Podcasts are on-demand digital media files that subscribers can access via the Web or download into their portable media players (e.g., iPods). Over the last 3 years, the percentage of Internet users who have downloaded a podcast has increased from 7% to 19%. Today’s fitness professionals are using this cyberspace training platform to reach new audiences, educate listeners about various health and fitness issues, and encourage clients to stay engaged.
Types of Podcasts
With podcasts, just as with television or radio programs, there are different types or genres:
The talk show format is among the more popular types of podcasts to produce because audiences appreciate hearing reliable health and fitness information from expert sources. Some talk shows may have a broad focus, covering topics from industry news to seasonal exercise tips. Others may have a more specialized concentration, honing in on athletic performance issues or addressing all kinds of marathon training techniques. Whether a talk show is tailored to the general public or professional peers, the podcaster should have a dynamic personality, strong communication skills and/or the ability to facilitate multiple discussions.
Downloadable audio workouts have grown popular in the fitness industry, especially since portable media players seem to be common tech items with gym-goers. Workout podcasts are guided exercise routines that coach participants through various kinds of programs, from cardiovascular exercise to muscle-conditioning exercises to yoga. Whether the workout is for athletes or fitness newbies, the podcaster should possess strong program design skills and creative techniques in verbal coaching.
Bite-sized podcasts can be used to encourage clients with motivational thoughts; to educate the public with “quick-and-dirty” fitness tips or facts; or to increase marketing efforts by tying into other promotional events or products. Shorter podcasts (less than 15 minutes) are ideal for listeners who may not have the time to devote to a 30- to 60-minute podcast, and they can also be an opportunity to reach new audiences because more people are likely to listen. Knowing how to speak in sound bites and/or edit content into short, powerful sequences are must-have skills for creating a bite-sized podcast.
These podcasts capture conversations as they unfold on location at conferences, workshops, health/fitness studios and events or races. They can include professional lectures, presenter interviews and participant commentary. A cell phone or cheap, portable MP3 recorder is all one needs to document these happenings. To gather interesting content, an on-location podcaster should be willing to remain flexible and to be somewhat vulnerable in any situation.
For additional information and tips on toning up your podcast, please see the full article, “Podcast Yourself,” in November–December 2009 IDEA Trainer Success.