Guide: Hosting a Podcast for your Fitness Business.
A lot of unexpected things have happened these past few years. One of them is the take-off in the popularity of podcasts. Yes, podcasts have been around for a little bit now, however, the industry is seeing unprecedented growth. In 2019, there were 700,000 podcasts listed in the iTunes catalog, alone. Now, more than ever, hosting a podcast is an extremely attractive option for fitness businesses.
Especially when you consider that COVID-19 still might be here to stay for a little bit longer. As a result, more people are staying in and forgoing their typical activities. Forcing them to turn to other measures of consuming content and media. Eventually, people will get sick of the same types of media they are consuming every day (Netflix, social media, etc…). Starting a podcast is trending and it’s a different form of content for people to consume.
Why hosting a podcast can be good for your fitness business
When you look at podcasts, a lot of successful podcasts are anywhere between 10 minutes and one hour long. Considering this, podcasts are what are considered to be long-form content. Long-form content is content that takes longer to consume than normal because it is more involved. Blog posts that go over 1,700 words are typically considered “long-form”. And by “over” we don’t mean 1,730 words. We are really talking between 2,000 and 20,000 words.
Long-form content performs better on average because it is more involved and gives users more information to consume, learn about, and research. Now, this isn’t to say go write 2,000+ word blog posts on anything and everything because that’s ridiculous. It’s just, that if you can dive deep into a topic, then do it. Don’t force it by any means.
However, when you look at user preferences, a large majority of people would rather watch a 10 min video than read a 2,000-word blog post. The problem with creating videos is they can be somewhat time-intensive and expensive.
This is where podcasts come in. A podcast sort of satisfies the convenience of a video while being not as involved. Doing a podcast right does take work, don’t get me wrong, but it sort of hits a sweet spot.
You establish authority
Much like blogging consistently and posting useful information on social media, podcasting can establish you and your brand/business as thought leaders in the industry. Not only can it establish you as a thought leader, but you can potentially use it as a tool to expand your networking. You can invite other people and business owners to your podcast to talk about a variety of topics. Those are invaluable relationships.
Your podcasts content can be repurposed into other forms of content
Because your podcast is a longer form of content creation, you are likely to either:
- Cover a variety of topics over the course of a podcast episode.
- Or you will hit on a lot of points over the same topic.
Once you realize that not everyone prefers podcasts, then you can divide your podcast up into blogs and/or short and quick videos if you have the resources to do so.
Not only that but you can collect really solid points made on the podcast and post them on other platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. These platforms are “shorter form” content. So a single podcast episode can potentially fuel several posts.
Going back to one of our last points, long-form content creates an aspect of “loyalty” in that if you consistently put out content that is good and people like it, they will continue to listen to it. If you create something that people are willing to listen to consistently, then you also create something that is more likely to be talked about.
When people follow a Netflix series, for example, they talk about it! It’s not something they just go around exclaiming to the world but it’s something that comes up in casual conversation.
Besides that, you can do what Mind Pump does. Their podcast episodes are everywhere. You can find their podcast episodes on pretty much every major podcast/digital media platform. Additionally, their episodes are on their website and are easily shareable.
Notice the bottom row of icons, underneath the play button? You can click to listen on Spotify, download the audio file, embed the audio file on another website, or share the link. There is no shortage of options to save this episode for later or to share it. Who knew hosting a podcast could be so great for brand awareness?
How to start your podcast.
Starting a podcast can sound a little foreign. However, as you’ll find out, it’s really no different than recording videos and posting them on youtube.
Define your core focus of the podcast
One of the first things you’ll want to do is pick a niche for your podcast. While it doesn’t have to be insanely constrained, it definitely helps to have some topic that you somewhat stick to in each episode. If you’re struggling with this then try asking your clients what they’d like to listen to in a fitness podcast. This helps, especially if you train within a specific specialty because then your client base will provide some pretty good advice on something you’re already an expert in.
However, let’s say you don’t have a specialty. Then this is a great opportunity for you to pick topics to talk about until you find something that really interests you.
What’s interesting is you can sort of get away with a “looser” niche depending on how you structure your podcast. There are some podcasts out there that are purely educational and talk about a wide range of topics. What they keep consistent is how in-depth they go on each topic and how they deliver the information.
Here are the different types of podcast structures that you typically see:
- Solo podcasts. The same person talking on each episode.
- Interviews. The podcast host hosts different people to interview each episode.
- Conversational. You have a couple of podcast hosts that talk about topics in a conversational manner.
