Why am I blogging anyway? Every business coach and online marketing course will tell people they should blog; however most fail to explain why or how or the do’s and don’ts. In this post, we’ll explain why blogging is essential for yoga pros and step by step instructions to maximize your blog.
Why? Why? Why?
“The cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action. Put another way, the benefits you could have received by taking an alternative action.”- Investopedia
This is a fancy pants way of saying by making a choice, we give up other choices or options. This doesn’t always mean a financial cost. For example, let’s say we decide to take on an extra yoga class, the cost can be anything from missing an hour to spend with our family, furthering our education, or working on our businesses. Another yoga example: let’s say we decided to really spend a lot of time working on getting students into 8 angle pose, the amount of time required may mean a shorter savasana.
To take this example to the present moment: let’s say we decide we don’t want to invest in “learning how to do things online”. That’s totally okay! However, the opportunity we miss out on are the millions of people searching for information online. By not learning, you miss out on this opportunity to spread your message to this population of people. A little bit of work now will help getting prospective yoga students without spending a dime. This is an economics principle but can be a wonderful way of being mindful with our choices when it comes to life or business.
Ugh. SEO...what does that even mean? It’s like secret code for something. Actually, there is a secret code. Google has these little rules (algorithms) that reads computer code and other things and puts your page high or low on a list. So if you’re trying to land private yoga clients, corporate yoga classes, online courses, or get your studio up to page one on Google, a blog helps you get to the top of everyone’s searches. It’s better than paid advertising!
Connect with your audience
Looking back when I really found a yoga teacher that I resonated with I wanted more knowledge. I couldn’t feasibly pay for private yoga sessions or take 5 classes a week with him but I wanted more knowledge than what I got in a group classes. A blog for your yoga business is a great way to connect with your students in meaningful way, on your own time, and within your own rules. While employers rightfully have their own boundaries of what’s acceptable in their setting, a blog let’s you be free to make your own rules and share or not share what you want to.
Did you know you could make money just by telling people to do something? As in, the stuff you do everyday. “Hey yoga student, these yoga mats are the best. Go to the store and buy it and some sales person who just happened to be at the cashier will get the commission or worse big company takes the whole thing”. Affiliate marketing is the ability to make money online by simply telling people what you like, having them click on your link, and then purchasing it.
Steps to Creating a Blog that Works
So now that you’ve decided to take your yoga business forward and blog, let’s not waste time on it. Posting random content that doesn’t have an audience interested, useful information, or impossible to find can create endless hours behind a creepy computer light and a curved spine that no amount of camels can fix. Here are some steps to get the blog moving in the right direction.
What is my blog about?
Yoga. Okay, that’s great. Now go to Google and type in “yoga” and let’s see what comes up. This is your competition online for readers or potential clients. Competition in yoga is great, it builds awareness, it helps yoga to be more accessible to individuals personal practice. However, saying your blog is about yoga is like saying your blog is about pizza. You’re competing with Papa John’s, Allrecipes.com, stores, etc. It's important that we become mindful of what we're writing and start generating an overall theme.
Narrow it down
Narrow down your blog to find your niche. Maybe instead of simply yoga you can try topics such as:
- Yoga for seniors
- Pranayama techniques for the busy mom
- Yoga for kids
- Nature and yoga
- Your own personal yoga journey
By narrowing it down, you begin to develop your brand. Yoga is good for everyone but as a business we can’t make everyone happy. There is more than enough business to go around so find out the nature of your blog.
Disclaimer: Let’s say you are 100% clueless. That’s 100% okay. The beauty of blogging is that it can change at anytime and you can always delete. The only negative is you have to rebuild SEO a little. However, it’s better to start and drill down what excites you than doing nothing at all.
Who is my target market?
Woo-hoo! Another business term. Don’t worry, we’ll keep it to a minimum.
Who is reading your blog? This is a continuation of What is my blog about? When we know who our audience is, we are able to learn how to promote our blog, how to price potential products or services, how to take photos, etc. By understanding who reads your blog, you get use sufficiently less time and resources getting your blog read.
For example, our retreat company is a side company that targets “Women in their 50’s to 60’s, with no children living with them, with expendable income, usually divorced who wants to travel on international retreats. Their yoga practice isn’t their life”. Why does this matter? Instead of trying to post pictures of myself in wheel in a swimsuit on Instagram or snapchat; I write articles on the joys of being alone and share them on Facebook. I have now spent less time learning Instagram because my audience isn’t there and posting photos that have no meaning to potential customers. I have saved time and created intention to my actions.
