Shrugged Collective

How to Grow Your Business With Content Marketing


  • What content marketing is
  • Why it’s invaluable to your business’ success
  • Why most gym owners and fitness pros don’t do it
  • How to get into the right mindset
  • How you can start today

Did you quit your soul sucking sales job to follow your dream of being an entrepreneur in the fitness world just to find yourself back in that uncomfortable spot of hard selling in the gym? If you can relate to this, learning the basics of content marketing is something you need to do now.

Listen here:

Podcast links: iTunes, Stitcher


In multiple Barbell Business podcasts, like this one, this one and this one, we champion this hugely powerful strategy. Yet, it still seems to be glazed over by gym owners and fitness pros in our industry.  Content marketing has been our primary marketing strategy for the last 3.5 years and has worked so well for us, Kelly Starrett, Kenny Kane and nearly all of our guests that I’m actually a little surprised more people haven’t followed suit. But that’s ok, because content marketing is a topic I could talk about for days. I was stoked to know that the first podcast I’d be on as the newest team member of Barbell Business would focus on a strategy I feel so passionately about.

In this episode, we help you really understand the awesomeness of content marketing and why we believe it’s the secret to your business’ success. For real, once you get it you’ll kick yourself for not starting earlier.

What’s content marketing?

Simply put, content marketing is using your content for marketing. And for the less flippant, content marketing is a style of marketing that focuses on creating, publishing and sharing content for your online target audience as a way to (eventually) turn them into members or customers.

The content that you use as your marketing material can be blog articles, videos, podcasts, even images. Really, anything that is valuable, educational, helpful and non-salesly can be the content you use to market your business. It’s a way of marketing to people without them knowing they’re being marketed to – that’s the way the marketing world should be, don’t you think?

Why is it so valuable?

It expands your reach.

AJ had a great analogy for understanding the value of content marketing. If you look at it like real estate, the more homes you have out on the market, the more people you attract, and the more your business grows. As such, the more educational blog posts, videos, and podcasts you put on the internet, the more people you’ll reach, attract and build relationships with – therefore growing your business. Even more importantly, by putting your message online where it’ll live forever without any geographical limitations, you’ll have the ability to reach 1,000’s more than you can now.

As someone who’s mission is to make the world a healthier and happier place, this kind of reach sounds like a no brainer, right?

It builds your brand.

As one of our latest Barbell Business guests Doug Sutton mentioned, anytime you’re seen as the educator and someone is listening to you and learning from you, you will be seen as the expert. Anytime you create an audience, you are cultivating a relationship where you are the leader and a trusted source. Content marketing allows you do to that.

It’s important to mention that you don’t necessarily need to be an expert to make a powerful impact on someone. There are newbies to fitness who would have a very hard time digesting content from the experts you learn from. Take this as an opportunity speak the beginner’s language so they’re not feeling completely overwhelmed like you did when you first started out.

It retains your current members.

It’s silly to think that all of your members are just going to blindly follow everything you say without questioning your expertise. The best athletes you can have are always self-educating and putting in extra work to understand more about their training. Creating your own content and proactively sharing it with your members is a great way to ensure that they’re not consuming the wrong type of info that you’ll eventually have to undo, and so you are always seen as the expert in your area so they don’t go off looking for another source.

It’s the perfect long term marketing strategy.

Search engines and social media platforms are starting to weed out companies who are trying to trick the system with short-term marketing tactics and workarounds that make for a crappy user experience. That’s good news for us because it’s almost impossible to keep up with the latest marketing thing anyway. Creating content that comes from a place of genuine caring and comes across honestly and powerfully will be rewarded by search engines and social media in the long haul.

And just like your freshman year spring break photos that just won’t go away, blogs and videos live online forever so the ROI just keeps on giving. 

It allows people to experience your community before ever walking through your doors.

People have a ton of options when it comes to finding a fitness solution, but finding the right one is pretty difficult. The first thing that people do before they make any difficult decision is research it online. The way we consume information has completely changed in the last 10 years, so to successfully market your business in the modern era, we need to be aware of our buyer’s journey to reach our peeps in a way that makes sense.

