Short form content is one of the most popular ways to connect with your audience and promote your business. But have you ever considered starting a fitness blog to complement your social media efforts?
As we talked about in The FitnessMarketing Guide for The Modern Fitness Founder, a blog can be a fantastic addition to your marketing tool kit. They are a great source of information for your audience that not only allows you to introduce yourself or your company in a more light-hearted manner; it also invites interaction from readers. A blog can give your company a character and a voice that your audience can ultimately connect with, leading to more exposure and visibility. You can use your blog to educate potential clients about your services and show them how to use what you are offering, or the benefits of the services that you are offering.
Fun Fact: 53% of marketers say blogging is their top content marketing priority. (HubSpot)
The pros of using a blog as part of your marketing tool kit:
- Inexpensive to get started and to run. There are many free blogging platforms, or you can use a self-hosted option such as Word Press. There is an annual cost to maintain the site, but it is not a significant expense.
- Easy to use. For the most part blogging platforms are relatively easy to use. There are many existing templates to choose from allowing for a very professional looking blog without vast amounts of work.
- An effective way to drive more traffic to your site. Give people a reason to come back to your site by offering tips, updates, educational content. Provide customers with a reason to come to your site.
- Improve your search engine ranking (SEO). A blog can be a great tool to up your SEO.
- A simple way to show your expertise and gain trust from customers. A blog is a simple tool that will allow you to communicate further about who you are and what you do. People like to know who they are doing business with.
- Connect with your audience. Take advantage of your blog and use it to build trust with your client base, ask for feedback and provide customer service.
Choose the Right Platform
When you start your blog, choosing the best platform can be complicated. It can be tough to read between the lines and understand which platform is the best choice for you.
First, start by defining what you want from your blog. When you are just beginning, it is best to opt for a blog platform that is simple to set up, straightforward to use and does not require any knowledge of coding. You also need to consider what kind of blog you want to have. What are your goals for your blog? Consider these, as your blog grows and evolves you want to be sure that you are using a platform that is adaptable and will allow you to develop your blog in the desired way.
Four platforms stand out as the best options for beginners – Wix, WordPress, Squarespace and Weebly. All four of these are reasonably intuitive, have a great selection of very professional looking themes, and they make it easy to both build and update your blog. These four platforms have the option to try for free before committing to any package or publishing your blog. Each platform offers different options and packages; ultimately the choice will hinge on what feels right for you!
To get you started, this article details the pros and cons of the most popular blogging platforms.
Define Your Audience
Let’s start by defining exactly what we mean here. Your target audience is primarily the people who will find the content of your blog most useful/interesting. Your blog posts should all start with your reader in mind.
Ask yourself a few questions:
How will your content be of use to them?
Will they take action after reading your blog?
Have you managed to answer any concerns or questions regarding the topic you are writing about?
Why is it so important to have a clearly defined audience?
Knowing who you are writing for will make choosing what to write about a lot easier. When you have a clearly defined audience, you can create better posts that are more engaging. This will also help you to connect with people, encouraging them to read and share your posts. Solve their problems, answer their questions, engage with them and ask them to engage back with you!
Another great benefit of having a defined audience is that you have a much better chance of finding them online when you market your blog posts. You are not just throwing your blog posts out into the web blindly!
Much like with fitness, consistency is crucial when it comes to the health of your blog. It takes a lot of work to maintain a blog, so be honest with yourself about how much time you have to commit and what are you able to manage. There is no right or wrong number when it comes to the frequency of posting. You must decide what you can accomplish and stick to it (i.e., posting two to three times per week, three to five times per week, etc.). The goal is quality, not quantity, so stick to a number that works for you.
You must also apply consistency to your writing. Maintain your values and ideas throughout your blog; try to avoid any clashing opinions. This does not mean that you cannot change your mind, but it is essential to qualify any differing opinions that you publish.
With writing, you want to develop and promote your ideas, so if you do have a change of heart about something, can you back it up with research and evidence? This can make for great content and shows that you are open to change your opinion in light of new evidence.
Create Quality Content
This is where we come back to QUALITY OVER QUANTITY! No amount of SEO will drive people to your site if they do not want to read your content. This is where a plan can help out a lot. To get started, map out some themes that will help in setting goals for the blog. For example, for a fitness blog, you will probably be looking at nutrition, exercise, wellness, etc. If you plan out your month ahead, it will make life a lot easier for you. Set some targets, perhaps have a weekly workout plan, or a daily drill, a recipe of the week and so on. This will make researching and writing a lot easier, and your audience will learn to know what to expect from you.
In addition to having great content, you must have a compelling headline! Regardless of how good your content is no one will read it without a catchy title! People have a split second to choose whether or not to read your post, and your headline will make them decide. The headline is also a vital component in making it desirable for people to share your post. Your headlines need to be SPUB: simple, powerful, useful and bold.
