If you’ve been toying with the idea of starting your own health and fitness blog, the experts agree that there’s no better time than right now to get started. But what do you need to know before embarking on this new online endeavor? Several of the country’s most well-established health and fitness bloggers share their personal tips for establishing and growing a successful blog.
1. Dare to define the focus of your blog
Given how vast the world of health and fitness is, it’s important when starting a blog to define what the theme or focus will be and truly stick to it, says Amanda Vogel, fitness writer, blogger and social media specialist. “Knowing the scope of your blog helps you stay true to the best topics to write about—both for you and your readers—and helps with identifying relevant brands to work with,” shares Vogel. “For example, my blog, www.FitnessTestDrive.com, reviews health and fitness products from my perspective as a fitness expert and fitness-industry insider. Over time, brands have asked me to participate in and blog about campaigns, such as 30-day workout challenges, which, although could make for a fun series of posts, would be out of place with the overall theme of my blog.”
2. Let the true you shine through
In a content-saturated landscape, one of the most critical factors that influences the success of a blog is the writer’s own authenticity. Kasey Arena, certified personal trainer and fitness blogger, personally lives by the motto “be true to you,” and she utilizes this phrase as a guiding principle for her personal blog. “In this world, people are often trying to do what someone else is doing and they get lost in that,” says Arena. “It’s so important to remember why you are blogging and why you are doing what you do. Remember, people want to get to know you and want to hear you voice, as that is ultimately what will keep people coming back to your site.” [Check out these expert tips for defining your personal brand.]
3. Map out your monthly content
While it can seem like a daunting task to get your blog up and running, keep in mind that a little bit of planning can go a long way. To get started on the right foot, map out some topics that will help you to set goals for your writing, shares Jamie King, co-founder and president of Fit Approach. “If you plan ahead, preferably at the beginning of each month, you’re less likely to get stuck in a content rut,” notes King. “It’s also a great way to make sure you’re staying on top of seasonal and timely trends and topics, while allowing you to map out what you’d like to accomplish each month.”
4. Stick with a central theme per post
To keep your content concise, impactful and engaging, Vogel suggests writing each post with one central idea in mind. “One of the major issues I see with aspiring writers and bloggers is the urge to cram as much information as possible into one article or blog post,” shares Vogel. “Avoid having any one blog post attempt to cover everything you know or have experienced about a topic.” For example, when tackling a topic such as staying healthy while traveling, Vogel suggests zeroing in on topics like packing nutritious snacks and how to wisely order off a restaurant menu, and saving other tips—like exercising in a hotel room or using apps to map out runs in your designated city—for separate blog posts.
5. Stay committed and consistent
Just like exercise, consistency is key when it comes to the health of your blog. “Maintaining a blog is a lot of work, so it’s important to be honest with yourself about how much time you are willing to commit to it,” says King. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to the frequency of your blog posts, King suggests deciding on what you can truly accomplish (i.e., posting two to three times per week, three to five times per week, etc.), and then at the beginning of each week block off time on your calendar that is purely dedicated to writing content. Arena adds that the quality of your content is what readers are ultimately coming to your blog for, and the higher the quality of your writing the more your subscribers and readership will grow.
6. Be an active member of the community
When it comes to blogging, don’t think you have to go it alone. In fact, King notes that the blogging world is all about reciprocity, and she stresses the importance of actively participating in the broader blogging community. “In order to be successful, share content with other bloggers you admire and connect with them on social media (retweet their content, comment on their blog, etc.). As you do, it’s more likely they will start doing the same thing for you.”
7. Creatively leverage social media
Instead of subscribing to the notion, “If you build it, they will come,” Vogel recommends utilizing social networking sites to build up your blog and establish your authority as a health and fitness influencer. “After you publish a new blog post, use a service like Hootsuite to pre-schedule multiple tweets about that post,” shares Vogel. Bear in mind that you can (and should) get creative with the visual elements associated with promoting your posts. Vogel suggests watermarking images with your blog’s logo and attaching a photo to each tweet (Canva.com is one of her go-to picks for doing this), or try posting on Instagram a snapshot of a computer or iPad in hand with your latest blog post pulled up on the screen.