It might feel like a lot of things are out of our control at this point. You don’t know exactly when things are going to start reopening, when you’ll be able to see your in-person clients again, and you might not even be sure what the future of your business looks like. However, there is one thing you definitely can control while we’re enduring the COVID shutdown: you can create content.
If you haven’t thought about writing content online, now is the time to consider getting into a groove. Creating content consistently won’t only serve you during quarantine; this is a habit that will benefit you well beyond when doors open again. Sam Pogue, Vice President of Brand at TrueCoach, sat down for a conversation with Mike Robertson, a trainer and online coach who has been in the game for 20 years. He started creating content when he was in graduate school in 2000. “We got our first digital camera,” he told Sam. “And literally you had to put a disk into it.”
Needless to say he has a lot of advice to offer. His successful blog has been a solid resource for many people in the fitness industry over the last two decades, and you can make the same impact if you follow his advice. Here are 6 tips for creating lasting, useful content.
Find Something New to Write About
It might seem like everything has been written about under the sun, right? Wait, not so fast. “There’s nothing new about a squat, yet how many squatting articles do we get every day of the week, or deadlifts, or bench press?” Mike said. “Name an exercise that’s already been written about. What you have to do is one of two things.”
First thing’s first: “You have to take 100 percent your angle on it.” There’s got to be a unique experience you had with this specific exercise, so you have to relay that in a way that’s going to resonate with people. Secondly, think about all the questions from people you’ve worked with in the past. “The questions that they ask are literally a trove of content,” Mike shared. “If you coach people on a regular basis, carried around a notebook, and just wrote down the questions that you were asked, you would have a stream of content that you would use for years.”
The exercises people ask about aren’t going to be new, but “you have to bring your own unique flair, your authentic story and experience to it.” Do that, and your readers will always feel like they’re reading something brand new.
Commit to Writing Content on a Regular Basis
It’s time to make a commitment to yourself. “If you’re going to start a blog, be comfortable writing one blog a week, every week for a year,” Mike advised. Admit to yourself that, in the beginning, the only people who will read your blog are yourself, your girlfriend or boyfriend, your mom, and maybe one client. Don’t be discouraged. If you put in the effort regularly, eventually it’s going to gain traction. Mike referenced Ben Bruno, who wrote a blog once a week for two years. That’s just how he started out. “He built a massive audience,” simply by being consistent. It pays off.
“That’s the dedication that you have to have,” Mike continued. “You have to commit to once a week—or twice a week.” Whatever you can commit to, do it for a whole year. It doesn’t only have to be written content. You can commit to creating video content a couple times a month too if you can fit it in. Just find a way you can continuously put out content—and make it happen.
Yes, You Can Make Time For It
“You have two young children and a wife, which is somewhat constraining on your time, and then businesses, interns, and employees,” Sam inquired into Mike’s life. “So how do you get it done? How are you able to stay to a schedule?” After all, spending quality time with your loved ones is the most important thing in your life, so it’s important to balance your personal life with content creation.
“When you have kids, you realize how much time you wasted when you didn’t have kids, and that’s just being real,” Mike replied. “I felt I was super productive before I had kids, then you have this latent super power that you just pick up. It’s go time—and you just crank.” Mike’s best piece of advice to find that motivation to get it done: “Be really ruthless about planning and scripting your day.”
Make yourself a weekly routine and break it down even further into a daily schedule. “Planning your day is super important,” Mike said. “You have to be really diligent with your stop times.” Don’t let yourself get too caught up in one job because it could lead to you getting off track with all your daily duties. Stick to the schedule you create for yourself. Boundaries may feel like restriction at first, but they’re actually the very thing that will give you freedom to get everything done.
Create an Experience For Your Online Clients
You know how much easier it is to create a meaningful relationship with your in-person clients. You can read each other’s body language, joke with one another, and chat in between sets. But you miss all that with remote coaching. Mike said it’s imperative that you emulate as much of an experience as you can online.
Mike recommended you communicate with your clients so you can get a sense of what they’re interested in, what kind of questions they have, etc. If you can create your content around what they’re looking for, you’ll be much more likely to generate engagement and more readership. Checking in regularly with your clients about how they’re feeling and what they want to know is just as important as checking in about the programming you created for them.
From there, you can figure out how to best create an exciting experience of content for them. Make it engaging, make it relatable, and make it interactive. You want your clients to want to come back regularly to read your new posts.
Decide on Your Niche and Your Voice
“If you don’t have a big audience to start, you better be really niche and really tight with your niche,” Mike suggested. “Your videos need to support that, your messaging needs to support that, your language needs to support that. You can’t be super wishy washy because we’ve all heard the saying, ‘When you try to appeal to everybody, you appeal to nobody.’”
Decide who your audience is—and be precise. You can’t just decide to speak to a category as broad as women or people who like to workout. Be more specific so you can be successful in reaching that audience.
Just as important as deciding on your niche is deciding on your voice. “You have to have a strong voice,” Mike insisted. “You need to be direct and you need to have a strong message in the sense that you’re clear, you know how you feel, you know who you’re talking to.” Not only does this come across strong and confident, but it shows authenticity. When you show that you’re truly an expert, it makes it more attractive to your audience.
Use Your Content to Meet New People
If you see that someone has interacted with your content in some way—commented on a post or shared your post on social media—reach out to them and strike up a conversation. “If somebody is liking all your stuff, shoot them a DM and say, ‘Hey man, I appreciate that. Thank you so much,’” Mike advised. This is a fantastic way to connect with people.
Don’t just think about getting new clients, although that’s a great plus. If you see that another trainer or gym owner is interacting with your content, use that opportunity to make new friends or connect with a new mentor. The relationship could lead to something fruitful in the future. Maybe you’ll work together one day, maybe you’ll get hired. You never know.
As you beef up your content, you can get to the point where you use your content as marketing material. One day you’ll be able to share all your content in your story and say, “Hey everyone, I’m now accepting new clients. Check out some of my blog content to see if we would be a good fit.” Suddenly all of your hard work is being used as marketing material.
Mike concluded the conversation by suggesting two places where you can get free content and learn about how to create your own blog: RobertsonTrainingSystems.com and CompleteCoachCertification.com. He suggested you sign up for the newsletter list so you can learn a ton about content creation.