How to Work with the Media
As a martial arts school owner, I made it a point to be the most expensive school in the area. In order to make that happen, obviously, my classes had to be really good.
The other element was that I was consistently on TV, radio, and in the local newspapers and magazines. I even had a cable TV show for a decade.
My guests included Tony Robbins (5 shows) and my mentors, Joe Lewis, and John Corcoran.
Joe Lewis and John Corcoran taught me all I knew about the media at that time. It was invaluable information that I am sharing with you.
For two decades, I was “Mr. Martial Arts in the 10th largest media marketing in the USA, Tampa Bay, FL.
One thing I learned very early in working with the media is that the easier you are to work with the more often you will get booked to come back.
Producers, reporters, and editors are super busy because everyone wants to be on the news. They are pitched non-stop all day and night.
So, if they have a choice between someone who makes their job easier vs someone who is difficult to work with, who do you think they are going to choose?
When an editor of a magazine gives you the opportunity to be the cover story, would you send him a bunch of links and amateurish images to sort through and then expect him to spend hours trying to write a cover story by pulling from 5 different articles?
Or, would you send him a completed, edited article with professional images, credits, and captions? Duh!!! McFly!!!
When you are working with the media, be professional. Martial artists are not seen in the highest image from the start, you just compound that by delivering a sloppy package to someone who can help your reputation overnight with a cover story or prominent placement in a press release or magazine.
Learn how to look at an image. Is the top half filled with the room’s ceiling? Crop it out! Is it under-exposed like most shots, fix it or get someone to fix it.
Hire a pro photographer to shoot headshots and posed martial arts shots that look cool.
All the images you see of me blurred or multiple images were shot in a photographers’ studio. The small investment in an annual photoshoot will pay you back multiple times over. Groupon is full of great deals on photographers.
Think about it. The fact you are featured on the cover of a magazine is newsworthy in your local area. It looks great on your social media pages, bio video, and website. It becomes an image in your bio videos (you do have a bio video right?).
Your Media Checklist
1. Always respond ASAP to media inquiries.
2. If you are asked to submit an article and images, package them together completed, cropped, and edited.
3. Always have pro-shot images that are cover-worthy. I was in Germany as a coach for the WAKO-USA team. The president of the WAKO also published a magazine. I showed him a blur-effect image. He said, “If I can use this photo, I will put you on the cover.” Six months later, I was on the cover of Tatami. There was not an article about me in the magazine, but I got the cover.
4. Always have a pro-edited bio video
Keep a Career Timeline so people can quickly see your work over the years.
Today, it’s so much easier to leverage media appearances on your website and social media, that it would be foolish not to make media marketing part of your schools’ marketing plan.