Interviewed For “She Lifts” (Grab Your Copy – Promo Price)

September 22, 2016

My week kicked off with an exciting interview at 9am on Monday. This time, I was the one talking, not listening, as someone else asked me the questions…
she lifts discount promo code
My buddy Mike Samuels of Heavy Lifting Healthy Living asked me to be part of his new “She Lifts” project.

Are you a lady wot lifts? (If you’re reading my blog, there’s something like a 92.7% chance you are….)

Or a lady wot wonders about lifting, but isn’t sure what to do… how to get started… or how to REALLY get stronger and leaner (not “big and bulky”)?

Then take a look at this gem from Mike and Jason (Maxwell, of JMax Fitness – Mike’s co-author on the project). She Lifts is on special promo offer til Friday 23rd Sept It’s an incredible digital training resource for women who want to lift heavy, build muscle, and lose fat.

Here’s what you get

** 7 breakthrough lifting programmes written for women.

** Easy to follow program for building muscle, strength, and losing fat (no “bulking up”, I promise!)

** Templates for training 2, 3, 4, and 5 x week

** Programmes for women who are beginners, intermediate, and advanced.

** It’s all digital, so you can upload the programmes and videos your phone (or print out if you want)

The entire thing is on sale til END OF TOMORROW
Grab it now before the price goes up

For my video interview, I chatted with Mike about

The biggest myths surrounding female training, and strength training in particular.
(Hint – mine was about competing!)

Why women should include strength work in their programs?

My top 5 tips for women who want to get started with weight training.

My best advice re nutrition? Plus my approach.
(Hint – it involves potatoes 😉 )

The biggest difference between how women/men should train and diet?
(Do you even think there is one?)

Whether I prefer powerlifting or bodybuilding… And if I think they are compatible.

My advice for women looking to compete (in bodybuilding and powerlifting)…

So to get all that ^^^ plus the actual PRACTICAL and USEFUL bits of “She Lifts” 😉 like all those training programmes, videos, and lifting guidance to get you to your goals – take a look. The link for She Lifts is here. Tell Mike I sent you.

PS You also get bonuses like the “She Lifts” Glute Specialisation Guide
PPS Plus that video of me haha – not sure that’s a selling point! You do however get to see what I look and sound like at 9am on a Monday before a coffee…

Interviewed For “She Lifts” (Grab Your Copy – Promo Price) 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.


Fitpros: Do You Know How To Use Info From Press Releases For Your Own Content Marketing?

August 22, 2016

fitness pro use press release for content ideas

The other day, I shared a press release I’d been sent in a fitpro marketing Facebook group. Some of the fitpros in the group asked me how they should use the info in that press release. Here’s what I told them.

First up: what’s a press release?

A press release (or news release) is a document sent out from a business to members of the media. Any business or organisation with news to announce can send one: brand, business, organisation, charity, NGB, sole trader, or the PR people who look after them.

Press releases are typically sent to journalists (in house and freelance), editors, and bloggers. But there are plenty of ways to access them (or get them delivered to your inbox) if you’re a business owner who writes their own content.

There is tons of info online about how to write your own press release. But what about using other people’s press releases as a useful prompt for your own content? With 26 gazillion (<< estimated figure) press releases being generated every day, why not use the info! Here’s how – and why – you should.

What kind of press releases have useful data/stats in them?

Most press releases will be about product news or business announcements. But some will be story-led (particularly in the fitness industry), and others will use data/research/stats as the “hook”. These are going to be the most useful ones for you as a fitpro in constant need of content ideas!

But I’m not a journalist or content writer like you… how can I access press releases?

Here are some resources – visit the sites, see if they distribute press releases in your industry (but do think outside the box, too), and sign up

e releases
PR newswire
PR web
PR genie
ResponseSource
Sport4Media

I’d also recommend signing up to email/newsletter lists. Fitpros could try signing up for latest news from NGBs (national governing bodies) in sport, sports organisations like UKActive and Sport England. PT and fitness training companies are another great source (the type that deliver training to fitpros). It is also worth trying to get on the email list of leading sport and fitness PR companies (like Promote PR) as they will regularly send out useful news about clients and industry research.

Finding your own best sources of industry news is a bit like building a great swipe file. It takes time. You’ll need to keep an eye out for sources, and then bookmark/sign up to them. It will be an ongoing process. But stick at it and before too long you’ll have a valuable resource.

OK. Got it. So how, when, and why would I use “stats” type press release info?

