This week we talk to Jack Cardy, Managing Director of Live Fit Gym and the Co-founder of Media Bros, a content creation service for personal brands, gyms, and influencers.
In this episode, Jack talks to us about what you need to do on Day One of creating a content strategy, building video content on a budget, and the secrets of cutting through the noise on social media.
This episode of The Fitness Founders Podcast can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and anywhere you get your podcasts.
Kevin: How is it going everyone and welcome to The Fitness Founders Podcast. I’m Kevin Mannion, VP Marketing here at Glofox. This week we talk to Jack Cardy, Managing Director of Life Fit Gym and the Co-founder of Media Bros, a content creation service for personal brands, gyms, and influencers. In this episode, Jack talks to us about what you need to do on Day One of creating a content strategy, building video content on a budget and the secret of cutting through the noise on social media. Let’s get started.
Kevin: Jack Cardy, welcome to the show.
Jack: Thank you for having me. It’s great to be on.
Kevin: Yeah, it’s good to have you on both as someone who runs a gym, works with us here at Glofox, and also someone who got your own content and media creation agency so lots of things for us to talk about today.
Jack: Yeah, 100%. It is good to get out and eat and actually do something. With the gym been shut it is pretty, pretty boring eating.
Kevin: Yeah, I hear you. I think before we move it with our topic for today which is building content strategies for fitness businesses, before we jump into that, I know you do have your own gym so maybe just tell us a little bit around what’s work or life has been like for the last few months.
Jack: It’s been very strange and it’s been a constant fight to provide enough value so customers who’d want to carry on paying their membership. I supposed that’s the unspoken challenge that a lot of gyms have gone through over the last three or four months. Like every gym, well, a lot of those gyms actually we offered our members freeze until we reopen. But we said, we’re offering online classes, we’re doing this and this and this. If you’d like to do them please carry on your membership and we’ll provide that value to you and make sure you can stay fit at home. I mean, it’s been a bit of a battle if we are honest but it’s a challenge. It’s so cool.
Kevin: Yeah, yeah. What have you learned around delivering value, let’s call it remotely, over the last while? What was the biggest thing you learned?
Jack: It’s a bit of a challenge to us because we didn’t have any on demand video or we weren’t online at all before lockdown happened. We’re quite a big space here and we are just under 4,000 sq. ft., so we’re a pretty big gym, classes were in the gym and the studio and it was face to face with members. Building an online platform for our members to go to work out with us remotely was bit of a challenge. Luckily, right at the start of our business we built what was called the ‘live fit in a circle’ which is a Facebook group for our members essentially where they could go ask questions and they could gain support from us, speak to fellow members and stuff like that which is a really cool initiative. But luckily, we literally just used that platform and we had about 50-60% of our members on there which is a decent ratio. We provided Facebook Lives for about 7-8 a week I’d say, and different kinds of classes with different instructors to make sure that we could give that value and we could still ask for them to still at least pay a little bit of their membership.
Kevin: Got it. Okay. How much work, in normal times, how much work goes into running a good Facebook Group?
Jack: It depends how you want to do it really. I mean we produce content to the Facebook Group with engaging graphics and stuff like that, asking questions, putting in workouts when we kind of knew lockdown was coming which is about three weeks before it did. We filmed quite a few home workouts and quite a few dumbbell workouts knowing that people would have access to dumbbells at home, and things like that, band workouts, stuff that people could relate to if they are at home working out.
If you want to run it and actually provide it as a service for your membership pretty important to post on a daily basis and keep up to date with fresh content all the time. But I’ve seen so many people just create these groups and post in their once every three weeks when they remember, “Oh god, I’ve got to post in that group.” I mean, luckily, we were posting kind of four or five times a week before lockdown in that group giving some value and asking basically if everyone is okay, “Can we help?” “How can we help?” And then the lockdown happened and that group has really come into fruition. Everyone talking on their about their struggles, what are they struggling with the lockdown. We’re asking how can we help, what is going on in the moment, are you feeling like you are in a bit of low because that happens with humans. And then we provide all the lives on there. We make sure we shared them on there so they can do them later especially we got a lot of key workers at the gym too so they can do those saved lives when they are at home to make sure we can still provide them some value to the amazing job they are doing. It has become a real important platform for us when we didn’t actually think it was going to ever be. But we’re really glad that we made it.
Kevin: Cool. It sounds like it paid off. Okay, well, let’s move in to the main topic. Tell us a little bit around how you became an expert in content strategies and started Media Bros?
