PR On A Five Seasons’ Fitness Turn-Around

Sometimes, timing is on your side.

That was certainly the case about a month ago when I was at Five Seasons Sports Club in Burr Ridge to meet with leaders there and develop story ideas to share with the media.

Desarez Carlson, the club’s senior sales adviser, handed me photos and notes written by Sharon Anderson, who had lost more than 100 pounds since joining Five Seasons in early 2008. It was the foundation of a terrific story about the club’s impact on fostering Anderson’s newfound fitness.

But I would need to talk with Anderson. Ideally, it would be in person, to be able to do the story justice and enhance our chances of attracting media coverage. A few minutes later, as I gathered more story ideas, Carlson looked over my shoulder and out the window by the club’s stately front door.

“There she is,” said Carlson. “There’s Sharon walking in.”

I excused myself from the meeting. A short while later, a videotaped Q & A ensued. You can see it below, and you can see the news release on Anderson’s amazing transformation here at Triblocal.com.

Keeping Busy With Five Seasons Sports Club

Been busy of late working on publicity pieces for the Five Seasons Sports Clubs in Burr Ridge and Northbrook, including a recent series of media outreaches on the Tri-umph Youth Triathlon Clinic.

Pictured here is Kate Schnatterbeck, founder of Tri-umph, Inc., who organized the two-day session in Northbrook.

An essential element, as always, is to take photographs and, when possible, videotape. Along those lines, I set up a YouTube channel for the Burr Ridge Five Seasons on Tuesday evening.

Monica Seles: Class Act Comes to Five Seasons

After reading her wonderful and courageous new book, Getting A Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self, I sensed that tennis great Monica Seles was a kind, warm person who possesses tremendous inner strength and wisdom borne of adversity.

So I was intrigued over this past weekend, when she visited Five Seasons Sports Club in Northbrook, to discover whether she would project the same qualities in person. Much to my pleasure, she exceeded even my high expectations with a genuine, others-centered demeanor.

Among other things, she posed for “just one more” photo scores of times–including one that I quickly snapped (see above), my left arm extended, a few moments before she departed.

You can read about her visit, which supported a charity tennis tournament, the 10th Annual Handzel Open, at Triblocal.com.

I also shot video of some of her opening remarks, which you can find at my YouTube channel.

Below is her response to a question I posed:

Want To Drive Online Traffic? Then Tweet!

To Tweet or not to Tweet?

That’s the question that has surfaced with increasing regularity the past few months. In addition to the compelling data about Twitter’s growth, anecdotal indicators abound: in the last week, I’ve seen that my pastor and the National Basketball Association are on Twitter.

(I’m following Pastor James, but don’t feel the need to be an NBA disciple just yet.)

Having attracted about 90 followers since opening my Twitter account almost exactly one year ago (May 15, 2008 was my debut), my presence on the social-media service is modest, at best.

But I have seen upticks in traffic when I post links to this blog and other writings on my Twitter account (you can follow me by going to my page on Twitter, “InsideEdge”.

Then, late last night, I got a compelling glimpse of Twitter’s power.

Around 11 p.m, I took a few minutes to provide links to two recent news releases that I had posted previously on Triblocal, with specific introductory verbiage so people would know the gist of what they would see. I had shared the releases with a variety of media outlets, including posting them on Triblocal.com, the Chicago Tribune’s citizen-journalism site.

Here are some preliminary findings:

Link I: After nine days, a piece on an upcoming skin cancer fundraiser at Five Seasons Sports Club in Northbrook had generated a mere four hits. Within 10 minutes of Tweeting about it, the hit count jumped to 14.

As of 8 a.m. today, the tally was up to 23–more than five times the pre-Tweet tally. What will the hit count say when you click on the above link?

Link II: Intrigued to measure the Tweet-pact (Twitter impact) on another Triblocal story, I offered a link to a two-month-old Scheck & Siress news release on a family’s efforts to address their infant son’s plagiocephaly, or flattened head.

Within nine hours, the number of people who had viewed the story climbed from 28 to 41. After a protracted period of stagnation–less than one visit every two days–that’s more than one hit per hour.

Granted, these figures don’t measure what, if anything, anyone will do about having read these pieces.

As a result of my late-night Tweets, will Five Seasons see more visitors at its skin-care fundraiser on Tuesday night, or gain new members down the line?

Will a parent who hadn’t thought about contacting Scheck & Siress do so now that they learned about the company’s various services?

We will probably never know–though any organization ought to be continually asking clients how they found out about them, so they can measure what marketing efforts are working.

Although the extent to which those Tweets make a difference may never be clear, much more obvious is the answer to the alternative question: What if, after having already invested hours upon hours in developing those news releases, I had not taken a few moments make that extra awareness-raising nudge?

Versatile Pitches Provide Multiple PR Options

Whenever you can offer the media a story suggestion that has versatility–it can be a human interest feature, a health and wellness story, and a business piece, for example–then it provides you with bigger placement potential.

In other words, if a given outlet isn’t interested in the story under Category A, then you still have a chance that it will be deemed a fit for Category B or C.

A recent news release that I developed for Five Seasons Sports Club in Burr Ridge fits this description. I wrote about a corporate wellness program that Five Seasons has launched, with the release detailing the experience that corporate neighbor Turtle Wax, based in Willowbrook, has enjoyed with the club.

You can read the release at Triblocal.com as well as see the Triblocal photo gallery I created.

Included in the story is a video of one of Turtle Wax’s employees talking about how the program has helped improve his health. Check out the interview on YouTube here.