#006: How to Create Lots of Free Content for Your Gym w/ Missy Henry
We talked to Gymwright Business Coach Missy Henry, the founder and owner of Edge Body Boot Camp in Omaha, about how to benefit your members and grow your community with free content. This show was recorded live on The Network, on Friday, November 24th, 2017, and you can watch it here.
Online content creation is something Missy does with her own gym, but it’s also a skill she’s honed while consulting for other gym owners.
Missy is naturally conversational, and creating video content comes more easily to her than it does to more camera-shy gym owners. That means she’s been doing this for a while, and she’s here to help you get started right.
Before opening her own gym and becoming a Gymwright Business Coach, Missy was a full-time faculty member at University of Nebraska Omaha’s School of Health and Kinesiology (formerly known as the School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation). She taught approximately one million undergraduate exercise-science classes each semester, so in addition to knowing all about how to create social content, she’s a true expert in the field of functional fitness.
Table of Contents
- 1:56 Why is content creation important?
- 5:01 Identifying and Using Your Authentic Voice
- 14:22 Managing culture expectations during a promo
- 19:47 Identify What Your Ideal Client Cares About
- 30:00 Set Yourself Up for Success
- 41:30 Getting Started With a Video Series
- 46:22 Free Content Tools
Video content is where it is on social media. That’s why there’s such a thing as Instagram stars. But good content creation is about more than just putting content out there. It’s really your first introduction to anyone who walks into your gym.
Your social content is your calling card, broadcasting The Thing You’re About. It’s not just a way to get people through your door; it’s a way to get your ideal future members through the door. You’ve got to project your authentic voice, so the people who walk in your door already know what you’re about and are into it.
Plus! When you do this correctly, it benefits your current members by increasing their engagement and enthusiasm. There’s no better feeling than having them walk in and be like, “I feel like I already know you! You’re the reason I’m here.” We’re in the relationship business, and good relationships drive your gym’s sales and retention.
Sharing content from other experts
Even among gyms that are “doing it right” by sharing content every day, a lot of that content is shared. You’ll notice that a lot of gyms with active Facebook pages repost a lot content from other experts in the field. While it’s great to share content from somewhere like Mobility WOD or to post a video of Mattie Rogers doing her paw snatches, pointing your community members towards outside sources doesn’t showcase you as a coach, or let an audience get to know your gym or community any better.
You’re not going to be the best fit for everyone, nor do you want to be. When you’re yourself on the internet, the people who want to know you will find you.
Your Values Become Your Voice
For a lot of Missy’s clients, it’s they get to the step of finding their own voice that they realize that they don’t know what they value in their gym culture, beyond that the like to work out. So the first step is to dig deeper with yourself. Why did you open your gym?
Think critically about what created that calling for you. Much like you would dig into your prospect’s goals and trying to find the emotion behind it, figure out what emotions led you to your career in health and fitness.
Once you get that answer, figure out who will directly connect with those emotions. Then you can identify subpopulations to identify your ideal client. You may envision a gym where people are able to joke with each other, or one that’s hypercompetitive, or one that’s focused on the technical aspects of fitness. There’s no wrong answer as long as you know what you want from your gym’s culture.
Avoid Culture Clash
When the culture of your gym matches your culture online, you’ll get far fewer prospects who end up being poorly matched. You want to build a community of like-minded people who actually want to be there. Even if you provide a great class experience, if they’re not the right fit, you’re going to experience that churn in a couple months.
Missy points out a hidden cost, besides attrition, of attracting members who aren’t a good culture fit: Drama.
As a business coach, gym owners often ask for her help getting a handle on interpersonal conflicts that arise in the box. It’s much easier to keep everyone in harmony if everyone’s got similar temperaments and values – the temperaments and values you’ve deliberately cultivated – before they even sign up with you.
