Last week I mentioned the new Facebook feature where you could include a video on your cover image. This week, I want to suggest another sense to explore with travel. Audio. Sure, there is an audio component to any video (or at least there should be), but it also requires complete concentration. Have you considered a Podcast?
Over the past few years, I have become a connoisseur of podcasts and recently joined as the co-host of one here in my hometown discussing local politics and other wonky stuff. And I have learned how easy it is to do; and am considering something for my travel business. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained!
I listen to my podcasts when I walk (for exercise) and when I drive in the car alone. I find they are a great way to pass the time and learn something new, laugh a little, or just burn some brain cells. So, why wouldn’t a travel podcast work just as well as the political one from our town or a comedy one? My mind began to grind out some thoughts and ideas for topics. Travel pro tips. Trip reports. Funny client stories. Updates on destinations and products. Interviews with Business Development Managers. Interviews with returning clients on the experience. The list goes on!
Once you have the idea—or even a rough one, dive right in. The cost of entry into the podcast world is minimal and you likely have most of the equipment you need in your hand—your phone.
Smartphones are great at recording things and they can get better with the purchase of an external microphone. Once you have your recording, you can edit it with Audacity, a free download and powerful tool. Find a place to store your audio files (your own website or a hosting company specific to audio like Libsyn) and submit it to iTunes which is the top repository for podcasts. You will also need to submit some graphics, but the cost of entry is next to nothing.
Of course, you can expand on that as you gain experience and listeners. You may want to go with better microphones or record directly to your computer or use a mixer to jazz it all up.
The beauty of a podcast is that it can be any length—you can do a 2 minute daily update or a monthly report. It is up to you. For the podcast I an involved with here, we record an episode a week. It takes about an hour to record it and slightly more than an hour to edit.
We shared some of the costs and have some additional capabilities like adding guests. We have 4 condenser microphones ($70 each), assorted cables and stands ($50), an audio mixer ($199), and a basic audio hosting plan with Libsyn ($15/month). With this set up, we can talk amongst ourselves, bring a guest into the studio spare bedroom, have them call in on the telephone/Skype or Facetime, etc. We can insert background music as we talk, or later as we edit. Of course like anything else, you can go wild with equipment and spend tens of thousands, but it really is not necessary.
And you will learn as you go. With each episode, we become better speakers. We become better editors. We become better produces. The key, if you are considering it, is to not overthink it—just do it. The first episodes will be horrible, but each successive one will be better. You can take that to the bank.
Results for our political podcast are still out. I can tell you that after 40 weeks, we are seeing about 1,500 downloads per episode during the first month. I do know that a local business asked about advertising. So, people are listening. And they will for travel as well.
Since I already have access to the equipment, my start up is a bit less; but I am going to develop a short podcast for my business. I specialize in single parent travel and I am going to record a series of tips for traveling with kids of varying ages. Practical tips, destination tips, travel style tips and more. Of course I will be plugging my agency throughout and measuring the success.
Have you considered a podcast? Thoughts?