20 Nov How to Write Content that People Read
Four years ago, I thought it would be a good idea to start typing away at my keyboard and publishing content for the world to see.
Little did I know, my fans would go from my mom and dad to thousands of coaches, athletes, and fitness professionals across the world. 473 blog articles later, and I guess you can say I’m doing alright.
Now I don’t mean to blow sunshine up my own ass, but I have an average of 10,000 readers a month, have top Google results articles here and here, had this article go viral, have been featured in Women’s Health and Shape and Livestrong, have written 20+ freelance articles for publications across the world, can still hip thrust 300 pounds, and just got followed by legendary strength coach Mike Boyle.
Don’t believe me? Here you are:
I’m a creep. It’s fine.
To my surprise, the blogging world has blossomed into new connections and exciting career ventures.
It has been tantamount to the Wild West: I’ve been given plenty of new opportunities from exploring unknown territory online. However, nowadays, the cyber barrier to entry is low, and everyone’s flooding into this space to have their share of the gold.
With that said, how do you write content that people read? After all, the online space is a cluster fuck of folks who want to be heard amongst the saturated abyss of mainstream trainers. Everyone’s writing on strength training. Everyone’s writing on nutrition. Everyone’s writing on Bird Dogs and Dead Bugs for core stability. Everyone’s bashing the ketogenic diet. Everyone’s writing to be the next best strength coach. And most of these peeps have only been in the game for all but one year.
Look. If you’re going to write content, train people first. At least for a few years. This way, you have much more to write about and are a credible resource to other coaches.
More on this later, though.
Let’s dive into how to write content people read:
1. Find your voice.
If you’ve followed this blog for a length of time, profanity is my thing. So are pop culture references. So are quirky analogies. So are modern dating insights. So are Lord of the Rings references. So are history lessons. All of these components have augmented my unique voice.
Finding your voice is paramount to creating readable content that doesn’t make people snooze.
However, finding your voice isn’t something that happens overnight. Looking back to my first few articles, my sentence structure was choppy, my diction lacked conviction, and my grammar was elementary. But the more I wrote, the more I grew into my voice and developed the confidence to say whatever I wanted. With elegance, of course.
As an example, comparing cheat meals to nuclear North Korea has been my most whacky analogy to date, but hey, it drew people in.
Drawing people in is a skill. It’s as awesome as witchcraft. In fact, if you can get your readers to sit down and read your articles word-for-word, you’re a word wizard.
So find your voice. Allure people with your words. And tantalize your readers.
I promise the results will be nothing short of magical.
2. Find your niche.
It’s no secret that my niche is youth soccer performance training. In today’s online age, it’s critical to move more into your niche and write content on that.
Think about it: people will not only see you as an expert, but you will be able to establish more intimate connections with your readers. You know, good old-fashioned getting to know people, which tends to be lost in today’s day and age.
Moreover, I’d argue that getting to know your readers beyond the cyberspace is valuable, too. Personally, I’ve tallied up 30 phone calls in the last month. Yes, I actually enjoy talking to my readers about soccer performance and coaching. On. The. Phone.
I mean come on. Why else am I blogging? Yes, for myself, but also, to be able to connect with like-minded people. Hiding behind a keyboard is an introvert’s dream, but at the same time, it’s valuable to learn something from others as well. Especially from people who are loyal to your work.
3. Coach in person.
Nothing is worse than a trainer who starts blogging before training his first client. Faking it until you make it isn’t something that should be abused in the blogging world. Readers will soon find out whether you’re genuine or not, and will dig through your work to see if you actually know your shit.
So do you?
Have you clocked in a full 12 hour day? Have you trained a boot camp class at 5am yet? Have you worked with a diverse list of clients? Have you taught a 13-year-old how to perform ladder drills with contralateral coordination? Have you had your first debate with a team coach? Have you expressed tough love to a crazy sports parent? Have you taught the deadlift to female athletes in 5.7 seconds? If not, you have no business writing on this stuff.
So go coach. In person.
To add to this, I believe in person coaching serves as inspiration for content. Any time a soccer parent ignites my soul, I write. Any time a team coach programs the good old jog-a-lap-around-the-field for conditioning, I write. Any time a sport scientist throws research in my face, I write. Any time a colleague vents to me about stupid people, I write. Any time Christmas decorations are sold in September, I write.
Clearly, experiencing real world shenanigans lights my soul on fire and inspires me to write with
So go coach. Then, tap away at your keyboard later.
4. Make time for writing.
Don’t tell me you want to blog. Fucking do it.
Too often, I find myself on the phone with other strength coaches and they say to me, “Erica, I need to write more content.” My answer, “you preach consistency to your athletes, so be consistent with blogging.”
Make time for your blog, folks. Procrastinating ain’t going to suffice in the online space. And honestly, sometimes “done” is better than “perfect.” I urge you to take 30 minutes out of your day to type something up and click Publish. Get. It. Done.
Even with 30 minutes a day, you can write a quick article discussing why you like a certain exercise, or how you used a coaching cue to help your athletes, or I don’t know, how you took a shit while sifting through research from The Journal of Biomechanics. Write something. ANYTHING.
To that end, anyone has time for 30 minutes of writing a day. If you don’t, who the hell are you? Beyonce?
5. Don’t be boring.
This much I know: people are fucking boring. Like watch-paint-dry boring. Like let-me-swipe-left boring. Like I’m-not-listening-to-this-dumb-drunk-chick-who-says-LIKE-OMG-every-other-sentence boring.
Don’t let your writing get to this point.
So how do you NOT be boring? Here you are:
Use rich vocabulary.
Use sentence variety.
Use cat pictures.
Use funny references.
Use paragraph spacing.
Use “your” and “you’re” correctly.
Use shirtless pictures.
6. Be passionate.
I don’t care if you’re writing on soccer performance, intimate relationships, killer jellyfish, or conspiracy theories, have passion behind your words.
Pretty quickly, your readers will be able to discern if you’re in love with what you’re writing about or not.
Be passionate. The message in your articles is important, but I’d argue the energy behind your message is more powerful.
Passion shows. Whether this is in writing or coaching, it shows yo. Finding what you’re passionate about will help you to create more engaging content.
Alas, truthfully, it takes a hell of a lot of work to do so, especially stuff that actually gets read. To that end, blogging, just like athletic performance, takes time. It takes leaning into the process, marveling at the victories, pushing past the frustrations, taking action, and simply getting shit done.
So I beg you, go write.
Actually, go coach people first.
Then click Publish.