Promoting Your Personal Trainers as Fitness Experts

By Jim Labadie
April 10, 2006

Jim Labadie is a fitness entrepreneur, publicity expert and speaker. To learn how to pitch to a producer, develop relationships with print reporters, avoid the biggest publicity mistake personal trainers make and much more sign up for his free mini-course on publicity for fitness professionals at www.howtogetmorepublicity.com

To survive in today’s competitive marketplace, you need to find ways to generate more revenue from current members. Savvy clubs are finally realizing that there are great profits to be made from their personal training department.

The problem is many clubs don’t promote the fitness professionals on their staff as credible experts. If you surveyed your members, most wouldn’t have the slightest clue how well educated personal trainers are nowadays. Several of your clients may also not have been educated on the value of working with a qualified fitness professional. If that is the case with your club, you may be losing money.

Here are some tips you can use to immediately improve the profitability of your personal training department through media exposure.

First of all, you need to realize that being endorsed by the media as a fitness expert is invaluable. There is simply no amount of advertising you can buy that can promote one of your fitness professionals as being a credible source of information as well as in the media. Period.

The media is interested in one thing: information that will benefit their readers, viewers and/or listeners. In other words, they don’t really care about you. They care about the people who keep them in business. Journalists are constantly in need of fresh and different story ideas and news. That means that they desperately need you to contact them when one of your fitness professionals has newsworthy information they can provide.

You should have a media list of journalists, editors and TV/radio producers to contact when you have something newsworthy to share. There’s no excuse not to have this list because they’re so easy to compile. Remember the media needs you, and they are more than happy to let you know how to contact them. Simply contact the media outlet and ask them whom you should be contacting with news about health and fitness. Also, make sure you know how they prefer to be contacted, whether it’s by phone, fax or e-mail.

The media is always looking for reliable experts they can turn to for comments and quotes as soon as news breaks. The personal trainers on your staff should be on their list of experts to call.

“Piggybacking” is a very simple way to land media exposure. As an obvious example, New Year’s resolutions are always a hot topic come the end of December. Looking for less obvious piggybacking opportunities can result in massive free exposure to promote your club and position your personal training department as the one to turn to in your area for credible fitness advice. These opportunities are everywhere. You can be responsible for finding them or you can delegate it to a staff member.

For television and radio interviews, select a member of your staff who you feel would have the best on-air presence. Being knowledgeable isn’t the only necessary attribute when it comes to being a good media guest. If the fitness professional representing your club fails to make a good impression on-air, it’s not the end of the world. However, you probably won’t be asked back.

Advise your trainers that if, when being interviewed, they do not know the answer to a question, the best course of action is to be truthful. Simply let the reporter know you don’t know the answer but you will research the answer and get back to them right away. And if that is the course of action you take, follow-up to maintain credibility in the journalist’s eyes.

The three most important words to remember are recycle, recycle, recycle. The point of all this media attention is to make more money. And that means taking every opportunity to make your current and prospective members aware that your personal training department stands head and shoulders above the competition. How so? You show them over and over again the times your fitness experts have landed in the media. Frame newspaper and magazine articles they’re quoted in and post them all over your club. Announce them in your club’s newsletter, compile a press kit of all media clippings to be shown to prospective members and make video and audio clips from TV and radio appearances available on your Web site. The possibilities are endless.