Writing a blog can position you as an expert, improve your brand identity and generate sales.
Blogging can provide a host of benefits for personal trainers and athletic coaches. It is a simple way to position yourself as an expert, and it’s an inexpensive means to boost your brand identity. You can use your blog to help others, create an online community and facilitate the content marketing process. You can also boost your income by using your blog to generate saleable content for booklets, minibooks, articles, manuals, e-books and printed books. Apply these 15 simple recommendations, and build a blog that leads to business and financial success.
Be Clear About Your Target Audience
Who are you writing for? As a personal trainer, you can target your posts for people who want to lose weight, for beginning exercisers, for individuals with specific health issues or for special populations such as older exercisers. Likewise, athletic coaches can develop posts for athletes in particular disciplines, such as runners, cyclists, swimmers or gymnasts. The key is to target a specific audience and focus on a relatively narrow range of subject matter. This will allow you to reach a specific market on an ongoing basis.
Provide Innovative Content
Increase traffic to your blog by providing unique information and customized content that readers cannot find elsewhere. Here’s how:
- Follow related blogs to gain a better understanding of the content they provide. Then ask yourself, “What’s missing?” What can you provide that goes beyond what is currently available? In many cases, themes are similar from one blog to the next. To make your blog stand out, identify what’s absent from these blogs—then develop posts that provide a distinct perspective on those missing pieces.
- Identify the specific problems your readers are trying to solve. Then provide the tools, resources and information they need to tackle them.
Build a Backlog of Posts
Having a backlog of blog posts will make it easier to update your site on a consistent basis. For instance, if you’re planning to add new posts twice a week, have about 25 blog posts completed when you launch your site. Then, if you’re busy and you have trouble finding time to write, you can use one of those previously developed posts, and resume writing new posts as soon as you have time. In addition, schedule time to write your blog. Start with two 60- to 90-minute time blocks each week to give yourself ample opportunity to generate new content.
Update at Least Twice Each Week
There are 3 reasons why posting twice per week is important:
- Blogging can be a very effective form of content-marketing, where you promote your business by distributing information and resources that customers find valuable. Sharing high-quality information with a particular market niche drives profitable consumer action. However, to be effective you have to distribute content on a consistent basis.
- You can use the content you develop for your blog to create saleable products such as booklets, manuals and books. These items require a significant amount of content; so the more frequently you post on your blog, the more quickly you generate content to turn into product sales—and into income. (For more about this, see “Create Higher-Level Publications” below.)
- Posting regularly increases the chances that your readers will return to your site. Remember, if you haven’t updated your blog in a month, you don’t really have a blog!
Keep Posts to 250 Words or Less
People want to receive useful information in a concise manner. Fortunately, it is both easier and more effective to create a series of short posts than one long post. You can make your site even more inviting by keeping your paragraphs short and using bullet points that allow for easy scanning.
Use Comments Effectively
Consider these three ways you can use reader comments:
- Respond to comments—especially questions—quickly and consistently. It’s an honor to have someone ask you for advice, and a helpful response will keep readers coming back.
- Ask for reader comments in your posts. For example, you can poll readers on a particular topic or issue. You can also ask readers “What do you think?” or “What’s your experience with this?” at the end of a blog post. This is a great way to generate a community conversation.
- Make comments on related blogs. For example, if you have a healthy-eating blog, visit other nutrition sites and offer insightful comments on various posts you find there. This will help the readers and owners of those blogs get to know you. It will also increase the chances that people will link to your site, which improves your search rankings.
Use Keywords EffectivelyA keyword is a word or phrase that is used to index Web content, so that Internet search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing™ can categorize those sites and deliver them more effectively when people conduct searches. If you want to increase traffic to your blog, you’ll have to use keywords productively. Here are some tips:
- Conduct your own keyword researches to determine the words and phrases that people are using to find sites like yours. Once you identify those keywords, you can use them in your blog posts. For example, if you are writing a post for a fat loss blog, you might use keyword phrases such as belly fat, lose belly fat, how to burn fat and burning fat. Some popular sites for keyword research are Wordtracker, Keyword Discovery, Google AdWords Keyword Tool and Bing Ads Intelligence.
