How to Market a Podcast

The party continues with our two-part series on starting a podcast! Volume 14 covered the technicalities of getting set up. This time around, we'll be dishing all the how these podcast hosts have reached success.

While you may be new to podcasting, after this episode you'll have actionable items you can do to help your podcast take off. We chat about:

  1. the challenges of promoting audio content in a visual form for social (hint: we've got solutions for you),
  2. where you can go to find a supportive group of podcasters to help motivate and inspire you
  3. and our favorite podcasts

We go over the #1 mistake most new podcasters make . . . not having a call to action on their show. We all do them a little differently so be ready to have lots of call to action ideas for your podcast, where you can choose the one that best fits your style!

And we don't stop there. You'll hear about the podcast training courses some of us have taken and why we did/didn't feel they were worth it.

If starting a podcast is even remotely interesting to you, this series is the best two hours you can spend to decide if it's right for you!

This is the team of travel podcasters that we'll be chatting with today:

  1. Christy Camren, Travel Geniuses
  2. Doug Parker, Cruise Radio
  3. Kate Thomas, Travel Pro Theory
  4. Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast
  5. Megan Chapa, Travel Radio

👇👇👇👇 Read the full transcript below 👇👇👇👇

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Show Notes

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  1. ClickUp:Christy's choice for tracking her podcast topic ideas. (free option)
  2. Trello:Another task organizer Christy has used in the past. (free option)
  3. Christy's Travel Geniuses' episode on why agents should be podcasting
  4. Canva: A great (and free) graphic design tool to help you create images to promote your podcast.
  5. Descript:An auto transcription service that works really well, we love it at HAR!
  6. Doug's choice for creating audiograms to promote his podcast.
  7. An easy to use software for those just starting podcasting. Do everything on your phone.
  8. Lady Pod Squad: One of the podcasting groups Megan belongs to.
  9. Podern Family: Another of Megan's podcasting groups.
  10. Pat Flynn's Power Up Podcasting Course: Christy took this course and recommends it. ($799)
  11. John Lee Dumas' Podcasting Course: YouTube videos to walk you through getting your podcast started. (Free)
  12. Podcasters' Paradise: John Lee Dumas' podcasting support group. ($97/mo)
  13. Podcast Movement: The biggest podcasting event in the US. Great for networking!
  14. Our Favorite Podcasts:
  15. Kate: You Made It Weird
  16. Kate: What a Day
  17. Christy: Armchair Expert
  18. Christy: Courage and Clarity
  19. Christy: The Get Paid Podcast
  20. Christy: How I Built This
  21. Lynn: Ron Burgandy Podcast
  22. Steph: Serial
  23. Steph: Live and Die in L.A.
  24. Doug: Joe Rogan
  25. Doug: Stock Trading University
  26. John Krasinski's Some Good News: Feeling down during the lock down? This feel-good, warm and fuzzy news broadcast that will make you cry tears of happiness.
  27. HAR's article listing small business grants for agencies affected by COVID.
  28. HAR's article with discounts and deals on marketing, education and tech for travel agents looking to cut costs during COVID.
  29. HAR's article on how to create a crisis management plan.
  30. Travel Pros with Podcasts: Facebook group for travel industry podcast hosts


Steph Lee: You're listening to Travel Agent Chatter, volume 15. I'm Steph Lee, the founder of Host Agency Reviews, and your host for today's show. This is the second of our two part series on starting a podcast.

If you haven't listened to volume 14 yet, back it up, you're gonna need to start with that one. For this one, we're covering a lot of information during the episode, and we even ended up having to cut some of our topics. So if you're really digging the info on podcasting and want an encore episode, drop me a line at and let me know what we're missing.

The first part of the series we focused on technical details like podcast hosting, what microphone to use, editing. This episode is going to be rich on ideas for you on how to market and promote your podcast. We're going to have tips you wish, well, tips we wish we would have known when we first started. And where to find a podcasting community to help keep you inspired.

There's a lot to cover, so let's not waste another second time and get onto the show. So a big hearty welcome again to my favorite podcasting team. Let's jump right into business.

Interview Length

Okay, so we had so much info that we had to break this into two parts. And a great way to kick off this episode is talking about podcast length, since our last one was so long and had to be broken into two. So remember that there are a lot of different formats and approaches to this. There's no right or wrong way. So Lynn, how did you decide how long each of your podcasts episodes were going to be?

Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast: [00:02:47] Mostly I just did feedback. So in the beginning, like I said, I had no idea what I was doing.

I was just pushing things out there. but I started a Facebook group of people who were listening so that I could actually see who was listening or know who was listening and asking them questions every week. Saying, is this too long? Would you like it longer? You know, who would you like to come on?

And so, with the feedback I've gotten, around 16 to 22 minutes is ideal.

Sometimes it goes over, but those are the episodes that do the best and have, the most, uh, downloads. So that's just having a group of people who are actively listening and being able to communicate with them on a regular basis to make sure that I'm giving the audience what they're asking for.

It's been really, really helpful in figuring out those things.

Steph Lee: [00:03:37] Yeah. Apparently they're very specific at 16 to 22 minutes. Detail oriented, I like it! Doug, you also like to keep things really straight to the point. What's your philosophy on podcast length?

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:03:52] I kind of bucked the system here. I don't have a set length for it.

I let the conversation dictate. Like if it's a heavy, if it's a heavy news week, the new segment could be anywhere from seven minutes to 20 minutes. It just depends what's out there. Same thing with the interviews. If the person is short, concise, to the point, we'll end it at 10 or 12 minutes.

If he's really good. Like last week we had a hundred, or I'm sorry, a 61 minute episode of someone on a Princess ship. I'll let it go 61 minutes. I mean, I don't really set myself in a timeframe. I just kind of let the conversation dictate because like for this one, that was 61 minutes, he was on during the whole Corona outbreak around the world, and we were talking about how the cruise line was pivoting and adjusting as we were learning more about the virus and all that stuff.

It was really interesting. And, the stats on Apple connect show that people stuck around for the whole thing. So. Yeah. It's all about conversation to me.

Steph Lee: [00:04:56] And Megan, do you have a range that you try to stay in, during your podcasts?

Megan Chapa, Travel Radio: [00:05:01] I'm kind of on the same path as Doug. It depends on how interesting conversation is.

If I'm starting to lose interest, I know that it's not good. So I tend to let the conversation dictate and if we get carried away, and we get off tangent, then I'll probably edit that part out because I, I want to be the length of a commute to work or a dog walk. Or maybe, you know, you're getting ready in the morning, something like that.

I try like to be 30 to 50 minutes. I don't want to be any longer than that. So that's, you know, if a mom is cooking dinner, I would love for you to cook along with me.


Steph Lee: [00:05:45] Well, what about you, Kate? You seem to hit around an hour, an hour and 15 minutes.

Are you always aiming to be in that window?