In a content-saturated environment, authenticity is key to a blog’s success. Always go back to why you are writing a blog and what factors lead you there. People are reading your blog to get to know more of you; they want to hear your voice, don’t regurgitate someone else’s words.
The best advice is to write about a subject that you have an authentic and discerned opinion, write about something that you enjoy, and that will come through to your readers. The minute you start writing about something that you have no interest in/knowledge about your readers will sense that it is beginning to feel forced.
Keep your work fresh, research topics that you want to write about or topics that you want to know more about even and be true to yourself. Another great way of both keeping it fresh and engaging with your audience is to create blog posts that answer the most interesting questions from people who you interact with on social media.
Invest in a Good Camera
Naturally, we process visual content much faster than text. Adding captivating photos to your posts can help to boost engagement. If possible, invest in a good camera. Taking your photos and having your original images can transform your written work. It also gives you the chance to truly cultivate a unique look and feel that epitomizes your business and the message that you want to convey.
Until you can get yourself a good camera, here is an excellent list of sites where you can find high-quality royalty free images.
Fun Fact: Blog articles with images get 94% more views. (JeffBullas)
Make It Easy to Read
Research has shown that most people will scan the page rather than read every last word. So, it is your job as a blogger to make your articles as easy to read as possible. An easy way of doing this is by using multiple subheadings or providing lists where possible. Images make posts a lot more attractive and offer a clean and straightforward way to break up the text.
Check Your Facts and Grammar
All it takes is one little mistake to tank your credibility. Of course, everyone makes mistakes, but when writing a blog, you cannot afford to cite a false fact or write something that has not been backed up by research/ evidence. Especially if you are starting out, both your credibility and authority on the subject will be hit.
In the event that you do make a mistake, fall victim to a polished prank, or repeat extensively circulated misinformation the best thing to do is to be transparent. Admit to a mistake and let your readers know. If you try and hide it, one thing you can be sure of is that someone will notice and will call you out, which will worsen the situation. Be truthful, be responsible, and deal with it – fast.
Before publishing your article, you should ALWAYS proofread and check for any spelling or grammatical errors. Bad spelling will not only damage your reputation; it can also harm SEO as search engines do not value poor copy.
Fun Fact: Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information. (Hubspot)
Be Active and Engaged with Your Audience
Engage and network!! Ask readers to engage, and ALWAYS take the time to respond to comments. If someone has taken the time to read your article and made a comment, the least you can do is take the time to respond to it. It is a great way to learn more about your audience. Ask for feedback, reply to people’s comments, shape a community and be nice. People love interaction, so always be friendly and welcoming.
Make sure it is easy to leave a comment!! Provide easy access to log a comment and make it easy to find! Bottom line? Make commenting readily available and write about topics that inspire people to talk positively. If people can interact on your blog, they will keep coming back for more.
Once you have published your blog post, this is where you need to leverage all the power of social media! Build up and establish your authority as a fitness blogger, encourage people to read your blog, tweet about it, post on Instagram and Facebook about it, send a newsletter round encouraging people to read your blog, and ask people to sign up!
Remember that you are not alone; the blogging world is all about reciprocity. Share ideas and content with other bloggers in your realm, or people you admire, connect with people on social media, retweet their content, comment on their posts, etc. Create an online network and encourage people to engage with you.
Add a Clear Call to Action
The last but by no means least important tip is to end your posts with a clear call-to-action. Whether you ask your readers to leave a comment, share your post, follow you on social media, come and try your product, make a purchase, be very clear about what you would like them to do.
This little line/paragraph can be the magic ingredient that brings everything together and helps to deliver the fruits of your work to a broader network.
You will flourish!
The steady and continued effort of creating and publishing a blog is a time consuming but an ultimately worthwhile affair. You will learn more about your audience, how to engage with them further, how to develop a more rounded marketing strategy.
Some Great Examples of Super Fitness Blogs
- Nerd Fitness is truly one of the leading fitness blogs. Founder Steve Kamb is an inspirational character. He keeps it light-hearted and funny while delivering detailed, well-researched articles. In Nerd Fitness, you will learn about different diets, exercises, how to improve your habits, and he even offers private coaching.
- Fit Bottomed Girls This quirky and creative blog was set by two friends who have inspired many people all over the world to live a healthier lifestyle, but with a slightly different approach. Fit Bottomed Girls gives you everything required to encourage a change in your lifestyle; it coaches you through exercises, recipes, and even lifestyle choices.
- Breaking Muscle is an extremely excellent fitness blog. There is something for everyone here. Articles provide more than simple tips; they also explain why it is essential to take a particular course of action. They justify all of their recommendations which is something that makes them stand out.
- Blogilates is super popular fitness blog that mixes workout plans with lifestyle, wellness, body image and more. It’s upbeat, vibrant, has great content (including some great videos and infographics). Creator Cassey Ho, a fitness trainer, also has a YouTube channel.