Easy ways to generate content for your business blog

July 24, 2014

Do you struggle to find things to blog about? If you’re a sole trader, owner/manager, or the person responsible for marketing, chances are you have a business blog (if you don’t… start one!)

One of the biggest grumbles I hear from people with work-related blogs is “I don’t know what to blog about!”

Yes, you do. And I’m going to tell you how to uncover it.

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I’ll aim this at fitpros and brands/businesses within the fitness and wellness worlds, cos that’s who I work with. But, really, this advice could apply to anyone in any sector. I’ve actually written something similar – based on a presentation I delivered to a local business networking group (none of whom were fitpros) – you might like to read my advice for small businesses – why write in your authentic voice

Here’s a professional copywriter’s advice on how to generate blog content every single day (your only problem after reading this will be finding the time to blog it all. Hint: get in touch with me πŸ˜‰ )

What are your clients talking about?
– you see your clients regularly, and you have a good relationship with them. You’re not just a fitpro to them, you’re a sounding board, a therapist, a friend. They tell you what they’re worried about, what they’re excited about, what confuses and intrigues them about health and fitness. They are your eyes and ears – listen to them and they’ll tell you what your next potential client is almost certainly thinking about.

What do your clients ask you?
– what do your clients actually ask you? What exact questions do they come to you for, looking for an expert answer? In their eyes, you’re the expert, and that’s how your blog is going to position you, too. Take those questions, and blog with an answer to them. Chances are, someone is actually Googling that question. SEO, my friend, SEO…

What’s hot in your industry right now?
– You know what’s creating waves in your industry. Regardless of how seriously you take the latest discussion/argument, or how long you think the next fad is going to stick around, these things are on your prospects’ radar, too. So blog about it. Your opinion, your advice, your experiences.

Use the news
– Had a news story broken which affects or feeds off the fitness industry somehow? The news is a great resource for your own blog posts. There’s something in the news every day which somehow refers back to health, fitness, weight loss, wellness. Use news, stats, research. Local news (great if you’re trying to dominate your local area) and national news. Link back to the story for better SEO.

Memes and infographics

– Content is about more than just words. It’s becoming increasingly more visual. Consider making memes and infographics to illustrate your blog posts and to give you another angle on creating compelling content which your followers are likely to share and engage with.

Numbered lists and top 10s
– Stuck for a blog post? Here’s an easy way to break your writer’s block: choose a topic, and do a “top ten reasons why….” or “ten easy ways to…” type post. Easy to write, easy to read, great to share.

Create a theme
– Use regular themes within your blog: perhaps a mindset/motivation post on a Monday, a workout type post on a Wednesday, a healthy recipe on a Friday. Not only will this make blogging easier for you, but your readers will come to expect the content and will look forward to their favourite posts from your blog.

And here are some practical tips (because it’s all very well having all those fabulous ideas, but you’re busy and likely to forget them)

carry a notepad and pen with you at all times. Or have a note-taking function on your phone/tablet. If a brilliant idea for blog content strikes whilst you’re rushing between clients, setting up your circuit class stations, or making a coffee… make sure you can make a note of it

Just do it. Don’t procrastinate. The nice thing about blogging is that you can do it quickly and get it out there. And it’s a medium that lends itself well to being time-sensitive and reaction. So… just get on with it

Reuse and recycle your content. Once you’ve written your blog post, use that bad boy! Push it out via your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other social media (personal and business). Put it in an email and send it to your list (with links to your website of course). Use the first paragraph in your digital customer newsletter with a juicy enticement to click through. Add it as a Facebook note. Consider using it as part of that ebook you’ve been meaning to write for a year. You get the idea

– have an editorial schedule. Treat writing, and blogging, as part of your business strategy (because it is)

– set aside regular time for blogging, just as you schedule in time for other business matters

– and… outsource! If you can’t do it yourself, or don’t want to, contact me. Writing content (including blog content) for people just like you is exactly what I do as a job. You have no idea how many of the fitness industry blog posts out there were written by me!

Easy ways to generate content for your business blog 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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Fitness Writers at FitPro Live 2014

July 20, 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.


Health & fitness trends for 2014 – industry predictions

December 12, 2013

The countdown is on to the start of a new year. What’s in store for the fitness and leisure industry? Here are some predictions from people on the inside. I’d love to know your thoughts!

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Apps, gadgets, and the science of self-monitoring

This is an area that fascinates me and I’ll be keeping a close eye on it in 2014. I enjoyed my Ki Fit experiment back in 2011, and am currently trialling a few different activity monitors for a round-up blog post in the New Year.

At one of the recent UK Active Communications Forums, “digi health” was a hot topic. Have a look at Ste Davies’s slides – fascinating stuff. We’re already seeing clothing which gathers on-body data (here’s some news about technology which could be put into sportsbras which tells you whether you’re eating out of hunger or emotion) What will 2014 bring?

Technology and apps will continue to be used to track and gather data, motivate and help people reach their fitness goals, whilst enabling people to easily share stats to create a sense of community (or competition!)

I’m sure many of you already use activity monitors for monitoring everyday activity and sleep, use apps to track nutrition and exercise, perhaps train on a Watt Bike, or go to clubs which use cloud-based systems like MyZone.

Will the amount of daily data we’re able to capture and monitor about our bodies and health eventually have an impact on how we interact with PTs, coaches, even medical professionals?

HIIT training/intervals

We’re all familiar with the idea of HIIT training, but it’s predicted to grow in popularity, particularly in the area of health clubs and fitness classes.

Virgin Active’s “MAXercise” class will combine HIIT bodyweight training with flexibility training (perhaps indicating consumer demands for a more holistic breed of HIIT training?) Fitness First have introduced Tabata classes, based around the concept of a training session with an intense four-minute work section.

Physique sports
I’ve seen the amount of people entering physique competitions sky-rocket in 2013, but I’m not sure whether the stats back up this observation. Perhaps it just looks like a huge increase from where I’m sitting (within bodybuilding). I’m not just talking about bodybuilding competitions: there’s been a massive increase in the types of physique-sport contests around, from fitness model types events to beach body and bikini type contests. Add social media (and all its implications) to an increased interest in these types of competitions (often from younger folk) and you have a huge amount of issues beginning to raise their heads. Some positive, some worrying. It’s a trend I’ll be watching with interest in 2014 and maybe I’ll have something more concrete to say this time next year! For now, I’d say that bodybuilding can be a fantastic hobby to get involved in, if your head is in the right place. Get your advice from good sources, don’t rely on social media, find decent and trustworthy people to support and advise you, and don’t assume you have to have a prep coach.

Thank you to the folk at Virgin Active, Fitness First, to Ste Davies and to various other sources for the predictions in this blog post.

Health & fitness trends for 2014 – industry predictions 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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