My Vegan Month: The Round-Up

December 1, 2017

So Vegan Month has come to an end, and we need a round-up post. I would have written this yesterday but, you know, I was too busy making seitan from scratch… 😉

So. Let’s revisit my first post and answer my own questions…

Did I feel any healthier eating 100% vegan?

Hm. Yes, on balance I did. I always eat a lot of veggies anyway, cook all my own food, rarely if ever get takeaway etc. But what I noticed during Vegan Month is that I just bought less snacky sweet “excess” stuff. This was mostly because I couldn’t be bothered to read the labels on everything. I know there’s vegan chocolate, vegan icecream, etc. But I just kind of couldn’t be bothered. As a result, the amount of unplanned snacking definitely went down. I also ate a lot less in the way of sauces and dressings (because so many of them have milk/cream/egg). My diet was a lot simpler as a vegan.

Did I sleep better?

No change here. My sleep is largely dictated by the noise levels of my neighbours.

Has my body changed at all (composition and/or size?) 

Weight has stayed the same, but then again I did make an effort to eat the same calories as previously, so I wouldn’t expect a change. I do think I look a bit leaner, but this could be because of training frequency which has increased these past few weeks.

Is my training performance affected at all (better/worse)?

I’ve been training hard and feeling good. The only times I’ve felt shit in training is when I’ve been exhausted (see above re: noisy neighbours).

Did I feel hungrier?

No, not at all. In fact maybe less hungry?

How easy (or not) was it to hit my normal macros? 

My protein went down and carbs went up. It was difficult to hit higher protein (because vegan protein is all mixed in with carbs), and difficult not to eat higher carb (same reason). I was hitting around 250g carbs a day with no effort at all – just because carbs are kind of everywhere with a vegan way of eating. This is fine by me, by the way, I have no issue with carbohydrate! I felt/performed/look much the same or perhaps a bit better. Protein wasn’t low (lowest was something like 125g) but lower than pre-vegan diet.

What kind of recipes/meals did I end up cooking, and will I keep any of them in my regular diet?

Sorry, did I mention that I made seitan from scratch? I did? Oh. Well I also made lots of curry-type things with tofu and/or pulses. (Some of the recipes are here.) And I discovered fava beans, which I made into a kind of daal with turmeric and spices. I really enjoyed everything I made (I guess it would be odd if I didn’t, given that I made them?!) and will keep them in my regular diet. I will actually make seitan again!

Will I carry on with all or any of my vegan food choices after 30th November?

Definitely. No milk or yoghurt – the thought had been making me feel a bit “ick” for a long time before I did this vegan experiment. I’ll carry on using non-dairy milk. I doubt I’ll want yoghurt but if I do, there’s Alpro. I really dislike honey. I suspect I’ll go back to regular cheese. I will eat eggs and egg whites again. As for meat? I will eat it again, but I don’t have any specific plans. I didn’t get any meat out of the freezer last night ready to eat today. And I haven’t eaten any today. I am looking forward to a bit of salmon and – oddly – tinned tuna.

I hope you’ve enjoyed following this month-long eating experiment. If you have any questions for me, please ask and I’ll do some follow up posts.

All the Vegan Month posts can be found here >> Vegan Month experiment <<.

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.

 

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#6 – 7 Ways Copywriting Is Crucial For Your Fitness Business (About Me profiles)

October 26, 2017
Today: writing your About Me page (or any kind of profile/bio).
(Check out the posts about videos and video scripts, emails and email marketing, blog posts, website copy and ebooks.

Isn’t Writing “About Me” Easy? I Just Talk About…. Me…. No?

Do you want to bore your readers straight off the page and leave them with absolutely no idea of what life would be like working with you?

Then no, ideally not.

Yes, if you run a business, you do need to tell people about yourself (especially if you are the face of the brand). You might do this on your website, in your social media bios, within sales pages, and as an author bio when you write guest blog posts.

But how much thought do you put into those little “about me” profiles?

“About Me” Is A Marketing Tool Too

Stop thinking of about me/profiles as a footnote and start thinking of them as a key part of your marketing and brand awareness.

It can be challenging to get all the key points into an “about me” section, especially on social media, but that’s good practice. Make your bio sharp and succinct, interesting, and on brand.

9 Things To Remember

If you’re struggling to write an engaging profile/bio/about me section that doesn’t bore people to death, bear these points in mind:

  1. know who you’re talking to. The messaging, tone, and language of your bio should change according to your audience, just like any other bit of copy should.
  2. don’t just include facts and boring info (tip: nobody cares about you, they care about what you can do for them)
  3. make your about me/profile be about the reader. I know, sounds weird. But it needs to be about you in the context of what you do for other people.
  4. share your values, character, and what makes you different. Why should the reader work with you?
  5. tell the story of your professional journey. People love stories, and this is the best way to get all that boring info in without just listing a load of facts.
  6. show how you’ve provided solutions in the past, and how you can help the reader now. This is another creative way of getting those boring facts in, but in story form.
  7. give a sense of what it’s like to work with you. Do this through stories, language, and tone.
  8. build a sense of connection, familiarity, and trust
  9. add a call to action or at the very least a way to contact you

Here are a few examples of About Me/profiles I’ve written

Kirk Miller About Me page

Boldanic (supplements) About Us/company story page

Tony Cottenden Top Condition PT About Me page

Adam Cam About Me page

For more fitness industry copywriting chat, join me on Facebook– and stay tuned here for the final post in the 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, or by sending a message here.

