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As most of you know, I've been working to promote Fitness & Nutrition for a couple of weeks now, and I figured it would be worthwhile to get some input on my ideas thus far. Most of the events I mention are local (in NYC) because it makes it easier for me to attend, but if you know of some events/organizations in other locations that would be easy to work with remotely, I'm all ears! Anyway, here are some ideas I've been tossing around:

  1. Meetups - sponsoring after parties for social sports clubs, collaborating with fitness startups (e.g. Fitocracy) to host local events, etc. What kinds of events would our current and potential users be interested in attending? How should I publicize these events? Are there other fitness startups I should contact? As far as sports clubs go - I've already contacted New York Social Sports Club, Zog Sports, and Urban Soccer. What are some other good ones?

  2. Doing a top new user competition - Would it be effective to do a giveaway to the top new users of next month? What prizes would be good for that? I like the idea of a Fitbit or some other fitness gadget, but you tell me!

  3. Sponsoring races - I've gotten in touch with organizations like New York Road Runners and New York Cycle Club to see about sponsoring races and bike rides, but that gets pretty expensive, so my next idea was to just go to some events and hand out SE nutrition bars. Is this worth the time/effort/expense? What specific events should I be targeting? Does anyone know of specific organizations that might be receptive to that idea, or might be a little cheaper to sponsor?

  4. Sponsoring fitness blog giveaways - I've worked one out with Cranky Fitness who will be doing a Fitbit giveaway over the next couple of weeks. What other fitness bloggers should I be contacting? We want to reach out to people who have a decent following and want to promote themselves, but aren't so big that they won't have time to talk to us.

Any other ideas? I'm open to them, so let me know what you think. You all know the community better than I do, and I want you to be involved with everything I'm doing - including brainstorming! If you have any questions about this or anything else, please let me know. The chat room is a good way to get in touch with me, or feel free to email me if that's easier for you.

[Edit] Ivo suggested trying to sponsor groups that our users area already a part of, both because it's nice to give back to the community and also because we'll have someone there to talk up the site! So - does anyone belong to any fitness groups that might be interested in the site and need a sponsor for anything? Running clubs, cycling clubs, swim teams, social sports teams - let me know what you're up to!

[Edit] I've been communicating with a few local sports teams that need a sponsor. One is a softball team that plays in Central Park, another is a roller derby team that plays on Long Island. I've heard from a few other teams but these are the ones I like best so far...what do you guys think? One idea would be to buy jerseys for them if they agree to have "Fitness.StackExchange.com" printed on them.

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It seems evident to me that the easiest short-term site promotion solution is to ask more questions that programmers and other Stack Overflow regulars will flock to.

Our highest-viewed questions are ones about treadmill desks, exercises for programmers, and Wii Fit. These sorts of questions achieve a wildly disproportionate number of pageviews and answers. If we want to milk that funnel from other SO sites, we should ask more of those questions. I'm just not sure how many legitimate questions like that exist.

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    Interesting suggestion. I think that there are probably a bunch of questions you could ask as you play games like Wii Fit. I've never played it but maybe there are more specific questions about how to improve on certain levels, rather than just "is it good for losing weight?"
    – Lauren
    Oct 25 '11 at 15:18
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    I think there's an inherent problem with the Wii Fit approach, which is that I imagine most people that are using video games as their fitness methodology are not particularly interested in detailed Q&A. Oct 25 '11 at 16:04
  • I wish I could review a treadmill desk @LaurenΨ ;-) I also got Dance Central and planning on getting Your Shape 2012 to review. And Dave don't underestimate lots of mothers or people who generally can't leave the house to exercise, they like solutions like Wii Fit
    – Ivo Flipse
    Oct 26 '11 at 15:16
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I've only been around a short time, but it doesn't seem like the problem is in keeping existing users (which #2 solves). Rather, we need to pull in entire communities of users, beyond "how do I get started" newbies to fitness/lifting/running. We need athletes who will ask domain-specific questions about their given sport and be confident that they will get relevant answers.

We should identify specific sport communities (like CrossFitters, football players, soccer coaches, BJJ competitors, MMA fans) and pull a few people in to get the ball rolling with specific questions.

Hand-in-hand with this would be a change in scope towards sports.

