Your health club website has a blog up-and-running and things are going smoothly but, let me guess, you’ve hit somewhat of a writing wall. Content – you need quality, researched, creative, educational and engaging content on a regular basis, which takes time and energy and writing skillsets, and money (if you’re outsourcing).
We’ve all been there and trust me that there is a real, manageable solution. Follow our tried-and-true nine simple steps to help streamline your blog writing process for effective, quality content that entices, engages and moves your ideal prospects and members to join and stay active with your health club.
STEP 1: Identify Your Audience
First and foremost, it’s important to identify exactly who you are writing to – pinpoint your audience. Are they current health club members, or are they potential customers who are currently members at another health club? Or are they health club newbies, having never been a member at any gym? Next is to determine why you’re writing to them. Are they looking to find a solution to their fitness problems or are they looking to join a new gym?
Create personas for each of these audiences that identifies the specifics we’ve reviewed here – it’s important to evenly distribute content to and for all audiences, not just one type of health club member. And remember, different fitness interests play into determining the buyer persona. Ask yourself: Are they looking to bulk up? Do they enjoy group fitness classes? Are they looking to lose weight? And so on.
STEP 2: Choose the Topic
Select the blog post subject or theme based on what the persona (mentioned above) wants to know about, but hold off on selecting the title for the moment. If you’re feeling creative, brainstorm an entire list of topics to keep as a strategic ongoing blog post topic list for future reference.
STEP 3: Choose Keywords
Strategically pick keywords related to your chosen topic (see step #2) to optimize blog post content. Selecting one primary keyword along with two to three related keyword phrases is essential to incorporate into the post for successful search engine optimization.
Make sure to include the primary keyword in the post title.
Consider using an online tool like Google analytics or Moz to determine which keywords your website is currently ranking for and how high its rank is. From there, determine if your blogging efforts will continue to be focused on maintaining your rank for those keywords, or if you’d like to move up in the ranking for other keywords.
STEP 4: Write, Write, Write
Schedule some time to sit down – or stand up, whatever brings focus and creativity – and get to writing. Whether you outline the blog post first or go right into a first draft, just write. Don’t worry about editing quite yet; just let the words fill your paper or laptop, focusing on the keywords acquired (see step #3) to help guide you. You’ll want to shoot for 300 - 700 words for an easy-read blog post.
One helpful tip is to determine what kind of post it will be, before you start writing. Think about if it will be informational, tactical, promotional or editorial, for example, which will help determine the tone and length of the blog post. As you plan for and schedule regular blog posts, you’ll want to switch up the types of posts you write so you can later see which ones perform best and adjust strategy from there.
Lastly, be sure to do your due diligence and research for added credibility and demonstrated thought leadership. Include statistics, quotes or other sources of reliable information to support your blog post.
STEP 5: Edit and Format
Now that you’ve got a solid blog post drafted, give yourself some time (a few hours at minimum, or a full day if deadline allows) to take a break and then edit like a pro. Re-read your blog post slowly and word-for-word looking for spelling and punctuation mistakes. Another trick is to re-read out loud to listen for clarity, grammar and overall readability. If you have someone available, it’s always a good idea to have a set of fresh eyes take a look.
Speaking of eyes, let’s get graphic! Include a high-quality image (or two) within the blog post that visually connects to the story and appeals to the reader. Choose from your own marketing stock photography or stock photography available online (free and paid).
STEP 6: Optimize
Before hitting publish (see next step), it’s absolutely essential to optimize your blog post. This is a key step that is often overlooked for business blogging. Optimizing your content includes adding internal and external links, keyword(s), metadata, alternate text on images, a call to action (CTA) and more.
STEP 7: Hit Publish
Blog post is drafted and edited – it’s ready to go. Next step is, the sometimes nerve-wracking move of clicking “publish” to go live on your health club website. You’ve done the research and hard work of writing and editing; be confident and excited to share your content with the world.
STEP 8: Distribute on Social Media
Don’t let your well-crafted blog post just sit there on your website – share it on social media! Share on whichever social platform(s) your health club manages, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Pinterest. Create strategic and compliant copy for the social media posts for each platform, specific to its audience and overall social tone.
For bonus points (and if your budget allows), consider placing an advertisement on one of the social media platforms that allows link ads. Even a small budget of $5 - $10 per day can have an impact on your audience and website traffic.
STEP 9: Link in Newsletter
You’re almost there. Now that the blog post is live on your website and shared on social media, the last step is to repurpose that content by directly linking to the blog post in your next newsletter. Whether monthly, biweekly or other, share a brief blurb about the post and a link sending readers to your website to read and enjoy your content.
Don’t forget that once your blog post is created, you can continue linking to it throughout the year. Depending on the topic, consider linking to it several times or republishing it on your social media. Remember, as you acquire new fans, followers and newsletter subscribers, they may be seeing the content for the first time.
BONUS STEP: Maintain
Once your blog post is published, it will continue getting traffic for you even if you aren’t actively reaching out to your audience! That’s one of the huge advantages of blogging - your traffic to ‘old’ favorite posts will increase over time. However, you do want to make sure that the content is up to date and any external links are still active. Think about scheduling a 6 month or yearly check up to double check any content can be recycled and pushed out again through your social media and email channels.
If creating quality blog content were easy, everyone would be doing it. And even if they are, it may not be done well. Quality, researched content that entices and engages existing or potential health club members requires time and energy. Make it easier on you and your team with a simplified blog writing process. For more helpful information on blogging for business, check out the plethora of resources available on HubSpot.
So tell us: how has your blog writing process changed recently? What is your biggest challenge? How do you identify and plan for quality blog post content?