Friday, April 4, 2008

Media Relations & Your Digital Camera

Picture This ...

I've just been asked to lead a 30-minute workout for a fitness show on a local TV channel. (I've never been on TV before ... if you've done fitness DVDs or been on TV, I'd love to hear your best on-camera tips! Feel free to post them in the comments section here.)

Anyway, as I said, I don't have on-camera experience, so I asked the host of the show if I could come to the studio to watch her tape a workout. I wanted to get an idea of how the show was formatted and what the set looked like (I like to be super-prepared).

Turns out, my friend and fitness colleague Geoff Bagshaw was taping his guest appearance on the show when I arrived.

When the show ended, Geoff did something really smart.

He pulled out his digital camera and got a few shots of himself on set with the cast of the show. What a perfect way to recycle publicity!

Geoff's approach reminded me of something I spoke about in my recent presentation at FitComXpo (the FitComXpo event is over, but you can still gain access to recordings and slides of all the sessions - scroll a few posts down to see what I thought of the event).

My tip: Your digital camera is a powerful tool for helping you build relationships with the media and score more media promotion for yourself. Here are 3 ways:

1. Ensures Accuracy If you write a workout article or you're the featured expert in one, offer to snap digital photos of the exercises you recommend for readers. Editors will get a clearer idea of what you have in mind, which helps them edit the piece and ensure accuracy. There, you've just made the editor's job easier.

2. Helps Create Visuals See the illustration at the top of this post? That's me! I supplied my editor with digital photos of the exercises described in one of my workout articles, and she forwarded the photos to an illustrator (sometimes magazines use drawings instead of professionally shot photos because it's simpler and less expensive.)

3. Doubles Your Media Promotion If your photos are good enough, small magazines or newspapers without a budget for elaborate photo shoots might publish them, which instantly doubles the media promotion you receive.

Illustration reprinted with permission from illustrator Kagan McLeod.

CBS Story: "Personal Trainers Ungoverned"

Do You Think This Is Fair?

I often talk about how publicity helps fitness pros gain credibility. But this TV story may do the opposite!

Is this the type of press coverage you want our industry to be receiving? How can you offer a different perspective to media outlets near you?

Check out this CBS story that questions the fitness industry's credibility. What do you think? Is the reporting in this piece fair?

Please feel free to post your comments here.