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“Why doesn’t everyone know who you are?” – is a question I would frequently get asked after delivering an inspiring keynote. “That’s a good question, won’t you help me change that?!” became my automatic response. No matter what you are selling, on the street or on the web, you have to get in front of people – the right audience – your target customer. You’re starting an online personal training business, so you’re probably looking for great fitness marketing ideas. Even, if workout plans are not part of your repertoire, the strategies in this series can apply to any product or service being sold online!

Fitness Marketing Ideas: 3 Steps to Social Media Public Relations

Digital marketing has a landscape of challenges that includes ad blocking, content competition, short-attention-span consumerism, and pressure to monetize.

Although there are many hurdles in the digital world, there are also loopholes of opportunity. One of those fitness marketing ideas is using social media to leverage press, mentions, and save you tons of public relations dollars. Most business owners I know prefer not to spend thousands of dollars a month on a public relations firm to manage social media and to get mentions in the press.

Now, let’s talk about the three steps to using social media to leverage press coverage for your new online personal training business.

Step 1: Building a media list

I want you to take a mindful look at your public relations strategy. What blog, magazine, or TV show do you want your services business to be on? Have you taken time to curate such a list with contact information? What kind of feedback have you gotten when you shared a press release or a pitch?

Sweat equity is a must for any successful small business.

Take time to create a media list (or take a fresh look at your existing one) and build a current list of blogs, e-zine, local + national newspapers, TV + radio shows, and podcasts that you would like to be on and talk about your online personal training business.

This is not the space to daydream being on the Today Show next month. This is the space to start thinking about where you need to get mentioned to work up to being Today Show ready.

In my early years, I was frightened by big media and invested thousands of dollars in PR firms. It helped me get some mentions and beef up my platform, but the ROI was not there.

I finally got sick of investing (wasting) my money, which helped me elbow fear out of the way and I began to secure my own mentions starting with virtual with outlets like Huffington Post, then I switched my focus to local and got mentions in the Houston Chronicle, and Great Day Houston. Most recently I have been in conversation with a producer at the Weekend Today Show.

It’s about taking time to find and cultivate these relationships – if you have the budget – you can save time and hire a firm with existing relationships. If you don’t have the budget, then it’s time to put in time and effort (sweat equity).

My PR strategy began with the bloggers and podcasts at my own fingertips, already in my network of friends and followers.

I knew I needed these to strengthen my pitch to bigger influencers and publications. I also knew it would take time to cultivate relationships with the bigger media outlets I was interested in being mentioned in (Houston Chronicle, Great Day Houston).

No one wants to be the first to interview you. Once they can read about you, see you on camera, or listen to how you present yourself on audio, securing press gets easier-and-easier.

Here are a few questions to help guide the building of your media list:

Who in your immediate circle has a blog or podcast?
Who are local journalists or TV personalities that would dig what you are doing?
What are successful podcasts and e-zines that resonate with your brand’s voice, your mission, and get you inspired personally?

As you are taking time to research and refresh your media list take time to peruse the social media sites of bloggers, journalists, news anchors, YouTubers, and so on.

We are going to use their social media channels to contact them. You pay big PR firms not only for their existing relationships but also for their access to press database that instantly puts you in touch with the journalist or editor at ANY publication, print or online.

Thanks to social media, you can get in touch with the same people, it’s just going to take you some time and schmoozing.

While you compile a media list for your fitness marketing ideas, keep in mind the goal is to sell workout plans or any other product or service that you are selling.

To successfully cultivate these relationships your pitches needs to be genuine and seamlessly blend in with the current content the blog, podcast or e-zine is publishing. Which leads us into our second step…

Step 2: Idea Building

Now let’s have some fun with that media list of yours! Choose any one person from your media list that inspires you and take a look at their posts. Do you notice they have certain daily or monthly themes? What kind of stories do they like to publish?

Hopefully, you’ve jotted down some notes and are feeling inspired. Form this motivation into a producer one sheet.

Think of one to three ideas of how you, your online personal training business, or your workout plans can be featured. Depending on the medium – audio, video, words – your pitch will be different.

The most important thing to remember is you are making their job easy by providing new content that makes sense for them to publish, shoot, feature.

By now you’ve been lightly stalking, I mean, researching, the top five on your media list. You’ve been liking, commenting, and shouting them out – at the very least.

Which leads us to…

Step 3: Relationship Building

Spending time getting to know the blogger, journalist, editor or producer that you are going to pitch to is a must for securing press.

You’ve already started the conversation with them on social media, and you can use this very platform to speak to them like a peer and let them know you are sending them an email, DM, or PM.

Be confident, casual, and remember you are offering them free content. They are doing you a favor, and you are also doing them a favor.

Be passionate about your pitch, and offer them at least 2 options. Be confident and willing to collaborate on the ideas you are presenting. Be positive, you will get rejected along this ride, but it is worth the sweat equity.

Now you’ve got your three-step plan to leverage social media to launch a successful PR initiative for your online personal training business! Measure your results every quarter, and give yourself 6 months to really see results. You got this.

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About the author

Sahar Paz

Sahar Paz is the CEO of Own Your Voice Strategy firm. She is also a keynote speaker and has delivered inspirational keynotes at organizations including HBO and Facebook.

When she is not inspiring others, Sahar loves to salsa dance!


  1. Jan R.

    I never thought of using social media for PR needs. Love this idea, thanks Sahar!

    1. Kristen DeCosta

      Social media is a great tool for getting press coverage! It’s all about relationships :)

      Thanks, Jan!

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