve ever told that particular story before and I don’t know what possessed me to do so now!)

Thanks for the opportunity, Georgina aka Ms Fitcetera!

PS I don’t often write guest blog posts for people but when I do, they’re full of advice for fitpros about how to write press releases which get read – and used. Check it out over on FitPro Client Recipes.

thefitwriter profiled on Fitcetera’s Yeah She Lifts 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.


Industry secrets – how fitpros should connect with industry media contacts

February 25, 2014

Ever wondered how people get their names, products and services in front of industry journalists and magazine editors?

How fitpros can get in there with editors, journalists and bloggers

First of all, understand how the chain of command in the media industry works.

There are in-house journalists (staff on magazines or newspapers). Their bosses are editors, commissioning editors and sub-editors. Then you have freelance journalists (like me), who usually specialise in a sector. Freelance journalists will be commissioned by inhouse staff to write features, interviews, kit tests and other bits of content for the publication. Then there are PR (public relations) people. They work on behalf of brands, and part of what they do will be managing relationships with journalists and editorial staff.

What’s the process behind a magazine commission?

There are two ways in which a magazine article can come about: from a pitch (from the journalist to the editor(, or from a commission (from the editor to the journalist). The latter usually – but not always – happens when the editor already knows the journalist by reputation, or if the journalist has previously written for the publication.

For pitches, journalists need to come up with strong, timely ideas. When we get commissioned by an editor, we will usually need to find case studies, expert comment and/or products to fit the brief. We may have to do this extremely quickly and we’ll therefore be looking for fitpros who can help us by getting spot-on product information, fantastic expert comment or strong case studies.

On the topic of kit tests – these are always commissioned. We will never be able to pitch an editor the idea of testing a single product. So, if you want to get your product in front of an editor, you need to send it to them first and then they will send it to one of their freelancers to test. (I can write a blog about press releases if this will help?)

What about fitness blogs?

If publicity via a fitness blog is on something you’re interested in, you need to get in touch with bloggers. Bloggers are our own “editors” and those of us who do product tests can be contacted directly to see if a review of your product would make good content for our readers. Are blogs are a suitable outlet for your product and a worthwhile part of your marketing strategy? That’s your call. But it’s worth bearing in mind that customers are increasingly reading blogs for online reviews and feedback.

You can also try contacting fitness bloggers to see if they need guest bloggers. Personally, I find “cold call” emails offering guest blog posts irritating at best, but that’s usually because they’re very sales-y and not offering anything useful or readable. So, by all means give this strategy a try (but not with me… 😉 )

How can you make the most of freelance fitness journalists?

We want to work with you and hear from you, but you need to know what we need – and what we don’t need – when a deadline is looming. Here are a few tips.

Do contact us, but only with information we have previously stated we’ll find useful or which will fit the commission we’re working on
Don’t send information which doesn’t fit the bill, no matter how strongly you feel the magazine should feature it
Do note our deadline and tell us honestly if you can help us meet it
Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver
Do send complete information, images, case studies, contact details
Don’t send information and then disappear off the face of the earth (at least let us know who else in your team we should speak to)

How do magazine editors want to hear from you?

I asked one of the deputy editors I write – Laura Jones at Body Fit magazine – to give you some advice. Here’s what she had to say:

“Remember that editorial staff at consumer magazines like Body Fit get hundreds of press releases a day. To give yours a chance of being read, make sure it has an eye-catching headline, relevant content and all the contact details we might need. Make sure you read the magazine first so you know what kind of content we do – and don’t cover – and ensure you know who our target readership is.”


How to find a freelance journalist with a relevant commission

“This is all great”, you say, “but how do I begin to find freelance fitness journalists? And how can I know which articles they’re working on?” OK, I’m about to let you into some real industry secrets here… make sure you use these!

Twitter – search the hashtag #journorequest – journalists use this when they need a quote, comment, product for an article they’re writing. Save the search as a stream so you can see it every day.
Responsesource – use the website Responsesource – journalists and editors upload specific requests here
Networking – online and in real life. If you find a journalist in your sector, keep in touch.

Industry secrets – how fitpros should connect with industry media contacts 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.


thefitwriter on local radio Academy FM Folkestone

December 5, 2013

Morning! Just a quick one to post up a link to a radio interview I did last weekend

I was invited in to speak to the guys on the morning show at Folkestone’s Academy FM and we managed to quickly rattled through the sports I’ve been involved in, from Channel swimming to endurance sports like triathlon, to my recent bodybuilding win at the INBF Worlds.

If you’ve ever wondered what I sound like (my opinion=”weird”!), would like to hear me speak about my feelings on going to the Worlds, or are interesting in finding out how a Channel swimmer becomes a bodybuilder, have a listen. The interview is just over 9 minutes long.

Thank you to the guys at Academy FM for inviting me in!

thefitwriter on local radio Academy FM Folkestone 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.


thefitwriter on BBC Radio 4

August 17, 2011

Hi all! Just a very quick one – remember when I was interviewed by the BBC about triathlon, whilst coaching open-water swimming down at Dorney?

The interview finally aired last night as part of BBC Radio 4’s World Tonight show. You can listen again here I believe. (Tuesday 16th August) I think it’s towards the end of the programme – I haven’t had a chance to listen yet myself!

Here’s the relevant section of the show http://www.webfilehost.com/?mode=viewupload&id=9997435

thefitwriter on BBC Radio 4 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.


Pumping iron with Maggie Philbin

July 25, 2011

(Edited – you can now listen to the interviews via this link) I’m at 00:27:01, 00:47:11, 01:14:35, 02:18:07 (<— with added thefitdog-barking sounds!) and 02:44:00 (<–featuring the word "she-hulk"!)

Did you grow up in the 1980s? If you did, chances are you remember watching “Tomorrow’s World” with a curious mixture of fascination and fear (or maybe that was just me), and kind of loving presenter Maggie Philbin.

Well, today I got to pump iron with Maggie Philbin. Isn’t life strange? I just go with it.

After my bodybuilding comp, I sent a press release out to local papers. The Wokingham Times ran the story, and a researcher at our local BBC radio station picked up on it. During the breakfast show, there are six slots (two every hour) during which time the studio talks to their roving reporter (Maggie) to see which local freak weirdo interesting individual she’s with that day. Today, Maggie’s “interesting individual” was me. 😉

I hope I was interesting! It’s a bit hard to tell whether or not you’re answering questions lucidly at 7am particularly when it’s a live broadcast.

Regardless of how the interviews turned out, I had a great time. Maggie, soundman Adam (probably not his official title but he was the techy dude who did all the audio and signal stuff) and I started off at the gym, where we ran through some of my back session (I had Maggie doing pull ups and bent-over rows).

Then we came back to my house where we chatted nutrition, tanning and routines. I even showed her a lat-spread pose and her reaction was classic! “You just seem to….grow!” she said – which is exactly the reaction we want, of course!

If I can find a way to link to the interviews, I will. Did you listen in and hear any of them? What did you think?

Pumping iron with Maggie Philbin 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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