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  • Thanks for the ideas Dave! Any suggestions on where to look for these specific sport communities? Do you belong to any groups now that might be interested in the site and need sponsorships?
    – Lauren
    Aug 22 '11 at 19:06
  • I'm passing the site around to some lifting and combat sports friends. I think the biggest draw will be questions in their area of expertise: "Hey, I know this!" But in terms of groups, I'm still turning it over in my head. Aug 22 '11 at 19:16
  • Awesome - let me know what you come up with!
    – Lauren
    Aug 22 '11 at 19:39
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  • Sponsoring meetups, I would limit these to those were an actual user participates. Even the startups (like Fitocracy) should start using the site if they want to get some form of sponsorship. Because how can we expect anyone to get excited about using the site if nobody's around to tell them how awesome we are?

  • Top new user competitions are a great way to lock them in, though I would limit them to monthly events, if only to keep it special to win it (especially given how small we are). I like Fitbits too, though I'm torn whether we should allow questions about sleeping, given that its the ultimate opposite of exercising. Either way, I'm sure we can come up with great rewards, perhaps coupled with something that helps sponsoring Fitness startups.

  • Sponsoring races is much like meetups, we need a way to monetize them. So simply having our logo out there somewhere probably won't make anyone interested (especially as long as we have the bland beta design). Handing out something tangible, like drinking bottles or t-shirts are probably more effective. Though nothing about the current StackExchange t-shirts screams: Hi, we're a Q&A site, please ask all your questions here! So much like Gamings proposal for using epic questions, it should be clear from our advertising what we're here for.

  • Sponsoring blogs could work, though preferably we get the blogger himself hooked on the site as well. If you can convince them that Stack Exchange can be a platform for him to draw new readers to his blog, that will probably entice him more than having something to give away. Obviously his answers shouldn't just be a link to his blog, but I'm sure we can help guide such users.

Like I said before and Dave's answers mentions as well, I think sponsoring shirts for different kinds of sport teams in exchange for semi-regularly plugging the site to them could potentially lure in whole groups of interested users. I also suspect University sport teams would be open to this kind of sponsoring. Perhaps some of them even know Stack Overflow, which should at least help get the message across.

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  • 1. It would be great if we could start sponsoring groups where a user participates. I'll edit this question to ask if anyone belongs to a group that needs sponsorship. 2. Do you think we should hold off on the new user competitions until we find some groups to sponsor and have more new users? 3. This is partially why I was looking for a tagline that captures that we're a Q&A site - maybe I should edit that question again and be more specific?
    – Lauren
    Aug 22 '11 at 19:02
  • 4. I agree that we need to draw in big fitness bloggers. When I met with the Fitocracy co-founders about teaming up they said they'd try to send some traffic our way. I think that's worth sponsoring an event for them, especially if I can attend and talk up the site! Thoughts?
    – Lauren
    Aug 22 '11 at 19:04
  • Well especially if you yourself can attend, that makes things easier. Though hopefully we'll convince them to become members themselves and perhaps even come up with cool ideas to improve their app by interacting with our users. Besides, what better place to find beta-users than on SE? :P
    – Ivo Flipse
    Aug 22 '11 at 19:09
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Any thought to contacting running websites and advertising? Often advertising is inexpensive and would target runners of all levels. Typically runners are also interested in nutrition, soccer, football, cycling, swimming, etc.. Seems like an ideal demographic. While low "viral" potential, still could be cost effective.

Also what about sponsored blog postings? Offering bloggers in the community a small fee to advertise SE somewhere in their blog - maybe even a descriptive post regarding the service. Seems this idea partnered with social media could help acquire users quickly.

Not sure that this works but... what about a series of how-to videos - short, sweet - on various core exercises or running drills or weight exercises or other common tags from the question archives. Each video can contain a SE advertisement to start as well as branding within. Additionally, the videoes can than, when appropriate, be used to answer questions inceasing the exposure of the video itself.

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  • I haven't looked into advertising too much, mostly sponsoring sports groups, but that is a good thought - any specific websites come to mind? I'd love to do NYRR or Runner's World, but they might be too big and expensive for us right now. I have looked into sponsoring blog giveaways (check out this one that Cranky Fitness just posted!). Any ideas on who else I should contact? Thanks for the help!
    – Lauren
    Aug 24 '11 at 13:54
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    What about things like Warrior Dash or Tough Mudder? Those two events both have sponsorship opportunities and might be a good avenue to pique people's interest.
    – Matt Chan
    Aug 25 '11 at 14:43
  • @Lauren There is also Spartan Race... which has a Death Race Challenge.
    – Matt Chan
    Sep 12 '11 at 2:50
  • Thanks @Matt! I actually did look into Warrior Dash and their next local event is August 2012, so I might follow up with them next year. I'll check those out too.
    – Lauren
    Sep 15 '11 at 13:41

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