Archive for November, 2015

Fitness Podcast number 2, The first 2 things you must do to reinvent your Gym and Gym Marketing

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 podcast episode number 2 

How to figure your gym members lifetime value so you know exactly what you can spend to acquire a new member


How to create your gym’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition), because without it your just like every unsuccessful gym in town

“The first two things you must do before you reinvent your gym and start your new year gym marketing successfully” 

If you’re just starting a gym then the first step won’t apply to you. The first step is Figuring out the Average Lifetime Value of your Gym Member so you know exactly what you can spend to acquire a new member. 


The second step is to craft your Unique Selling Proposition or USP

This is as fairly short episode today but its packed with info that every gym I deal with forgets or doesn’t know to start with. See if your doing these two simple things.

I explain in detail how to work and rework your USP until you have one that when someone hears it, it will make them remember it or take action like go to your gym website, sign up for your emails, call your gym, or come in the doors to fins out more, which is the end goal of all marketing ever!

I give you many examples of great USP’s and also lousy one’s too.

TIP: unrelated to this episode but if you haven’t tried EVERNOTE to keep track of all your gym ideas and everything else in your life, go download the app now and it will automatically sync between your computer and other devices so you never lose a thought or great idea again.


To find out more about my complete 12 week gym reinvention marketing course:  email Shannon at

Please leave me a rating in Itunes, it only takes a minute and will bless me immensely and blesses you in return.

To get the book biography of How I took my gym from 50 members to over 300 in less than 3 months and kept them for 8 years then how I sold my gym for over 5 x what it cost to start, go to

Also check out my website www, and sign up for email notifications of new podcast and the latest marketing techniques I can find.

Thanks, Shannon Cook

How to write a Fitness Center Press Release just like the one that helped me take my gym from 50 members to over 300 in less than 3 months

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

How to write a Fitness Center Press Release:

One of the most important things you will ever do is getting your business put into the newspaper or on the local TV news channel. I found out how to write a correct release and whom to get it to, to actually get it published.

When I first opened my gym I wrote a few press releases and sent them to the editor of the newspaper, which I found out later is the last person to send it to. You see, the editors are way too busy meeting deadlines to try to be reporters, they do tell reporters to go after stories, but the reporters are the ones most of the time that go to the editor to tell them they have a story they would like to pursue.


After getting no response from my former press releases, I went out and bought all the programs I could on writing press releases, and here’s what I found out.

You don’t want to look like you don’t know what you’re doing; here is a set outline I follow every time I write a press release.


Temple gym 

24 hour fully automated facility

Union chapel road


Phone (205)

Fax (205)

Press Release

Contact: Shannon Cook

Phone: (205)000-0000


8 A.M. CST, December 19, 2007

Northport gets tuscaloosa’s first 24 hour automated gym & tanning facility.

Northport, AL, January 10, 2008:


Temple Gym, located at 902 Union Chapel Road in Northport, off Hwy 69 North. Has been in business since Nov.3 2003, Owners Shannon and Kristi Cook of Northport have ran the gym traditionally with only labor & restricted hours.


Starting October, 8 2007 Temple Gym will be a fully automated fitness and tanning facility. Request for earlier openings & later closings caused the owners to respond by turning to the new way of fitness. Now gym members get a card that is read at the door & unlocks automatically & relocks.


The gym has security cameras in use at all times and 911 pendants that can be warn by members that, at the push of a button can summon help from emergency responders. The Automated display drink machine is stocked with the latest protein & energy drinks available. Normally drinks were sold at the counter by employees. The lights work off motion sensors that turn on & off automatically.


The goal of the owners is to “make fitness so easily accessible, no one would have an excuse to be unhealthy”. With the number of 24 hour gyms popping up across America, Temple Gym is proud to offer Tuscaloosa County a futuristic approach to exercise.


Shannon Cook can be reached by email:



You can also find more press release outlines on, but this is the one I like. You’ll notice that I try to interest the reader with the phrase “Automated Fitness Center”, and after talking to the reporter, I know that it was that phrase that got my press release into not just my local news paper, but all the New York Times newspapers.

I have written press releases for many gyms, some get in and some don’t, it’s according to the time of year and the editor of the paper.

Be sure to add a picture only if it’s relevant to what your release is about. Make it as easy on the reporter and editor as possible to run your story. A picture must tell a story, if you put on in there.

You should have a press release written for all major holidays. But there’s one major thing you must have before sending out any press release, “SOMETHING TO SAY”, if you don’t have something to say, then you’re wasting yours and theirs time.

Make it interesting or don’t make it at all, was the best advice I ever got from publicity expert Paul Hartunian, the guy who bought the wood from the old Brooklyn Bridge when they tore it down.

