Your Gym’s Blog Isn’t for You: Content Marketing Mistakes

A gym owner sits at a laptop and writes a fitness blog.

Here’s a question you should never ask yourself when it comes to content marketing:

“What do I want to write about?”

It’s not relevant with regard to your business.

Ask it off the clock—on Saturday morning when you have free time to pursue your personal interests. Then go ahead and write “Harry Squatter and the Barbell of Destiny” or “A Discovery of Wall Balls.”

Here’s the question you should be asking:

“What does my ideal client want to read about?”

The answer is the key to your content-marketing efforts.

A head shot of writer Mike Warkentin and the column name "Pressing It Out."


When You Blog for Yourself


Here’s a too-common scenario: A gym owner evolves through experience and education. She’s also battling a touch of impostor syndrome—as we all do—and feels pressure to convince people she’s a top coach.

In short order, the gym’s blog is full of detailed posts about hormones, metabolism and powerlifting training progressions influenced by Westside Barbell.

The posts are well written and informative, but they’re well beyond the gym’s clients and even further beyond the prospective clients who are currently trolling the website and looking for a reason to book a free consultation.

Imagine this: Soccer Dad wants to lose 15 lb. before summer at a gym. When he clicks through the blog, he doesn’t see any simple strategies for healthy eating or posts about the effectiveness of diet and exercise.

Instead, he sees a post about the role of adiponectin in the regulation of energy metabolism, then another about the percentage of band tension needed for bench-press speed-strength training in three-week waves.

Soccer Dad thinks “this isn’t for me” and clicks the X on the browser tab. He’s off to search for “lose this gut” and “dad bod workouts.”


The Content You Need to Create

Here’s the key to effective content for a gym business:

Even as your own interests evolve, blog for your clients and prospective clients.

That means you might have to write “Can I Do CrossFit in Basketball Shoes?” instead of “3 Tips for Cycling Weighted Bar Muscle-Ups Faster.”

Here are the two questions to ask yourself before you start writing:

1. Will this post interest and help current clients?
2. Will this post solve problems for prospective clients?

If you get one “yes,” start writing. If you get “no” and “no,” write something else.

The only exception to this rule: carefully targeted SEO posts, but we’ll leave them out of the content-marketing equation for now. My goal is to help you solve a basic content problem today, not learn how to go toe to toe with Google’s algorithms.

To answer the two questions above, you must know your “client avatar”—the fictional representation of you perfect client. If you don’t have an avatar yet, create one, and fill in as many details as possible. When you have all the traits in place, you’ll know what to write about.

Sample avatar: Busy urban professional between 30 and 50 who has children and a goal of reaching or maintaining a healthy weight in personal or group sessions of no more than 30 minutes.

If you’re still lost, here are your hacks:

1. Ask your current best clients what they’d like to read about.
2. Ask your newest clients what questions they had before they joined.

Write one post for your current clients, then another based on the responses from your newest clients. Repeat to infinity.


Know—and Please—Your Audience


If you’re looking to acquire and retain clients, don’t turn your blog into a collection of posts for other trainers and gym owners—unless those people are likely to purchase your services.

In my case, that’s my audience, and this post was written to solve a problem common to fitness entrepreneurs.

Your audience will be different. Get to know its members, then create the content that will engage them.

Remember: Your business’s blog isn’t the place for your interests. It’s the place your clients go to read about theirs.

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