Jack: I guess it started about 11 years ago when I started my personal training journey. I started as an apprentice personal training journey and became a little free PT, and grew my PT business within about five months to about 45 sessions a week which is crazy growth for a PT living in a 15,000-person town at that time. We really grew that with media. I realized straight away my brother who is my co-founder of Media Bros, my media company right now, he was obviously slightly younger so I could pay him slightly less which was nice. I got him to create all of my video, and all of my graphics, and even manage my social media for a good year or two. I was posting valuable quality content three times a day on every single platform you could think of. In those times, that was 2014-2015, maybe younger than that where Facebook was quite young and the organic reach was a lot better. I grew really quickly with that. And then, started PT management so I was managing PTs all over our country and they were part of my brand and we started doing content mornings each month where they’d come 3-4 hours and we’d just shoot for 3-4 hours just footage, footage, footage, really quality, engaging, funny, humorous content as well as cool workouts and stuff that people could do. We kind of knew it was important part of it. About two years ago, I was up all night thinking I need to do something with my younger brother, who would hate me saying he is my younger brother because he has a much better beard than me. I mean, he is… of human.
Kevin: Beards are out of control these days.
Jack: We basically made Media Bros and start creating content for everyone’s but mainly fitness industry we were kind of in. IDM the flow of influences who have huge followings who I thought we could work with one of them got back and we’ve been working with her ever since and that’s quite of led to those opportunities down the line. Now, we’re enjoying it.
Kevin: Cool. Okay, so, my first question is, you’ve worked with a lot of businesses now what are the key differences between a fitness business that has a well thought of content strategy and one that doesn’t?
Jack: I think people can see through it through it so it’s consistency mainly. The one thing right now that we can really tell is when someone has created content on a free app. You can tell now when a post is from Canva. You can tell now when something has been made on a free video editing app. And everything starts to look the same. Now you can rarely tell when someone has been house-helped, or it’s outsourcing help with a content because it’s engaging, its quality, it’s sized correctly, which is a big thing obviously Instagram, square, and Facebook is more portrait. I say consistency is the huge thing for strategy. When companies are building their strategies they need to be posting on a regular basis but all forms of content too. It’s really important to remember that people don’t engage or take in content the same way so audio podcast for those who want listen, blogs for those who want to read, videos for those who want to watch. It is really important to build your content strategy around providing authentic quality content for all different types of people.
Kevin: Got it. When you’re starting out, should a business have one clear objective in mind or can they achieve multiple things with their content strategy? How they should think about that?
Jack: I think they can achieve multiple things, but I think there is always a message for any company. For Live Fit for example our message is ‘Feel Great, Live Fit’, and that is done in a community. We really, really focus on community-driven content where we are here to help you physically and mentally with your health and well-being. We’re not here to build bodybuilders. We are not here to make sure you can deadlift 400kg. We’re here to do everything. When we build Live Fit it is a product and we have been doing our content ever since it is holistic. We want to be able to cater for you regardless of your fitness goal and we’ll do that through our messaging our content.
Kevin: When you are building this content, how are you measuring it? You personally say for your gym. Are you counting leads? Are you looking at likes and impressions? How do you know a piece of content is performing?
Jack: Obviously the natural way would just be go to the insights and see how it has performed. But we always know when a piece of content would perform better than another, and that is always when a member or staff is in a piece of content or a member is in a piece of content. More authentic content always performs better because people know that person. People see that person in a daily basis. One of kind want to like it because they like that person. It’s really important to make sure that… Testimonials perform so well, so we’ll have a few members here who love to jump in front of the camera and tell the people how much they love Live Fit. And they’ll jump in front of the camera, tell people how much they love Live Fit. We’ll produce some good quality content with a really quality heading and then people will engage that, like that because they know that person and they also agree with him. It’s really important for companies to get their staff behind the camera or behind the content. That’s what you’re really looking for. If you’ve got members and staff who like being on camera talking about your business, they are enthusiastic about your business, get them on camera. Get them writing a blog. Get them doing within your content strategy ASAP because that’s going to resonate with your audience the most.
Kevin: Okay. If I am, say, running a fitness business and have to date being shy and not had a content strategy maybe a few photos here and there in Instagram. Where do I start building that strategy and knowing what I should be doing or what I can do in the first phase of that strategy?
Jack: I’d say refine your values. Your gym overall value I’d say. Refine what you are looking to do for your members, and then, it is all about action and all about actually performing the content so the way we like to do it is bulk film. We’ll have one morning a month where we’ll bulk film our content so we’ll get like 20-30 videos filmed that content. Then, we’ll obviously edit if they need editing and then distribute in the same morning. It’s people who always say you haven’t got time to create content. I’m so in the business I haven’t got time when actually, right now, social media is the biggest form of marketing there ever could be. Everyone is on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter. You need to be in front of people’s eyes. You need to have that engagement. I think a big thing is just create two hours aside each month, film your content, get in front of the camera, go around the gym and film members if they are happy to be filmed, and then you can create a content of the back of that and schedule it.