Kate Thomas, Travel Pro Theory: [00:05:54] Not initially, we just kind of started because we don't have guests, so it's just Heather and I, and we just take on a topic. It's very conversational. So we just did those first few to kind of see where it was landing, and we were always over 45 minutes.

And so kind of more around an hour-ish is where we land.. Hat we do now, like after we kind of realized that sort of where it's naturally coming to an end now, if we're recording, if we're close to the end, we'll keep going and go past, an hour, no problem. Be like an hour 15. But if it seems like there's still like a lot of meat left on the topic, we'll go ahead and, and call it and then make that another episode so we can keep digging in more.

Steph Lee: [00:06:36] Christy, what do you try to hit for your length?

Christy Camren, Travel Geniuses: [00:06:39] Whatever. I don't have a specific time. Like most of mine are just me and I'm usually trying to teach something or give agents something that they can do to improve their businesses. So it just depends on how long it takes me to get that point across.

Like I don't want to give them so much information that they can't act on it. So if I can do that in 15 or 20 minutes, great. But if I have a lot to say, or if it's an interview and it goes to almost an hour, that's fine too. Whatever it feels like for that topic. Like I'm an avid podcast listener, so I don't mind if an episodes an hour and a half, two hours long, I just will like pause it when I'm done with whatever I'm doing and start back up.

So I don't worry too much about how long it is.

Interviewing Tips

Steph Lee: [00:07:24] Well, while we're on the topic of the length of the show. Let's talk about how define guests and decide on topics since that can really affect the length of it.

Lynn, you're interviewing agents and as you become a more seasoned podcaster, it's been easier for you to find guests because you get quite a few referrals.

But you started to put in place some criteria that your guests need to meet. What's the criteria?

Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast: [00:07:55] So, the criteria is basically that you are an active agent and that you are somewhere between $750k plus in annual sales. Just to make sure that, you know, you have a viable business.

And that you've been in the industry at least three to four years. Cause typically it takes that long to even get to that point in the first place because most of the listeners are between one and three years. Just starting their business, and so it's just kind of good to have somebody who's already gone through that whole phase so that they can actually give, like Christy said, good information that's actionable. That they can actually implement immediately.

Steph Lee: [00:08:38] As you and Christy are saying this and saying not to give too much information that's actionable, and I'm thinking about our podcast right now where there's a zillion things people have to do, so don't feel overwhelmed if you're listening in. We do have the show notes that you can go to that all the resources we're talking about in the show, we'll link to, so make sure to visit that and as well as the transcript.

Megan, you get a lot of people writing in wanting to be on Travel Radio. For an agency that's looking to start this consumer-facing podcast, whether they're a destination or a niche expert, they might be facing this problem as they become more established. So what advice do you have for kind of screening prospective guests that are writing in, what should advisors be asking them to weed out?

Megan Chapa, Travel Radio: [00:09:34] Yeah, so I mean, it's a balance between, I want someone to be excited about the podcast and also not be crazy.

Steph Lee: [00:09:40] So important.

Megan Chapa, Travel Radio: [00:09:43] I get a lot of PR people that are working with athletes that are trying to like climb so many mountains. Like today I just had one from a PR person that has like the lady who's climbed the three tallest mountains in the world in a month or something.

And I just had to say to her, I don't think this fits my exact bent, but I do know another podcaster that maybe it would fit there. So I don't want to turn them off or be rude, but it just, I think they just saw that it says Travel Radio and they don't know the purpose of the podcast.

And then the other thing as I get like a lot of people that really want to get you on the phone and they'll send you a message. We have the cheapest safari with the best equipment and you can come for free if you can let us be on your podcast. But I'm like, okay, buddy. Well, if it's the cheapest, then your people aren't being fed or something, or paid. So no!

And then I also get people that, they do know what I do and they would be good candidates. But I know the other people who are in my space. And so I'll ask them, how many other podcasts have you contacted and are you scheduled on any of them? Because we need to deconflict.

And so if they've contacted everyone and they're going to be on their shows, like it's not in anyone's best interest to have this person on.

I mean, it's good. They're right there. They want their own marketing. They're doing a great job getting out there. But as far as your individual ratings, you know, Google is just going to be like, it's not unique.

I find that people that look for travel podcasts tend to be researching where they want to go next. And so if they've heard, you know, Susie Q over here, they're not gonna necessarily download your episode on the same topic because they'll see it's the same person.

I think you can kind of tell a little bit from the pitch if it's a form letter, if it's a whatever it is.

And just to, just to inquire a little bit. And I think just like Lynn is doing, referrals are really the best way to go because, I mean, people call my guests to book travel and so I don't want them calling someone who's not insured or something like thatcause that's important stuff.

So, yeah, I mean you just got to, without being off-putting, do some filtering.

Steph Lee: [00:12:15] Yeah, I definitely liked the way you vet them, but also you try to let them down softly and suggest something else. I think that's helpful.

So, Doug, your theory is never to say no to an interview.

You've interviewed a lot of ship captains through the years and used to have a really, like ship-intensive focus talking about all sorts of specs on the ships. But now you've been taking a different approach on your interviews. Can you share a little bit more about that?

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:12:46] Yeah, sure. So when I was starting, I was doing like a lot of shipboard staff, captains, cruise directors, hotel directors, but I realized they're, they're just corporate mouthpieces for the cruise line. So they're kind of just painting this beautiful photo of blue seas and unlimited buffets, all this stuff.

So I kind of, I kind of pivoted from that, and I went more consumer focused. So I would get someone who sailed recently and interview them. Send them the template of my questions I'm going to ask them and I go from there. I'm getting a lot better response with talking to an everyday person instead of someone who's getting paid a $100,000 to $150,000 a year to be an, I call them a mouthpiece, but it's their job, right? So they've got to support their company.

Steph Lee: [00:13:33] No, that makes sense. And going back to the, you never say no to an interview. How many interviews do you have, you know, stacked in your folders?

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:13:44] 103 right now, but I never say no because I love talking about the cruises to them. And so, I just kind of, I have a schedule. I rotate different cruise lines throughout the year and I kind of position things as well as far as like, okay, it's January, people are going to start researching the Caribbean because they're freezing their butts off at the house. Or it's July, they're gonna start researching an Alaskan cruise for next year cause it's hot as hell outside.

So I kind of just use this the time of year to what I'm going to drip out there.

Steph Lee: [00:14:19] That makes sense. Well, let's wrap up kind of the tips on finding and interviewing guests with you, Christy. Tell us about the tech you use to kind of keep your rganized, like your ideas.

Christy Camren, Travel Geniuses: [00:14:33] So for ideas, I used to use Trello, but now I use something called ClickUp, which is very similar, just a little more advanced.

And I just have a Trello board and I have it on my phone too. So anytime I get an idea, it goes in there. And I just have one list of every single idea. I don't try to decide if it's a good idea or not yet.

And then I have another list where I move them over if I think it's a good idea and these are the ones I'm going to do next. And then I have a list with like the months and I kind of dragged them into the month I think I might want to do that.

But I think just having it on my phone where I can add to it, no matter where I am. That's been really, really helpful.