As a fitpro, you need to generate content, right? (PS If you don’t have time, or hate doing it, I can help << click 😉 ) Blog posts, Facebook posts, ideas for emails, newsletter articles. Every hook and idea helps.

Most of the press releases you’ll get won’t be helpful in this regard. But some will contain stats (from a study or survey), data, or industry insights. And you can use those as a hook for your own content.

Here’s an example:

You get a press release from a PT training company who are promoting their qualification for training older gen pop. As a hook for that press release, they have done a survey into attitudes and misconceptions about fitness. In the release, they give a load of stats from their in house survey.

>> 75% of women over the age of 55 have never gone into the free weights area of the gym. 63% of over-60s believe that lifting weights overhead will damage the spine.<> “Did you know that 75% of women over the age of 55 have never even set foot in the free weights area of a gym? That’s according to new researched published by XX Training Company, who recently surveyed XX men and women aged 50-70.”<<

(Then you'd add your own content, about how you can help older people train safely and with confidence… or whatever it is you do.)

You need to credit the course, and say where the stats are from. All the information you'll need will be on the press release.

Is that helpful? If you have any questions about using press release information for your own content, or about writing and circulating your own press releases, get in touch. I can help!

TheFitWriter Nicola Joyce on Facebook

Fitpros: Do You Know How To Use Info From Press Releases For Your Own Content Marketing? 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.


thefitdog on “Take Your Dog To Work Day”

June 24, 2016

This is a post from Frankie, the office dog.

Hi, friends!

I am dictating this blog post to Nicola from my bed (nothing new there, I hear you say). Ah, but today I am not just lazy! I am RECUPERATING! Yesterday I fell asleep at the vet’s and he stole another bit off my body. The first time was the worst – it was ages ago – he took my nuts! Then another time, he took a little lump off my leg. Yesterday, he took my dingly-dangler (technical term for a skin tag).

Anyway. All of that is to say that I’m very glad it’s Take Your Dog To Work Day today, because I need Nic here with me in case my brow needs mopping (or in case I try to bite my stitches).

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 11.50.02

And that’s what I want to write about today…

The fine invention that is Take Your Dog To Work Day. It’s a real thing! Personally, I feel that every day should be TYDTWD. I think having your dog at work with you has huge benefits, not just for the dog but for the human, too.

Here’s why every day should be Take Your Dog To Work Day.

Less Stress

Everyone knows that it’s nice to stroke a dog. But did you know that it’s actually a medical fact: stroking a dog’s fur has been proven to boost your levels of the “happy hormones” serotonin and dopamine. And just having a dog around helps humans manage their stress levels. You’ll have lower blood pressure, and you’ll be able to calm down and think things through.

Frankie’s Top Tip: stroke the ears, they have magical stress-busting properties (not medically proven).

More Productive

Everyone knows that people are more creative and productive at work when they take short breaks every now and then. You need to stretch your legs, get a change of scene, breathe some fresh air. Errrr… hello! An office dog could help with that! Having a dog around will encourage you to be less sedentary and take regular breaks, which could help you figure out a work problem or get through a plateau.

Frankie’s Top Tip: take the office dog outside for a wee even if he or she doesn’t need one.

Better Working Environment

According to some study (Nic did tell me where it is, but I forgot), 90% of employers who allow dogs say they have noticed a positive change in the working environment. Half of them said there’s been a decrease in absenteeism, and 67% said the office dog has improved staff morale. GO DOGS! Well, we’re just nice to have around aren’t we? We’re cute, and funny, and usually pretty laid back. I can completely understand how an office dog would improve morale at work – and therefore attendance!

Frankie’s Top Tip: make sure your office dog is cute/funny/cuddly so you want to see him or her every day.

Nic says she feels very lucky to be able to “bring me to work” every day (she actually works in our house, and I sleep just round the corner from her desk). Here’s how I help her during the day:
Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 11.49.39

– Walk before work every day
Nic says our morning walk helps her switch from “home mode” to “work mode”. It means she doesn’t just let the work day take over. She gets some time to get her thoughts in order. By the time we’ve had our walk, she feels fully awake, focused, and ready to tackle her workload. And because we’ve already been outside, she doesn’t get any FOMO if it’s a nice sunny day.

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 11.49.21

– Regular breaks for cuddles
If Nic has been sitting down for ages, or if she’s feeling frustrated with some bit of her work, she’ll just come over to me and we’ll have a quick cuddle. Sometimes Nic will sing me a song. She always goes back to her desk feeling calmer, happier, and ready to tackle the work.

