“Content as a Tool for Increasing Your Gyms Marketing Potency”
Content as marketing is not a new strategy, but it is one that has seen a marked increase. We think that part of the reason for this is that it has never been easier to get a long-form, detailed opinion out into the public at virtually no cost.
Whereas before the rise of the internet and digital marketing, there was always a prohibitively expensive cost associated with length that has started to recede and vanish. Now there is very little to stop long form, insightful content from being published online with a high chance of reaching its audience through ever more advanced search engines.
This is, in our opinion, a blessing. It has allowed companies to post valuable and meaningful content without fear it will go completely unread, or even end up costing significantly more than it generated.
Now the ability to share relevant and impactful information directly to the audience cannot be overestimated as a tool for marketing. Now rather than relentlessly and monotonously bombarding potential customers with the same message in order to build some semblance of trust, businesses can put their message, their product, their expertise and their value right where their mouth is.
Unlike terrestrial advertising, this method allows for the story and expertise of the company to be demonstrated through the content they produce. In turn, this can help create a bond with the potential customers that a business is trying to reach.
At time of writing, it is estimated that over 80% of brands are either utilising or in some way participating in Content Marketing. It has become a tour de force that has transcended marketing and become a way to get a business into search engines while generating valuable and meaningful content.
So how can a gym or fitness club owner incorporate content based marketing into their marketing strategies?
We are going to cover off a few of the most accessible and impactful methods that can be implemented swiftly.
Blogs are the mainstay of content-lead marketing for a number of reasons. As we discussed previously, one of the draws is the ability to communicate impactful information and have it reach the audience for the lowest possible cost.
Blogging fits that criteria perfectly. Not only is creating it cheap, requiring only expertise and a word processor, hosting it on a website is a negligible expense. Furthermore, given search engines focus on keywords, the potential for it to be found is very high relative to other forms of marketing.
So that is the positive news. The downside is that, especially within the fitness industry, Gym content lead marketing is very competitive. It is an industry full of people who know their stuff and do a significant portion of their business through their websites.
As such, it is important that gym owners keep in mind two mantras when producing blogs as content lead marketing for their websites.
First, it must make a real contribution. No half measures. The information that Gyms are putting out shouldn’t be contentless clickbait or a guide that has been done better elsewhere. Every gym or fitness club should be a hub of talented and experienced individuals, with valuable expertise to contribute.
It is therefore necessary that Gyms bring their A-game to all content. The blogs will be what is selling the gym or fitness club to the customer. We want them to be drawn in and understand that the organisation has something to offer them that can improve their life. That it is worth their time and money.
A useful thought exercise is something we call ‘The bookmark test’. Does the blog provide valuable enough content that someone who is interested in the subject would want to bookmark or favourite it on their browser so they can return to it. If the answer is yes, the content is on the right track.
The second is the more pragmatic and marketing side, and that is keywords. The best content in the world won’t draw a business any new custom if it can’t be found. As mentioned earlier, blogs trade in keywords and that is especially true in the fitness industry.
With prospective customers often searching very specific queries, whether it is related to an exercise, or a class, or an exercise machine. It is necessary for the content to be precise and purposeful in the language that is used.
In addition, a successful blog should try to mention the location of the gym or fitness club it is trying to promote. A lot of searches are locational, so the more that the gym or fitness club can be linked with the specific area, the better.
Take it from us, making a podcast and getting it onto the big platforms that people actually use has never been easier.
There has been a big rise in the number of brand podcasts and they are enjoying a large amount of success.
In a recent poll, 50% of content-led marketers who have adopted and utilised podcasts as a marketing tool have described it as one of their most effective content mediums they use.
So then the question becomes, why are podcasts experience such an increase in adoption by businesses?
The answer is actually above, it has never been easier.
Accessibility and outreach always used to be the issue. Even as little as ten years ago, podcasting was a niche with few defined outlets. Still very much the domain of iTunes and Apple. Recording, editing and then releasing a podcast was a lot of work and there was no guarantee it would be downloaded (not streamed!) onto more than a few devices.
Now both recording and distribution has been made simple. Multiple websites can allow a business to upload a podcast once and then have it put onto all major streaming services (including the big hitters like Spotify).
As it often goes, this meant that businesses were able to test the water with comparatively little time and effort. In turn, businesses learned that there was a market for these podcasts and so a content marketing method was born.
The success factor has come from the casual nature of podcasting. A conversation between two people within the fitness industry, about the fitness industry doesn’t feel like marketing but it is highly effective at doing so. Given that people will be listening to the podcast on either a phone or a computer, they will have a search engine to hand, so any mention of a gym or fitness club that grabs their attention can be instantly followed up upon.