Recording Tips

Steph Lee: [00:15:17] Well, moving on to some tips about recording the actual interview. let's talk about how we can make the most of it for. For me personally, I spend a lot of time getting to know my guests before I interview them and I know it's going to be incredibly time intensive. Usually for, the interviews, like for instance, this interview, there's five of you, and, I chatted with each of you for maybe an hour, sometimes an hour and a half.

So I know it's going to be time-intensive and I really want to make sure that I keep, enjoy podcasting and enjoy the interviews and I don't feel like it's a chore, because I love learning about people.

So with that in mind, we schedule our episodes quarterly. But as in most things in podcasting, there's a bunch of different approaches. So, Lynn, can you talk to us a little bit about batching interviews, when you're doing those and how that can make the process a little easier for people?

Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast: [00:16:17] So in the beginning it was kind of difficult finding guests because I wasn't quite sure how to find guests and to vet them.

Especially because, you know, there's travel agents everywhere. This is what I've learned along the way because I talked to a lot of podcasters is find a day and schedule all of your interviews for that day.

So that you are doing all of the interviews one day and you're kind of in the mindset of having those conversations. And then picking another day to edit them all and upload them. So that you could possibly get a month or two, three or four, worth of podcasts uploaded and ready to go so like she said, like Steph said that it's not a chore.

That it's actually still fun and you're actually using your time wisely. But I haven't gotten all the way there, but I definitely know how to do it. So when, when you get into a groove and you, you have a system, it just makes everything better.

Steph Lee: [00:17:22] Yeah. And Doug, they know today is your batch interview day.

Do you have anything to add to it or any tips?

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:17:30] Not really. I mean, I think Lynn had everything on the head there. I pretty much follow what she does.

Steph Lee: [00:17:38] Yeah. Well yours is impressive cause you are doing it from two to seven today?

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:17:42] Yeah. Three to seven today, doing five of them. But yeah, it's because I do two shows a week. The bank isn't just keep going, going, going. It's slowly dwindling, but it's going quicker up, I guess.

Steph Lee: [00:17:59] Well, another option, beyond well, outside of doing batches is kind of the format the podcast Serial made famous. And that's doing seasons, which none of us really do seasons. But Megan, would you mind kind of briefly explaining that strategy?

Megan Chapa, Travel Radio: [00:18:21] I didn't read about Serial. This is Megan's from her head theory. So, my theory on seasons is that you can create a rest time for yourself. So that your listener doesn't drop off when there's no podcasts coming after the last one has stopped. So you, you can just start off at the onset saying, this is going to be a 10 episode season.

And then at the 10th episode, you can say, all right, that's the end of season one. We look forward to Season Two, we're just cooking them up for you and they'll be released on this date.

And that way they don't delete your podcast from their player or their library because they know that there's more coming.

And then during that time, whatever time you do between the segments, between the seasons, you can just be recording all of your other ones and editing them. And then you can set them all to release.

So it's kind of like batching. And I think you need to do this, decide to do it this way before you release your first episode. You need to decide is going to be a season so that you know, everyone's prepared for it to be the season. Does that make sense?

Steph Lee: [00:19:26] Yes. And for like travel advisors, seasons could be difficult, but it could be something where you're saying, we're going to focus on the Caribbean during season one and season two, we're moving over to Europe, season three, we're doing different Safari options. So that could be an idea.

So Kate, when you first started, you and Heather, you had mentioned earlier dropped the three episodes in on day one. And Lynn, I know you did that too. So this question is, for both of you. Your idea behind it is that you can get people to binge listen to your show and hopefully become fans by starting off with three.

So, Lynn, do you think that was effective in getting people hooked on your show?

Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast: [00:20:15] Yes. Just right now, everybody's kind of bingeing everything. So it's something that is already kind of set as a habit. So making sure that you have several episodes uploaded, even if you're just starting so that they have something to listen to. Because if they don't get hooked in the beginning, they may not listen to you week over week.

So you want to give them enough to make them feel like, okay, now I can't wait until the next episode comes out.

Steph Lee: [00:20:41] Yeah. You definitely want them subscribing, if at all possible, so it drops into their player. Kate, was it effective for you, do you think?

Kate Thomas, Travel Pro Theory: [00:20:49] Yeah, absolutely. I think we just got lucky there.

We didn't have like a super in place strategy on doing that. We were like, well, we have them. Let's drop them. Here we go. And I think it worked out well because everybody knows that the first episode of any podcast one is the worst because it's your first try.

And then two, it's just an intro.

So you're not really like digging in so much. I know when I find a podcast or show or whatever I like, I want, I'm like, Oh, okay, let's keep going. So you just kind of naturally building that anticipation of like, well, okay, I'm interested. I'm paying attention, I'll follow. I'll subscribe and keep listening.

Marketing Your Podcast

Steph Lee: [00:21:28] Well, that's a nice segue into kind of our next section on marketing. So let's switch gears and talk a little bit about search and how to help your podcasts get discovered by listeners in their different podcast players.

So we know that keywords stuffing and black hat tricks don't work. So let's talk about like specific, transparent, easy changes that podcasters should be thinking about that are gonna make a difference when people are looking for a podcast to listen to.

Christy, you love the idea of agency starting podcasts, like you said in the intro.

In fact, and you recently did an episode covering that exact topic that I'll make sure to link to in the show notes. Um. Why do you think it's so important for an agency to focus on a niche when they're doing a podcast.

Christy Camren, Travel Geniuses: [00:22:21] So my opinion on what I call it, a niche, sorry, on what that is, is a little different than I think what most people think of.

I don't think of your niche as a destination. I consider it, or what I think it should be is, the kind of person or the group of people you want to help. So that way, if something happens—like right now we don't know if international travel is going to come back anytime soon—you have, you can just switch where you're sending people, but it's the same like. It's always families with young kids or I don't know, whatever.

I use birders as a niche all the time, like people who just want to find different birds. Whatever the people are that you want to find.

But the reason I think it helps with search and helping people find you is that they might be looking for, you know, where's the best place to find this bird or to go birding in the US. Or whatever their hobby is, or whatever group you've chosen, they're going to look for something specific to them versus just like, you know, a vacation to, I don't know, just some general search.

It's easier to find people and help them find you if you know who they are and they're looking for something really specific. Does that make sense?

Steph Lee: [00:23:33] Yes. Although, I thought at first you said burgers and I was like, yeah, meat lovers. There are a lot of meat lovers out there.

Christy Camren, Travel Geniuses: [00:23:42] I remember a long time ago somebody did a tour of the U S looking for the best sandwich. So, I mean, maybe there are people who are just obsessed with finding the best burger.

Steph Lee: [00:23:51] Totally doable.

Yeah. Well, when it, when it comes to a podcast directory search, it's hard to tell what the ranking factors are, but I want to do some speculating. So Doug, what do you think are some of the important ranking factors?

Is it reviews? How often you publish? What's your thoughts?