- While you want to use keywords in your blog posts, make sure you avoid keyword stuffing, which is the excessive use of keywords just to improve search rankings. It dilutes the quality of your post, and search engines may view it as spam. Avoid this problem by using just one or two keywords or phrases per post.
- Try to use keywords in the title of your blog post. In addition, many search engine optimization experts believe that search engines place greater emphasis on linked text than on unlinked text when it comes to search rankings. Therefore, try to include keywords in your links.
Link to Social Media Accounts
Connect your blog to your various social media accounts. For example, link your blog to your Twitter account so that every time you publish a new post, Twitter sends your followers a Tweet with a link to that post. You can also submit your posts to social bookmarking sites—such as Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon—that allow users to store and organize websites in a single location for future use. If you develop high-quality posts, this can greatly increase your traffic.
Make Your Blog Searchable
When people visit your blog’s home page, encourage them to explore your whole site by providing a topic index based on your keywords. For example, WordPress users can add a Category Cloud widget that creates a blog directory based on the categories and tags used for each blog post. This has the added advantages of reducing your bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who leave your site without looking further than the home page) and increasing the time that visitors spend on your site.
Provide Downloadable Content
Add links that provide readers with tip sheets, newsletters, white papers, articles and other resources you have produced. This is a great way to provide useful information and promote your business. You can include exercise workouts, training programs, recipes, nutrition tips and much more. Just make sure you include your image package (title, tag line and logo) and contact information on each downloadable item. In addition, consider using an email opt-in in exchange for these items. This allows you to receive contact information from visitors who are interested in your content—a good way to build your marketing list.
Analyze Your Hit Patterns
Identify your most frequently read content, and develop posts on those topics. For example, if you are using WordPress, the Site Stats feature will provide you with daily, weekly and monthly usage information for your site—including info on your most popular posts, topics, referrers and search engine terms. This is especially important if you write on a variety of topics. You will find that some topics are of much greater interest to your readers than others.
Use a Blogroll
A blogroll is a list of links to blogs that you like. It allows you to provide your readers with additional resources. Many people are reluctant to put links to other sites on their blog or website. Don’t be! Your readers will see you as an even better resource if you are able to provide additional information. You’re also likely to find that other blog owners will reciprocate by placing your site link on their blog, which will improve your search rankings. Just make sure the links to other sites always open in a new window, so readers don’t navigate away from your site.
Invite Readers to Subscribe to Your Blog
If readers find your blog useful, they may want to be informed about new posts. To make sure these visitors receive all updated content in a timely fashion, set up an RSS feed button on your website. Or if you are using a blogging platform such as WordPress, you can use a widget like Follow Blog to add an email sign-up form to your site.
Create Higher-Level Publications
Of all the tips offered here, this one is the most significant for generating business income. Your blog can be a springboard for booklets, articles, book chapters, manuals, e-books and books that you can sell to create passive income. Passive income is important to your financial success, because it’s income that is generated while you’re engaged in nonbusiness activities, like eating and sleeping. The key is to develop a series of posts around a specific, narrowly focused topic. This provides your readers with in-depth information, and makes it easier for you to transform your blog posts into longer publications. For example, if you are a running coach, you could develop a series of tips that lead to an e-book, 101 Ways to Prepare for Your First Marathon. Likewise, if you are a strength training expert, you could develop a series of posts that leads to a book on Strength Training for Endurance Athletes. In both cases, you have a viable product for sale that can generate passive income for years to come.
Use Your Name in Your Blog URL
You can use your company name or your given name, depending on how you are marketing yourself. This is a simple way to boost your brand identify and help people find you on the Internet.
Put these 15 guidelines into practice and you will be well on your way to creating a successful blog.