Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
Seeing float tanks in the national news and culture has increased in regularity within the last few years. Graham and Ashkahn discuss how these things get on such a large platform. The guys briefly go over some of the major stories that have been all over the media and how those stories happened. Mostly it comes down to luck, but there are a few things that can increases the chances of your float center getting on national TV.
So “the celebrity lady on one of the late shows” was Kristen Wiig on The Late Show with David Letterman.
After Stephen Colbert took over the Late Show, float tanks made another appearance when John Dickerson went on there to talk about it.
Jeff Bridges also discussed John Lilly and float tanks on the Jimmy Fallon Show
The Nation’s Float Cover Story written by Neima Jahromi (Ashkahn’s cousin!)
Listen to Just the Audio
Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Graham: All right.
Ashkahn: Hey there.
Graham: Welcome to the Daily Solution Zone everybody.
Ashkahn: That’s right. This is Ashkahn.
Graham: This is Bizarro-Graham.
Ashkahn: Yeah, yeah. He’s looking really weird.
Graham: And now everyone else looks like a human. Today’s question is, “how did all of the centers that get on national TV do it, it seems like a long shot?”
Ashkahn: Okay. So they’re talking about like the news.
Graham: Big, big, big TV.
Ashkahn: Yeah like a huge screen.
Graham: Like Oprah.
Ashkahn: So yeah I mean there’s been some national news segments on floating. I feel like it’s been mentioned on kind of late night shows a couple of times.
Graham: Yeah. I mean there’s also really big magazine articles that have been written. Floating really has just been in kind of more high profile places over the last couple of years, than it really was any time before that.
Ashkahn: Yeah. I mean there’s a handful of different ways of getting media like that.
Graham: But. But most of them I think have actually just gotten lucky.
Ashkahn: I think it’s just been mostly luck.
Ashkahn: I mean for when I see, from the ones I’m thinking about, it’s mostly the person on the side of like the TV station or the person mentioning it who’s like a celebrity or whatever made the choice, or learned about floating, or you know it’s coming from their direction and then they just find a float center in the city that they happen to be in, and whatever float center they go to or whichever one happens to get mentioned in an article or something, is much more just because they got lucky, like kind of right place, right time sort of thing.
Graham: So I mean setting up in bigger cities and places especially, you know like New York for example, LA.
Graham: That have a little more media presence, especially nationally is a way to be more likely to get on there, for sure. So choice of location is one.
Ashkahn: So let’s even just mention some of these.
Graham: Yeah, yeah let’s break it down.
Ashkahn: Like there was-
Graham: But just to say, before we break these down, the biggest factor has been, I think just almost dumb luck and location.
Ashkahn: Yeah I think so too, and that’s as opposed to like having a PR person and actively pursuing some sort of big media channel to do a story on you.
Graham: Yeah and that’s kind of a crapshoot, right? It’s like you can have bad PR people, you can have good PR people. I’ve lost track of all of our episodes, but I think we even did an episode on choosing a PR person, or had some of them-
Ashkahn: We either did or will do, yeah.
Graham: Yeah, yeah one of those two. Anyway, so the good ones really can get you some great press and some great presence, even for nationally syndicated shows. It’s just a matter of their rolodex, it’s a matter of even the sentiment in the whole industry of media at the time, whether or not their trying to highlight these things, like getting away from the hustle and bustle or not. So even in the PR world it’s kind of a numbers game and a little bit of luck. You’re just like stacking the deck more in your favor because you are paying someone to have access to all of their contacts.
Ashkahn: So let’s see, like when I think about big national mentions float tanks have had, I feel like there’s I mean a couple definitely come to my mind. There was the one with the celebrity lady on one of the late shows, you know.
Graham: I do remember that segment you are talking about.
Graham: I have no idea which show it was or what the actresses name was.
Ashkahn: Or what her name was. Anyway famous actress-
Graham: I think she floated at Lyft over in Brooklyn.
Ashkahn: No, so there was one where she mentioned float tanks on a show, and she’d floated in Asheville, at Still Point Wellness.
Graham: Corey Costanza.
Graham: Hey buddy. Hope you’re listening to this one.