And there are different ways to convey the information:
- Educational. Reporting on facts and information with a consistent, context-based narrative.
- Storytelling/narrative. Here are examples of people, perhaps talking about their experience in business or some other thing that requires a story is told.
While you don’t have to follow just one of the different types, it’s important that you pick something and make it consistent. Whether it’s the information that you cover, how you cover it, or something else, pick something and keep it consistent.
“Brand” your podcast.
If you are hosting a podcast specifically for your fitness business, then you want to make sure that it follows the branding of your business.
Here, there are really two things you want to focus on. The podcast episode covers the description of the podcast. The one thing that you want across the board for pretty much everything is consistency. Define a template for what your podcast covers will look like, and how it will convey the topic of the podcast visually, and use it for every single episode.
If you are running a podcast that you plan on running as a “hybrid” podcast, as in, you plan on delivering your content in different ways, then you can mix it up a little bit and create different types of cover art for the different types of episodes.
For example, if you plan on having a mix of episodes where it’s just you, it’s you interviewing someone, or it’s you just simply having a conversation with someone, then you can create different types of cover art for those different types of episodes.
When you look at the Mind Pump podcast listings, they change it up a little bit, but they still keep it consistent.
Now your description. It shouldn’t be terribly long, but it should give readers a good understanding of what the podcast is about and information about the host. If you get stuck at this part, go research similar podcasts and see what they have done. While you want to be original with your description, this can be a great way to find some inspiration and to get the “creativity” gears churning.
Get your tools set up
When hosting a podcast, there are a couple of tools that you’ll need to get started. First and foremost, you’re going to need a decent mic. I wouldn’t advise using the mic on your phone or computer. It may sound okay over Zoom calls, but that’s only because they are processing the audio with their software to improve the sound of it. You’re going to need a good mic.
You don’t have to go crazy on a $500 mic. You can get the Blue Snowball for $50 and it will do you just fine. The only thing I might recommend as an addition to your mic is a pop filter. While I’ll show you later how to make your voice sound like Samuel L. Jackson’s using software, a pop filter adds another level of quality that will make your podcasts sound amazing. Essentially, a pop filter eliminates “pop” sounds that are a result of how we pronounce certain sounds or letters. Without a pop filter, it might sound like you are smacking in the mic. Gross.
The other things you’ll need are:
- Access to a modern computer.
- And a recording software.
Pretty much any laptop will do. As long as it has the technical specs that can support modern software, then you’re good. As for the software, it’s really up to you. You need software that is able to:
- Record audio.
- Post-process audio (make it sound good).
Based on my experience, Adobe Audition is a pretty great option. You can record your audio right there and edit it in the same place. Now where I say “edit” you might be thinking, “how does one edit audio?”. There are really only a couple of things that you want to edit when it comes to the narration:
- Remove white noise. Your mic is going to pick up on white noise and subtle background noises. Removing this, which is super simple in Adobe Audition will make an immediate difference in the quality of your recordings.
- “Warm up” your voice. This process basically just adds more clarity to your voice. When you record your audio, you’d think it’d record in level audio frequencies. However, as you move away from the mic and then closer to it and project your voice at different levels, the audio frequencies that get recorded will be different.
- Bring out the high and low pitches in your voice equally. This is sort of optional. But this adds nice “even” sounds to the pitch of your voice.
The great thing about some of these things that I’ve mentioned above is that Adobe Audition has presets that you can buy or get for free. Just like you can get presets for Adobe Lightroom that provides filters for you, Adobe Audition does the same thing, but for audio. Just Google “Adobe Audition Podcast Presets” and prepare to be pleasantly surprised.
The one thing I’d caution against is over-processing your audio. Do you ever see photos people apply like 10 filters to and it just doesn’t look right? The same is true for audio. You can over-process it and risk sounding like some Star Wars droid.
Depending on the structure of your podcast episode, you’re going to need a script
Now scripts can be pretty different from one podcast episode to the next. For example, if you’re doing an interview, then all you really need is an introduction section and then the questions that you’ll be asking, and then maybe a conclusions section.
However, let’s say you’re doing an educational podcast that’s covering a bunch of facts or maybe telling a story of history. Then, in that case, you may want a pretty involved script. As you are writing your script, try to write it to sound as natural as possible. Scripts are infamous for sounding like…well…a script.
We are almost there, we just have a couple more things to cross off our list. Before you really go into recording your first episode, here’s a quick checklist to make sure you are prepared, before formally hosting your podcast:
- Sit down and get your equipment set up. You never know, there may be some weird nuances of getting your equipment and software going that you didn’t know about.
