The VIVO Fitness PT-Hub

What is the VIVO Fitness PT Hub and what's in it for you, Personal Trainers in the Middle East.
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February 1, 2022

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Every December, we use OKR’s to review the previous year and plan the next.

Each time, like a broken record, we talk about launching a blog or a newsletter. But the planning always falls short, because we can never agree on a purpose. If your blog or email marketing doesn't have a purpose - it can't be sustainable. It won't engage readers and it will fall flat. For us, this all changed when planning for 2022. Enter, the PT Hub.

We've been building VIVO Fitness for almost 10 years now. Along the way, we've learnt many lessons - lessons we want to pass on to you,  Personal Trainers in the Middle East. We’re opening up the strategies and tools we use to build our business, saving you time as you build yours.

In this article, we'll go a bit deeper on:

What is the VIVO Fitness PT Hub?

Why are we building it and why for Personal Trainers?

How are we building it?

Final Bonus - if you want to produce great content for your clients, we share the two most important tools we use to write our articles and guides. If you'd rather drop straight to that, you can click here.

What is the VIVO Fitness PT Hub?

Our PT Hub is a blog and an email newsletter. Don't worry - there's nothing spammy about it and we've made it super simple to unsubscribe.

We're working on loads of ideas to help you start, manage and grow your own business. Simple guides on how to build your identity (including free tools for your logo, colours and fonts). Articles on how to use OKR's for goal setting. Decision making frameworks you can use in all areas of your business. The best apps to automate your business. News and updates from the Fitness world. And much more.

Each fortnight, we package up the latest and greatest and send it out in a short email. If you're signed up for the email, you'll be first to get the latest news, articles and guides. We'll be throwing in the occasional discount and giveaway too - but only in these emails.

Why are we building it?

We've been building VIVO Fitness for almost a decade - in Dubai, the wider Middle East and beyond. We've made loads of mistakes along the way - mistakes we now don't need to repeat. We've tried hundreds of apps. Rebuilt dozens of websites. Changed our approach to goal setting multiple times. We've read every management book ever written! And we've learnt. A lot. (Like stop hiring freelancers to build your website. There is a better way).

With all that learning - comes growth. Comes Strategies, Tools and Processes. Strategies that have helped us generate millions in revenue, selling gym equipment all over the Middle East. Tools that help us automate systems and communicate across multiple timezones. Processes to stay accountable to our clients and our goals.

Strategies, Tools and Processes we want to share with you - to help you build your PT Business. For Free.

That’s the "purpose". The lightbulb moment. The "why" behind the VIVO Fitness PT Hub.

We want to share what we’ve learnt. To help more PT's build their own brand. Their own company. Of any size. Building your own company means working on your own terms. Done right, it's wonderful. But it takes effort and time. We can save you some of that time, so you can get back to improving the lives of others. We made the mistakes, so you don't have to.

And Why Personal Trainers?

Well, because we love them. Many of our longest serving clients in the Middle East began as Personal Trainers. We started selling gym equipment in Dubai in 2013. Since then, we've worked with loads of trainers and have followed their journeys. From the gym floor to running their own business.  And we hear the same story -  "I'm too busy with admin to bring in more clients." "I haven't got time to update my website". "I haven't got time to write email newsletters." "I never stick to my business goals."

Our PT Hub is for them. To help them through the challenges of starting and growing their own company. To push through the inevitable road-blocks, build something special and help more people.

VIVO Fitness PT Hub Mission Statement

How are we doing it?

Ok but "how" are we doing it? We're not a big team. We don't have dedicated writers and designers. How can we generate valuable content, consistently, without sacrificing our own business? After all, we need Tom selling gym equipment..

First, a note on content. Content is king. If you're not producing content, you're falling behind your competition. It's that simple. Your website rankings are falling. You're neglecting old customers and missing out on new ones. You're going backwards.

You have to produce content. But content can be confusing. So for now - your should start writing.

In today's world, the written word rules. A well crafted blog post will bring you new customers for years to come, for free. High-value email marketing, done well, will do the same.

Crossrope Australia gets a few hundred website visitors a day. Recently, the second most common way people find the site organically is through a blog post written almost a year ago.

Crossrope Australia Top Pages
An old "How To" post generating large amounts of organic traffic

For our PT Hub writing, we use two main programs - for generating ideas right through to editing the final piece. We'll go in to more detail on these in just a moment.

