It seems like everybody on my social media is obsessed with Joe Wicks, ‘The Body Coach’, at the moment. That’s probably because I’m a twenty-something young professional, and much of my network is too – and that’s exactly Joe’s core target market. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the guy. Anybody who is inspiring the British nation into losing weight and getting fit has my full respect, but I’m also intrigued by his success with my marketing hat on.
For anybody who hasn’t heard the name already, Joe was just your ‘regular’ fitness coach who has utilised social media channels so effectively that he’s ultimately grown himself into a brand that’s not just promoted his fitness programmes, but also allowed him to launch a series of best-selling cookbooks and even host his own TV show.
Joe is the perfect example of how to utilise content marketing. I feel like I should quickly define what content marketing is using the simple definition from the Content Marketing Institute:
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
The key terms here are “valuable, relevant and consistent” content. To be a success through social media channels, unless going down the route of expensive paid promotion, you firstly need to be invited onto the newsfeeds of your target market in the form of a ‘like’ or ‘follow’, which requires high quality content in the eyes of your audience, then an effective content marketing strategy keeps that audience engaged and offers you an opportunity to soft-sell your product. Let’s therefore look at how Joe Wicks is creating great content for his audience through this good understanding his market.
1. Getting stuff for free (“Valuable”)
To deserve that follow, people want to feel like they’re getting something for nothing. Joe’s content marketing strategy does just that with the average week filled with live workout sessions to take part in or watch back, recipes and cookalongs, motivational blogs and, right now, even the opportunity to take part in a world record attempt! (That’s the largest ever high-intensity interval training class, if you’re interested) The content isn’t ‘spammy’ at all or a nuisance on your newsfeed. There’s a key emphasis on live content and churning out lots and lots of it, so it’s not repetitive and always fresh.
2. Tone of voice (“Relevant”)
This one shouldn’t be underestimated. The days of fitness coaches needing to push protein bars, shakes and the like in your face are over for the masses. There’s obviously still a market for this but Joe has identified that most people want to maintain a healthy lifestyle without drastic diet changes or significant changes to their routine. Joe’s quick-and-easy ‘Lean in 15’ recipes are healthy and use everyday ingredients, there’s no need to add diet pills or supplements and his ‘bootcamp’ workout sessions require nothing more than a spare half-an-hour and an empty space.
What’s more? Occasionally we all have a bad day, or maybe we do our utmost to keep healthy during the working week because we want to enjoy our weekends without worrying about what we’re eating – and we don’t want to feel guilty about it. Therefore, it’s quite reassuring to see a post from Joe with the chocolate sundae or birthday cake that he’s about to demolish, showing us he’s not perfect either.
3. Always there (“Consistent”)
This links nicely into the final point about consistency. Since our diet and fitness is affected by what do and eat each day, Joe ensures he has a presence to match in being there with regular posts throughout the day. Whether that’s starting your Monday morning with a motivational quote like “The difference between your body this week & next week is what you do in the next 7 days to achieve your goals” or tuning in live to the 6am ‘bootcamp’ workout, the power and interactivity of social media means you feel like Joe is with you every step of the way. In fact, you could actually let him manage your day; start off tonight by reading his latest blog on a new overnight oats recipe and prep it for the morning, wake up early for ‘bootcamp’ without having to even leave your bedroom, check out tomorrow’s dinner recipe on your lunch hour, then pick up the ingredients on the way home from work – and it hasn’t cost you a penny on PT sessions or diet planning!
Turning Content Marketing into Sales:
So what does this all actually mean from a business point-of-view? I started this article off talking about how Joe had grown from a ‘regular’ fitness coach into a brand for diet and fitness, but a quick scroll down his Facebook, Instagram or YouTube pages and you’d think he’s just giving all his advice away for free. Not quite.
Alongside all this great free content, The Body Coach has his 30- and 90-day ‘SSS Plan’ (Shift, Shape and Sustain Plan) to sell – and has afforded himself the opportunity to soft-sell this through regular posts of success stories of customers who’ve signed up to the programme and offered before-and-after shots, therefore promoting to his target market a profitable upsell. Furthermore, the ease of his daily recipes is a push for his series of cookbooks – where a wider range of meals are available and offering more detailed cooking instructions, such as ingredient quantities and timings. The trust gained through his content marketing strategy certainly works – Joe Wicks was the bestselling author in print on Amazon’s UK website in 2016.
Content marketing is often seen as a buzzword without any real understanding on how it delivers revenue and social media for business is another channel that’s not-so-well understood, so I see this as a great, relatable example which demonstrates the two working in tandem so successfully.
It’s allowed Joe to build up a strong community of advocates who’ve taken him viral and built The Body Coach brand into what it is today. And there’s still an offline world out there which has spanned growth even further through word-of-mouth (or perhaps I should now be saying offline-viral!), with people of all generations now cooking ‘Lean in 15’ recipes.