Keeping your studio or company name in front of the public is a challenge for most dancers. Paid advertising can be effective, but costly and sometimes it's hard to know how to get exposure otherwise.
The adage "You don't get something for nothing" is pretty much spot on when you are looking at marketing, but that doesn't mean it has to cost money. If you want exposure in the press or through mainstream news media, you need to either pay for advertising or do something news worthy to be recognized for.
Press releases, while great, aren't going to allow you to announce your upcoming class registration or announce your summer camps for free. They will however let you announce and share the word about community service events or promote special events that have a charitable side. Here are some ideas that might help you get some recognition in your local press -
Cross produce an educational event - free to the general public - with a local orthopedic or sports medicine professional to discuss safe training or injury prevention for dancers. You should choose someone who's philosophies are in line with your schools to best promote both programs. www.iadms.org has a list of clinical professionals who are knowledgeable about dance. This might be a great place to build a new collaboration.
Have your company or competition teams perform at hospitals, nursing homes, veterans' organizations or other service minded venues. Take some great pictures and then submit them to the local press after the event. Make sure you have releases from everyone in the pictures and if your dancers are from other towns, submit to their local papers as well.
Contact your local library about doing a read and greet during their story time. Select a dance based book and bring in a couple of dancers, in costume, to perform the book as you are reading it. This is a great way to meet potential little dancers and their parents. Great press material before, during and after.
Volunteer at your local school - you will probably need to get fingerprinted and have a background check done, (but think of that as a plus you can market - Studio X's teachers all have completed background checks for your child's safety). Offer to choreograph the school play at an elementary school or a choir concert or see if you can provide a lecture / demo program in a phys ed, art or music class. Timing this with National Dance Week in the spring is a great reason to reach out to the community.
Provide a low cost or free program for Seniors during the midday hours when your studio isn't usually booked.
Get to know who covers the lifestyle and arts events for your local media sources. Invite them to your open houses, performances, observation days or any special events that you hold.
Adopt a cause. Find a charity or cause that strikes a chord with you - homeless, battered women, etc and organize a fundraising performance for that cause. Invite other studios to participate and use press releases and press invites to help promote it.
Send story proposals to your local lifestyle writers about interesting or unique things that your studio or company is involved in. Do you have a student who has an interesting or amazing story (whether it's dance related or not)? The more facets you can show, the better the chance of something catching someone's interest.
Collaborate with a local children's musical artist and have your students provide movement fun and games to compliment their performance.
Reach out to community theaters to see what projects you can work on together.
Look into combined performances with local musicians.
Are there any art galleries or museums in your area? Perhaps a performance of a piece based around one of their themes or new exhibits is possible.
Things that generate positive press tend to be relevant to the audience of the media, unique or newsworthy or a good human interest / feel good story and local to the media coverage.
Do some legwork to see what options are the best fit for you and then plan your "sell". Keep the information clear, concise, interesting and relevant.