Thad Rodrigues
16 Dec 2016

CASE STUDY: Justin West Coaching | Learn How To Blog The Surfers Way

Co-Authored: Anthony Shivakumar

In this case study, we will be conducting an analysis of Justin West’s coaching blog: www.justinwestcoaching.com
 
Justin is a pro surfing coach based in the Portuguese Algarve who recently reached out to us to develop a CASE STUDY, to help build his community of followers to expand Justin West Coaching’s revenue opportunities.

In the pro surfing coach business, credibility, trust, personal stories and word of mouth marketing is key in building a great following and lays the foundation for a successful and sustainable business. A blog is an effective tool to deliver a compelling message of a credible and trustworthy brand.

FOCUS: The core focus of all of our analytical blog case studies is to systematically dissect a blog with one goal in mind.

GOAL: The goal being to ensure that the blog can be enhanced or transformed into an efficient and ruthless sales funnel resulting in expanded or increased sales opportunities for independent entrepreneurs and businesses. Our focus is less concerned with the design elements of a blog as the goal is to be able to identify the mechanisms that help convert blog visitors into cash paying customers.

BLOG PURPOSE: If you pause and think about it, blogs are advertisements and reflect the identity and philosophy of a business. If the advertisement is not creating a draw or “call-to-action”, this means the ad is not driving home the core marketing message or that the message is not being understood or noticed by potential customers.

The analysis below will assist to unfold and reveal the core elements of the blog and what needs to be done to take Justin West Coaching to the next level. The analysis consists of 5 core elements as seen below:



ATTENTION

So does JustinWestCoaching.com capture our attention as a reader? A website much like an advertisement is meant to be an eye catcher. JustinWestCoaching.com does have a number of favorable elements contained within the site. A core element we found to be absent in the site is functionality.

Functionality is an indicator of a site’s utility (usefulness). We have dissected the analysis to understand the key components that constitute functionality.

A.    VISIBILITY: The light grey font on a black background is hard on the eyes, which makes it challenging for readers to see the text with clarity. Sometimes you are better off having a visually unappealing site with content which is easily readable.

B.    BLOG LINK: We did not see a clearly identifiable link to the blog on the homepage. The reader has to literally look for it. We only stumbled upon the blog upon reviewing the selections under the "JWC TV" tab.  Clearly displaying the word "blog" at the top of the homepage assists with easy navigation to the blog. This is an easy change, but a critical one especially, if you would like the audience to act on a “call to action”.



C.    BLOG TITLES AND HEADINGS: Blog titles and headings play an important role in drawing an audience’s attention to content. Do these blog titles below catch your attention? Let’s take a look.

HEADLINE 1:
The mystique of more wave catching made simple

Not being surfers, it was not too clear as to what this article was about. We soon realized after reading this blog article, that this article was about catching more waves and primarily targets surfers.

MINDSET: To construct compelling and meaningful titles a blogger must thoroughly understand their target audience’s needs. In this example, what do surfers eat ? Drink? Or do during in their spare time? Where do they socialize? Who do they hang out with? What are their hobbies besides surfing? It’s key to understand the readers’ mindset. A clear analysis of the surfer mindset allows the blogger to be able to develop the audience’s “pain points” (challenges or problems that need to be solved). What is a surfer’s main goal? So how can Justin rephrase this blog title so that it's not ambiguous, but yet tackles the “pain point” of any surfer? 

PAIN POINT: A surfer’s pain point could be, jealously, desperation to improve, to be outstanding or trying to not fall to catch every wave effortlessly. The following headline is catchy and addresses the reader’s points.

ALTERNATE HEADLINE:
"Jealous when you see that near perfect surfer dude catching waves like no tomorrow and your inner voice just wishes they would fall?" 

FOCUSED HEADLINES: Fierce competition online, compels bloggers to develop headlines that need to break through the clutter. This is why headlines that are vague, general or ambiguous are highly discouraged. Headlines which are specific, draw audiences to click and read content. Numbers assist in developing focused headlines.

ALTERNATE HEADLINE:
8 simple hacks you can use to catch waves every single time

This headline baits readers to explore the content as it provides the target audience with a specific number of steps to solve a problem all the time. Another way to look at this, you use the “SMART” (Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic and Time-Related) headline concept as a baseline to develop a headline.   

  • Specific: Target a specific area for improvement. ( -- “catch waves” )
  • Measurable: Quantify (use a number) ( -- “8” )
  • Assignable: Specify who will do it ( -- “you” )
  • Realistic: State what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources. ( -- “simple” )
  • Time-related: Specify when result(s) can be achieved. ( -- “every single time” )
Let’s try working with the second headline.

HEADLINE 2:
Day 3 Taliban training camp?

Right off the bat, this title inserts a negative connotation in the audience’s mind that this article is related something terrorist related. Does it catch my attention? Sure it could? Perhaps attracting the wrong attention.

ANALYSIS: If I ask you a simple question "What do cows drink?”. Calves drink cow’s milk, humans drink cow's milk, but cows drink water. This is fundamental to how we humans process day to day information, through association. Once logic kicks in, which typically takes a few minutes or less to process we arrive at an answer. This would take too much unnecessary brain processing. Similarly, when you have a heading containing “Taliban”, the 1st thing we associate the headline with is terrorism, even if the blog is totally unrelated. Humans make associations in a split second and the last thing you need is for your readers to form bad associations.

A suggested heading which may be more appealing could be:

ALTERNATE HEADLINE 1:
The ultimate surfers training boot camp to go from zero to hero in 3 days. - Day 1

Catchy? Maybe. Let's do better.