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 11.50.24

– Fresh air during the day
Nic knows she spends too long sitting down. It’s an occupational hazard. So I’ll often whine at her periodically during the day as a handy reminder that she needs to stretch her legs. If she’s busy, we’ll just go out into the garden for some sunshine and fresh air. If she has a bit longer to spare, we’ll pop out onto the field behind our house and walk round once or twice. When Nic wore an activity monitor, she noticed that these little walks really added up!

Are you allowed to take your dog to work with you? Big up Pets At Home, Google, Amazon and co for all allowing dogs in the workplace. They know a thing or two about business!

Speaking of business… I need to go in the garden.

Thanks for reading! Frankie xoxox

thefitdog on Take Your Dog To Work Day 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.


12 Years In Business (Part 2)

June 3, 2016

Sorry for the cliffhanger!

1st June 2004 was when I set up in business as a freelance copywriter. So, 2 days ago, I wrote a quick blog post about how I got to that point in my life and career.

Recap here if you need to catch up.

So there I was, in 2003. I’d just been made redundant from my Conference Production job. And I was ready to move out of London.

I made my way to Southampton (long story involving a man, which is another story for another day, preferably over a gin & tonic please… although you could read this if you can bear it!)

Once there, I took a role via a recruitment agency. Trouble is, their geographical knowledge of the south coast wasn’t great. And my knowledge about the A-road system in that part of the world was nonexistent. As a result, my new job turned out to be a couple of hours away. My heart wasn’t in it from the start. Quite honestly, I was terrible, and I made no effort to be better. I sometimes wonder if I wanted to be sacked? Anyway, I was.

In hindsight, I should never have taken another “real job”.

I should have made the leap right away.

But I guess I needed to be certain….

I’d always wanted to write as a career. As a kid, I wrote (terrible) short stories, meticulously hand-written in A4 hardcover notebooks. One of my clearest memories of primary school is when a local author came in to give us a talk. I studied English and critical writing for both my BA and Masters degrees. And my 32-year streak of keeping a journal recently made it onto BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour.

At the time, I was training to swim the English Channel. I thought to myself, look, if I can’t get a foot in the door as a sport and fitness journalist with a first-person feature story about swimming the bloody English Channel, then I clearly can’t pitch, can’t sell, and can’t spot a good story. I’ll give it a go.

And that’s what started it all.

From that initial feature, I struck up good relationships with the Editorial teams at various sport and fitness magazines. Over the years, my journalism career grew, and I’ve now written for consumer magazines, trade journals, the membership magazines of NGBs, the Washington Post, and books published by The Observer and by Weider/Muscle and Fitness.
nicola joyce journalist
Early on, I realised that I would struggle to build a business on journalism alone. I wanted to be more commercial, to deal with clients, to have a scalable business, and to make more money.
nicola joyce copywriter
So I took on copywriting work for local businesses. My journalism skills and experience were a useful foundation.

I networked relentlessly. I put myself out there at fitness industry events (Paul Mort’s FEB was pivotal for me). I took training courses with industry bodies and with independent copywriting coaches. I studied sales, marketing, advertising. I branded myself, walked the talk, and grafted hard to deliver good work.

And now it’s 2016. I can’t quite tell you how I got here. A strong brand, good quality work, focusing on a nice. Tenacity, consistency, and enjoying what I do.

A lot of exciting things are happening at The Fit Writer towers. Business is changing, and I’ll be rolling out at least one new service soon.

But copywriting for the fitness industry will always be at the core of what I do. I love it.

…I’m so glad I was made redundant in 2003!

See you at:
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Instagram

12 Years In Copywriting Business: Part 2 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.


12 years in business! (Or “Why Being Made Redundant Was The One Of The Best Terrible Events In My Life”)

June 1, 2016

nicola joyce freelance copywriter the fit writer

12 years ago today, I officially set up in business as a freelance copywriter.

In 1999, I left Uni after hanging about for an extra year doing a Masters (partly because I wasn’t ready to leave).

I worked in admin for a holiday company in my University’s city (mostly because I wasn’t ready to leave) and then made my way to…where else… London.

I lived in a houseshare in Archway with Uni mates. I shared a house in the wilds of South Woodford with one Uni mate, our very old landlord, and his disgusting German Shepherd dog. I lived in a beautiful house with my new London friends (and – randomly – a friend from secondary school) in Tulse Hill. We said we lived in Dulwich.

I worked in “conference production”, which these days would probably be called Content Development & Offline Marketing For Corporate Events (or something).

