Media Coverage

Put Your Practice in the Spotlight

By Yael Halpern

The most important asset any massage therapist can have is their brand: the perception the public has of your practice and services will make or break your career. Luckily, you have tremendous influence over your brand. One of the most effective ways to positively influence how your clients, and more importantly, potential clients, see you is by securing regular media coverage.

Appearing in the media—whether online, in print, or on television—is a great way to enhance your credibility, demonstrate your knowledge to potential clients, and increase the visibility of your business. It’s important to remember that the public is incredibly media savvy—they can and do discern a difference between paid advertising and editorial coverage. Far more weight and credit is given to editorial coverage, which is considered to be genuine, real news—information of value that they can trust and act upon.

An added bonus is that editorial coverage is free. Most massage therapists (myself included) don’t have the endless budgets that allow for extensive, expensive advertising campaigns. Appearing in the media can accomplish many of the same goals of advertising: increasing visibility, building name recognition, demonstrating your expertise, and motivating potential clients to seek you out. This can be a cost-effective way to build your business.

Editorial Coverage

There are only a limited number of opportunities to appear in the press—although there are now more media venues than ever before, increasing the chances for even the smallest business to get some coverage. On a daily basis, reporters, editors, news directors, and webmasters have to decide who’s worthy of their limited space. There are some hard-and-fast rules: breaking news stories of national and local importance get the lion’s share of space, and depending on your region, sports coverage can eat up a good chunk of the attention.

What makes up the remainder? That depends, in part, on the judgment of editors and news directors. Every business is built on relationships, and there’s no case where that’s truer than the media. If the space is available, and you’ve got a good relationship with a reporter and their editor, you’ve got a far better chance of getting coverage than some relative stranger who calls out of the blue looking to get the grand opening of their business covered.

building a Relationship

Building a strong relationship with the media comes down to one simple concept: the easier you make life for them, the more likely they’ll be to cover you. The question then becomes, how do you make life easy for the media? Follow these simple steps:

find the right contacts

Not every media outlet is appropriate for every story. You’ll want to research what media is in your area, and where you’d like your business to be covered.

If it’s a newspaper, read that newspaper. Ask yourself what section your story might be appropriate for—and take note of the editor of that section.

If it’s radio news, listen to the type of stories they cover. Does your story fit or would it seem out of place? Most media outlets tend to repeat themselves: they cover stories that are very similar to topics they’ve already aired. Does the show offer on-air interviews or is it only the DJ reading news stories over the air?

If you’re considering television coverage, pay special attention to locally-produced programs. What type of stories do they cover? What is the coverage style: folksy and down home, in-your-face confrontational, or somewhere in between?

Web-based media is a little different. Some is incredibly local— city-wide web magazines, for example, while others are far more general. As a rule of thumb, you want to explore web coverage on sites visited by your clientele and potential clientele. Most people don’t travel far for massage, so that may limit you to locally oriented websites. On the other hand, if you’re in a tourist or destination location, you have greater options available.

You want to reach out only to the type of publications and media outlets with which you want to be associated. Where your name appears will reflect on your image. You want this to be a positive thing.

Offer Newsworthy details

Something is newsworthy when it is unusual enough, interesting enough, or important enough to merit coverage in the newspaper. Ideally, you’d have a winning combination of all three: something unusual, interesting, and important will get even the most jaded editors calling you for an interview.

You might be thrilled that you bought two new massage tables for your practice, but trust me, no one else is going to care about that. The editors and reporters reading your press releases know that—they’re only going to follow up on those releases that promise some information that will be of interest to their readership.

There are still many opportunities for massage therapists to bring news to the community. Consider the many health benefits of bodywork: could you talk to a reporter about how massage helps long-distance runners? That would be a great story, especially if there’s going to be a marathon in your town.

Create Great Press Releases

A press release is a short announcement that answers the five pivotal questions a reporter will want to know: Who is involved? What is happening? When is it happening? Where is it taking place? Why is it happening?            

Answer all of these questions, in an engaging, chatty style, and you’ve got a great press release. Remember, you can send a press release before news happens—letting the press know you’re going to be holding a stretching workshop for golfers, for example—or after an event occurs. If you want the media to cover an event as it happens, make sure to send out your announcement with plenty of time to spare—and send a reminder as the event gets closer.

Provide Pictures

A picture is worth far more than a thousand words. Always be on the lookout for photo opportunities. These don’t have to be posed, formal pictures: in fact, it’s generally better if they’re not.

Many times a reporter works without a photographer. If you’ve got pictures available for the reporter, that’s a big plus. If the pictures are already in a digital format (high resolution JPEGs are best) that’s even better. You might want to consider having a photo gallery on your website, available only to the media.

When sending out press releases, make sure to mention if photos are available or if there are photo opportunities. If an editor is choosing between two equally well-written releases to follow up on and one has pictures and the other doesn’t, she’ll choose the one with pictures every time.

Complete Contact Info

Making life easy for the media means including complete contact information on each and every piece of correspondence you send to the press. Think of it this way: if the only thing a reporter knows about you is the press release they’re holding, will they be able to get in touch with you? Never assume the reporter kept your card or that he has your phone number in his files—the reporter assigned to write about your business may be a freelancer you’ve never met before, and there are few things as easy to get lost in as a reporter’s card file.

Complete contact information includes a phone number where you can be reached, as well as your primary email. You may want to consider including your cell number, as many reporters work odd hours.

fortify your site

Create a section on your website where you keep links to published articles about your practice. Additionally, you can store press releases, digital images, and other news there.  You can make this available to anyone—the easiest option—or restrict access to members of the media. 

As your practice grows, it can be a real time saver to refer people to your website. It also helps potential clients learn more about you. Never underestimate the power of the web. Today, more than 90 percent of people begin their research online; health decisions, including finding the right bodyworker, are one of the most heavily researched topics.

Say Thank You

After putting all of this time and effort into establishing and building a relationship with the media, you want to keep it going. Any time you’re covered in the press, whether it’s in print, online, or on television, send the reporter a thank-you note. Everyone likes to be complimented on a job well done. It may seem like a minor detail, but it can help cement your relationship with the reporter.


Yael Halpern, massage veteran, educator, and freelance marketer, helps individuals and businesses reach their target audience, and increase sales and professionalism within the wellness industry. With a passion for marketing, technology, and entrepreneurship, Halpern draws from experience and successful models used in other industries in order to reach the broadest possible, quality audience. She is proud to be assisting The Benjamin Institute for Advanced Studies through their growth into the online education space.  Contact Halpern at