Fitness Writers at FitPro Live 2014

fitness writer fitpro liveThanks to membership organisation The Fitness Writers’ Association (please note the impeccable use of apostrophe!), I got a VIP pass to FitPro Live, and popped along on Friday.

Here’s a quick round up of what I did, saw, heard and took away with me:

I spent most of the day in the educational talks rather than at the expo. Room 8 turned out to be where it was at for all things marketing, digital and content. My kinda place to be!

I listened to sales specialist Lesley Aitken talk about how digital is rapidly changing the customer journey (particularly in the fitness industry). Fascinating stuff. Clients, are you aware of just how much research your potential customers are able to do about your business, brand and products… before they even visit your website, shop or facility? What’s out there online about you? And how do you control and optimise it? Lesley told us about “ZMOT”, which pretty much defines how the customer decision-making and buying process has changed due to digital/online. She talked about the ongoing importance of big data but, more than that, what to do with it. Don’t let it languish (80% is never used, apparently). Segment, drill down, utilise “pen portraits”… and then make sure your message (content!) is specific, relevant and targeted. The right message, at the right place, at the right time.

Here are my take away points from Lesley’s talk:
– pitch to the customer journey (understand what that really is, not what you think/hope/assume it is)
– collect data… but use it!
– the future of sales, marketing and comms is going to be much more integrated (hooray)
– plan for conversion and retention (this includes your content strategy)
– social is huge, and it’s not going away. Social marketing, advertising and selling… don’t get left behind (because your future customers are already ahead of you)
– become a publisher of content in some way and on some level
– get your content out there, position yourself as an expert, build trust, engage people and then nurture them. Yes – all through content (but I would say that πŸ˜‰ )

Next up was Jon Lipsey of Jon Lipsey Media and the man behind the new (and fantastic) Iron Life Mag (have you got your free download yet?) He spoke about how fitpros can use Twitter more strategically to get more customers. It was really interesting for me to sit in on this and hear the barriers and challenges PTs, coaches, facilities managers etc face (or think they face) to using social media. Most were things I hear from my clients on the regular: not enough time, not sure how to structure a message, not sure how to achieve the desired tone of voice, how to put together a strategy rather than just being on social media for the sake of it.

Jon gave some real gems of research into Twitter use, and left the fitpros with some useful questions to ask themselves:

– how active are your targets on social media?
– how much time/money per week are you willing to spend on social media content creation, upload, management?
– what is your strategy?
– how will you track and measure success?
– why would someone follow you and engage with you?
– and why would they want to stay connected?
– why would they engage with you, and not your competition?
– what do you offer (what’s unique)?
– why would someone want to share your content?
– what message do you want followers to take away?

I really liked his advice on putting together an authentic Tweet which does the job: ask a question (be specific), push people’s buttons, be subtle and genuine, and always reply!

I then sat in on a talk about the future of exercise and nutrition by Dr John Berardi of Precision Nutrition. It was a real pleasure to hear John talk “in real life”, he doesn’t come over the UK often so there was no way I was missing this! I was a total cliche at this point… yes, I sat listening to Dr Berardi of Precision Nutrition whilst I ate turkey and green beans out of a plastic tub πŸ˜‰ There was a great deal to take away from his talk and it was fascinating for me to listen to a leading name in the industry talk about future trends, challenges and opportunities.

I think the bit which resonated with me most was John’s prediction that the fitness industry will shift more and more towards a holistic consultative role, helping people with stress management, sleep and all the lifestyle and behavioural barriers they present. It’s going to be about change management before exercise and nutrition plans.

I then…er…did a Metcon class! Yes, me! It was fun actually, I’d forgotten how much I like classes πŸ˜€ I don’t do them at all any more but I was really into classes at one time. The presenter reminded me of one of my friends (who also presents fitness classes), the music was bangin’, I worked up a right old sweat, and I jumped in the air! As in, with both feet off the ground at the same time! :-O I KNOW RITE!

This was, by the way, on the hottest day of the year. I then got stuck in horrendous traffic driving home (from London, at rush hour on a Friday… no sh*t). But never fear, because I had left my coolbox in my car, so I popped my (still frozen) icepacks on my legs and drove home like this.

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Did you go to FitPro Live? What were your highlights and take-homes?

Fitness Writers at FitPro Live 2014 is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

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