The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

Off Madison Ave

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Executive Summary:

Off Madison Ave was tasked with assisting The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) with expanding its overall brand awareness with heath and fitness enthusiasts. The agency performed a large amount of research to determine three objectives: confirm at least two NASM Master Instructors to be featured in the Men’s Health book, secure one TV segment in market and leverage social media and media coverage to drive traffic to a custom newsletter sign-up landing page. Off Madison Ave positioned NASM as a leading fitness authority and gained a strong rapport with a writer for the Men’s Health book in order to have eight NASM Master Instructors featured in the book, garner a TV segment on a top Arizona weekend show, garner landing page traffic, 375 blog views and overall raised awareness of the NASM brand and its expertise.

Situational Analysis

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), based in Chandler, Ariz., is one of the nation’s leading providers of certified personal training credentials, specializations and continuing education for health and fitness professionals. The organization has been considered the gold standard for certified personal trainers, sports medicine practitioners and sports performance experts for more than 25 years.

In 2014, NASM tasked Off Madison Ave with expanding its level of awareness among its target audiences. While NASM was already well known among industry professionals, the organization was seeking additional awareness with health and fitness enthusiasts. To accomplish this, the agency developed a strategic media relations campaign to establish relationships with reporters and to secure coverage with top-tier national publications widely read by both target audiences: industry professionals, and health and fitness enthusiasts.

Research/Planning

Before beginning media outreach, Off Madison Ave utilized a variety of tools and research methods to identify key media outlets and opportunities. The agency started by reviewing NASM’s annual Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) survey data to get a sense of industry trends, as well as publications frequently read by existing fitness professionals.

This research provided a foundation for a variety of story ideas and pitch angles for the annual story roadmap, and also helped the agency update the existing media list with relevant outlets and reporters. Off Madison Ave was able to identify a short list of publications that were then qualified using GfK MRI, an agency tool that provides insight into consumers’ media consumption behaviors.

Based on previous years’ target audience research, Off Madison Ave knew that almost all certified personal trainers possess two characteristics: a passion for health and fitness and/or a desire to help others. By plugging these personality traits into GfK MRI, the agency narrowed its media list to include outlets popular among prominent industry experts, and with significant circulation and reach.

From the GfK MRI research findings, Off Madison Ave determined Men’s Health, among other similar publications such as SELF and Runners World, would be one of its top media targets given the brand is widely considered a foremost authority on health and active lifestyles. This particular outlet also offers a broad reach with substantial print and online content, international versions, as well as a number of New York Times best selling books.

Off Madison Ave then reviewed the Men’s Health editorial calendar for relevant opportunities and found that it was gearing up to release its latest book, PUSH, PULL SWING, focused on workouts utilizing sandbags, kettlebells and dumbbells.

Goal/Objectives

Since NASM had never been included in a Men’s Health book before, the agency established one primary goal: secure a place for NASM in the book.

Off Madison Ave recognized that inclusion in the book would provide an introduction to Men’s Health editorial contacts, a primary audience, as well as generate awareness among health and fitness enthusiasts worldwide. The agency also recognized opportunities to leverage the book’s debut in fall 2014 to secure additional media opportunities and elevate NASM’s brand. Therefore, three objectives were established:

  • Confirm a minimum of two NASM Master Instructors (working certified personal trainers who also help develop and teach NASM curriculum) to be featured in the book.
  • Secure one TV segment in the local market to promote NASM’s participation in the book and increase overall awareness.
  • Leverage social media and secured coverage to drive traffic to a custom landing page, and generate 10 NASM newsletter sign-ups.

Execution

Off Madison Ave began by soft sounding the freelance writer compiling the book content, positioning NASM as a leading fitness authority. After securing initial interest, the agency focused on building a relationship with the writer, leveraging various NASM Master Instructors’ experience in working with professional athletes and sports teams, while providing insight about the prestigious NASM Master Instructor title.

During conversations with the writer, the agency learned that Men’s Health typically reserves space within this annual book for trainers who have an existing relationship with the magazine. Additionally, many of the Men’s Health editors have a preferred credentialing organization, NASM’s biggest competitor. These two factors presented a challenge for Off Madison Ave to secure feature coverage, as NASM did not currently have a relationship with anyone on the editorial team.

Having established a strong rapport with the writer, Off Madison Ave was able to provide information and examples of trainers’ experience to help the writer sway the Men’s Health editors to consider NASM for book. Through ongoing conversations over the course of several months, the team was able to identify 10 NASM experts well versed in creating sandbag, kettlebell and dumbbell workouts specifically designed to achieve fat loss, muscle hypertrophy and build strength, specific requirements of the book.

Once the editors provided the go-ahead, the reporter confirmed interest in utilizing 10 Master Instructors and Off Madison Ave worked with NASM to develop workout plans, reasoning for the training approach, tips for success and Master Instructor bios.

Men’s Health required all training programs to utilize pre-approved exercises from a database since photography already existed to accompany the movements in the book. Additionally, Off Madison Ave faced challenges in compiling all of the content to align with the stringent requirements for submission. The four-week training programs needed to be inserted into template Excel grids, specifying the number of reps and order of exercises. Working against a tight timeline of just one week, the agency fact-checked all content against the exercise database for accuracy, edited information for consistency in formatting and then organized the content to align with the book’s sections to make the process for the reporter seamless.

Results/Outcome

On September 2, 2014, Men’s Health: PUSH, PULL, SWING hit bookstores. Eight NASM Master Instructors and their custom training plans made the final cut and were featured prominently in the book.

To garner additional awareness of the book’s debut and NASM’s participation on social and among top- tier media contacts in Arizona, Off Madison Ave and NASM created a custom landing page. The page featured various pieces of content including a blog post about the featured Master Instructors from NASM’s president, a sample kettlebell workout and tips for utilizing sandbags. The landing page drove traffic to NASM’s main website, and included links to purchase the book and sign up for NASM’s newsletter.

  • Eight of 11 spots in the book were secured by NASM Master Instructors, representing nearly 75 percent of the training programs in PUSH, PULL, SWING and exceeding the primary goal and established objectives.
  • A Master Instructor was featured in a TV segment with Arizona’s top weekend morning show, “Good Morning Arizona” (KTVK Ch. 3).
    -The segment garnered a household viewership of approx. 30,000 and 196,000 unique website visits per month.
  • Garnered more than 400 clicks of the bit.ly link used in pitching and shared on various social platforms, driving traffic to the landing page and more than 375 blog views.
  • 12 NASM newsletter sign-up conversions from the landing page.
  • Raised awareness of the NASM brand and its trainers’ expertise among the Men’s Healtheditorial team, a primary goal.

Resources

  • Off Madison Ave and NASM were able to create the four-week custom training plans and supplementary content in five days.
  • Off Madison Ave utilized three public relations staffers.
  • The total time and budget used to secure and facilitate this opportunity, and promote NASM’sinclusion in the book was approximately 75 hours and $13,000.
  • GfK MRI, an existing agency tool, was utilized for research.

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