How to Get Press For Your Practice

By Yael Halpern

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 and creating some buzz. Whether its community newspaper coverage or Internet-based sources, utilizing the press to expand your brand and sell your message is a highly effective and affordable marketing tool. 

Appearing in the media, whether online, in print, or on radio or 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; people can, and do, discern a difference between paid advertising and editorial coverage. Far more weight is given to editorial coverage, which is considered to be real news—information of value that can be trusted and acted upon.

Most massage therapists (myself included!) don’t have the budget for extensive advertising campaigns. Editorial coverage is free and 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—in a more cost-effective way.

Securing Editorial Coverage

How do you convince the media to use you as a source? That’s the question public relations firms have spent decades trying to answer. There are only a limited number of opportunities to appear in the press. Though there are now more media venues than ever before, thanks to the Internet, which increases the chances for even the smallest business to get some coverage, the environment remains competitive.

Every day, editors, news directors, reporters, and webmasters have to decide who is worthy of their media outlet’s 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 and weather 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 that’s especially true of working with the media. If the space is available, and you’ve got a good relationship with a reporter or editor, you have a better chance of getting coverage than a stranger who calls to get her grand opening covered.

Building Strong Relationships

Building bridges with the media comes down to one simple concept: the easier you are for them to work with, the more likely they’ll cover you. The question then becomes: how do you make life easy for the media?

Talk to the Right Person

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

If you’re considering newspaper coverage, read that newspaper. Ask yourself what section your story might be appropriate for, and learn who edits that section. 

If you’re interested in being on radio news, listen to the types of stories covered. Does your story fit, or would it seem out of place? Most media outlets tend to repeat themselves, covering 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?

If you’re looking for television coverage, pay special attention to locally produced programs. What types of stories are covered? What is the coverage style—folksy and down-home, in-your-face confrontational, or somewhere in between?

Internet-based media are a little different. Some sites are incredibly local, like city-wide web magazines, 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 local web sites. 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 ideal type of publications and media outlets for your practice and story ideas. Where your name appears will reflect on your image, so the coverage must be positive. 

Know What’s Newsworthy 

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

You might be thrilled that you bought two new massage tables for your practice, but trust me, the public doesn’t care. The editors and reporters reading your press releases are only going to follow up on those that will be of interest to their readership. If you pitch worthless story ideas, you’ll quickly gain a reputation for wasting their time.

There are still many opportunities for massage therapists to bring news to the community. Consider the many health benefits of bodywork. If there’s going to be a road race in your town, could you talk to a reporter about how massage helps runners? That would be a great story. Will you be providing massage at a popular local charity event? Capitalize on that visibility. Did you learn a new modality that will help a specific population? Work that angle into an idea for coverage. Think about what the audience would find interesting about you and your practice, and focus on that.

Create Great Press Releases

Press releases are the tools to use when you want to get the media’s attention. Sure, there are other ways to get the newspapers interested in you, including winning the lottery, delivering a baby in an elevator, or inventing a cure for cancer. However, writing a press release is far easier than any of these.

A press release is a short announcement that answers the six pivotal questions a reporter needs and wants to know:

• What is happening?

• Who is it happening to?

• When is it happening?

• Where is it happening?

• Why is it happening?

• How is it happening?

Answer all of these questions, in an engaging, chatty style, and you have a great press release. Remember, you can send a press release before news happens (for example, letting the press know you’re going to be holding a stretching workshop for golfers), as well as 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 Images

A picture is worth far more than a thousand words. Always be on the lookout for photo opportunities. These images 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 have pictures available, that’s a big plus. If the pictures are already in a digital format (high-resolution, JPEG-format photos 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. If an editor is choosing between two equally well-written releases to follow up on and one has good pictures and the other doesn’t, she’ll choose the one with pictures every time.

If a photo shows one of your clients, make sure to get the client’s signed permission to share the photo. Getting a signature on a basic photo release will help protect you and your practice.

Include Contact Information

Making life easy for the media also 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 in his hands, will he be able to get in touch with you? Never assume editors and reporters keep your business card or that your phone number is in their 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 lose as a business card. 

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

Archive Resources on Your Website

Create a section on your website where you keep links to published articles about your practice. (You have a website, right? It's one of the easiest ways you can create buzz for your business. Go to and create your own free website in one hour.) 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 in search of information to your website. It is easy for the media to access, and also helps potential clients learn more about you. Never underestimate the power of the web. More than 90 percent of people begin their research online now, and 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. If 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.

Enjoying the Buzz

Seeing your picture in the paper or hearing your name on the radio is an exciting thing for you and your clients. Be sure to spread the word when you secure media coverage, allowing your current clients to boast to friends about their celebrity bodyworker. Don’t be shy—you’ve earned the recognition and all the new clients who come along with it. 


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 excited to have recently completed an advanced training in digital marketing and to bring these skills to her clients. Contact her at


The Written Word

Never underestimate the power of your words—those that are grammatically correct, honed for clarity, and correctly spelled. Sending out your press release without first getting a second read from a wordsmith, a friend, or a colleague could backfire when it hits the hands of a trained professional. Taking a second to get an extra set of eyes on your product can give you instant credibility in the eyes of the editors, and hence, ease your path to coverage.

To read this article in our digital issue, click here.