- Do a test recording. Record some example audio and play around with your recording software. Try processing your audio to see how you like it.
- Follow a couple of tutorials to learn your way around the software.
- Pick a room to record in that has good acoustics for a podcast. You don’t want rooms that have bad echoes. This will cause reverb in your audio and removing it while preserving audio quality is a pain in the butt.
- Think about how you’re going to handle recording a conversation. What will your equipment set up look like then?
Once you have gone through all these things and feel confident, figure out a content plan and schedule. How often will you record a podcast and post it? How far out will you plan the topics of the podcasts? What does planning your podcast look like?
Make sure you come up with a system that sets you up for consistency. Not just because it’s more efficient but also because consistency in how you run your podcast behind the scenes will yield consistency in how you deliver your podcast as well, which is important for gathering an audience.
Pick a podcast host
Now there are a lot of options here and it might seem kind of strange. Because it’s not like you just “upload” your podcast to Spotify for example. Spotify is simply the middleman.
While there are plenty of options for hosting a podcast, based on my research, Anchor seems like the best bet. They are completely free to use and you can “one-click publish” to a bunch of major podcast directories such as:
- Google Podcasts
- and more…
For a free service, that seems like a pretty good deal to me! However, there are others that you can choose as well that probably offer something similar.
Once you have your hosting service picked out, sign up and get everything set up for your first episode!
Let’s record an episode
Alright! We are finally here. By now, you should have:
- The general topic of your podcast is outlined.
- Cover art created.
- A description was created.
- Your equipment and software are set up.
- Audio processing presets.
- A plan for your first couple of podcasts.
- You should have a plan for the next couple of episodes that includes:
- The content covered in each episode.
- Episode structure (interview, narration, etc…)
- The record date.
- The publish date.
- You should have a plan for the next couple of episodes that includes:
Now, all you gotta do is sit down and record your first episode. Don’t be nervous and don’t be scared to mess up. The great thing about podcasts is since you’re recording an audio track in software that allows you to edit it, you can cut areas that you don’t like or areas that you might have messed up saying something and re-record it.
This is especially true if you are recording a podcast that is just you talking! You can easily stop recording, delete what it is that you messed up on, and re-record it.
Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful in my experience:
- Make sure you have plenty of water. When you go through recording a podcast, your mouth gets dry from all the talking and re-recording.
- Take it slow. Don’t let nerves get to you. It’s easy to talk fast when you’re nervous.
- Read the script out loud a couple of times prior to recording.
- When you finish recording the audio file, save a backup somewhere. And SAVE FREQUENTLY.
Once you have everything set up and you feel prepared. Then it’s time to record your first episode, edit it, and post it.
Promoting your podcast
So we have the whole hosting a podcast thing taken care of. But now, you want to figure out how you can go about posting it.
This really starts with why are you wanting to host a podcast for your business? Do you want to use it to add more value to your business? Do you want it to help your business get discovered?
The reason why you should consider this first is because this impact how you promote it. If it is there to add more value to your business then you can make it so that when someone becomes a client of yours, they get exclusive access to your podcast.
Or if you want to use it to help your business get discovered, then it should be like your blog. Anyone can access and consume it. Here are the 25 best podcast hosting services that you can check to help you decide where to store and manage your podcast episodes.
Once you figure out the why, then it’s time to start promoting it. This is really not too difficult. You just want to make sure the podcast is as discoverable as possible. Post about it on social media. You can pick some of your favorite moments from each episode and post them on your social media accounts. Additionally, you can have a page on your site dedicated to listing your podcast episodes. If you want to take it a step further, do what Mind Pump did and make every episode shareable everywhere it is.
You can also announce what the topic of each episode is prior to it happening on social media and in your newsletter. Get people excited about it! Don’t give away all the details but just give a quick tidbit about it. Announcing it like this adds value to your overall content portfolio and personal training business.
Recap: Hosting a podcast for your fitness business.
This all seems like a lot of work. Just speaking from experience, the biggest piece of work is getting your content lined up and making sure you are making each episode unique in its own right. Picking out your software, and equipment, and creating your cover art really doesn’t take too long.
If you can:
- Come up with a really solid content schedule.
- Make sure each episode is fun and engaging.
- Record and post episodes consistently.
Then your podcast will gain a following if you actively promote it. It won’t be overnight, but given time, your podcast will gain a following.
Once it gains a following, then you will start to see results for your business.