From RAGS To RICHES – storytelling for fitness business marketing

April 3, 2018

I’ve been talking about storytelling recently – and the most effective “categories” of story for fitness businesses like yours.

Let’s look at another type of story (as identified in Christopher Booker’s 2004 book “Why We Tell Stories“).

Rags To Riches

We can all name several rags to riches stories from fairytales through Disney and beyond. Think Cinderella, Aladdin, Pretty Woman, Forrest Gump, Slumdog Millionaire, and Rocky (yep, him again – I know I mentioned him in the “Overcoming The Monster” post but this is why boxing movies get us so hard in the feels – they are impeccable examples of storytelling).

You know how the R2R story goes. Poor (yet plucky) hero faces incredible challenges despite all the odds being against him. He usually has a loyal sidekick or just one person championing them. Our hero gains something, loses it, then gets it back again – but not until they’ve overcome a situation, learned something important, or become “better” somehow.

There is conflict and drama. The narrative has ups and downs (it would be pretty boring otherwise). The hero always loses something (or someone), or has to leave something behind in order to progress.

So how can you use R2R in your marketing?

Two ways…

1️ For social proof
Client case studies don’t need to be as dramatic as a movie plot, but they do need to show clear progress – with the client overcoming the odds and triumphing in the end. Build the story around contrast: what was life like before, what happened during the journey, and what is life like now? How will your products or services bring “riches” (health, happiness, confidence, fitness) into their life? What are the “rags” they so desperately want to leave behind?

2 Your own story
Intelligent and subtle use of R2R in your own storytelling can really help you connect and resonate with your target market. Do this clumsily, and you’ll come across as cheesy or – worse – insincere. But get it right, and it can create a deep connection which showcases your empathy. Where did you start from? What obstacles did you overcome along the way? What did you learn? How can your story inspire and encourage potential clients who are further back in the process?

Some examples of Rags To Riches in sports and fitness advertising: remember the Nike Golf ad (2016) where Tiger Woods inspired young Rory McIlroy to greatness? Fantastic example – watch it on Youtube to remind yourself.

Or Gatorade’s ‘Rise Up’, ‘Greatness is Taken’, and ‘The Secret to Victory’ campaigns: “Every athlete loses. It’s part of the game. But what separates the good from the great is how they bounce back.”

Want to know HOW to use stories like these in your own business content marketing? Just get in touch – happy to help!

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 14 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.

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Where Does Storytelling Fit Into Your Marketing Activity?

April 3, 2018

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Fitness business owners – have you ever told your audience why you came up with the idea for your business?
Why you do what you do?
Where you were when you had the flash of inspiration: were you alone, or chatting with a friend? Were you outside in nature, or stuck in your office?

If not – why not?

Stories matter.

People DO want to hear the story behind your brand, your business, your flagship product, and your newest service.

Storytelling is one of the oldest and most natural ways for us to share ideas and make sense of the world.

And, these days, consumers care more about the stories behind the businesses they trust.

Your story builds connections, fosters trust, and nurtures relationships.

The more people know about your brand story, the more they will feel invested in you – and loyal to you.

🔻Why Is Storytelling Important?🔻

Emotional connection matters – perhaps even more than customer satisfaction. Clients and consumers will forgive a great deal if they like you.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t (over) deliver excellent products with absolute passion. But if people “know” you – through your story – then you can be human, too.

And emotionally connected customers are more valuable – on a long term basis – than those who are satisfied with your product, but don’t care about you.

Stories can help your audience find common touchpoint – reasons to engage with you. Excuses to reach out without feeling weird about it. If and when they meet you in person, the ice will already have been broken.

( 🐶 That’s one reason I always try to get my dog involved in Skype calls with new or prospective clients – or at least have him in the background. Dog people like dog people!)
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➡️In my next post, I’d like to tell you about the three most useful types of stories for fitness businesses to use. Would that be helpful?
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Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 14 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.


