You probably get asked how things are going with cycling all the time by family, friends and maybe even fans. You can be a professional rider or a weekend warrior, either way, your entourage wants to know how training is going or when is your next big race. Furthermore, fans and followers want to get a glimpse at your athlete lifestyle.
As you grow in your sport, more and more people want to stay informed and keeping everybody in the loop can become a time consuming and complex task. You may even be at a point where you need to give exposure to your personal and team sponsors or attempt to attract new ones.
Here’s how you can craft an online presence that will help you share your story and grow your fan base with little efforts.
Choosing the Right Mediums
First you need to choose which medium works best for you. Some prefer to write blogs, others will opt to share their lifestyle in pictures using Instagram or with tweets.
I personally use Instagram to share my athlete lifestyle and blogs to keep my friends, family and supporters in the loop. Leah Kirchmann for example is also leveraging her Facebook fan page to keep everybody in the loop.
In the end, it really comes down to making storytelling an habit. Pick whichever mediums (blogging, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that feel the most natural for you to share your lifestyle.
Build the Foundation of your Online Presence
Now that you are sharing content across the web and on various social networks, you need a home for it. Given that your pieces of content (tweets and instagrams for example) reside on their respective social networks, you’ll want to create a central place of your own on the web and take ownership of your online brand.
In other words, you want to create a one stop shop that you own and will keep throughout your cycling career and beyond for people to discover who you are and know where to go next to stay informed.
The best way to do it is to create an impactful website that will act as the foundation of your online presence. The idea is create a space where people ( especially strangers) get to know you and will feel enticed to follow your journey. At the same time it will become a hub where your friends and follower will come for updates.
An impactful website needs to both make a great first impression and quickly cast light on these three questions:
Who are you?
What do you do?
Why should they care?
Here’s how you can ensure that your website answers the who, what and why:
1. Make an impression with stunning visuals
On the first page load, it’s imperative to catch your visitors full attention. In order to achieve it, nothing beats crisp visuals to impress at the first glance.
Need maximum impact? Choose a breathtaking action shot.
Branding yourself beyond your sport? Pick a glamour shot.
Looking to share the lifestyle? Aim for something a bit more casual.
Want to promote your speaking services? Opt for a professional look that shows who you are beyond your sport.
2. Set the tone
Now that you’ve caught the visitor’s attention, it’s time to set the tone. The tone is the sum of all the aspects that form the initial opinion a visitor will have upon first seeing your website. It’s a crucial aspect that often gets overlooked in the process of crafting a thriving online image.
There is no exact science on what specific set of details inevitably makes for the perfect tone but there are definitely some design and user experience aspects to consider:
- Using a hue that matches your visuals – to literally set the tone
- Optimizing the styling, color and size of your name and tagline – to reflect your boldness.
- Placing your personal and team sponsors logo front and center – to give them proper recognition and to show prospects that you mean business.
3. Convey the right message. Less is more.
Given the limited span of attention granted by your visitors, you need to make sure that your message is easily accessible, focused and to the point.
Offer your visitors a brief bio and a quick overview of your career highlights.
Failure to give them updated information in bite size portions often results with visitors going away leaving your content untouched and unseen.
As a rule of thumb, keep static content that needs to be manually updated to a minimum. That way your site will remain lightweight and as a result will reduce the workload required to maintain your site reducing the risk of ending up few months later with a bloated and outdated website.
4. Sharing the journey
Before expecting strangers to become followers or fans, you want to first establish a connection to give them an incentive to care about you, or in other words, create an intent before hooking them in.
This can be done by giving them an inside look to your athlete lifestyle and your journey by leveraging your blog posts and social content.
Your social content should be a key part of your site, not just a widget in the sidebar. There are multiple ways to integrate your tweets, Instagram pictures and Facebook updates. If possible, try to embed them to form a flow of events which, when combined with your blog posts, will feel like a timeline of your career.
It’s a way to give a longer shelf life to your update and give visitors a quick way to discover who you are and quickly feel engaged in your journey.
5. Growing your brand with a clear path to conversion
So far, you’ve made an impression, set the tone, conveyed your message and shared your journey.
It’s finally time to reap the benefits and convert qualified visitors into loyal fans and followers by placing clear call to actions on your website. It is fairly common to start by listing your social accounts links within the main navigation of your site.
Then, structure your social embeds to link to their source. For example, upon clicking an Instagram on your website, one should be redirected, on another tab, onto the original image on Instagram where multiple ‘Follow’ buttons are placed, thus introducing the visitor to your Instagram account with an intent to become a follower.
Not big on social? Create a mailing list and start collecting email addresses by placing subscription forms on your website. Use the list to announce your latest adventures or to link back to your blog posts. There are many services that makes the management of email list an easy task such as Mailchimp.
Takeaways: An impactful website has for main job to inform visitors on who you are, what you do and why they should care. It’s there to quarterback your online presence by feeding your social networks with potential new followers and to help you gain exposure, build an audience and ultimately grow your brand.
Ideally, you want to go for the maximum return for the minimum time and money investment. Your website should require as little maintenance as possible by opting for a platform that integrates the content you already create on social media. That way you can create you site and forget about it while it does its job of telling your story and growing your audience for you.
Now you’re probably skeptical that you can achieve all that in a couple minutes. Well, we’ve got you covered! We created Medalist to do just that. It’s a website building platform for athletes that allows you to launch an impactful website in 5 minutes.
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