When we think of publicity, it’s common to think of Oprah, The Today Show, or the New York Times. Would a mention in one of these outlets be beneficial? Undoubtedly. But dance studio customers almost always come from a local market, not a national one, and local newspapers, magazines, cable channels, radio stations, print and electronic newsletters have large amounts of time and space to fill.Most of the time, local media outlets don’t have the staff or resources of their national counterparts, so if you can help them do their jobs, you’ll be repaid with some great publicity. What is the benefit to you and your dance studio? Creating free publicity can create a positive image, establish your expertise, champion your studio, and bring in new students.
1) Refer to yourself as an expert in your marketing materials and on your website.
Don’t be afraid to mention the highest accolades you’ve received. Am I an expert, you might ask? Your dance training, performing and choreography experience, familiarity with youth education, understanding of the performing arts (and I could go on and on) makes you just that. Celebrate your strengths, and whenever possible, strengthen your areas of weakness.
Positioning yourself as an expert instills confidence and trust with potential students (and/or their parents) so they will feel comfortable doing business with you. It also makes you appealing to those in the media who need a story or opinion for their publication or program.
2) Call the arts editor of your local paper and invite him/her to coffee or lunch.
Present the idea of you being a resource, and give her a story idea or some tips regarding dance and the performing arts. If you are a valuable source for them, you may be used for quotes in an article or perhaps a feature will be done in the future on your dance studio.
3) Write articles for local newspapers and newsletters, as well as submitting to dance magazines and local or dance websites.
Writing for any of these helps establish you as an expert, and being quoted in local publications keeps you ‘top of mind’ in your community. As for what to write about? Topics could include anything from ‘The Story Behind the Nutcracker’ to ‘How to Eat Well in this Fast Food Society’.
4) Send press releases to your local media to generate free publicity.
To be successful at this, you need to offer a great local story. Tie in your studio with an effort to eradicate obesity in your area, by explaining how your dance students are holding a dance-a-thon to raise awareness. Or you could offer tips to people on becoming more active within their daily routines.
The media outlets in your area are hungry for local news. By providing them with stories, tips, and expertise, you will enjoy free publicity, and in doing so will rise above your competition!