#4 – 7 Ways Copywriting Is Crucial For Your Fitness Business (Emails)

October 20, 2017

Number 4 in this blog series about ways you should be using copywriting in your fitness business is: emails.

(Check out the posts about blog posts, website copy and ebooks).

Do You Just Mean Sending Emails To My Clients?

Not exactly. Email marketing is (as the name suggests) a marketing tool. So your “email marketing” emails are different to the regular individual emails you send to clients for check-ins etc.

Email marketing is mass emailing your list (or breaking your list into segments to send more specific messages): for daily or weekly “newsletter” style emails, or to market/sell a product or service.

I Heard Email Marketing Is Dead

Yeah, no, it’s not. Obviously you need to get it right – and that starts way back before you send an email. It starts with putting out consistent valuable content, then successfully asking people to hand over their email address so you can build a list.

But once you’ve got a list, and something useful and truly valuable to tell them about, email is a great way to talk directly to prospective clients in a one-on-one way. It’s almost like a conversation between the two of you.

And that is exactly how it should feel to the person reading your emails.

Remember when I said that you should always write as if you’re talking to just one person? After all, your reader will most likely be alone when they read your copy.

Emails are a great way to remind yourself of this point. When you write emails to your list, imagine one single individual receiving that email: on their phone (probably), or maybe at their desk during a quick coffee break.

How To Use Email Marketing In A Fitness Business

  • daily/weekly regular emails to give value and build familiarity
  • pre launch emails to warm people up for a new product or service
  • as an entire sales sequence
  • post sign-up/thank you/welcome emails
  • to measure results with certain splits/sub sections of your list
  • for retargeting purposes

Make Sure Your Emails Do Their Job!

Spend plenty of time crafting great subject lines (so the damn email gets opened in the first place!), body copy that entertains/informs/educates, and then (when relevant) a strong call to action (CTA).

For more fitness industry copywriting chat, join me on Facebook – and stay tuned here for the next five posts in this series.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who has been writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry since 2004. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.


#1 – 7 Ways Copywriting Is Crucial For Your Fitness Business (Website Copy)

October 16, 2017

Over the next seven days, I’ll talk about seven ways that copywriting is crucial for your fitness business.

Today: website copy.

What is website copy?

It simply means the words on your website. Whether it’s the home page, product/services page, contact us, your bio, the “our story” or “about us” bit, or a more salesy page like a squeeze page, landing page, or long form sales page. Any words on your website is “copy”.

Why does your website need copy?

Well, it would look pretty bare with just images and graphics. Even a headline or a call to action box is “copy”.

The words on your website need to persuade the reader to do something. Sign up, join up, get in touch, engage, order, buy!

Of course a website will also have information on it (who you are, what you offer).

But it shouldn’t really be about you. It should mostly be about THEM. Why are you the right person to help them, and why now? How well do you understand them, and how will you solve their problems?

Whether it’s just a simple landing page, or a full website with products and services, stories and social proof, blogs and a members’ area…your website needs copywriting.

Here are a few examples of web copy I’ve written:

Web copy for a Personal Trainer Tony Cottenden at Top Condition PT
Web copy for online Fitness Coach Kirk Miller
And online Coach Adam Cam
Web copy for sports nutrition Bulk Powders
Web copy for a sports NGB Swim Wales

For more fitness industry copywriting chat, join me on Facebook – and stay tuned here for the other six posts in this series.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 13 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message 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.


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:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

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.


Step-by-step guide to getting featured in local magazines

January 10, 2016

How would you feel about being the health or fitness expert in your town’s local lifestyle magazine? Pretty good, right? Imagine it: a page (or a double page spread) every month with your words, your logo, your business name.

How can that local health and fitness column be yours?

Novemberweb

I’m going to show you. You might think “why me?” Well, why not you. You’re good at what you do, aren’t you? And you genuinely want to help people in your local area with health, fitness, nutrition?
Plenty of fitpros want to be in their local magazine. But hardly any of them will actually take action.