Publishing content relies on a lot more than the writing alone. You need images that work with the words. Web Design and Email software to make it look great in public. Data analytics to see which content is working and which isn't. You get the idea.

You need a "stack" of software and systems that tie things together. Our "VIVO stack" has taken years (yes, years) of trial and error to settle on. It still evolves as new ideas come in to the world.

As part of our PT Hub, we're building a guide to our complete stack. We'll show you the apps we use, and trialling, how we use them and why. If you're just getting started, or looking to grow your business, you will find value in many of these tools.

For now though - let's introduce you to the 2 tools we use for writing;

Notion and Hemingway - The Secret Sauce

Notion

Notion is VIVO's brain. For much more than this PT Hub. We use Notion to organise everything. Databases of products. Records of meeting notes. Tracking our Annual and Quarterly OKR's. Managing internal projects and assigning tasks to Individuals. It handles almost everything.

Given how flexible it is, Notion appears twice in our writing workflow.

We start in Notion to develop ideas for our PT Hub content. We never want to run out of content ideas, so planning ahead is key.

Within Notion, we have a Content Hub database, which anyone can add new ideas to. It might be a specific problem a client has asked for advice on, or an update on a new project we've completed. Any member of our team can drop in an idea.

VIVO Fitness generating ideas on post in notes
Ideas get dumped, then curated.

That can get messy - so we curate it. We work through new ideas every few weeks, sorting and tagging them. Any ideas we can't flesh out gets tagged with "Idea". Any ideas we like and want to develop get tagged with "Queued".

Queued ideas get assigned to a specific quarter. We usually end up with at least 2-3 months of queued ideas. There's nothing worse than sitting down to write and not knowing what to write about. A queue of content ideas solves this problem.

Each idea in Notion has its own card, where we develop it further, draft sections and add research notes. Once it's ready for first draft, we move it to Hemingway.

Hemingway

Hemingway is an editors dream and you should play around with the free web-based version. Writing client emails, proposals, blog posts or a book - Hemingway will help you.

The Hemingway Editor cuts the dead weight from your writing. It highlights wordy sentences in yellow and more egregious ones in red.

There are 3 main things we focus on:

  1. Hemingway helps us remove “hard-to-read” areas of our writing. When drafting, we tend to "dump" and not to edit too much as we go. After the draft, Hemingway helps us sharpen things up and simplify our prose. We want to appeal to a broad range of reading levels.
  2. Hemingway forces you to re-think "passive voice". Phrases like "I think" or "I feel" makes your content weak. They're filler words that generally don't add much. Less is more. Removing these words will make your content stronger.
  3. Hemingway calculates a "Reading Time" which we add to our posts. This helps users decide if they have enough time to read it now, or book mark it for later.
Hemingway Editor
Hemingway in action flagging this post

Two Important Notes -

1 - Don't write your first draft in edit mode. It can be super distracting when Hemingway flags things as you're writing. Remove all distractions. Write first. Edit second.

2 - Maintain your voice. Hemingway doesn't know who you are. It's flagging things based on best practices, without caring about nuance.  Edit hard, but be careful not to edit out your personality.

Notion (again)

Notion appears twice in the work-flow. Because it's awesome.

Once an article is ready, we bring it back in to Notion for 3 reasons:

  1. Visuals. Hemingway is for writing, but it doesn't let you to add images or graphics. These are important parts of a post. We added the images in this article in Notion, then posted to our site using Webflow.
  2. Proof-Reading. Another team member reads over each new article and offer feedback. Changes get made directly in Notion, or pulled back in to Hemingway if they're major.
  3. Archiving. The final piece before posting the content is to make sure it's archived. We keep a database of everything in the PT Hub, tagged and dated. This is good for backing-up our work, but also to keep track of patterns. If we're writing too much about a specific subject, we'll see this with our database tags.

And that's it. A dumping ground for ideas that get curated and queued. A dedicated writing tool to keep our content simple. A place to add finishing touches and archive. Rinse and Repeat.

Obviously, that's not everything. That's the writing piece. If you've not tried Notion or Hemingway to help organise and produce written content - have a play. They both have great free versions, with no trial periods.

And remember, if you like these apps, there's more to come. We're writing detailed guides on our entire tech stack, including one on Webflow - where we’ll be giving away a complete website build with 3 months of hosting to a Personal Trainer in the Middle East.

We hope you find something valuable in our VIVO Fitness PT Hub. We’d love to hear your feedback. Please send us a message over on Instagram and let us know what you think.

Until next time.

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