Do you ever wish that you could get a little more dance studio promo going for your business? Or that you could increase your brand awareness in your community? These are both common goals for small businesses, and in many cases, the easy solution is to increase your public relations efforts and work on some dance studio promo.
What is PR?
Many people don’t quite understand the difference between PR and marketing efforts. After all, sometimes the same tactics – press releases and social media posts, for example – can be used on both sides of the spectrum.
Kay Pinkerton, a PR consultant at Pinkerton Communications, explained on LinkedIn that the most basic difference between the PR and marketing is your focus. When you’re promoting your classes and trying to bring in new customers, that’s marketing. However, when you’re working to build stronger relationships with existing and future clients, that’s when it becomes PR. So to put it simply, marketing is about services and PR is about relationships.
When do You Need PR?
Large corporations often have full-time PR employees who are constantly planning ways to improve the public’s perception of the company. Luckily, you likely don’t need around-the-clock PR for your dance studio. There are some instances when you’ll benefit from good PR, including:
If you ever encounter bad press.
If you want to promote community outreach you’re doing.
If you want to build interest about an event.
If you want to build brand awareness in your market.
When trying to establish thought leadership.
PR Tips for Studio Owners
If you’re in need of some dance studio promo, whether for one of the reasons listed above or another objective, most of the work is probably going to fall onto your plate as the studio owner. There’s no need to stress, though, as most of PR is pretty easy to master. Here are a few tips that will help you become a PR maven in no time:
Build media connections: If you ever are in a position where you want to be featured in a local newspaper or magazine, you’re going to need media connections. Many small business owners choose to cold call or email press members when they want exposure, but your chances of getting a response are much better if you have an established relationship with a media contact.
Master the press release: One of the most important PR tools is the press release. These short statements will come in handy when you’re trying to get people interested in your new classes or a community outreach program you’re holding. Practice writing a few before you attempt your first official release.
Leverage social media: Before sites like Facebook and Twitter became popular, small business owners relied on newspapers to spread the word of their news. However, these social media sites have become instrumental in low-budget PR efforts, as you can reach a wide audience without spending much money.
Establish community partnerships: If you feel like your studio is too small to attract attention on its own, don’t be afraid to establish strategic partnerships with other businesses in your community. Reach out to local retailers, clubs or charitable organizations to see if they’d be willing to co-sponsor an event or partner up for a community outreach program. These are both valuable PR tactics, and it won’t cost you nearly as much to do it with another business.
Foster relationships: PR is all about building healthy relationships with your customers and community, so don’t get so wrapped up in “PR efforts” that you neglect the essentials of relationship building. Keep in touch with your professional contacts, help out other businesses and provide great customer service. These are the building blocks of an effective PR strategy.
There are lots of different reasons you may need to write a press release for your dance studio. It’s a great way to let local media know about a big up-and-coming performance, if your studio won an award or if your students are performing at a national competition. If you know how to write a compelling press release, you can get publicity for your studio and build company awareness. Use these tips for writing press releases to hone your skills and get a little bit of free advertising.
1. Research Proper Formatting
First thing’s first. If you’ve never written a formal press release before, get yourself a template. There are lots of rules and guidelines for these documents, and you’re hurting your chances of getting published if you deviate too much. Do your research! Here are a few common formatting errors to watch for:
Use third person only. Don’t use “I,” “my,” “we” or “you.”
Keep it to one page. No exceptions.
Explain who, what, when, where and why in the first paragraph.
Include your contact information at the top and bottom of the page.
Use standard document formatting. Stick to Times New Roman, 12-point font and double spacing.
If you’re sending this to a regional publication, include a dateline.
There are also guidelines for content organization, so stick to a standard format. During your research period, reach out to the media outlets you’re targeting and ask if they have any formatting preferences or specific contacts. This shows that you’re being considerate of their time and will give you a leg up. If you’re not sure where to send your press release, start by reading a local paper. See if they run articles on businesses or human interest pieces, as those are in line with the content you’re offering. You should also look at other local publications that target families, like parenting magazines, organization newsletters, community calendars and popular blogs. Don’t be afraid to reach out to different media outlets and ask if they’d be interested in receiving your news. An article about dance might be just the change of pace they’re looking for.
2. Try to Be Objective
It’s easy to get carried away with promotional language, but press releases are supposed to be informational. You should be writing about something that the general public would be interested in knowing, whether it’s the details of an event of the specifics of an award. Stay away from self-promotion. That means limiting adjectives like “great,” “wonderful,” “can’t miss” and the like. Stick to the facts and keep your release short and sweet.
3. Be Vigilant About Spelling and Grammar
Hopefully it goes without saying, but you should be double- and triple-checking your work. A sloppy press release won’t get published, no matter how compelling the content. Journalists have too much on their plates to take the time to edit your work for grammar and spelling. As soon as they see two or three errors, your document is probably headed to the circular file. Take your time when writing, and proofread often. You would probably benefit from having an extra pair of eyes look over the final product as well.
4. Include the Right Photo
Press releases don’t require a photo, but if you have one, go ahead and include it. When choosing a photo, make sure it’s fitting and formatted appropriately for the publication. Stick to .jpeg images and provide the highest quality you have. The Guardian offered tips for writing press releases, and explained that most publications prefer images that are over 500 kilobites and at least 300 dots per inch. You should also make sure the image fits with the content. If you’re writing about an award your student won, don’t choose a group shot from the last recital. You’re better off with a headshot or action shot of that particular dancer. Finally, always include images as an attachment. If you embed pictures in a document or PDF, you’re creating more work for the journalist and hurting your chances of publication.
5. Write an Awesome Subject
Once your document is flawless and your image is securely attached, the last step is to write an email subject to shame all others. The subject of your email will determine whether it gets opened or sent to the trash, so it needs to be good. It should be accurate, concise and engaging. You want to entice your reader without making any false claims of grandeur. Also, forego using the words “Press Release” in the subject – if you do a good job, this should be obvious. A mediocre subject line might read, “X Studio will host its 25th annual charity recital.” You want to jazz it up without going overboard. A better option might be, “Young dancers from X studio plan performance for local charity.” This adds a little more interest to the title because, in the mind of a journalist, it has the makings of a great human interest piece.
6. Follow Up
Once your press release is sent, wait a couple days, then follow up with the news station to confirm they received it. Thank the journalist for his or her time and ask if there’s anything else you can provide. If your email slipped the journalist’s mind, this is a polite way to remind him or her and boosts your chances of publication. Send a thank-you email or card to any organizations that run your story. Being polite and grateful will help you to build media relationships that will make the press release process easier in the future.