Promos like a six-week challenge are a great way to get butts in the seats, but the downside is that it doesn’t filter out people who aren’t a good fit. What you can do instead is to make sure you authentically and accurately project your gym’s culture and what you’re about during the time they’re in the gym. Don’t try to sugarcoat anything for your “guests.” You have to be okay with the idea that not everyone who completes your trial promotion will or should sign on.
The other side of this, though, is to make sure that you’re not treating your promo clients any worse than your regular members. With any low-barrier offer, you’ll always get a couple of people who are bargain shoppers with no intention to stay, but make sure no one’s getting sub-par service just because they’re in your gym on a Groupon deal. If you treat them the same as members who’ve made a long-term commitment, the chances are better that these bargain shoppers will see how well they fit in and stick around.
Often as a coach or an elite-level functional fitness athlete, there’s a temptation to deliver content that you think your audience needs to hear. You’re the owner! You want to get your content out there! You’ve got all the knowledge! You know what they need…
But this isn’t about you.
For people who aren’t leaders in the field, the interests are different. For example, they might want information on the very basics of nutrition, stuff you’d expect them to be able to figure out with Google. But we often forget that, for people who don’t eat/sleep/breathe functional fitness every day as leaders in the field, it can be confusing to figure out real nutrition research vs. diet-industry chicanery.
You’re not just a hobbyist anymore, and it’s important to try to remember and identify what might be intimidating to prospects (or even your members) at the beginning of their journey.
Remember who “you” are
A common misstep is for gym owners to be cheerleading for and selling the identity of their box’s affiliation, rather than their personal identity. For example, CrossFit box owners tend to be really great at selling CrossFit. And that enthusiasm is well-placed! But when creating your content, consider specifically what makes your gym stand out from any other affiliate in the area, and cheerlead about that identity.
Remember who your audience is
Related, make sure you’re not parroting language of other industry leaders when you create your content. You have a totally different audience than any online presence that’s catering to you as an industry expert, and you need to explain things to your audience in a way that makes sense to them intellectually and resonates with them emotionally. That’s the only way to get them to actually hear you. It can be helpful to ask members to let you know about the things that intimidated them when they first started with your gym, or when they first started working out in general. It pays to be aware of any topic that might make your audience feel lost.
Even among your veteran members, not everyone is going to have the same interest in the nitty-gritty of fitness as you do. Plenty of people are happy sweat with you for an hour a day so they can go home and not worry about how fitness works — that’s what they pay you for. Once you know where someone is with their fears, interests, and values, you can meet them where they are and bring them along with you from there.
It’s not dumbing down what you do. It’s just making it more approachable.
Reliability is a key to retaining your online audience. When your content starts to taper off after a strong start, people stop watching and are hard to get back. So make sure that you’re posting something you’re excited about and that you can stick with. Just like with your own workouts and meal plans, in order for it to work, it has to be something that you’ll actually stick with.
You’ve got to set time aside to plan your content, the same way you put time aside to plan your programming. Creating content is crucial to running and growing your business, and it benefits from the same dedicated attention that you give to other crucial aspects of your business. Just like your members need to focus on the little details day in and day out in order to see results, cultivating membership is an ongoing process.
One series Missy does really resonates with viewers. Her “At Home and On the Go” work-out video series features exercises people can do on their own, which removes a lot newbie nervousness. Often when people come to Missy’s gym for the first time, they’ve gone all through the video series before getting up the courage to come in person. They come because they already feel like they know Missy, and they know they’re capable of working out with her coaches.
Videos like this are also great for members who are traveling, or unable to get out of the house to get into the gym. For a lot of people, getting to the gym three or four days a week is a really big logistical challenge, but getting their workout in is still a priority. This way, they get to “take their coach with them” when they go out of town, and they don’t get intimidated to return to the physical box after they’ve been away for two weeks.
The videos don’t have to be super structured, unless that’s how you like to roll. You can and should have fun with them.
Missy put together a Sample Content Calendar. You can use it as-is, or modify it according to the themes that are important to you.
We also worked together to create Missy’s Content Development Guide, a workbook that can take you through her content-creation process step-by-step.