Kevin: Got it. Obviously, you guys provide a service for fixing up and making this stuff look good. What other resources exist? Say, if I have, you set aside the time and done a little bit of homework to clarify the message, got some of my staff on board, shot some pieces in the morning, set a couple of hours. What resources are out there to make it look good?
Jack: You could obviously go to all of these video apps. I don’t actually know many video apps. I just do everything for Media Bros, so video apps. You’ll find some video editing apps that you can actually use to make it. Obviously, Canva for your graphic design if you want to make graphics look good.
One cool resource which we’ve discovered in the last 6 months is a resource called BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo is basically you click in what you want to talk about and it comes up with the most relevant articles to do with that topic, which means then you can talk about that topic using some of those article bullet points. That’s a really cool resource which has really worked in our end, so definitely jump into that if you are struggling with topics. I mean, a lot of people don’t want to video because they don’t know what to talk about, so that would be a very cool topic. If you are fitness studio you type in ‘girl and muscle in the legs’. Type that to BuzzSumo, it will tell you some really cool topics that are trending right now and you’ll be able to talk about those topics in your own words.
Kevin: Okay. I think that’s a very simple but also quite effective if you are stuck and you don’t really know where to start but you have a certain area that you are passionate about. Maybe you know a little or a lot about it. Like you said, put it into BuzzSumo or similar tools, you can actually get a lot of inspiration for things to talk about and essentially make yourself look really smart without doing a ton of work and give yourself a lot of talking points for putting on your videos.
Jack: Yeah, 100%. Exactly that. That’s a really good resource to use as well, so definitely use that. In terms of scheduling, we schedule a lot of our content purely because I’m never available the time we want to post it. So using things like Buffer and Hootsuite, schedule usually with three accounts. Use them to schedule all of your content over a month. If you bulk film, distribute all your content, you can have two posts a day going out easily on three platforms and you can forget about it until the 1st next month. People just need to use a software which is available to them.
Kevin: Yup. Is there any difference in, like, the channels these days? Is there any difference in how you approach your Instagram versus your Facebook? Or what are the dos and don’ts there?
Jack: Two or three years ago, the organic reach in Facebook and Instagram was a lot better than it is today. You post something on Facebook and I think the stat is like, don’t quote me on this, 86% doesn’t reach who are following you or liking your page. The obviously did that to push people to ads and push people to paid marketing. That’s why you need to make your content as engaging as possible, ask questions in your content, and get people engaging with that piece of content.
Kevin: Right, got it. I suppose if people are looking at posts that are a little bit conversational or you are asking for ideas, people are doing that on purpose in order to get comments and get replies because that boosts in the reach that they are getting.
Jack: Yeah. It marks them in that call to action. You post, “How is your workout had been this week? Let us know below in the comments.” And then, you get people talking and interacting with each other. A few of those post a week to try and free up those conversations with your members and non-members are so important because then you can jump in and give your two cents on what they are talking about and how you can help and provide value.
Kevin: I think that’s actually just a very smart point as well that not every video is showcasing something. A lot of the time it might be just as effective if you’re starting a conversation and then you can get people to reply back. That’s one of the strongest ways that you can get your brand out there.
Jack: Yeah, they are normally the most engaging posts. Video views is great but engagement isn’t always the best with videos. Sometimes just a simple two-line phrase would do it.
Kevin: I’ve been meaning to ask this question to somebody for a while now and you are probably the person. What about TikTok?
Jack: TikTok. Wow! Yeah, TikTok has exploded over the last six months. It has been crazy. TikTok is interesting one because the whole world just thinks it is for 15 years old where on TikTok it is really not the case. TikTok organic reach is like where Facebook back was in 2010. It is absolutely huge. If you want to get a million followers on TikTok like start TikToking right now and producing content for TikTok and your engagement will be through the roof as well as your follower count.
Funny story, actually my brother, my older brother is a golf professional. He started making TikToks and his first every TikTok I think got over a million views. First ever TikTok. It shows how crazy organic reach is in TikTok right now. I mean, it’s the highest performing app since Facebook.
Kevin: Have you seen many gyms that are using it?