He wrote a press release that got him nationwide coverage and he sold thousands of small 6” pieces of wood for millions of dollars, and now he teaches others how to write press releases. Paul’s website is


Be sure to write a press release at least a month before you open so even if the editor isn’t ready to run your story right then, something may happen to make them want to.


Also, I send a copy of my press release to the editor and all reporters that cover anything that has to do with health and fitness, business, or even religion if you have a gym affiliated with religion like mine.

I sent my release out 3 months before they called me to do a story on my gym, they keep interesting press releases in their files for future references, and if any big news happens in your industry, they will have you for a contact for a quote on a story.


Here’s the actual article that was in the newspaper about my gym:


Some tap creativity to make resolutions stick

People find ways to fit exercise into daily routines


shannon cook press release picture

Staff photo | Dan Lopez

Gym owner Shannon Cook stands inside Temple Gym on Union Chapel Road in Northport. It has become a 24-hour gym but is only staffed during the day.


By Sarah Bruyn Jones Staff Writer

Published: Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 5, 2008 at 10:30 p.m.

Jamie Griffin often goes to the gym while most people are asleep.

Rebecca Kelly often walks miles while on work-related conference calls.

And in two years, Steve Richardson has lost 40 pounds from spinning his wife, Jane, around the dance floor.

With the arrival of the new year — and those inevitable promises to lose weight, get fit or be healthy — experts are pointing to new solutions to the age-old question of how to achieve those resolutions.

Surveys show that more than half of people who make resolutions break them within a few months. As people search for ways to fit exercise into their daily lives, the fitness industry is becoming more accommodating.

From 24-hour gyms to dance lessons, the trend in fitness is to focus on having fun and seamlessly incorporating exercise into a person’s daily life.

“So the trend is, instead of adding another piece to your pie, don’t,” said Kelly, who, as the director of health promotion and wellness at the University of Alabama, tries to identify infrastructure and programs to support healthy living for faculty and staff. “Don’t add more to your life, but try and find a way to exercise within the parameters of what you are doing.”

The “pie” of a person’s life includes everything from work to spending time with family and friends to going to church.

“What we’re seeing is a greater emphasis on trying to find balance within the whole life,” she said. “As a mother of young children, it doesn’t help me to balance my life by taking two hours and go workout. So when I have a telephone conference scheduled, I take my phone and walk.”

All day, all night

For Griffin, balancing his desire to go to the gym with his hectic schedule teaching and coaching wrestling at Tuscaloosa County High School was difficult until Temple Gym on Union Chapel Road in Northport converted to a 24-hour, automated facility.

“For me and my schedule, the 24-hour gym is great,” Griffin said. “I never know from week to week when I’ll be able to go to the gym. During the [wrestling] season my schedule is so busy that in order for me to actually get to the gym, I have to go in fairly late, 9 or 10 at night or early, 4 or 4:30 in the morning.”

Griffin was a member at Temple Gym before it became a 24-hour operation, but said he sometimes wouldn’t go for weeks at a time because he was too busy during the hours the gym was open.

Shannon Cook, who owns Temple, said the $7,000 he spent to install security cameras, an emergency response system, motion-sensor lights and member-accessible doors were well worth it. Gym members get an access card that unlocks the door and 911 pendants so members can summon emergency help at the push of a button.

In business terms, the change has resulted in a boom in membership. Since November, Cook said about 25 new people have joined. With only 125 members prior to opening round the clock, that was a big jump in members.

“All the feedback I’ve gotten from our members is that it is a major convenience that we are always open,” Cook said. “On Christmas Day, 10 to 15 people came in and worked out. The times where most gyms are closed, we’re still open.”

Making time to play

Keeping a wellness resolution for life isn’t just about finding the time, Kelly said. It’s also about having fun, or “playing,” as she called it.

That’s something the Richardsons have discovered. They’ve been dancing for a couple of years and Steve Richardson said the couple dances a minimum of six days a week.

“It’s low impact and heavy on cardio, but mostly it’s fun,” said Sarah Farley, who gave the Richardsons a lesson Friday. “It allows people to get away from thinking about exercise and instead focus on trying to find things that are enjoyable. Besides, how many married couples find time to look into each others’ eyes for an hour straight? There is an emotional connection.”

The American Council on Exercise, in its annual predictions of exercise trends, said the popularity of television shows like ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” will continue to create a high demand for dance classes. That same trend can be seen in other adult activity classes that are gaining in popularity. Farley’s Ballroom, which Sarah and her husband, Phillip, own, has seen its number of clients double in the past year.

Classes that pair partners together, like dancing, are a growing trend because people want to do things with others, Kelly said.

“I think individuals will continue anything in life were they have enjoyment,” Kelly said. “We have to find some enjoyment and pleasure, and for many of us, it is doing things with others. But there is also the idea of commitment that comes from registering for a class. So we register, enroll or commit and that is the other method of maintaining a resolution.”


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Shannon Cook is a fitness marketing consultant. Contact Shannon at