December 5, 2009
Build your group coaching program with a newspaper column
They say, there's more than one way to skin a cat - and the same hold's true for your group coaching publicity efforts. Many think getting media coverage is a just about news releases but there so much more. Have you thought about having your own newspaper column? It can result in a lot of free visibility that can pay off handsomely for your business.
Unsurprisingly, there are not many things which are honestly free; and if you manage to get a column in your newspaper, you will have to do the work of writing it, as well as producing some content to show to editors as you make the case that you'd be a good fit for the job.
That, by the way, is the first step in pulling off this publicity coup. Simply making the request to the editors that you want a column isn't enough. You have to show them your talent to generate well written articles - ones which the audience will find entertaining or interesting to read.
What should you write about? As they always say, write what you know. Columnists in neighborhood newspapers tend to shine a spotlight on the things which make their city a great place to live or use their expertise to help others locally. So think about how your group coaching program helps others locally and start there.
Even though you don't have to write with a local angle, this sort of content will always find a following. It's best to mix it up and cover neighborhood events as well as news of national and/or international significance to keep your the audience interested.
How do you start? You need to show editors that you are a great choice as a columnist and to do that you need to write some samples. Once you have three very good samples, then craft a cover letter to the managing editor highlighting why your column is needed in their local newspaper.
Also, get more creative. Many regional newspapers are also needing for content for their online versions. Offer to produce a blog or an Internet-based column.
And what's great is that columns are one part of newspapers where injecting your own personality into your writing is acceptable and even welcomed. So you don;t have to worry about a press release format or Associated Press style for these.
But don't make the mistake of using the column as a way to advertise your business. The audience want a interesting story, not a sales pitch and your editors will no doubt reject any column you write which is intended to publicize for your company. What you can sell the audience is yourself: think of yourself as a brand. Your byline can include that you are the owner of a local business, but avoid trying to sell to your readers.
So how will this help your group coaching practice? Your column can confirm you as a trusted source of information, advice and someone who your the audience would feel comfortable doing business with. What you're doing is letting your readers get to know you a little better; and putting a face on your business in this way is some of the best free publicity you could possibly get. It allows your target market to know, like and trust you above the others in your field.
The publicity you'll get will be more than worth the time and effort spent writing your column.
Shannon Cherry is the publicity/media expert for Group Mastery, and the founder of Be Heard Solutions. Known as The Power Publicist, she helps coaches, entrepreneurs, consultants and solo professionals attract more clients and customers through the power of publicity.