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:24:13] I think it's consistency and publishing.

I think reviews do play into it just because at the end of the day, I listened to a lot of investing podcasts, and if I see a review saying too much small talk or whatever, chances are I'll just flip by and go to the next one.

So reviews might not raise your podcast to the top instantly, but it's going to eventually have an impact because someone's going to read a good review and then that download is going to slowly rise you to the top.

Consistency. Being direct to the point.

Don't be like adding fluff in there or anything. Like for me, I do cruise ships, so I'll do Carnival Breeze review 2020 plus cruise news or whatever. Because I'm just thinking like what the consumer is trying to search. They're going into a Apple or even to Google because it'll list the Google Play podcasts and type in Carnival Breeze review.

And then all these podcasts suggestions will come up, say Carnival Breeze review. I'm just using that as an example, but yeah, just like really hyper drill down on what you're actually talking about.

No one's going to gain the system, don't stuff.

Like, I wouldn't want to stuff Rick Steve's name in in my podcast just because Rick Steve gets crazy downloads or Peter Greenberg or whatever. They're onto that now and it's a good way to get delisted.

Steph Lee: [00:25:49] Yeah, that's an important thing to notice. So you, one of the things too with this whole pan—this whole pandemic, I don't know if you've heard about it?—but this whole pandemic going on, you had an episode that totally blew up in terms of downloads and that [the downloads] you felt like helped to with, moving it to the top and the listings.

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:26:11] Yeah. Because it was relevant, right? People were typing in, I think I even just used "coronavirus on a cruise ship" or whatever, just because people were searching that. And so it was floating to the top. So you gotta think of what people are putting into Google.

If you have any questions about it, just type in the question or type in whatever into Google and go to the very bottom and look at the suggestions suggested terms. And that will give you a good headstart as well.

Steph Lee: [00:26:38] Yeah, exactly. So an easy way to get more listens is simply by making people more interested in your podcast.

And Megan, you had some ideas, and some advice on how to title your podcast. What's your take on the best way to get someone's attention as they're like scrolling through different episodes. And this is like outside of putting in a bunch of like cute dog emojis and hearts. What else is there?

Megan Chapa, Travel Radio: [00:27:06] No emojis.

I think clever or I even like a good pun every now and then, you know, throw a good, bad joke in there as long. As you can get the essence of what the episode is about. But yeah, I'm with Doug as far as you got to think like the consumer is searching.

But I think more along the lines of I have advice of what not to do and that is, you know, it's Travel Agent Interview: Episode One... Episode Two... Episode Three. Because that's just a way for the spiders and the crawlers and the search bots to just be like, this is too much similarity. It needs to have a unique name.

Or if you just have, your website, or Give it more information than that.

iTunes did a recent—Doug, maybe you can talk to this more—but iTunes did a recent formula change of how they catalog things. And so that's really not something to do, be more creative than that.

Steph Lee: [00:28:20] It's worth noting that your title has character limits so it starts getting cut off. So I think by starting it with an episode number, um, that's very valuable real estate and something to think about.

And I have to make a confession. So we started ours with an episode number and then the name of the agent, and then they their agency. And after talking with everybody, it got my brain thinking and I was like, I should change our title structure.

So we moved from kind of listing the volume number, agent name, agency name, to catchier headlines like: Volume 13, How this group specialist filled her 19- person group cruise in just one month. Meet Valerie.

So I'm curious, I just did this maybe like a week ago or two weeks ago, and I'm curious to see if people like it.

Call to Actions

So, moving along, let's talk call to actions. it's easy to forget to do this, but if you're an agent doing a podcast, it's important to know what your end game is. Are you trying to get clients? Are you trying to build your authority in the travel space? Do you want to add people to your email list or get a larger social following?

Whatever the end goal is, making sure that you're using your podcast as a vehicle to make that happen. So every episode should have a call to action. Just like every email you're sending out, to your clients from your agency has a call to action. Let's run really quickly through what call to actions are, through our whole team here.

So I feel like this is going to be like a roll call. So Lynn, you're up.

Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast: [00:30:07] My call to actions are super simple. I put it in my outro, so it's just, uh, subscribe... what is it? Like subscribe, and I don't even remember now, I'm sorry

Steph Lee: [00:30:19] Like, subscribe, rate and review.

Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast: [00:30:21] There you go! That's what it is. Now, I do offer different stuff throughout the year.

So in the actual interview, I'll say, go to my link to get the download or whatever the guest might be offering. So there may be several calls to action.

I have heard that it's probably better to put a call to action. Um. At the start, so in the intro, because they may not make it all the way to the end.

So that is a change that I'm going to make, coming June to see if that makes a difference. But I'm just making sure that there is something. And that that call of action actually pertains to something that your ideal listener actually wants. Because I think that's something to a lot of people just put a bunch of crap at the end of their podcasts that people don't even want, so make sure don't do that.

Steph Lee: [00:31:15] And Kate, what about you?

Kate Thomas, Travel Pro Theory: [00:31:18] So I'm probably definitely the person that forgets a CTA on a lot of episodes. I would say mostly we, at the end of an episode, remind people like, Hey, you can always find us on Instagram at Travel Pro Theory. Uh, we have a very small but super engaged audience there and it's really a conversation.

So people will come, just have her episodes and get in the DNS, sort of like Lynn has the Facebook group, to find out how long do you like, what topics do we want? How are we doing? We use Instagram as a real feedback loop and it works great for the listeners and it works great for us. So we just try to remind people to go find us over there.

Steph Lee: [00:31:55] Perfect. Christy, what are your thoughts?

Christy Camren, Travel Geniuses: [00:31:58] Well, I think that if you're doing this to grow your business, you should always be trying to get people to sign up to your email list, because at any time, Apple could block your podcast for some reason, or whatever, and you would have no way of even letting people know that.

So I think you always want to have a way to still reach them if they want to be reachable by you. And what I do for a lot of mine, because I do try to make really actionable podcast episodes. I create a worksheet or a download or a printable of some sort that relates to the topic.

So if an agent is doing something about a certain destination or a type of travel or tips on how to travel better or whatever, have a download. Just make a PDF in Canva or something and make that a download and have them sign up for your email list to get that. So that's an easy way to not just be like, Hey, sign up for my newsletter, but to give them something that they might be interested in.

I've heard of some people even doing the transcript of the episode as a free thing with their call to action, for people who are more visual and want to be able to have it on paper.

And I'm like Lynn said, I was looking at my stats one day and I noticed that ,not everybody, in fact, not even most people listen all the way to the very end.

So I did start trying to put my call to action earlier in the episode because half of them probably don't even listen to that. Even if they listen to the whole episode, they're dropping off when that part starts.

Steph Lee: [00:33:29] Doug, what's your call to action?

Oh, we can't hear you, Doug.

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:33:38] There we go. Sorry. Well, I move a lot, so I can't sit still. So I'm trying to like block out the noise of my chair and everything.

