As a fitness professional, you want to build an audience and attract new clients for in-person training. One of the best ways to do that is via the video-sharing website YouTube, which is a powerful platform for fitness professionals. With a single video, you can reach millions of exercise-minded people, and over time, you can build an audience that’s easy to leverage for in-person training, online products, and lucrative advertising. Startup costs are low — all you need is a smartphone and an internet connection — and the potential is nearly unlimited.
Shooting Your First Video
Shooting and editing your first video is for many trainers the biggest hurdle to building a YouTube presence. You can make the process easier by choosing a focus for the workout and planning your exercises in advance. For your first video, don’t worry about finding a high-end video camera, since most smartphones have adequate video technology. Shoot in a non-distracting space, such as an empty fitness studio or the gym on a Saturday morning. The easiest option is to recruit a friend to act as your camera person. Buying an inexpensive tripod stand for your phone helps keep the video smooth and easy to view. Your phone’s built-in editing app can help you create a video that’s engaging and flows smoothly. If your channel takes off, you can invest in more sophisticated video equipment and editing software down the road.
Optimizing Your YouTube Channel
Your YouTube channel name should be short and easy to remember. Consider popular YouTube fitness channels such as Tone It Up, FitnessBlender, BeFIT, BodyRock, and Blogilates — each one is snappy and contains an obvious reference to fitness. To make your videos easier to spot in search results, add a title frame with the name of the workout, and set it as the video thumbnail. You can also make your channel easier to find by filling out each video description and title with relevant keywords. As you build momentum, grouping workouts into playlists called "Ab Workouts" or "15-minute Full Body Workouts" allows your viewers to browse and find the workouts they want easily.
Advertising and Building Relationships
Once you have a few workouts on YouTube, it’s time to bring in subscribers. The cheapest option is to create Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts for your channel. Cross-promote each workout across all of your social platforms, and use paid Promoted Pins or Facebook ads to get your posts in front of more viewers.
As you build your online presence, interact with your new followers by responding to comments on your YouTube videos, answering questions on Facebook, and posting inspiring client transformations on Instagram. Finding a gimmick or twist can help you develop a memorable brand. One great example is Canadian fitness entrepreneur Robin Gallant, who mixes makeup and lifestyle tips into her fitness content.
Monetizing Your Fitness Channel
YouTube makes it easy to monetize your channel by signing up for Google AdSense and turning on account monetization settings. YouTube then automatically adds advertisements to your videos, which earn money based on traffic. Another option is to join an affiliate program such as Amazon Associates and include links to your equipment, shoes, or clothing in the video description. When a viewer clicks and makes a purchase, you earn a commission.
Expanding Your Fitness Empire
With an established YouTube following, you can start to expand. You might use your reach to find personal training clients and fitness class students, as does YouTube fitness instructor Adriene Mishler of Yoga With Adriene. Online, follow the example of popular Australian trainer Kayla Itsines, who sells workout programs, travels the world to conduct workshops, and sells subscriptions to a fitness app. Whichever avenue you choose, your YouTube followers serve as a ready audience to fill open training spots, boost web traffic, and purchase your fitness products.