Today if you relay news to clients about your spa or massage practice, you can post something on Facebook or send out a Tweet and even get an instant response. Social media makes it possible to conveniently keep up an ongoing conversation with your clients. But before we had social media, the most effective way to get across a story about your spa or massage practice was to reach out reporters at daily and weekly newspapers or local radio and television broadcasters.

Even though their role as information ‘gate keepers’ has changed, local news media still are valuable to your marketing efforts. With so much information on the Web from citizen journalists, consumers turn to trusted journalists or bloggers to get an unbiased review of a product or service.

Make the Most of Local Publicity

Here are four things to keep in mind as you launch your local publicity program:

  • Identify target News Media

    You’ll want to spend some time finding the right news media that cover your spa or massage practice. Search online for stories in local media about your market to get the names of reporters and broadcasters. Also most news media websites list their staff so you can try checking that way. If you still aren’t sure about the right reporter, call the newspaper or station to find out who covers your ‘market beat.’

  • Craft your Story

    Before you begin outreach to local news media, think about the story you want to tell them. You may come up with several. If you have an interesting story about how you launched your spa or massage practice, pitch it to the business editor at your local newspaper. Your experience may help others who would like to launch their own business. Suggest a story to the family or lifestyle editor about what a new clients should expect from a first time massage or about new aromatherapy ingredients in spa products that can help your mood.

    Pitches to news media today are best sent via email. Just keep them short and to the point, write an attention-getting headline (news media gets lots of emails so make sure yours stands out) and offer a time to talk if they would like an interview. If you have a short video clip, you can send along a link. Video can be very effective in pitching a story to your local television station.

  • Maximize Press Releases

    A press release has evolved over the years. You now can include links to videos and other content on your spa or massage practice website to drive visitors there. If you are announcing new retail offerings, for example, link the text back to the landing page on your site that has information. Also use keywords in your headlines and throughout the copy to make your releases rank higher in search. In addition to emailing the release to local news media, post in on your website and include links in your social media content.

  • Engage through Social Media

    Develop ongoing relationships with news media through social media. Twitter, in particular, can be a very effective way to send a short message to a member of the news media about your spa or massage practice. (Remember Twitter may give you immediacy but it also means your story needs to be compelling in 140 characters). Or the media can get in touch with you with a question they need answered if they are on deadline. Since the news media is always looking for story ideas, use #hashtags when tweeting so your stories stand out. Media also looks for story ideas on Facebook and LinkedIn so offer insights and opinions in your posts.

If you don’t have the time to run your own PR program, there are many firms and independent PR consultants that can help. As with any consultant, ask for preliminary ideas along with a budget to make sure whoever you choose understands your objectives.