If there’s one positive that gyms and clubs around the world can take out of lockdown and its aftermath, it’s the brand-enhancing power of their instructors and trainers.
With the entire sector forced to pivot to an online model, in-house rockstars have stepped up and produced some excellent content, engaging large audiences and reminding us just how good they are.
As we continue towards a hybrid future, the following 10 tips will help anyone looking to develop (or improve) their online fitness content strategy.
#1 – Don’t sweat the detail
When you’re producing multiple new pieces of content each day, that content is allowed to be disposable without being throwaway. It can – arguably even should – be off-the-cuff, raw, real. We aren’t saying you should bash out sub-standard content, but neither do you have to sweat the detail.
That means there are no barriers to entry: if you’re holding back from producing online content because you’re worried you don’t have the right equipment, lighting, editing software, tech skills… stop worrying and just go for it! Don’t let yourselves be held back from delivering an amazing community experience online – something your members can’t get anywhere else. There’s a sweet spot to be found whereby digital content is good enough.
#2 – Don’t hand ownership to the social platforms
Putting workout content onto social platforms during lockdown – Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube – has been operators’ biggest mistake in the rush to get online. Clubs have effectively given away their contacts, their opportunity to gather data, their ability to monetize, their ownership of the customer relationship to these B2C platforms.
But clubs can take back control, building their own platforms to house their content. And the good news is that, with the Wexer Web Player, it’s easier than you might think. We can deliver a fully branded, bespoked, password-protected ‘any time, anywhere’ platform for your club business – ready to receive whatever live streamed / on-demand content you choose to upload – in as little as seven days from signing a contract.
#3 – Don’t get caught out by music licensing
With potentially thousands of people taking part in your online classes, the last thing you want is to find yourself liable for the music usage costs on that Rihanna or Beyoncé hit you aired as your backing track.
It’s why the 600+ classes in our Web Player library – the content we’ve curated from our global content partners – is all music licence-free. But what are the options for your own content? One solution that’s caught our eye, adopted by a number of clubs around the world, is to ensure all class participants are on Spotify. Let people know which playlist you’ll be using pre-class, then just get them to all press ‘play’ at the same time.
#4 – Don’t believe the live hype
Everyone’s talking about live, but it isn’t the only answer. In fact, global data indicates that live typically accounts for just 15–20% of online fitness consumption; the other 80-ish% is on-demand. Ultimately, people know what they want, but they also know when they want it. You need a platform that powers both live and on-demand.
#5 – Don’t be blinkered around talent
Your best live instructor might not be your best online instructor. Sure, there’s a certain amount of training you can offer. Sure, you can tell instructors which behavioural cues to use – Peloton has this down to a fine art. However, motivating people in the same room as you, with the instant feedback you pick up, is a very different beast from engaging those exercising in whatever (possibly uninspiring) workout space they might have at home. Some trainers take to it like a duck to water, others less so. Be ready to look in less expected places for your new, online fitness superstars.
#6 – Don’t forget to reward
Speaking of talent, make sure you incentivise your superstars. Empower them to take ownership of content projects and reward them when they win large audiences for your brand. Give them a reason to stay with you, rather than embarking on a solo quest for online fame.
#7 – Don’t battle on alone
Once you jump aboard the content train, it’s hard to jump off again. Members will expect something fresh every day. They will expect you to offer something for everyone, including special populations. This could be enough to break many businesses, taking up too much time and money to be sustainable.
But you don’t have to do it all yourself. In addition to streaming your own content through Connect – a free-to-use feature for all Web Player customers – our platform includes hundreds of on-demand classes. These are regularly refreshed and offer strength in depth across all types and levels of activity. You don’t have to create every spotlighted piece of content yourself.
#8 – Don’t ignore your audience
Know who you’re producing content for. By harnessing your own instructors, online content can be made local and relevant – something to appeal specifically to your members. But you can take it further still by keeping track of usage data – a way of letting your members ‘vote’ on your content. What are they doing? Who with? What length of workout? Using what fitness equipment? Watch what people like and be ready to adjust and produce more of it.
#9 – Don’t stop marketing, ever
Ensure your members always know how, why and, in the case of live streaming, when to access your online content. This will be particularly important as you migrate them away from social channels, but even on an ongoing basis, continually pointing them to something new will be key to driving usage and with it loyalty.
#10 – Don’t skip the ecosystem
An online platform is currently most clubs’ first step towards digital transformation, but remember that it will be more powerful as part of an ecosystem – a branded network of physical and digital touchpoints that you control, through which you can deliver your fitness experiences direct to members both in and out of club.
From live and virtual classes in-club to at-home workouts, nutritional seminars and mindfulness workshops, the goal has to be the creation of a content-rich ecosystem that members can consume across every one of your touchpoints, both in and out of club. A seamless experience that’s instantly recognisable as coming from your brand.
This is what Wexer is all about: harnessing tech to build loyalty and future success for operators, by ensuring members never have to leave their club’s ecosystem to get the fitness and wellness experiences they seek.
To find out more, please contact us at email@example.com