Ashkahn: And like I think she was just there filming a movie and that’s why she happened to float at that specific float center, and happened to be interviewed and had a really good experience about it, and mentioned it. You know to me that’s much more often how this is happening, is like it’s just the pieces kind of converge like that, or often it’s some big media channel wants to put out a big story, and what news does is focus on one specific example to make things relatable and personable, right? So every time a big story comes out, they choose a specific float center as kind of a key piece of the story. So I feel like we saw that with Float Seattle, they had a kind of national piece that was in NBC or something like that. I mean we had a piece that I think Fox came, one of our local Fox channels came and filmed us.
Graham: It was also NBC actually.
Ashkahn: It was also NBC, like the local channel a long time ago.
Graham: Yeah, yeah this was way back in like 2012 or something, yeah.
Ashkahn: Then I guess it was like performing well locally, so they kind of pushed it nationally.
Graham: Nationally, yeah.
Ashkahn: You know what I mean. That was not something like we reached out to NBC and said, “You should come film this thing in a a float tank.” So it’s mostly that, I think people are catching wind of this. The most recent big one I think of is when they did that piece at Justin’s Lab.
Graham: Yeah, yeah for sure.
Ashkahn: That was the same thing, like the person from the Morning Show was doing an ongoing series of disconnecting from our technologically connected world and was trying to find good segments and came across floating and contacted the Laureate Institute to do a segment there, and ended up airing the segment nationally, and also mentioning it in a couple of other news programs. To me that’s by far the most common story you hear, when you see these pieces go out.
Graham: Yeah for sure.
Ashkahn: Or there was that New York Times piece that featured Lisa Lopez Healing Waters in Denver, you know again I don’t think they, at least as far as I know, it wasn’t Healing Waters having a PR person who reached out and that turned into a New York Times’ article. It was definitely the other way around.
Graham: Yeah for sure. So again, getting lucky goes a long way. Can’t avoid it.
Graham: Like even if you do get a PR person, the PR person is again just kind of helping your chances at getting lucky.
Graham: The other way to do that I guess, separate from these two. If you call getting lucky an actual strategy, is doing some of that outreach yourself. You know it’s still a numbers game, but you can actually reach out to large TV shows, and large magazines and newspapers, and they might not get back to you, it might take reaching out over the course of years. You know ever six months kind of reaching out and poking someone, and trying to get a bite, and having a large number of those that you’re doing. You know if you’re reaching out to one show and you just know that you want to be on The View or something, you’re probably not going to get it. But if you’re reaching out to you know 100 different shows both in radio, and podcasts, and national TV, and stuff like that, and you’re doing it really consistently, eventually you probably will have someone who bites and picks something up. I mean accept it might be a long haul, but that is another strategy is to just be very proactive yourself.
Graham: You don’t see many center owners doing it, just because it takes a lot of time to run a float tank center. Despite best interests it’s just really hard to keep on top of things, like PR activities, when day in and day out there’s salt, and laundry, and everything else.
Ashkahn: I almost feel like at our scale PR is really just about like trying to create more situations that could become lucky, I feel.
Ashkahn: You’re just like trying to put yourself out there more and hope that through sheer coincidence you happen to be in front of someone’s eyes at the time that they’re like, “Oh man, I need a story for this thing.”
Graham: Yep, yeah exactly.
Ashkahn: There was a time when we got a news segment, way back in the day when we first opened, the kind of like zany local morning news person came in and did a short little float segment on us for the morning news. Then like years and years later we saw him doing some funny segment, like one of those-
Graham: He was down in a foreign country, I think it was for the World Cup or something, yeah yeah yeah.
Ashkahn: The World Cup, he was doing something and it got a little viral on the internet. We’re like, “Hey that’s our wacky morning news guy.” So we emailed him, like “Hey hilarious segment and like this was really funny.” He emailed us back being like, “Oh yeah you guys. Like he we should do a follow-up,” and two days later they’re in our place filming again, for another morning segment. So it’s just weird stuff like that, that I feel is the root of so much more of this media. I mean there was another big article that was a result of my cousin being someone who works for the New York Magazine.