The company was owned by a huge publishing brand. My job involved interviewing very high-level execs, extracting research information from them, and writing it up into various formats (including the titles, topics, and structure of the conference, as well as the copy for the conference brochure, promotional web copy, and letters).

This was before email was widely used in marketing. And long before social media was big enough to be a marketing tool.

I went in at the very lowest level, and eventually became a Lead Producer in two different conference departments.

The in-house training was market leading at the time. It set the blueprint for various conference companies which followed it its footsteps.

It taught me…

** to think VERY quickly and commercially.

** to come up with themes, topics, and titles against tight deadlines, and to write them in the most compelling way. Our events lived and died by delegate bookings. Not enough sales? Your event would be cancelled, and you lost money (for the firm, and for yourself).

** to be fearless about picking up the phone and asking strangers to give me their thoughts about industry trends.

** how to write for the web, for email, for direct mail, for marketing and sales, for post-sales.

** how to use my curious mind to learn just enough about a lot of topics in a very short amount of time.

Then I was made redundant.

But it was OK. Around that time, I’d met the guy who would be my husband (then my ex-husband), and I was training to swim the English Channel. I was growing, and I’d outgrown the conference world. Truth be told, my mind was already out of there.

You might think that’s when I set up “thefitwriter” and went freelance.

You’d be wrong. I had one more lesson to learn…

Keep up with me on social media
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12 years in business! (Or “Why Being Made Redundant Was The One Of The Best Terrible Events In My Life”) 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.


Help! A Local Newspaper Has Asked Me To Write For Them!

February 5, 2016

fitpro writing for local newspaper

A local newspaper has asked me to contribute regular articles. Help! What do I do next?

I had a call from a fitpro today who was asking for my urgent advice. Months ago, he’d contacted various local newspapers and magazines, offering to write one-off or regular editorial. Life got in the way, he didn’t follow up. (Hey, at least he pitched them! It’s more than most fitpros do!)

And then, today… after all these months… one of those local newspapers emailed him. “Hi, if you’re still interested in writing for us, we’d love you to contribute fitness articles…”

Here’s the advice I gave to that fitpro.

What To Do If A Newspaper, Magazine Or Online Publication Asks You To Write Something For Them

(PS: Dont’ forget, I wrote a blog post about exactly how fitpros can get featured in their local lifestyle magazine)

1. Do a happy dance
2. Email them back.
Say something like:

“Hi [name],

Thanks very much – yes, I’d be delighted to write for [publication name] and would be able to supply great content every [week/fortnight/month*] to meet your deadline.

For this first article, can you let me know:

– word count
– deadline
– do you have any topic in mind? or would you like me to send a couple of ideas?

Moving forward, I’d be happy to send you over a few ideas at the start of every month if that would help with your editorial schedule.

Best wishes,

[you]

*depends on whether it’s a weekly/monthly/other publication

3. Wait for them to get back to you. If you haven’t heard within 24 hours, give them a call. It’s fine, after all they offered you this opportunity, so they’ll want to hear from you.

4. If they ask for ideas before you submit your article, think about
– the readership
– the other kind of content they cover in the publication
– topics relevant to the area and community (assuming it’s a local magazine)
– wider topics (health and fitness awareness days, health and fitness topics in the news)
If it’s a weekly publication, remember that they’ll like things which are as timely as possible, or which are pegged to something which has happened or been discussed very recently

5. Once you’ve got the go-ahead, make sure you submit your article:
– on time (never ever miss their deadline)
– with minimal fuss
– in the exact format they require (if you are sending it as an attachment, don’t label the document “Article for paper.doc” or “Fitness article.doc”. Name it the agreed title of the article.
– with any extras they’ve asked for (high res image, headshot, your biog)

6. Don’t send them something you’ve already published elsewhere (like on your own blog or your Facebook page). Use your own blog posts as ideas, sure. But don’t duplicate. If the publication happens to be following your blog, and see the duplicated content, they might feel it devalues their own published article.

7. Don’t forget a call to action. Obviously you won’t be able to put in a strong sales-type CTA. But add something at the end of your article: a question, an invitation to leave a comment or engage with you (or the newspaper) on Facebook, or something to make the reader take some action – even if that action is pondering a question you’ve posed.

8. Send as much of a biog as you can. Be a bit cheeky here – include your name, business name, title “local weight loss expert” or “town-name’s top personal trainer”, and even include your website and social media links. They can always leave them out, but they won’t put them in fi you don’t send them.

9. Ask if it will also be used online or on their Facebook page. Then keep an eye out for it and like, share, tag and link – make the most of that online content.