Here’s how to get your content published in local lifestyle magazines.

1) Get The Magazines

Firstly, you need to actually get hold of physical copies of local magazines. Go for a wander round your town, look in dentists’ reception areas, hairdressers, health food shops, railway station waiting rooms. Maybe your town has a local magazine or two put through the door – great, you already get those. Keep hold of them. Ask local friends and family which lifestyle magazines they receive or read, then find a copy.

2) Read The Magazines

Crucial step! What content is already in them? What type of person reads them? Will it be a worthwhile use of your time?  If they already have a health/fitness contributor, they probably won’t want another (but if you’re very niche and think it’s still a fit, go for it, just be very clear on why you should be featured). Familiarise yourself with the topics, style, angles and type of content they feature. Get to know the magazine, audience and advertisers.

3) Check Out Their Online and Social Content

Now you’ve narrowed it down to 2 or 3 local magazines. Go and find their Facebook page, Twitter feed and any other socials. Look at their website. Aim to familiarise yourself as much as possible with the magazine’s content and ethos. Now, when you make contact,  you look like you’ve done your homework and you can speak their language.

4) Find The Correct Contact

This is the easy bit. The editorial staff will be listed in the magazine and/or on the website. If there’s a health/fitness editor, contact them. It’s unlikely, though. The team is probably pretty small, so contact the editor.

5) Get Your Ideas Together

What can you offer this magazine? You need to show that you will be a never-ending source of good content. You’ve read the magazine, you’ve looked at their online content. It shouldn’t be too difficult to come up with 3 or 4 ideas for a column. Think about your local demographic. What will they want to know? Think time of year, local events, awareness days, hot topics, things which these people will be wondering or talking about. Present your ideas as solutions to things readers want to know.

6) Write An Intro Email

There are a number of ways to actually get in touch. But I think the best way is to send an introductory email to your editorial contact. Just as with your own email marketing, think about email subject line. Then simply introduce yourself and say what you want to do. Be clear, concise and polite. If you need some pointers on this, I can help so please get in touch Here’s a rough outline:

  • you notice they don’t currently have a health/fitness contributor
  • you’re a local expert with XYZ credentials
  • local people are currently talking about XYZ
  • you would love to contribute monthly content to the magazine
  • here are a couple of examples
  • you can quickly provide compelling, engaging and accurate content on an ongoing  basis
  • and you can provide high res images

7) Send It, Then Follow Up

Follow up with a very short email after a couple of days. Then a phone call if necessary. Keep a note of responses. Start a spreadsheet of magazine, editor, contact details, when you got in touch and what the outcome was.

8) Be On The Ball

Editors need contributors who are reliable. Make sure you give them exactly what they ask for in the brief (no more and no less). Meet their deadline. Provide logos, images and whatever else they ask for. It goes without saying that you’ll need to make sure your copy is accurate, so check for typos and errors.

9) Didn’t Work? Try Another Magazine

If your follow ups lead to a “no”, move on to the second magazine on your list. Simples.

10) Still Didn’t Work. Have A Plan B

If you’ve exhausted all the relevant online and print magazines in your local area, there’s one more thing you need to do. Do not let that content go to waste. You came up with several ideas for articles. So use them: on your own blog, Facebook page, in emails, as video…. just use them.

11) It Did Work: What Now?

Now you’re the magazine’s go-to fitness expert, how can you make the most of this valuable relationship? Who’d like a blog post about what to do once you’re an established contributor?  Let me know.

Here’s another blog post from TFW which might help: How Fitpros Can Connect With Editors/Bloggers/Media

I hope this works for you, or at least gives you some ideas (or a kick up the bum!) Let me know how it goes. You can get me here in the comments section or at Facebook
or Twitter.

Step By Step Guide To Getting Featured In Local Magazines 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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