Graham: Yeah for The Nation.
Ashkahn: For The Nation, yeah.
Graham: We were the first non-political cover in like 20 years to The Nation, which is a crazy.
Ashkahn: Yeah. So, he was working for The Nation and decided to, we had just opened our float center not too long before this, and he decides to write a piece about floating, then his editor was like, “Whoa this is really interesting,” and they decide to make it a cover piece of the issue of the magazine. So I don’t know, I guess just try to have family working in media is another strategy.
Graham: Yeah, ideally your brother is actually the head or the host of one of these TV shows. You know and then goes along there.
Ashkahn: Yeah, you could start your own newspaper, then do some like yellow journalism and try to slant the direction of political, science, and societal, you know what I mean, Star Wars.
Graham: Yeah no. I was just going to say it’s also totally viable, a little time consuming. Again there’s a lot of laundry.
Graham: That has to be done. I hear that yellow journalism’s even more time consuming than just regular black and white journalism.
Graham: Yeah I mean that’s just to review again. There is getting lucky and then there’s getting lucky with PR people, and there’s getting lucky with your own efforts, and that’s kind of it. Like those are the different ways that people really get featured.
Ashkahn: I guess what’s worth mentioning in my mind is just the fact that the reason people are even doing these pieces on us, is just because there is just this rising interest in float tanks, and it’s kind of the cumulative effort amongst everybody, right?
Ashkahn: The fact that we’re all out there hustling and floating people, and more float centers exist, and we’re all like putting this effort into pushing this more and more into public awareness is the reason why these people are doing these articles in the first place, to then choose the random float center near them to be in the article. So in some ways like you are kind of making this happen, it’s lucky if it’s specifically benefits you and you get to be one of those articles, but even when you’re not featured in it, the awareness of floating is good for your float center too. It’s good for everybody, right? Like it’s not like someone’s going to read an article about a float center in Denver and fly to Denver to float, like they’re going to look up a float center around them.
Graham: Yeah, yeah exactly.
Ashkahn: So keep up the hustle.
Graham: A floating tide buoys all ships, as we say.
Ashkahn: Yeah, yeah.
Graham: Classic sign off.
Ashkahn: Float tank floats all people.
Graham: All right, is that it?
Graham: Is that all we have to say about that?
Ashkahn: That’s it, all right.
Graham: So, if you have questions of your own, cruise on down to floattanksolutions.com/podcast, we will answer those questions. We’ll answer them right here on this podcast. Tune in tomorrow.
Ashkahn: Take it away now.
Recent Podcast Episodes
Graham and Ashkahn kick off the New Year by discussing the things to consider when adding a float tank to an existing business. This is a fantastic episode to start with if you’ve already got a service-based business or are a practitioner looking to start up on your own and looking for ideas.
The boys talk about logistical considerations, the built-in advantages to adding on to an existing practice, as well as how nice it is to have a meatball sandwich after chilling out in a sensory reduced environment for an hour (Ashkahn has a serious one-track mind).
Graham and Ashkahn round out the end of the year by talking about all the naughty and nice things about having business partners.
It’s a shorter compilation today, which gives you plenty of time to talk to your own business partners about what you think about them!
The holidays are a busy time for float centers and it often means lots of new customers asking questions. This means it can be a really great time to brush up on the facts about floating. Fortunately we’ve formed a folio of fantastic studies for you to fancy. Feliz Navidad!
In every service business, there’s a running joke that someone likes that’s usually somehting along the lines of “this job would be great if it weren’t for all the customers!” (*cue laugh track and uproarious applause*), well, the boys have not shied away from talking about the difficult sides of running a shop like ours. We’ve got episodes about handling negative Yelp reviews, customers too intoxicated to float, and even what to do when it’s time to 86 a problematic client.
You can tell this episode was recorded a little while ago, really close to after we all got back from the Conference. The boys are a little tired today, but they still have lots to talk about.
Grashkahmn share their initial reactions to the Conference now that it’s being run by the industry as a non-profit. This is a nice episode especially if you’re looking for some insights on their behind-the-scenes perspective on this big industry event and how it has changed this year.
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