The topics are endless and normally we find if you just set out a few topics of conversation and get the right people in the room, the conversation will flow nicely. Unlike a blog, it can be more freeform and anecdotal while still communicating valuable insight into the fitness industry.
It can also exist to deliver news about a gym or fitness club, a few minute segment either at the beginning or the end of the podcast is the perfect time to detail new equipment, renovations, classes or events. These topics could even spark a conversation themselves about the running of the gym or fitness club.
The last aspect is promotion. By putting up posters and sending out emails promoting the podcast, a gym can get a core group of followers interested in the podcast. In turn, just like with blogs, this will help with discoverability.
The only limitation, and it is a relatively minor one in 2022, is getting the necessary equipment together. This will include a recording-quality microphone or microphones, headphones and computers to record and edit on. Nothing particularly outlandish and with a little candid conversation and audio quality, any gym can join this exciting and contemporary content marketing avenue.
3. Events. Virtual, Real, Hybrid
Hosting events may not feel intuitive to many gym or fitness club owners, but their facilities are an asset that many businesses envy. A big public space with plenty of room for activities. It has novelty value to some and lifestyle appeal to many.
This makes gyms and fitness clubs a very attractive place to host events, whether they are in-person events, virtual or a hybrid between the two.
It is important to take stock of every asset a given gym or fitness club has. Whether that is a spacious lobby, a central location within the town or city, a coffee bar or a large, easily emptied space for free-form events.
It is the oldest trick in the book, but it stayed in the book for a reason. Open days are a great event for the area to see what a gym is made of, invite people in, publicise it in your area, invite local people of note.
Furthermore make sure the day is filmed so that footage can be uploaded to your social media channels. It might even be a good topic for a podcast.
A food fair that focuses on healthy living: A universal human experience and perhaps one of the best. Partnering with local food distributors, cafes, restaurants or healthy takeaways can be a great way for a gym to act as a nexus and a hub for the local community.
Online Classes: Utilise a gym’s existing class system and personal trainers to hold free online classes.
Charity Events and ‘Event’ Events: It may sound slightly ridiculous but we all love a tie-in event. Whether it is for Easter or the Olympics, the Tour De France or St Valentine’s Day. Topical events are easy to market and will get people through the doors. The same with charity, everyone loves to support a good cause and for some a good cause can be the push they need to get exercising.
4. Educational Videos and Infographics
The chances are everytime you log onto social media, you see at least one instance of the following two things.
The first is educational video content. Whether it is the TikTok ‘how to’ or YouTube short ‘life advice’, short-form video is everywhere. And where the individual goes, a company can follow. Just as we discussed with podcast, this new cultural trend is just ripe for companies to get onboard with and many have already.
The second is infographics. We live in a world teeming with statistics, data and advice. This is good for content-marketing because it means that the audience of today is very receptive to infographics. More than ever, people are consuming their information from individuals and businesses through the snappy combination of data, images and text.
Both methods are capable of turning someone who has just stumbled across the content into an interested party right away. More people than ever before are discovering new businesses due to the informative video content that they are putting out. The rise of near limitless mobile data means that people are doing this everywhere and at every time of the day. Combine this with Instagram, Twitter and Tiktoks ever more efficient video integration and shareability and a Gym would be remiss not to capitalise on this effect and far-reaching trend.
As for what to show, we’ve listed ideas below for inspiration.
Facility tour: Showing off a Gym or Fitness club is a surefire way to get people interested. Unless a gym has large windows, local people can pass by every day and never know the great facility instead.
How to use equipment: education and entertaining: This can also help reduce gymtimidation if someone has never used a piece of gym equipment.
Exercise tips from your PTs: Short-form, well edited tips are the most shared and likely to hit the biggest audience.
Classes in Action: If a class is going on, ask for permission and then get filming!
Testimonials from the regulars: If regular customers are content and comfortable with saying a few words, the genuine enthusiasm they display can be a powerful motivator.
Meal preparation and diet tips and tricks: Whether it comes from customers or staff, a great way to share what works for the people who use a Gym.
As has hopefully become apparent, the 2020s have heralded a golden age for content-led marketing. Never before have gym or fitness club owners been able to put out meaningful content at such a cheap price point, and with such broad reach. There is a reason that all the methods above have seen such a rapid uptake and uptick in popularity over the last few years.
Here at Ashbourne, we’ve been working with gyms and fitness clubs, growing their business and helping them reach their potential for over 25 years. While our primary domain is membership management, we’ve learned plenty along the way. Interested in seeing if we can help enhance the reach and potential of your Gym? Please do not hesitate to contact our team today here.