How to Create Content for Your Online Fitness Community

  • Reading time:12 mins read

Our founder and CEO, PJ Taei moderated the March 10th Future of Fitness panel discussion, Creating Online Content Your Members Want While Generating Revenue You Want. He sat down with Jarrod Saracco, Jessica Isle, and Garrett Marshall – leaders in the fitness community.

If you want to create awesome content for your online fitness community and generate revenue, then stick around.

These fitness experts dropped gems on how they’re creating their own content for online virtual workouts and preparing their businesses for the future.

They shared their experiences, fitness challenges, and strategies on how to truly generate revenue from pivoting online.

And the Future of Fitness brought them together.

The Future of Fitness is a global online event brought to you by Club Industry Magazine. It meets the needs of health and fitness professionals all over the world by bringing fitness professionals together to further their goals, share their expertise and dive into the most vital topics of the industry.

Not to mention they always have the most up-to-date insights in the industry. It’s kind of a big deal!

All of these experts gathered together to share their wisdom on how to pivot online, make money, and make small adjustments for growth along the way.

Tune in to the panel discussion below, or keep scrolling for the 3 key takeaways!

PJ asked these 3 key questions on the panel discussion (and the answers were spot on):

  1. What type of content do you feel people engage with the most? [2:03] 
  2. What’s your feedback on the importance and difference between on-demand vs live? Would you combine the two? [9:03]  
  3. What monetization form has worked best for you? [17:13]

Bonus: Find out the secret sauce of being “authentic” in your content. [6:10]

We’re going to hear from each panelist and get tips and tricks on how to maximize the content streaming experience for your viewers.

But before we share the key takeaways from the Future of Fitness panel discussion, let’s meet our speakers.

Meet the Panelists 

You might know this guy…

Pj Taei Founder and President at Uscreen
PJ Taei, Founder & President at Uscreen

PJ Taei is the founder and president of Uscreen, the video streaming and monetization platform that is home to more than 11,000 businesses globally. He founded the company in 2015 and has surpassed 2.3 million end users. PJ also hosts The Video Entrepreneur Podcast where he talks about what it takes to build a successful online video business.

Jarrod Saracco COO at World Gym International
Jarrod Saracco, COO at World Gym International

Jarrod Saracco is a 25-year veteran of the health and fitness industry.  From personal trainer to chief operations officer of World Gym, and president and owner of Health Club Doctor Inc., he’s helped hundreds of facilities around the world reach maximum profitability.

Jessica Isle Marketing Manager at Active Wellness
Jessica Isle, Marketing Manager at Active Wellness

Jessica Isle is the Marketing Manager at Active Wellness and drives B2C communication strategy for multiple brands including Synergy Health Clubs. Jessica’s 10+ years of fitness marketing in the community sector give her a unique insight into creating mission-based brand experiences for the fitness community. She has also helped grow Club One Fitness and United Way.

Garrett Marshall President of Fitness Streaming
Garrett Marshall, President of Fitness Streaming at Xponential Fitness

Garrett is the president of Fitness Streaming at Xponential Fitness. His 20+ years of experience include developing strategy and innovation, executive leadership, business development, and driving technology. He has also received four Inc. 5000 awards and IHRSA’s Rising Star Award.

There is a TON of fitness knowledge and experience on this panel! So, get ready.

Let’s hear the takeaways.

Future of Fitness Panel Discussion: 3 Key Takeaways

Diving right into engagement, the first thing discussed was the type of content people engage with most when it comes to online fitness.

The panel experts discussed how over the past 12 months, engagement trends have changed in the online fitness industry due to the way people are consuming content.

Without further ado, here’s the good stuff.

1. When it comes to online fitness, the most engaging content is…

The unanimous vote for the most engaging content in the fitness community is the combination of video-on-demand and live streaming. It makes sense!

Since every situation is different, offering different ways for your audience to consume content is key. 

These experts found that offering a variety of both on-demand and live streaming content is optimal for reach. After all, most people are looking for at-home workouts right now, whether the pandemic has ended or not.

And, they found that short-form workouts are currently performing best for online fitness communities.

Jarrod stated that…

In my personal experience, and from what we’ve seen across our network, the at-home workout, or on-demand type of streaming seems to be most popular. Especially the 30-minute or less type of workouts with everybody working from home; being teachers, parents, and all kinds of things.

Jarrod Saracco 

That’s so true! We are all in between Zoom calls, working from our living rooms, running between errands…all while still trying to have a healthy lifestyle.

Having a shorter workout allows your audience to actually reach their fitness goals.

The panelists agreed that the sweet spot for short-form workouts is 10-30 minutes.

Another tip when offering your fitness class online is to add workout modifications. Just like in real life, each person is at a different level of fitness in your online class. So make sure to add modifications to all of your online fitness routines.

Jessica pointed out that you can also offer your clients additional modifications as an add-on or variation to content you’ve already recorded!

People are squeezing workouts in between their busy schedules and they are looking for targeted workouts.

Jessica’s tip – be detailed in the workout descriptions for your fitness classes! 

Be sure to include the information of the workout like the type (strength, cardio, stretching, etc), length, body type targeted, instructor info… The more information, the better.

Take Sarah Beth Yoga for example. This online fitness class is targeting backbends for 30 minutes. The student taking the class knows exactly what to expect.

online fitness class duration

And here are all the nitty-gritty details about the class along with some related videos.

online fitness routine details

The workout is in the details…or however the saying goes.

