The journey to produce (and succeed!) in the fitness podcast world is full of surprises and challenges. Podcasts are one of the most popular forms of media, especially in the health, wellness and fitness industry — but starting a podcast isn’t as easy as listening to one. We chatted with the founder and CEO of BASE Bangkok and Fitness Business Asia podcast host, Jack Thomas, to get an insider’s advice on starting your own fitness podcast.
As a trainer, business owner and entrepreneur, Jack knows a thing or two about the fitness industry. His podcast leverages his more than eight years of experience and the plethora of connections he’s made along the way, to deliver valuable information that can help business owners run successful gyms and studios.
Here’s a sneak peek about how he turned Fitness Business Asia into a success, and his advice for up-and-coming fitness podcasting enthusiasts who are just getting their start — or are thinking about jumping into the game.
ClassPass: What were some motivating factors to start your own show?
Jack Thomas: Some of our coaches and staff were asking to learn more about the business side of BASE, the studio I run. Rather than sit down and go through it with them, I thought it would be easier and more impactful to put an overview of everything they need to know on the podcast.
The coaches that wanted to learn more on a specific topic can then book in some time with me. This has been a much more effective way to coach the team on business!
CP: When did you feel confident that you had enough speaking material and expertise to deliver a regular podcast?
JT: Good question! You never feel 100-percent ready, but you have to put yourself out there and improve along the way, otherwise you’ll never get started.
CP: How did you know your target audience (gym/business owners, investors, aspiring owners, etc.) were going to find value in tuning into a podcast?
JT: Expertise is relative — if I’m a few steps ahead of someone else, then to them I’ll be an expert. With this in mind, I was sure enough that with my experience and journey I could help other studio owners in Asia raise their game.
CP: How did you decide on the format for your program?
JT: From the podcasts I’d listened to, I liked short, snappy and to-the-point. I modelled my podcast around this idea and aim to make every minute worth listening to.
CP: When you have guests, what’s scheduling them like?
JT: Almost everyone I’ve reached out to has been more than happy to be interviewed, and we’ve now got people reaching out to us who want to be featured.
When I’m in another Asian city I’ll try to get at least four to five podcasts done with the industry leaders in that city. This has enabled me to get a few months ahead on content, so I can relax a little knowing it’s lined up!
So far, all interviews have been face-to-face which is awesome, but some people that I really want to feature are hard to schedule in — so Skype or Zoom interviews will be a reality moving forwards.
CP: When it comes to keeping content fresh, where do you go to get ideas?
JT: Whenever I interview someone, I think about their unique angle and story. What experiences do they have that not many others do, and what lessons can we take from that.
The show is a mix of interviews and solo podcasts from myself. For my topics, I speak to a lot of fitness business owners about their challenges and pain points, which gives my plenty of ideas.
CP: How much of an upfront cost should potential podcasters be prepared to invest on equipment?
JT: Honestly, it’s not much to get up and running. A decent quality mic or two, some editing software, which is free or cheap and a hosting service, which is around $10 a month, will get you up and running.
CP: How much time should people be prepared to invest in recording, editing, and producing a podcast?
JT: Like cost, it’s a sliding scale. Get your processes slick and locked down. Book out time in your diary and don’t get distracted.
Recording and editing bulk episodes is a good approach and helps save a lot of time. You’ll also need to earmark some time to market it. It could easily be a full-time job, but I spend around five to six hours per week on it.
CP: With so many fitness podcasts available today, what was it like breaking into that market?
JT: It was slow at first, with just friends listening. Interviews are a great way of reaching a new audience as they’ll usually share it with their networks.
Over time, more and more people started listening, and the audience has been growing each month. You just have to keep focused during the slow times and remember why you started it.
CP: Do you advertise?
JT: We don’t do any paid advertising, but I’ve been active on Instagram and LinkedIn as a means of getting it out there.
When we do interviews we send the interviewees clips and artwork to help them share, and we post to social network groups. I put the link to the podcast in my email signature and share it at any opportunity I get.
It’s free content so don’t be afraid to passionately tell everyone about it!
CP: What advice do you have for someone looking to start their own fitness-inspired podcast?
JT: The podcast landscape is busy, so zero in on your message and differentiator. When I started, there were many fitness business podcasts out there, but no one was targeting the Asian market. That makes mine different and anyone involved in the Asian fitness industry is going to take note over more general podcasts.
Consider why you’re doing it, and make sure it excites you. Once you have your message and mission, go all in and don’t hold back. Get better and improve along the way, and when it gets tough or your numbers aren’t growing, remember why you started and plough on.