So I have four call to actions. I do one, at the intro of my podcast, just kind of directing people to the site or to the news briefs or whatever. And then I have three pre-recorded ones that my voiceover people do.

So one, like coming out of my first segment, going into the commercial set. Then the third one coming out of the last commercial, going into my next segment of the cruise review, and then I have a post roll of like, fine Cruise Radio on Spotify, iHeart, Pandora, blah, blah, blah at the end. So I just do one in my own voice, and then I have just my voiceover people do the other ones.

So it's just kind of sounds different and not just me. I'm not saying it's right. It works for me. So it might not work for everyone.

Steph Lee: [00:34:32] Yeah, there's, there's a million different ways to do things. So Megan, what's your, call to action?

Megan Chapa, Travel Radio: [00:34:38] My call to action is being awful at call to actions.

Typically at the beginning of the episode, I ask people like, if you want to follow along with our guests or check them out while you're listening, cause maybe you're at work, please tell us your web address.

And they give their web address or wherever they are. And then at the end I ask them, tell us again where people can contact you online. And I realized that I needed to be doing something different or in addition to, so thanks guys.

Steph Lee: [00:35:06] There's a great episode on Travel Agent Chatter. You should listen to.

Megan Chapa, Travel Radio: [00:35:11] Oh girl, you're right.

Listen to this one...

For us over here, I like to change out the call to action. When I first started, I was like totally called to action. Crazy. I was like, do this, do this, do this. Like throughout the show. And I try to be a little bit more focused now. Sometimes I can reign myself in, and oftentimes I can't.

But, I also like to put in really weird, like Easter eggs at the end of every episode to reward listeners. Or at the end of some of the episodes? I think it's, cause I've like been stuck editing by myself for awhile. So I put in these really weird things like me reading a Valentine's day haiku I wrote , or giving a link to a picture of me and my old TGI Friday's outfit when I used to work there.

Steph Lee: [00:36:00] I mean, it's really... I don't even know where this stuff comes from, but it's kind of fun.

Promoting Your Podcast

So let's change directions a bit cause I'd love to hear how you promote your podcasts. And Lynn, I know you did, or you do some paid Facebook ads when episodes comes out. And Megan, you do paid Twitter ads.

One question I have is, Megan, how do you turn when you're doing these, how do you turn an audio product into a visual item for your ads?

Megan Chapa, Travel Radio: [00:36:33] So I actually stopped doing that because...I mean, it worked great actually, but the engagement was low on Twitter, and I think it's because you only get like 240 characters or whatever it is. But there are a number of platforms you can actually attach your RSS feed and it will create an audiogram for you.

Steph Lee: [00:36:59] Yeah, Descript is one of those. We'll link in the show episode notes.

Megan Chapa, Travel Radio: [00:37:03] There's another one that it's not Descript. I'll send you the other one that always is sending me stuff. And you can do it that way. But I think that the engagement—cause people are, I mean, Twitter so fast and the information moves so fast—I think that even though you get followers, you don't know how long they'll be on there and they're only there for short amounts of time.

So it's effective to get followers, but I don't know that it's great as far as longevity and interactions with people go. So, that's my thoughts on Twitter.

Steph Lee: [00:37:35] Lynn, what about you? How do you turn audio into something visual for your Facebook ads?

Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast: [00:37:41] So when I do interviews, my cover actually is the picture of the person that I'm interviewing.

And, typically I put their information and a link to their information when I do the ads.

I have a love hate relationship with Facebook

Steph Lee: [00:38:01] Don't we all?

Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast: [00:38:01] Because they can do whatever they feel like it. And so part of it is that I'm actually pushing people towards the Facebook group because it's just great to be able to have and create that community.

And so some of my ads are actually for the Facebook group. The call of action in the ad is to go to the Facebook group, but they're also downloading the episode. So it's kind of a two-fer. And a lot of the time I don't spend a ton of money, like I might put 20 to 50 bucks a week, just to push people to not only listen to the episode, but realize that there's a whole community of people who are in the same boat.

And I think it just helps. Cause when when you're building a community, they're telling more people that are in their host agency to listen to the episode. So really that 20 to $50 is bringing in a way more listeners than it would have because of how it's being directed, if that makes sense.

Steph Lee: [00:39:01] Yeah. And Kate, you're really only on Instagram is, it's the way you promote your podcasts, not paid. But since it's your only channel, do you have any thoughts that you want to share about how to promote via Instagram?

Kate Thomas, Travel Pro Theory: [00:39:17] Yeah, we just keep it really simple and we drop it on Instagram. If we end up sending an email newsletter that month, we send it out.

I think for us, because the podcast and Travel Pro Theory is secondary to, uh, our other businesses, we just don't invest as much time into it or money into it there. But we love our Instagram community. We kind of have a, Heather and I both have personally dislike Facebook. I don't use Twitter.

It's like, I want to keep it one place. I want myself to like it. I'm going to show up there and that's that. So that's where we drop it. So people just kind of know to look for it there and that's where we get ideas for episodes all the time too. I just throw a questions box on stories. Next thing you know, we have a ton of material to work with.

So we just pick one place and show up there and that's it.

Steph Lee: [00:40:09] Yeah. And Doug, you've got a huge following for Cruise Radio in terms of downloads and listeners. How do you promote new episodes?

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:40:17] So like Megan was saying, I recently started using And actually for my Cruise Radio news briefs that go out every day, I use the audio wizard in there.

So it's basically, it's importing my RSS feed into Headliner and it's spitting it out to me as a nice whatever format I ask for, whether it be an Instagram story dimension or a Twitter dimension. And because it's under two minutes, it can go onto Twitter. So I use that and I found that I've been getting almost as many listens, doing it on Facebook and Twitter, as I do download sometimes.

Steph Lee: [00:41:00] Wow.

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:41:00] Now the numbers are kind of skewed because they're counting three seconds as one watchn when you're on there. I have a lot of engagement with the news briefs and like a ton of like retweets and everything on Twitter. And also I can see people are listening to it on Facebook as well.

And then of course, like with the actual, the show itself, it just auto imports into, into YouTube.

That's pretty much about it.

I do have show notes on my website where I embed my player into the show notes and I'm lucky cause my website is really highly trafficked. So, and I have, uh, my player embedded on the top right hand corner of my website too.

So even if you're not going on there reading an article, you can still find the player on there at the top of the site.

Steph Lee: [00:41:51] Well let's move into... I think I'm going to do one of those audio grams to promote it. I'm pretty excited.

Christy Camren, Travel Geniuses: [00:41:58] Sorry Steph. I have a suggestion for agents. I know I'm terrible at, like, I didn't market my podcast. I didn't want to tell anybody in case it was terrible.

But for agents, this is another reason why I think it's beneficial to have a niche that's a type of traveler or a type of person, is that you can get on other podcasts or other people's websites and be a guest on their show.

So if your niche is Spain, good luck finding a podcast about Spain that's not selling travel too.

But if your niche is people who are birders and want to travel around and find different birds, you probably can find another podcast or a website or something, about that and offer to be a guest and talk about different destinations and things. So that's another really good way to get people to find out about your podcast.