Writing Great Content
Writing great content is the key to getting an audience. Gone are the days where people could write useless content with a bunch of keywords scrammed into the bottom of their pages. (Keywords are what people type into search engines to list topics). Your readers want value and Google wants people hanging out on your page for more than 5 seconds. However, the use of keywords is still essential. Google still uses them to help find your content. Scammy SEO companies will make up their own keywords to get a website to the top of the list but what good bloggers know is that blogs should have keywords within the blog post that users are looking for. This will help them climb to the blog climb to the top of Google’s list.
We have two ways to drive your writing.
- Write first → Edit for keywords Later
- Find your keywords → Write Later
Either way or a combination of both is fine. However, without heart, great content, or simply adding value to your readers; your blog is a waste of time. How do I write great content? Ask Melissa Carroll, she did a Yoga and Writing Podcast with us.
The mechanics of blogging
Google Keyword Planner is a free resource is for how to build ads but the mechanics for getting found online using keywords that your audience is looking for. We simply don’t want to type in yoga, we want to use words that our target market already is looking for.
Here are the steps to use keyword planner
- Create a Google Account.
- Go to Google Keyword Planner
- Click "Skip the Guided Tour" Link. If you miss this step, you can't proceed without entering your credit card info. (It's okay, unless your purchase an ad you will not get charged if you miss it.)
- Fill in the necessary details. You should be seeing the top menu with Tools > Keyword Planner Type in a few words and see what google comes up with.
- Click on some of the search results links and see what comes up. Write them down.
- Now using these words either update your already fabulous post with some great words or using this as a basis to create articles.
A few notes on keyword planner. I wouldn't pay to much attention to the "Suggested Bid" or "Competition" columns. That's what people your competitors are paying for but it's not necessarily what people are looking for. I wouldn't discount searches that aren't the highest either. People are still searching for the mid and low level words. If there's not a lot of other yoga businesses using those terms, it will help get you to the top of people's lists pretty easily.
Promote Your Blog
So we’ve spent time writing mindfully and optimizing for SEO. Your opportunity cost was anything you could have done instead of these things like having a glass of wine, teaching a yoga class, etc. There’s still one more step: PROMOTION! Google has liked everything you’ve done so far but now it just needs a few more clicks help Google like you even more.
Fancy pants coding
It’s a little frustrating to always come back to technology but ensure your blog has the proper coding so when links are shared it looks nice. For example, there should be coding in it that let's the image, an excerpt, and the title of your post at a minimum. This all comes down to coding. It's called OpenGraph. This can get super technical but it's okay...many website themes have this built in so you'll want to double check in advance. If you have a website designer, make sure they'redoing this for you.
Be everywhere or be nowhere?
It’s easy to look at the big names in yoga and see that they’re everywhere. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Periscope, and shouldn’t we be everywhere too? Isn’t that what “they” (whoever they are) say? Yes...an no.
Social media is a great way to promote your blog or your brand. However, posting on multiple social media sites with no intention is a waste of time because it’s ineffective. Additionally, different social media handles should have different things going on so we don’t want to simply post the same content everywhere. That’s boring! The opportunity cost is high by trying to be everywhere but being nowhere.. Start with one social media channel and do it well, build your following, and expand to others.
Find your social media handle your target market is on. Pew Research is a great scholarly site to find this information. Research the best way to use this type of platform including learning :
- How often to post
- Posting etiquette
- What types of things to post
Find a scheduling system to keep your social media accounts active, frequent and on your own time. Check out our blog and video on how to use Hootsuite to schedule your posts.
Building an email list with your newsletter
Building your email list of interested parties will not only help your promote any products or services you are providing but promote your blog posts. I personally am a huge fan of ConvertKit for individuals and PerfectMind for studios.
Don’t take advantage of someone’s business card, personal email to you, or information you find online. Not only is it spammy but it will decrease the likelihood of your emails getting opened due to filters. It’s better to have a small list of people actively engaged than a big list of people who never wanted to be on your list.
Sign up info should have categories if you are offering more than one type of service
Invest in yourself: If a mailing list is free, there’s typically a reason. Don’t go for free! Go for systemization.
Make your yoga blog easy to share
Make your blog posts easy to share. It helps make your life easier if more people are sharing for you so make it easy peasy! Include widgets on your website to help your users share. I love using the Add This app. It’s free and easy to install on your site.
I hope this post helps! Blogging can be a whole course in itself but the key is to get going. If you have any questions or tips of what's worked for you, feel free to add them in the comments section!
Check out our follow up post: Blogging 102: The Yoga Blog Checklist.
ConvertKit: Share your blog with your email list.
Open Graph: Learn what Open Graph is to get your blog looking nice and pretty when it's shared.
Website Articles: Spending some time on your site, check out our other website articles.