Your Gym Vs. Fitness Clickbait That Doesn’t Help Anyone

A number of fish labeled "prospective gym clients" cluster about a lure labeled "clickbait."

Cheap gyms aren’t the best gyms for everyone.

You and I know that.

But many consumers don’t, and if they read the wrong articles online, they might focus on the wrong things.

Don’t let that happen.

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

A few days ago, I entered “gyms” in the Google News search bar to see what was happening in the fitness world. The No. 1 article: “The Best Cheap Gyms in Canada for Beginners in October 2023.”

The piece is, in reality, an SEO-optimized “listicle.” It can be found on the website even though it has nothing to do with stocks, and it’s not meant to be particularly helpful. It’s meant to appeal to search engines and lure people onto the website (which it is clearly doing).

Everything in the article is formulaic: The URL contains the search term the article wants to rank for. The intro is full of common search terms such as “low-cost gyms” and “what to look for in a gym membership.”

After the intro, you have the “list”: a quick rundown of the membership features of five major gym chains. It’s just basic info you can easily find on each company’s website: At LA Fitness, “a person can pay a $99 initiation fee, followed by a monthly fee of $45.99.” And so on.

If you want to see the clickbait for yourself, it’s here.

You can tell the article is a trap because it doesn’t link to the websites of the listed gym chains. The author doesn’t want people clicking out to find out more about the gyms or take the next step to getting fit.

Instead, the article is peppered with pop-up ads—lots of them, in various formats. You’ll get all sorts of banner ads, pop-up videos and an obnoxious overlay that offers “quality stock picks” and never goes away. The exact ads you see will be influenced by your browsing (I got ads for banks and 9Round gyms).

Why should this matter to you?

Because if someone in your town looks for info on gyms and gets this article, that person isn’t going to get fitter.

Offer Real Help (With AI)

It’s sad that 90 percent of the internet is more concerned with getting clicks than helping people. Your microgym should carve out some space in the “10 percent” by offering real assistance to people who want to start a fitness program.

Instead of luring people in and bombarding them with popups, your content should give searchers real answers—and, yes, you should tell them about how your business can solve their problems.

You might not be able to compete with or any other major websites offering clickbait to everyone in the world, but you can definitely get your site in front of local people if you fill it with great content tailored to your audience.

To help you, I asked ChatGPT to create five headlines for helpful articles you could publish in response to the SEO trap I described above. Here they are, along with a blurb for each:

  • “Investing in Your Health: Why Quality Matters More Than Price at the Gym”—This article would discuss the value of expert coaching as the fastest way to solve fitness problems.
  • “Beyond the Price Tag: The Hidden Costs of Cheap Gyms”—This article could explore how a lack of accountability and coaching can limit results in the gym.
  • “Personalized Fitness: How Premium Gyms Enhance Your Journey to a Healthier You”—This article would focus on the benefits of personal training, tailored programs and individualized attention at coaching gyms.
  • “The Price of Motivation: How Your Gym Membership Impacts Your Commitment to Fitness”—This article might discuss the psychological impact of investing in a higher-priced gym membership at a facility that offers personalized coaching.
  • “Coaching Gyms vs. Budget Gyms: Which Is Right for You?”—This article could provide a balanced comparison between gyms that sell coaching and those that sell cheap access, helping readers make an informed decision based on their fitness goals and preferences.

“Write It for Me”

You can, of course, then ask ChatGPT to write an article around one of these articles, perhaps like this:

“Please take suggestion number 1 and write a 300-word article tailored to busy professionals in the Chicago area. Be sure to mention that accountability and personalized programming from an expert coach have significant value and help clients get results fast.”

From there, I’d review the copy AI spits out. You can ask for revisions as you see fit. After that, I’d personally adjust the copy to make the article perfect for your audience—and be sure to include a call to action that tells a reader how to book a free consultation with you.

Then copy, paste, post and promote the article across your platforms.

All that might take you 20-30 minutes—just half an hour to give local people an alternative to clickbait that won’t help them take even one step toward health and fitness.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.