Steph Lee: [00:42:48] That's perfect. Yeah. Doing, cross promotions. Thanks, Christy.

Publishing Schedule

So I think part of marketing a podcast is publishing like a publishing schedule. So once again, there's like a billion ways to do this. You could be like Travel Agent Chatter and only publish four a year, recognizing that that's going to slow your show growth, and probably hurt you in the rankings because you're, not publishing as much.

Or you could be the opposite end of the spectrum and be like Doug, and have done, what did you say, 585 episodes of Cruise Radio? Is that right? Oh, he's still, he's still...

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:43:33] Something like that. 589 or something like that

Steph Lee: [00:43:38] Oh my gosh. Yeah. So you could be on either end of the spectrum. So let's really quickly go through some publishing schedule.

Doug, do you want to just tell us, yeah, what's your publishing schedule?

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:43:50] Yeah. So I, I mean, again, there's a million ways to do this. I just try to take advantage of, a full day within the U.S. So I publish at 3:00 AM Eastern, so going back to midnight on the West coast. And then, I can, you know, take a full advantage of that 24 hour download.

There's different ways to do it because everyone's audio server resets at different times, so you can either be in sync with that if you're audio server resets at 8:00 PM or, whatever, scheduled for 8:00 PM. I just do the whole 24 hour a day thing, and it works for me. I'm consistent every week, for over 500 weeks.

I've done one every single week. I haven't gone a week without. So yeah, I think consistency and just setting it at the same time. So people will wake up on Thursday mornings and see it and, you know, listen to it.

Steph Lee: [00:44:48] Yeah. And just for, covering the 24 hour cycle of downloads is important for you since you are working with advertisers and that's one of the metrics they're looking for right.

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:45:02] Yeah.

Steph Lee: [00:45:02] Christy, what's your publishing goal with Travel Geniuses?

Christy Camren, Travel Geniuses: [00:45:05] My goal is every two weeks; I don't always hit it. Sometimes I'm just not feeling well or things like, during this COVID thing for like a month, I kind of forgot life was even happening. I forgot to pay bills, whatever. I just felt like I was stuck in one week and suddenly a month was gone.

So my goal is every month, but I try to just. No, my limits. I'm not high energy like Gary Vaynerchuk or Jasmine Star. Love them, but I can't live that life. So in an ideal world, would I do it weekly?

Yes. But I just know I can't keep up with that pace, so I just try to know my limits and, and keep it within that and do the best I can.

Steph Lee: [00:45:45] And Kate, you're more flexible with your approach to publishing. Sum it up for us in a few sentences.

Kate Thomas, Travel Pro Theory: [00:45:52] Yeah, we keep it simple. Right now it's roughly once a month-ish. Just because it became clear early on, we had originally aimed like, well, let's try for like every two weeks.

Uh, but then just the scheduling of that between the two of us, it was quickly like, that's not really working. So now we, if we get one out, like every month we're like, cool. We did it guys, check that box and keep moving.

Steph Lee: [00:46:15] Yeah. And Megan, you're pretty regular with your publishing. What do you aim for?

Megan Chapa, Travel Radio: [00:46:21] Well, I'm glad you think so.

I try to be every week, but, you know, we're in a weird time in the world and so I, it has to be that the kids are first. And so, it's, it's roughly every week.

Steph Lee: [00:46:36] Yeah. And, okay, so Lynn, you're also like a publish it, at the early morning hours type of a gal. So, you do something interesting though on weeks where you don't have an episode that I haven't really heard about.

You republish all the episodes. So two questions for you. One, how does your audience react to that? And two, do you label it as a repeat episode in the title?

Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast: [00:47:02] Yes. So, I definitely publish mine, same as Doug, three o'clock in the morning, every Thursday. And I am having issues as well with this whole pandemic and the kids and all of that.

So, in order not to stress myself out, I literally just do an intro and say, Hey, this was one of our really great episodes.

So February were mostly repeats. It's like the month of love, and this travel agent loves their business. And we're just going to listen to it again! And honestly, it's worked out really well because if someone came in, they didn't want to start from the very beginning, they'll get to listen to those older episodes and I don't have to do anything that week really if things are kinda crazy.

And, so far, like the feedback is, you know, really good. If somebody just started listing or they just saw an ad and they're listening to the episode, it's not old to them because they never knew it existed in the first place.

So if there's some really, really good episodes and really good guests that you had great conversations. I just repeat them and I don't feel bad about it.

Steph Lee: [00:48:09] Yeah. We're living in strange times and even if we aren't, again, a million ways to do your podcast, do what works for you.

Making it Stick: Finding Community and Support

So we've discussed how to record your podcast, how to promote and market it. Let's jump into the next section, which is how we make everything we learned stick.

So first off, what I'd like to do is just hear a piece of advice from each of you. Uh, if you could give some advice for someone, that you wish someone would have told you when you first started, what would that be?

So, Kate, what do you have for us?

Kate Thomas, Travel Pro Theory: [00:48:47] I think the 'done is better than perfect' approach is the key to it. Early on, I'm not a tech like wizard or anything, but early on I did try to edit more and edit out those ums or whatever, and it could feel really nerve wracking to be like, did I say something really stupid?

At some point you will and it will be fine, and that's going to be okay. So I think it's sort of making it work for you.

I think my main tip for anyone listening who's on the edge of wanting to start a podcast, as you've listened to everyone here who has successfully done it so far, it does not matter what mic you use. It doesn't matter what service you use, it doesn't matter how long your episode is, there's a listener out there for it. So just focus on your content and then you'll sort the rest out as you go.

Steph Lee: [00:49:34] Lynn, what about you?

Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast: [00:49:36] I'm huge on communities. I was lucky that within a couple months of me starting, I met a bunch of podcasters at a podcast conference and that, that changed everything for me. Because I was able to have conversation, like we're doing right now, and find out what other people are doing and realizing that it doesn't have to be perfect. And everybody's doing it differently and everybody's podcast is great in their own way because they're marketing it to their ideal person.

So as long as you find out who is listening and you are catering it to them, they don't care about the audio.

Mostly it's audio, you know what I'm saying? They don't care. They just want the information and they want to know that they're not alone.

And so making sure that you're not alone, when you're doing it, just makes everything so much better.

Like my group, we have a mastermind. We push each other because it does get tiring. There's times where you don't feel like doing it. A lot of times you don't feel like doing it. And they push you to be like, is your episode coming out? Did you find a good guest? And also they're great to put on your show. If you can't find somebody, if you have a group of people who love podcasting, they'll come on your show and talk for you.

So really finding a community, that can push you to be great.

Steph Lee: [00:51:02] Megan, what are your thoughts on. On advice for beginning podcasting.

Megan Chapa, Travel Radio: [00:51:09] Yeah. So I agree with the done is better than perfect. I really agree with that.

