A fitness blogger doesn’t have the luxury of writer’s block. When writing isn’t even your primary gig, you need to get your post done and get back to your day job. But that assumes you already have an idea for your fitness blog post teed up. And too often, that’s not the case.
Or so you think. If you’re in the business of solving problems for your clients, you already have all the fitness blog ideas you need. Same with the problems you solve for yourself. In fact, your entire life is wired to generate topics for blog posts. You just need to figure out what to do with them.
These 10 techniques will help you tease out your ideas, refine them, and prep them for prime time.
7. Plot twist!
10. Feed your head
Make sure you record each new idea somewhere—a notebook, a voice memo, or a text or email to yourself. Consolidate them in one place so they’re at your fingertips when you sit down to write. Then all you need to do is choose your own adventure.
1. Turn your problems into lessons
What do you deal with that might enhance your credibility with your readers? Maybe you struggled with your weight for much of your youth. How do you work around those football or basketball injuries in your own workouts? What could you do five or 10 years ago that you can’t do anymore because it leaves you with lasting pain?
Revealing how you deal with your issues can make you relatable to your audience without conceding any of your authority or expertise.
2. Show what the world looks like through your eyes
The world is a weird and wonderful and disturbing place, sometimes all at once. But because of who you are and what you do, those unexpected moments and random conversations look and sound different.
Like when that barista lectured you about GMOs, right after you’d read an article debunking all the conspiracy theories she mentioned. Or just this morning, in the doctor’s waiting room, when you eavesdropped on two very confused people extolling the wonders of the latest fad diet.
As long as you can segue from a strange or funny anecdote into something relevant to your audience, your content practically writes itself.
3. Explain what that controversial new study really shows
The hot take can be risky. But if you’re willing to put your opinion or analysis out there on a news-related subject that’s relevant to readers, you can generate lots of interest and interaction. Especially if you like to …
4. Be the contrarian
Find the super-popular subject in your industry that bothers you and take it on. One rule: You’d better know your stuff. Anything less than an expertly reasoned argument and you’ll get blasted for trolling, clickbaiting, or, worse, not knowing what the hell you’re talking about. That said, anything about a celebrity’s diet is sure to please.
5. Make a prediction
Take a subject in your wheelhouse and predict the future. Where will we/it be in one, three, five years? Once you reach the far side of your time frame, you’ll have a ready-to-write story about how wrong you were.
6. “Cut me, Mick!”
Pop-culture touchstones like Stallone, or Arnold, or anyone who played an Avenger, give you quick and easy connections to readers. Any image or quote your audience recognizes can work as a springboard to a topic that relates to it in some way.
It could be something a character does that violates the basic principles of strength and conditioning (like when the Karate Kid develops lightning-fast reflexes … by slowly and tediously waxing a car). Or something an actor says in an interview that illustrates why Hollywood transformations are nothing like the challenges faced by your clients, who don’t have personal chefs and can’t train for five hours a day.
7. Plot twist!
“Luke, I’m your father.” “Dead people don’t know they’re dead.” “The Lannisters send their regards.” Each of those famous plot twists made you rethink everything you thought you understood about the story you’d been following.
Why should screenwriters have all the fun? There’s no reason why a fitness blog post can’t upend your readers’ expectations.
Pick an evergreen nutrition or fitness topic, one your audience assumes you have a conventional opinion about. Then give them something they didn’t see coming. What do you do that goes against current practice? What’s something everyone supports that you think is overrated, or perhaps even dangerous?
8. Mine your data
What do your website analytics tell you about the subjects of your posts? Are there some that consistently get more clicks, shares, or comments, or keep people on your pages longer? What are the most common search terms that bring new visitors to your site?
This data is exclusive to your audience, and gives you clues about which topics are more or less likely to be popular. You can also mine the questions people ask you, or what your followers respond to on your social media.
Or you can get your followers to write content for you. A basic Twitter poll about “worst gym habits” or “dumbest exercise people still do” can generate comments you later share in a blog post or newsletter.
9. Think about the future
What will people be talking about in the next few days, weeks, or months? Where’s the fitness or nutrition angle? Whether it’s a Super Bowl, Star Wars movie, or presidential election, you can practice what the PR pros call “newsjacking” by using a high-profile event to your own advantage.
10. Feed your head
Think of a busy intersection, and all the moments of interaction every time you pass through—quick eye contact with another driver, a wave to someone who gives you the right of way when she doesn’t have to, an angry beep at someone who didn’t let you through even when he was supposed to. You could drive through this intersection three times a day and never have the same experience twice.
That’s what creativity is: an infinite variety of ideas and mental cues intersecting in your gray cells, each connected to other ideas or cues. Most are random and instantly forgotten, but they don’t need to be. You can train your brain to find and hold on to those connections, and to build them into ideas you can use in your fitness blog posts.
How? Read. Listen. Google things you’ve always been curious about, inside or outside your scope of practice, and then fall down rabbit holes. Your goal is to prime your subconscious mind to tee up ideas for you. And it will. A well-trafficked brain will find ideas in your dreams, in random sentences in books, in the way someone in your gym talks about a thing that reminds you of another thing that you happen to know something about.
Build those intersections, and let the content flow.
A version of this article first appeared in the December 2018 issue of Fitness Marketing Monthly.