 


#2 – 7 Ways Copywriting Is Crucial For Your Fitness Business (ebooks)

October 17, 2017

fitness writer ebook copywriting editing

This week, we’re talking about seven ways that copywriting helps fitness businesses like yours stand out.

Yesterday was website copy.
Today: ebooks.

What are ebooks?

An ebook is a book in electronic form, although it doesn’t have to worthy of a Booker Prize nomination. Fitness businesses use ebooks as lead magnets, for data capture, as a way to give free content or (occasionally) as a digital product to sell.

However you use your ebook, it will help with authority, visibility, and expert status.

You already know that you need to give value long before you ask people to buy from you. An ebook is a great way to package up the best of your content and give it away, in return for an email address. They get some genuinely helpful info which solves one or more of their problems, and you get to add some data to your list. Win/win!

There are other reasons to produce an ebook…

  • it establishes you as an authority and elevates your expert status…
  • ebooks stay relevant for longer. Blog posts come and go, but an ebook has (virtual) thud-factor…
  • you can create a buzz around an ebook which will energise the rest of your marketing efforts
  • and the best bit? You’ve probably already written nearly an ebook’s worth of content already! It shouldn’t be a massive task.

I’ve ghostwritten and/or copyedited ebooks for:

Mike Samuels of HLHL (who said this…)

I asked Nic to edit my first e-book.

The level of service I received, and the quality of her work well above and beyond what I’d hoped for, and as such, every single project and book I’ve created since, I’ve not even bothered going to anyone else.

If you want top quality work – go straight to Nic!

Juggy Sidhu (who said this…)

I had worked hours on my ebook and I was at the point where I knew something was missing! Nicola came on board and made a massive impact on the words I had put together and really made them come to life. I look forward to working with Nicola in the future!

Ru Anderson of High Performance Living (whose book held the #1 spot in Amazon for its category)
Martijn Koevoets of The Powerlifting University (one of the books I helped him with also became an Amazon best seller!)
…and plenty of others (I LOVE working on ebooks!)

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 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.


#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.


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…

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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.


Week 5 catch up – congratulate yourself

November 26, 2015

Another late “weekly catch up” from me! I like to keep things fresh. Thursday is the new Sunday (or something).

Truth be told, I don’t feel I have a great deal to report which is perhaps why I’m dragging my feet. We’ve talked about setting a goal for the 8-week challenge/thing, discussed keystone habits, fessed up to our red flags, and I’ve banged on and on about journalling.

As we head into the second half of our 8 weeks, what would be useful to discuss?

How about celebrating even the smallest successes? I’ll admit that my “measurable” progress with my goals have been up and down, certainly not linear, and I’ve felt a bit like I’m going two steps forward and one step back.

But I’m essentially an optimist and like to see the positives, or at least the opportunities for doing better.

So here’s what I’m giving myself small pats on the back for this week:

– not just keeping up with my dog walking activity since it’s turned so cold and dark, but actually increasing it. I’ve switched my daily schedule around a bit (when I can) so I can make the most of light mornings, and I’ve been heading out for 1 hour+ and tackling at least one decent hill in that morning walk.
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– identifying “red flag” feelings (this week it’s mainly been feelings of frustration about a work project) and doing something proactive rather than reacting by getting all wound up. When I can, I’ve gone for that daylight dog walk when a conference call got rescheduled (etc). Work frustration and feeling “stuck to my chair all day” is a key “red flag” feeling for me, so this week I’ve been trying to flip my reaction to it.
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– going training even when I didn’t feel like it
. For some reason, just this week I have really started to struggle with training after work. It hasn’t just felt a bit hard, it’s felt awful! I can barely keep my eyes open, the drive to the gym is horrible, I feel in a foul mood, and I don’t feel strong at all. So I’ve made it my mission to get motivated: play music in the car or at home before I go, dance about a bit (before I go, not at the gym), arrange training with a buddy, design myself a session I know I’ll love (or that scares me bit!)

– having a full day off when I really thought I needed it. On the flip-side, there was one day this week when training just wasn’t happening. I started getting ready to lift weights, and realised I really, really didn’t want to go. Not only did I not want to go, but I didn’t “need” to (in that my other sessions over the week covered everything). So… I didn’t go. It’s hard to do, actually! But I knew it was the right decision. Instead I ploughed through a load of work, did some housework and got other sh*t done. Later that day, I was due to go boxing (which I love). But the thought just made me want to curl up and go to sleep. So after a bit of soul-searching, I decided to give myself a break. I had an evening at home, and thoroughly enjoyed it. And you know what, the next day I set a new PB in the gym!

What can you congratulate yourself for this week? Even if it’s not something you would normally think of as “good”?

In other news: two new PBs this week! A deadlift PB of 142.5kgs (I’d been stuck at 140kgs for ages and knew I had a bit more in me) and a debatable 62.5kgs for bench. I think my training partner might have helped a teeny bit. It certainly wouldn’t have passed in a powerlifting comp. But I put 62.5kgs on the bar and I pressed it! I’ll get it properly-properly soon, and I’ll certainly congratulate myself for it! It wasn’t so long ago that I couldn’t even bench 60kgs!

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Week 5 catch up – congratulate yourself 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.