But also, I would say find someone who has a podcast that will answer your questions cause this sort of thing was not available when I started doing it. And for me, thankfully, actually, Doug Parker was that person. And I own it a lot of equipment that was very useful to me, upfront because Doug was able to take time , I don't know why, but I'm thankful for it. So, yeah. So, so find someone that will take a moment and answer your questions and, uh, yeah. And if you want to ask questions, I'm happy to receive some. So there you go.

Steph Lee: [00:51:48] Perfect. Christy, what are your, what's your advice?

Christy Camren, Travel Geniuses: [00:51:53] Well, the same thing that everybody else has said.

Just make it easy, know your limits and do what you can do. And take advice from other people, but don't feel like just because one person says you have to release a podcast every week that you're going to fail if you don't.

But also specifically for travel agents, I would say just be generous with your knowledge and your information.

Part of the purpose of this, in my opinion, is to showcase yourself as an expert. And if you're scared to share what you know because you think somebody is going to go book on their own, they probably are anyway, whether you share that information or not, but your not showing the people who do want to hire you that you know what you're talking about.

So just be super generous and open with your knowledge.

Steph Lee: [00:52:37] When we were chatting, talking about, from a technical standpoint, having some sort of a checklist, like making sure the mic is on when you're recording.

Christy Camren, Travel Geniuses: [00:52:47] Oh yeah, for sure. Because I've started interviews and not been recording or not had my mic plugged in. So I'm thinking I'm talking to my mic, but it's my computer mic.

So yeah, know what your process is and all the important steps along the way and have a checklist and don't think you know it. There's a book called the Checklist Manifesto, and in there they talk about how pilots, even with 10,000 hours in, or 10,000 flights, I can't remember, they still have a checklist and they have to check every single thing.

So um, yeah, have a checklist.

Steph Lee: [00:53:20] Yeah. And I, and I think too, we had chatted on like, having an outline for what you're going to be talking about. And, for, for me personally, we do our recordings from start to finish. And I, I just record that. Don't do a lot of editing, but, you know, if it's just you, and you're the only host of the show, don't be afraid to record it in sections. Like you have your outline, and that'll save you from being so stressed having to remember everything.

Christy Camren, Travel Geniuses: [00:53:50] I lose my train of thought a lot, even when it's just me. And I forget certain points that I want to make—and that was part of why it was taking me so long to edit too—so now, I'm basically, I'm writing a blog post. Like it's more than an outline. It's like every point I want to make, I have in an outline. And then I will read one section in my head and then I record it and I pause. And I read the next section and I record that and I pause. I thought in the beginning I had to do it all in one take, and I would try like 10 times to record an episode.

I've saved myself so much time by doing it that way.

Steph Lee: [00:54:27] Yeah. And Doug, what about you? You gave me, plenty of tips as we were talking. So what's your advice for your, for newbies?

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:54:37] Yeah, just do it. I mean, excuse the analogy here, but it's, I mean, it's a lot like sex when you first do it, you're scared to death.

And the more you do it, the more you enjoy it, the more comfortable you get and you just keep on going. So yeah, just don't get scared, you know, don't let it scare you. Just jump in there and learn and keep doing it because you're going to get better with time.

Steph Lee: [00:55:02] And you also had chatted about as possibility for people that are new.

Can you talk a little bit about that?

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:55:10] Yeah, so it's just, I mean, it's another podcasting platform, like, like Libsyn or whatever that lets you syndicate out, but everything you do it from your phone or your iPad, instead of having to have a laptop and all that stuff. It does everything at your fingertips with Anchor, definitely worth exploring.

I played around with it a few years ago when it first launched, so we're talking like, I don't know, maybe six years ago or so, five years ago, but it's evolved a lot since then. So I really can't speak on what it does now, but just said a lot of people are using it, especially for like quick dailies.

Steph Lee: [00:55:43] Yeah. And it's free too, isn't it? Because they put in ads.

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:55:48] I believe so, yeah.

Steph Lee: [00:55:51] We can't speak knowledgeably about it, but it's something for you to investigate.

I also think you, when we were chatting, you had talked about, when you're talking to the audience, how to approach that and having a picture in your studio.

Can you elaborate?

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:56:08] Yeah. So when I first got into radio, my program director told me to act like I'm talking to my best friend. Don't say, 'hey y'all' or 'how's everyone doing?' Or whatever, you know, things like that.

Make a connection with one person. And for me, it was my best friend. And so act like I was talking with my friend when I was doing it, you know, because you don't want to, you don't want to act like you're, um, a performer on the stage where you're talking to 10,000 people, like mass talking to them. You want to have a connection with 10,000 different devices.

Steph Lee: [00:56:50] Well, all I heard from that was that when you're talking to your best friend, you have a picture of me in the studio and just start pretending that you're chatting with me.

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [00:56:57] Exactly, yeah. It's right here.

Steph Lee: [00:57:01] Well, that's great advice, everybody. thank you.

So if you're looking for support, after the show is done, you, you've made the decision that. You can do this because it really isn't that difficult. There's a lot involved, but, you know, just put it out there. So let's talk about podcasting groups, for support, and for asking questions as people are going through this process.

Megan, your groups that you belong to really stuck in my mind because they have the bestest names ever. Do you want to kick it off and quickly tell us the names and if you found being a part of them helpful?

Megan Chapa, Travel Radio: [00:57:41] So one is called the Lady Pod Squad, and the other is, the Podern Family.

And there's a number of these groups and networks out there.

And they all have personalities, right? Like some of them will want to review your podcast for you. Some want to be helpful, and some of them are, I don't know, some of them are just kind of... whatever. You'll find one that's right for you. But, some of them were really great and you could swap listening to someone else's podcast and give them feedback, they give you feedback. So there are some good groups out there, but if you're a lady out there, the, the Lady Pod Squad is a fun one.

So, sorry, Doug.

My kids are going nuclear. It's been real guys, but I gotta split. Thank you, Steph, for having me.

Steph Lee: [00:58:34] Yes. We'll talk to you later, Megan. Thanks for joining. Bye.

Christy, I know you took Pat Flynn's Power Up podcasting course. Would you recommend that as something for newbies?

Christy Camren, Travel Geniuses: [00:58:46] Oh yeah, for sure. If you have the budget for it.

It just saved me—there was nothing in there that I couldn't Google myself—but it saved me all the time trying to learn how to use the software, what software to use, how to get into iTunes, all of that. It just walked me step by step through everything.

And he's really active in his group as well. And every week has—I know some people that sell courses will do, like you get coaching calls for the first six weeks or whatever—but he, every week, does office hours.

So if you have questions at all, he's there to answer it and he's like just really genuine and cares about his audience. So that's helpful. Yeah.

Steph Lee: [00:59:27] And that, for people that are curious, that's $799 right now.

Lynn, you also took a podcasting course. You did John Lee Dumas's course on podcasting. Is that something you'd recommend?

Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast: [00:59:41] Yes, it's same thing. They're very active in their group and it's a monthly subscription of $97. I only stayed in there a month, but the information that he gave, again, nothing that you can't find on Google, but he had an organized, in a way that was really easy that I was able to basically set my podcasts up in three days.