10. Get hold of a copy of the article. Consider scanning it in and using it on your website or social media. Or just keep it and build up a portfolio.

11. Don’t use it to line the guinea pig’s cage.

Help! A Local Newspaper Has Asked Me To Write For Them! 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.


Send Your Social Proof Hero On Fiction’s Most Famous 12-Stage Journey

January 13, 2016

the-heros-journeyThe “hero journey” concept (or “monomyth”) is central to story telling. It’s been described by Jung, Joseph Campbell, and plenty of others.

Think about the latest film you saw, or TV series you watched, then take a look at the 12 stages on this image. The “hero’s journey” is present in the best, most compelling, most memorable stories.

And it’s SO relevant to the fitness industry, isn’t it?

Do you use the idea of a “hero’s journey” in your content?

It could be for your own story or – more likely – your clients’ stories.

Here are the 12 stages of the “hero journey” (with my own thoughts about how it applies to fitness industry content):

1 = Ordinary World

Where your client is before he finds you. He’s safe, but bored and oblivious of what awaits him on his journey. We get to know all the details about him at this stage. He’s human.

2 = Call To Adventure

Something happens to launch our hero onto his adventure (journey/transformation). Is it a threat to his health? A wake up call? It’s something that disrupts the safety and comfort of his Ordinary World. What is the challenge or quest that presents itself?

3 = Refusal Of The Call

Your hero might want to accept the challenge, but he’s got fears/doubts. There are barriers. He refuses the call… and suffers (again) in some way. Does his health suffer? Or his self-confidence? How do things get worse (and why did he refuse)?

4 = Meeting The Mentor

Here’s where you come in! Your hero needs expert guidance… and finds it. For the fitness world, the “mentor” he meets is in the form of advice, training, and practical guidance. He now has the strength and courage to go on his journey.

5 = Crossing The Threshold

Our hero is ready to go on his journey to better health and fitness. He crosses the threshold from his old, familiar world, to this new one: the fitness lifestyle. What actions does he take to signify his commitment? Where does he go?

6 = Tests, Allies & Enemies

The middle of the story. He’s out of his comfort zone but he’s not yet at his destination. There’s plenty to threaten him, tempt him and derail him. External sources (environment, foods, lack of supportive peers) and internal (self-doubt, dip in motivation, lack of self-belief). What tests does he face? What obstacles? Which os his skills are tested? How does he overcome (and how do you help him)? He finds out who can be trusted (…you!)

7 = Approach To The Innermost Cave

The “inmost cave” in our fitness context could be mindset, belief, eating issues, prior failures with diet or training. It will be a huge internal conflict and something which lots of your readers will also recognise in their own story. As he approaches the mouth of the cave, your hero once again faces his biggest personal battles. He’ll need to call on everything he’s learned. This is a chance for a pause in the story to recap on where he’s come from, how he got here, and what he learned.

8 = Ordeal

This is the ultimate test in your hero’s journey. It could be a big physical test (useful for fitness stories) or a massive emotional/psychological crisis. His biggest fear, or his most terrifying enemy. He needs to face it, and he needs to face it now. It’s time. Through this ordeal, he will be “reborn” and the new version revealed. This is the high point of the story, but everything is on the line.

9 = Reward

The enemy (within or without!) has been defeated. Your hero has been transformed (<<< ooh, what does THAT remind you of in the fitness industry?) He emerges stronger. And with a reward. The reward in our context could be better health, improved home life, or a better body (very visual and easy to use as social proof).

10 = The Road Back

Your hero is ready to return victorious. He’s not anticipating any threats or battles. Instead he is looking forward to some form of vindication. What would that be for your hero?

11 = Resurrection

Oops, there’s one more challenge for your hero to overcome before the end of his journey. He will face up to something bigger than himself, and the victory will have far-reaching consequences that leave an impact beyond his own journey. Your readers need to feel part of this: his success (or potential failure) will have a real emotional impact on them.

12 = Return With The Elixir

Your hero is back home, a changed person. He’s grown (maybe literally, in our fitness context). He’s learned plenty. He’s changed. He is the person he always dreamed of being. He is a hero. What does his journey mean to others? Hope? A solution? Proof of what is possible?

Remember the structure of the “hero journey” next time you’re writing some story-style content. If I can help you brainstorm ideas, structure content, or write copy, get in touch.
Chat with TFW on social media
Here’s where you’ll find me:
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Send Your Hero On Fiction’s Most Famous Journey 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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