Think about it. If you are considering joining a virtual weightlifting program (take FLIGHT for example), what do you do first? Pick up the phone and ask to speak to Barbell Shrugged sales? No. You Google the crap out of it, and if there isn’t any supporting content to help you learn more, then chances are you’ll move on. Creating content that allows potential new members to experience your culture, community and services before they ever step through your doors is a great way to help them in their decision making process.

How can I start today?

Get into the right mindset.

First, put yourself into the mindset of who you’re trying to bring into your gym. Build a semi-fictional representation of this person and understand his/her challenges, drivers, objections to coming in, fitness goals, favorite ways to communicate and start jiving with this person in a weird imaginary way. It sounds crazy, but I’m telling you it’s a necessary step to market your business the natural way. You can hear how I might go about doing this at (11:04) in the podcast. When you focus on WHO you’re marketing to, not WHAT you’re marketing, that’s the secret to creating a company that just gets people.

Don’t just buy into the concept. Believe in it!

Content marketing is a commitment. Sometimes, especially when you’re just starting off, it can feel like it takes up a lot of your valuable time. Put in some extra work at the beginning to decide if you want to really stand out and take your business to the next level. After that, decide once to do it and just do it. Commit to a schedule, be consistent, let your personality shine and really believe it’ll pay off. I promise it will.

Repurpose and reuse what you have.

Do you have a nutrition seminar coming up? While you’re putting in the effort, why not have someone record it and put it on your website and YouTube. While you’re at it, you can transcribe it and put it on your blog or turn it into an eBook. You can also publish the slides on Slide Share. There are a ton of ways you can turn 1 piece of content into several for minimal effort and maximum results.

Start simple.

Case studies, before and after photos, testimonials are all awesome, easy and free forms of content you can share with your audience. They’re great because 1) they focus on real people, therefore other real people like them can relate and feel more comfortable coming into your gym and 2) they can easily be the most shared form of content by your gym members because they’re proud of their friends and want to show off their dedication.

Capture lead information.

Take your best content and gate it behind a landing page. If you’d like to see an example of this in action click that CTA (call-to-action button) at the bottom of this article. It’ll take you to a landing page which tells you about this awesome, valuable and free thing we’d like to offer you. PS if you’re a gym owner, you should definitely sign up for this awesome free thing.

Realize your limitations and look for other options.

If you’re starting to feel a little overwhelmed – you’re not alone. Content marketing is a simple concept, it’s a no brainer to align with, but it can be tough thing to dedicate yourself to. As I mentioned before, we believe in it so passionately that we’ve built our business around it, but we also know that it isn’t for everyone. That’s why we created Barbell Logic which you may hear us bring up every once in a while. Barbell Logic is our completely done-for-you marketing and sales system filled with pre-written content designed to create a personalized experience for your members and future members. If you’d like to learn more about Barbell Logic, click here to register for our next webinar.

What now?

Go fourth and start making awesome things! Be sure to come back to this article and leave link to your content in the comments below. I’d love to give you some feedback and help you become as pumped about sales and marketing in our crazy industry as I am.


Yours in fitness,



Mike Bledsoe

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  • This was REALLY awesome (both podcast & written), thanks for sharing! Love what you guys are doing.

  • A question for CTP: Do you have any experience with WeVideo editor? It looks like a simple Video editor for those of us who don’t know what we are doing. If you would not recommend that one, which would you recommend? Thanks for all of the great info! I look forward to the Barbell Business podcast every week as much, if not more than Barbell Shrugged.

    • Hey Wes, Charlotte here. Neither CTP nor I have used this edit suit. We currently use Adobe Premiere and can definitely recommend that. I have also used FCP Studio, FCP X and Avid, all of which I can thoroughly recommend. It very much depends on what is required from the kit. Adobe Premiere is particularly good as it links with Photoshop (for GFX work) and Audition (for audio) seamlessly, so is a good overall editing package and has fairly decent grading and effects rendering capabilities.

      If you’d like any more specific advice, feel free to hit me up @charlottemilesy on Instagram.

  • Just wish to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity in your post is simply cool and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

  • When I click on this episode it plays the “Business of Weightlifting” episode. Anyone else having that happen?

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