ALTERNATE HEADLINE 2:
Want to know how I keep improving my surfing at lightning speed while you still suck? Day 1 
 
Derogatory? Yes. Grabs my attention? For sure. Bootcamps help people learn faster.

ALTERNATE HEADLINE 3:
Where are the pro surfers training and why aren't you? Day 1

Everyone admires the pros. We all want to know what they do and how they train. Have a headline that gives a sneak preview of their life.

Are these headings better than “Day 3 - Taliban training camp?”  What draws your attention?



II. PROBLEM DEFINITION

PROBLEM: What problem is Justin’s surfer audience facing? Why should they read his articles? Below Justin identifies the problem, that there is always one person who catches all the waves but it’s not you. Let’s see how this blog can be rephrased into a problem definition.

"You are at the beach on a sunny day and the waves are coming high and fast. You are excited and ready to catch some waves. As you start paddling your way to show off your new skills, you end up missing all of them. You find yourself at the wrong place at the wrong time. A bright sunny day soon becomes a day of just frustration, failed attempts and disappointment."

Bloggers need to provide a vivid description of what their readers feel, do, and reveal what their “pain points” are. Bloggers need to empathize with their readers (put themselves in their shoes). The better bloggers become in defining their reader’s “pain points”, the easier it becomes to gain their reader’s attention. This builds credibility with readers and when readers think you know them better than they know themselves, the blogger is perceived as the expert. 



Let us look at another example. This is more of an experience and an event in one's life. Bloggers want to ensure their readers relive the moment when an experience is described. Painting a vivid picture of Justin's experience will draw attention to the reader. Bloggers need to describe the emotions, the pain the torture of the boot camp, the agony, the relief, the fun, the learning experience, whatever it might be. The more personal and descriptive an experience is described, the more likely it is that readers will gravitate and connect with a blog article.

"Finally we are at the 3rd day of the bootcamp. My arms aching, my back is all stiff and my body is starting to feel the torture. Being a surfer is no easy task, what was I thinking. The day started with us doing ..  " 

This is something that describes the moments.



III. ATTAINABLE SOLUTION

SOLUTION
: A blog must present the reader with a solution or a story so that the readers derive value from the article. In the snapshot below Justin clearly presents solutions in point form. This is an effective way to present a solution. Justin hones in on 9 techniques to effectively “catch a wave” to catch them consistently. Justin’s audiences are predominantly surfers. As non-surfers we may not understand every detail of the solution but we don’ need to. Surfers will understand and that’s key.



IV. PROOF AND CREDIBILITY

CREDIBILITY: Justin is a surfing coach and has a sufficient amount of evidence on his site that he can do good job and that his advice is worth listening to. This can be seen from Trip Advisor, to the number of Facebook likes and other brands mentioned on his site. This is critical information that builds credibility.

ENHANCING CREDIBILITY: An opportunity for Justin would be to place these credentials in a prominent area at the top of the main homepage so that people are directed immediately to the credibility factor of his expertise. A key suggestion for Justin to enhance his credibility is to regularly write informative blog posts and engage with his audience on these posts to connect with readers in order to engage his services to elevate their surfing abilities.



V. CALL TO ACTION

Justin offers a number of service offerings through his surfing business. At the end of each blog post we would strongly encourage Justin to incorporate a “call to action”. This could be to read another blog or to encourage readers to explore service offerings to improve their surfing abilities. “Call to actions” do not necessarily have to drive sales, they could redirect readers to value driven content, such as to another blog post or to subscribe to an eBook to get more information on surfing to further build credibility as to why prospective students should engage Justin’s services, which effectively builds his sales funnel.

CONCLUSION

From Justin’s site there is definitely a sufficient amount of information that indicates Justin’s credibility as a trusted expert in the surfing field and his passion is apparent from the content posted. Justin has the winning elements to be successful. Here are some recommendations for Justin to explore to take his business to the next level:

  • STRUCTURE: Justin needs to employ a few tweaks on his site to allow for a more structured approach when communicating through his blog articles, which will lead to a high level of audience engagement as well as empower Justin to easily figure out all the “pain points” of his surfer audience.
  • FREQUENCY: Justin would greatly benefit from regularly blogging and presenting concrete and realistic solutions. The more touch points you create with customers, the higher the rate of conversion to transform prospects into paying clients.
  • CALLS TO ACTION: We would highly recommend that Justin employ “calls to action” at the end of each blog article to achieve his business’ objectives and revenue goals.
  • RESEARCH: It would also be in Justin’s best interests to observe his local and global competition, not necessarily blogs, but websites of leading global surf schools around the world to benchmark and take a peek at how they present information, build credibility and build trust with their following to convert prospects into sales. We have included a few links to global surf schools for this purpose:

SURF SCHOOL URLS


RICHARD SCHMIDT SURF SCHOOL: http://www.richardschmidt.com
SURF N SOL: http://surfnsol.com
COREYSWAVE SURF LESSONS: http://www.coreyswave.com/
KOALA SURF HOUSE: http://www.koala-surf.com/
PACIFIC SURF SCHOOL: https://www.pacificsurfschool.com/

If you're interested in learning more about what we've learned in looking at some of the best blogs on the internet, sign up for our 'AntNinja's Starter Kit' below.









Alma Super from Justin West Coaching on Vimeo.



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1 Comments

Anthony Shivakumar
Jan 15, 2017
The analysis on Justin's blog is very insightful. I really like the way the analysis is broken down into the 5 categories.
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