Jack: Not at the moment. I see a lot of influencers and obviously a lot of fit pros that are using it individually. Not too many gyms. I think gyms struggle with the message that they are going to put across in TikTok and how to use it effectively. A lot of people where gyms are just get asked in our social media platform about how to create content. That can be something to challenge as well. Yeah, TikTok, jump on it now organic reach is mental.
Kevin: How about paid social media? Do you create content differently for that if you do want to put some budget behind your post?
Jack: The way we create paid ad media for our clients in terms of video would be a really cool header, so really engaging big, bold header, which just going to draw people to the post and draw them to watch it for longer than 35 seconds. Obviously, because you can then retarget to those people and make it… We switch up the best part of the video, put it into the first 3 or 5 seconds, and then the video will start. That’s a really cool strategy for creating paid content if you are going to put some content.
It is funny because the industry thoughts right now, right Facebook ads is still the best paid media you can do as a business, as a fitness business, any business. But that’s slowly, slowly becoming more expensive. A little like LinkedIn is for example. But, with this pandemic, right now Facebook ads are more underpriced than they’ve been for a while. But we believe hugely in empathetic marketing, so right now people don’t want to be targeted with ads. People don’t want to be targeted with paid campaigns. It is more important right now to build a community around your business, around what you are doing. If I was to give advice to anyone you can use ads right now because they are underpriced and you probably get greater value from them. But build your organic content, build a proper community around your business and around what you are doing, and long term gain will be much better.
Kevin: Okay, so you think there is actual value in investing more in organic now just because we are in hard times, and now is the time to really invest in your community versus out there trying to acquire the rest of the world?
Jack: Yeah. Community need help. Right now community need your help, and your advice, and your guidance especially as a fitness professional or a gym, so help them.
Kevin: Got it. Okay. I think probably one of my last questions then is outside of video what other forms of content are worth doing? Is it a waste of time say having a blog? What are the general dos and don’ts in some of these other options?
Jack: I think you should be doing them all, but podcast. Like right now that’s the reason you are on a podcast with me. People like to kill two birds in one stone. People don’t like friction unless you are a serious reader. People don’t really want to sit there and read a 500-word blog. People want to listen to something when they are driving, listen to something when they are out running, walking, biking, whatever they are doing. So creating audio assets right now is an absolute winner. That’s what I’d tell you. If you got a message, if you like to chat, and you know people that like to chat, jump on podcast and create your own podcast.
Kevin: Definitely works and it is actually not that much work and compared to video a lot less.
Jack: If you want to be minimalist about it is like zero investment really, and the platforms are free, so use it.
Kevin: Yeah, go for it. Before we wrap up maybe just tell us two or three secrets for cutting through the noise when you are creating video content.
Jack: Be bold, be really bold. Don’t care what people think and what people might think about you talking about certain topics. If you got something to say, say it. That’s the biggest thing. And create more than everyone else. If you create more than everyone else, you are already on the path of winning. We believe hugely in huge quantity but huge quality too. Content will always win in volume so put loads of content out there.
Kevin: Yeah, I’m a big believer in that myself. Sometimes you just can overthink things versus just getting down and be consistent, and just complete your thing. Someone will start listening eventually.
Kevin: Okay. Well, it’s been really great having you on the show, Jack. Before we let you go, tell us what is the biggest lesson that you have learned in the last three months?
Jack: The biggest I’ve learned in the last three months is that you’ll never have more than 50% agree with the decision you make. You could literally come up with a cure for cancer tomorrow and 50% of people will think it is rubbish. I think if you can have that transparency about people and about the world I think you are into a winner, so just do it. Just create your content, just build your business, make decisions. Don’t take so long making them because we’ve tested products like I said for 8 months. We launched this product in a day and it is already 150% more successful than our last product. Just make the decisions, go quick, go fast, and don’t care what people think because you’re never going to have more than 50% agree with you.
Kevin: Good. Okay, Jack, thanks for coming on. Before we go just tell us how people can find you and get in touch about Media Bros.
Jack: Yeah, cool, so you go to our website – www.mediabros.co.uk. That’s the best way to find us. Our Instagram just @themediabros. We are there, do you want to DM us. We are always producing quite fun, engaging, useful content on Instagram. Obviously, all the normal places, Facebook and stuff. But our website is about to go for a massive revamp which we are really excited about. Definitely look at over there the next few weeks and we’ll engage on there.
Kevin: Nice one. Okay, well, Jack Cardy thank you very much for coming on the show.
Jack: Pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Kevin: Thank you.
Jack: Take care.
This podcast is brought to you by Glofox a boutique fitness management software company. If you want to accelerate growth, work efficiently, and deliver a well-branded boutique customer experience, then find us at glofox.com.