Just Press Play: When to Launch A Travel Podcast

Traveling is a sensory experience, both for the adventurers and for the audiences of their travel stories. And while most communicate their travel tales through visuals, there’s a powerful opportunity in today’s medium of the moment: podcasts. Melanie Brandman, Founder and CEO of The Brandman Agency, explains why the travel podcast is the next big thing, plus provides a how-to guide for mastering the digital platform.

Are you addicted to podcasts?

Welcome to the club. And if you’re not—get ready, it’s inevitable.

But how does this tune-in-and-tune-out medium relate to the rich and visual travel world? The truth is, they’re intertwined. Travel communicates compelling stories and narratives, and podcasts are another way to serve that purpose.

While certain travel stories make wonderful magazine features, or some are best expressed through tweets, other stories are ideally told through audio. Serial changed the game with its high-level production and Hollywood status talent, and now travel podcasts are a burgeoning genre for both brands and bloggers. While there’s still time to get in on the ground floor, you must first consider whether the opportunity is right for your brand.

Why They’re So Important
Podcasts are increasingly popular because they’re one of the few entertainment mediums that actually provide consumers with more time. You can listen on Spotify, iTunes, or a podcast app while in the car, running errands, or cleaning the house. (On Travel Curator, we rounded up five podcasts you must subscribe to immediately.)

Opportunity for Your Brand
Research shows that 24 percent of people listen to a podcast every month—and the majority of listeners are affluent and educated. Impressive stats, but that leaves plenty of room for audience growth, says Tanya Blum, The Brandman Agency’s Director of Digital Strategy: “It’s like Instagram in the early days. You still have the opportunity to grow a following.” Popular travel podcasts vary in style and scope: Airplane Mode, created by luggage start-up Away, explores the reasons for travel, while Travelogue, by Conde Nast Traveler, offers recommendations and seasonal guides. There’s also Travel Tales, which showcases highs and lows of travel through comedy.

When You Shouldn’t Start a Podcast
Every podcast takes planning and development. Consider whether this story could be told in another medium. Would guests prefer to see on-property visuals through video? Or can it be told in a written narrative? If your own podcast doesn’t seem like the right fit, you can still jump on this trend by hosting a travel podcast on property (just make sure you have the right equipment) or by pitching yourself as an expert guest to an existing podcast.

When You Should Start a Podcast
First, consider the story you want to tell. (Yes, there must be a story!) If your brand has experts who can dig into the layers of a destination and offer something unique that touches on the ethos of your brand, that’s a great start. Podcasts aren’t about promoting products; they must provide something of value. As Tanya says, you should only start a podcast “if you have something to say, can solve a problem or educate your community about something they didn’t already know.”

Prepare to Launch
Just like every good TV show has compelling characters, every good podcast must have compelling experts. Maybe your property has a chef with an interesting background or a longtime concierge who can spin a good yarn. Find experts, then hone a theme while considering your ideal audience demographic and ways to expand brand awareness.

A podcast isn’t a one-off—before starting, you should plot out five to ten episodes to create a consistent release schedule and cohesive season. “Ten episodes seems like a lot, but people love binge consumption,” says Tanya. “You need to have a plan so you’re not setting up a makeshift recording studio every couple of weeks.”

The Nitty-Gritty
To start a podcast you’ll need a Zoom recorder, a few microphones, and an audio mixer if you want to record two people at once. Audio editing programs range from the free, introductory-level GarageBand to the more advanced Logic Pro. You also need a quiet space—this means no loud A.C. units or dinging elevators. Finally, you must have an experienced team dedicated to the craft who have the technical knowledge necessary to make the endeavor sound polished.

The Style
There are a few main types of podcasts: Narrative, solo commentary, or one-on-one, in which two people chat or interview. The secret, says Tanya, is to pick people who are charismatic and engaging. You must also script out stories, practice, and rehearse. Often, what sounds like an impromptu discussion is a well-rehearsed collaboration with a story written by people with backgrounds in journalism and media. “Podcast is broadcast, but on a digital platform,” says Tanya, and it’s important to have experts help create them.

The Follow-Through
A podcast launch should come with a killer marketing plan, whether that’s a newsletter campaign or promotion through other channels. Success is gauged by downloads, listens, and drop-offs. But hotels can measure ROI by offering subscribers a promotional code for direct bookings, or using bit.ly links to see how much traffic is directed to their website. Podcasts also act as a marketing tool to increase brand sentiment. One key question to ask yourself is: “Will the listener come away with something they can share with their friends?”

How We Can Help
The Brandman Agency’s digital arm can prepare you to be a guest on a popular podcast, or develop, launch, and maintain a compelling podcast that’s on brand. Both start with a conversation about your own unique selling points and story.

Are you ready?

Maybe 2018 is your year to press record.


Mirror, Mirror On The Wall!

Marketing guru and ENTER founder Zev Norotsky understands what it takes to create a truly holistic brand approach: connecting the dots across digital, social and experiential. That, and a fabulous photo opp. Read on as he examines the trend -- and influence -- of immersive photo moments, from museums and galas to special events and festivals across the globe.

As we close out 2017 and swipe into the first few days of 2018, one thing is certain: we live in the era of the selfie. An era in which our collective narcissism is measured in likes and comments but, more importantly, our social calendar is governed in terms of the places and spaces we visit. There is an undeniable wave of immersive photo backdrops being designed for people to engage with and, regardless of their virtue or utility, event planners and the publicists who love them must take notice.

If you host an event and no one takes a selfie, did the event even happen?

As far back in time – or at least as far back as the 2016 Costume Institute Met Gala – the notion of an event backdrop was fairly standard. Red carpet, photo line, branded backdrop, rinse and repeat. With the advent of social media and more robust content-capturing platforms came the ability for influencers and their more pedestrian brothers and sisters to capture and edit their own content. This has created an arms race for event planners, festival organizers, gallerists, museum curators and even entrepreneurs to design and execute the most memorable and socially shareable backdrops for the ever-important photo opp.

Astute event planners have taken notice and it is now increasingly common for product launches, cover parties, influencer events and media dinners to be designed around simple yet meaningful photo moments for the invited guests to engage with and share their content. It’s click bait for the masses and provides just enough ROI for the marketing or PR team to justify the creative investment in design and execution.

We have recently seen an influx of rooms, museums and factories with one common denominator: celebrating and embracing the art of the selfie. Is this the contemporary version of the carnival we all grew up with, or just a new tread on an old theme? After all is said and done, artists have been painting self portraits since the dawn of time, so perhaps there is just a little bit of Picasso in all of us.

A few simple suggestions to make sure your next event provides the perfect backdrop for attendees to create their own masterpiece.

  1. Make it multi-dimensional—give the .gif of depth! See what I did there?
  2. Be tasteful. When it comes to brand integration, be smart and discreet or guests might be reluctant to share.
  3. Work with an established vendor who speaks the language. Sharing Box is one of my favorites.
  4. Keep it organic to the brand narrative and don’t try and do too much. It’s easy to get carried away with props and other sensorial distractions, but less is usually more.
  5. Don’t skimp on production quality, as this is what gives the overall investment real traction and the best images are usually based on the most compelling installations (i.e. expensive).

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