Next up – what’s the big difference between on-demand and live streaming? Turns out, it’s not what’s different – it’s how to combine them.

2. The importance and difference between on-demand vs live streaming for online fitness…

Sometimes it’s okay to offer both in your fitness plan!

Before we go there – let’s make sure we understand the difference between video-on-demand and live streaming content:

  • Video-on-demand – Or VOD, is any video you can watch at the push of a button. Think Netflix – you watch what you want to watch when you want to watch it.
  • Live stream – Broadcast your video content live, in real-time, and engage with your audience just like IRL. Live streaming is typically used for emotionally-driven content like news, events, time-sensitive material, or even simply for the sake of engagement!

Here are a few more differences between VOD and live streaming and how you can benefit from using both at the same time.

Live streaming vs VOD to save your business from COVID-19
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Live Streaming vs VOD: Which One Will Save Your Business?

The takeaway is that combining video-on-demand and live streaming is key for generating revenue. 

And we know a guy that can help. PJ that is…

We see VOD being a lot more popular live as well. It’s a lot easier to scale when you can turn on the chat in the last 5-10 minutes of the workout and let people engage.

PJ Taei

In fact, Garret also mentions that he sees up to 6,000 live streams a day in the fitness community!

That’s a lot of content which is why Uscreen created the live stream feature – to offer both on-demand videos and live streaming. It’s helped our clients increase engagement with their virtual fitness communities because it integrates the ability to host both.

Plus you get live chat for community-building! And as we know…

It’s all about engagement! And being able to communicate with a supportive community is what people are looking for.

Speaking of engaging, Jarrod and Jessica chatted about authenticity. Keeping things authentic is the most popular content! They bring up a great point that we’re all human and it’s okay to be transparent about things going wrong, after all…

People love bloopers! 

Jessica shares a fun story from the discussion about how important it is to laugh at yourself as a fitness trainer when things go wrong. It’s a great reminder to your class that you’re human just like everyone else.

Better still, since live streaming offers commentary in the live chat, it leads to community building because people are responding with love and support (and emojis). And people are seeking connection now more than ever before.

The important part is that viewers are having conversations that are helping them stay connected. And that brings them back to the next class (after telling 3 friends on Facebook right?)

Here is a great quote from Jessica on bringing people together:

We use more of the live format to connect with our members because we know that people are missing that community and coming together for camaraderie.

Jessica Isle

She mentions how special it is when people share in the comments during class. Seeing messages like “we miss you” from the students is encouraging for both the instructors and everyone involved. They can then continue the conversation in Facebook groups or other platforms.

Then Garrett drops this bomb:

The way I look at it, the big distinction between the two is that with a live experience and especially a two-way live audience, you have the opportunity to create more connection.

Garrett Marshall 

Boom!

Garrett also reminds us that understanding your digital audience is important. Your clients (or instructors) may not understand how to use the technology to present an online class. Not everyone is a tech genius, so communication with your audience is important.

Being able to handle multiple distractions for live stream events is another must. Things happen! It can be crazy sometimes to handle dogs barking, audio glitches, music errors, landscapers… get ready to mute!

Isn’t the phrase of 2020, “you’re on mute”?

It’s also important to remember that people are giving you a margin of error because it’s live (and we’re all human).This goes back to Jessica’s point on bloopers.

It’s okay to mess up! Everyone will laugh and have a great time – and you’re all back to the workout. The important thing is learning from that experience for your next class.

Let’s switch gears here and start talking shop. Monetization, specifically.

3. Using a monetization form that works for your online fitness community… 

The big question here is about finding the right monetization model for you.

If you’re live-streaming or offering videos-on-demand, you want to be able to monetize for maximum growth potential.

So how do you properly measure and cut to get the right monetization model for your content?

Jarrod nails it with this statement:

It goes back to your strategy and purpose. Are you using this strategy as a retention tool for those members who have been loyal and are still paying their dues? Or are you using it as a value-added service?

Jarrod Saracco

Answering those questions will help you understand your North Star metric, which is your brand’s sole or clear mission. And you can monetize towards that.

One pro tip that they discussed was to gently increase your monthly fees while offering new content. If you’re adding new content to your catalog daily, weekly or monthly – that can be a value-added service.

Some instructors are working with their higher dollar memberships to offer more content and increase pricing accordingly.

The last thing we discussed, but definitely not least, is that quantity is king right now.

All fitness experts on the panel agreed that having a large supply of content is more important than anything right now. 

Garrett states:

It’s about 80/20 in terms of the amount of on-demand content that’s consumed compared to live. It’s not so much about the value of those deliveries, as much it is understanding the supply of them. Once you broadcast live it’s available on an evergreen basis as VOD. The VOD catalog is always in supply and is always much more significant than live. So, that is in our favor.

Garrett Marshall

Content is king, and if you’re going to increase your video library, you’ll need an easy all-in-one platform to upload your video content.

That’s a wrap! 

Thanks for tuning into the panel discussion on creating killer online content for you and your clients. These fitness experts really know the industry and have overcome obstacles that a lot of fitness professionals may be experiencing.

They have come far on this fitness journey, and it’s because they weren’t afraid to pivot!

We hope you enjoyed hearing from the experts in the online fitness community. For more events like this one, follow along at the Future of Fitness and Club Industry events.

And… if you’re interested in creating videos with us at Uscreen, reach out any time. We’re always here to help video creators like yourself launch a profitable video subscription service.

In the meantime, good luck! You got this.

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