Steph Lee: [01:00:02] Cool. Yeah. And I think he also has like a free podcasting course. And then this... were you part of Podcasters in Paradise?

Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast: [01:00:09] Yes.

Steph Lee: [01:00:10] Okay.

Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast: [01:00:10] And it's, it's really awesome because, and again, back to the community, there's several people who are in the same boat as you and you can talk to them, but you can also get expert advice.

So like, you're all around, you're just surrounded by people who are just doing the same thing and having the same problems and can fix them right away.

And Doug, you attend Podcast Movement, a really big festival for podcasters. Lynn, I know you're also a big fan of it and will hopefully be speaking at a future one, when they get back to hosting them.

Doug, why do you feel like that's worth attending?

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [01:00:46] You're getting information that, kinda like this call right here, I'm picking up information, hopefully everyone's picking up information from each other. And it's just like that, but on a larger scale with thousands of people. It's a good chance to just connect.

 And, onto what Lynn was saying too. I was one of the first 100 members of Podcaster's Paradise, so I got like a lifetime membership for 199 bucks back in 2013.

Steph Lee: [01:01:14] What a deal!

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [01:01:15] Yeah. And it was really good because it was... it's nothing I didn't know already, but it put everything right there in front of you. And it was definitely a good flow chart for getting started in just a couple of days.

He outlines everything. Him and Kate, they do videos and they're really active in their Podcaster's Paradise Facebook group too. So I can't speak on the cost these days, but back then it showed me some things I didn't know.

And it really helped me on the sales end because I'm a really horrible sales person. Like, I don't even really like people. So it's, you know, having to interact with people. It's, it's easier to have this spreadsheet to send to people with my rates and everything and kind of just go that way instead of having to do cold calls or anything like that, if you reach the point where you could actually sell advertising on your podcast.

Favorite Podcasts

Steph Lee: [01:02:05] Yeah. And one thing that I'd be really curious to learn about is I'd love to hear what everyone's favorite podcasts are, like travel, outside of travel, what podcasts, or if you have multiple podcasts, do you think like really nail it with their presentation or the topic they're going on?

Kate, what's your favorite.

Kate Thomas, Travel Pro Theory: [01:02:28] Okay. So I'll give you two that are on like opposite ends of the spectrum. My favorite of all time is the podcast that got me into podcasts. It's, You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes, who is a comedian. It's really long form, very conversational. And yeah, I just really, I like the longer format to just like let it go and let it go in the background. I mean, they can run like two and a half, three hours.

Steph Lee: [01:02:55] Whoa.

Kate Thomas, Travel Pro Theory: [01:02:57] But then there's another one that I really like called What a Day, and it is short format. It's like 15 to 20 minutes and it's a news like a morning news podcast. So I turn it on, hear some talk, get some headlines, put it on while I'm in the shower and keep moving.

Steph Lee: [01:03:12] Perfect. Christy, you, what are your favorite podcast?

Christy Camren, Travel Geniuses: [01:03:17] Okay. I listened to a lot of business podcasts, but the first one, which is not business, is Armchair Expert, which is Dax Shepard. And I'm not into celebrities—I didn't even really know who he was when I started listening to it—but specifically he has like a podcast within a podcast, which is experts on expert.

So he has like doctors and psychologists and scientists and journalists on, and they talk a lot about why people do things, and I love that one. So that would be, if I only could listen to one, it would be that.

My business type of podcasts that I listened to, Steph Crowder, Courage and Clarity is one that I like.

Claire Pelletreau has a podcast, The Get Paid Podcast, where she talks to entrepreneurs about how they make money and how much they actually make and how much it costs them to make that.

And then, NPR, I think it's NPR, has How I Built This, which is, CEOs and how they started like Five Guys burgers, or Southwest Airlines, Burt's Bees. All these companies and how they started and almost failed and are now names that we know.

So, yeah, those are my favorites.

Steph Lee: [01:04:25] Cool. Lynn, what are your favorites?

Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast: [01:04:28] So it's funny, not a huge podcast listener, but, I really like Ron Burgundy and the armchair... I'm going to mess it up. I like funny ones. There's enough stress going on in life, so I just kind of turn them on and, just try to laugh. But again, not a huge podcast listener, I just like to podcast.

Steph Lee: [01:05:01] It's okay. You and me are very similar.

Like, I only have a couple. I apparently like true crime ones. I really like Serial and To Live and Die in LA. Essentially what I do is I go to the Apple Podcasts, and I look at their top podcasts of 2020 or something and see what's there and listen to a few.

Doug, what are yours?

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [01:05:25] So probably like long form would be Joe Rogan.

And then I listened to a, I should know the name of it, to listen to it every morning, but it is called Stock Trading University. It's two minutes just to give you, information about investing and strategies and things like that. Not so much like news or, you know, what's, what's trending and what's not.

More so like, buying and selling type stuff. But it's new every, every day.

Steph Lee: [01:05:55] Yeah. Yeah. Thanks for sharing. Because I wanted to, to throw out some podcasts if people were in new to podcasting, that they could sample, podcasts outside of travel, to see what different formats are and how people approach it and be able to kind of cherry pick what they like from each one and add it to their podcast.

Christy Camren, Travel Geniuses: [01:06:16] Steph?


I just want to add something, because we were talking a little bit about groups. That's one benefit of being in a podcasting group is that you see people who are kind of at your level or a little bit ahead. So the ones we all mentioned are all professionally produced and like really high quality.

But it really helped me to check out the intros and outros that people were doing who were just getting started and didn't have these huge budgets to do that. So, that's another great place to just check out and get some ideas and see what you like and what you don't.

Steph Lee: [01:06:46] That's a great point. Yeah.


Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast: [01:06:50] And own that. To be yourself. Like, it's great to get information and to listen to all of these wonderful podcasts, but when it comes down to it, you are starting one for your listeners and it needs to be authentic so that people actually are drawn to it. So don't feel like you have to do what everybody's doing.

Just do what feels comfortable to you and to your audience.

Steph Lee: [01:07:14] Yes. Exactly. I mean, I sometimes, like when I'm watching things, I think, gosh, I wish I could be more serious and corporate-y, but then I'm like, no, that's like the worst idea in the world.

I just can't take anything too seriously.

So, well, all right, so it's getting to be time for us to start socially isolated, isolating again. We need to kind of wrap this up. And as we're in the midst of a pandemic and in travel, I know right now things can be, can feel incredibly bleak. So we do this every episode, but I want to be sure. we definitely leave this episode feeling warm and fuzzy, so please cue music for warm, fuzzy segment.

Pre pandemic, warm fuzzies weren't necessarily, um, a necessity. But during this crisis, we all need them. So let's have each of you tell us a warm fuzzy you've seen or you've witnessed during the pandemic.

Mine is John Krasinski's Some Good News network. Have you all seen that?

Oh my God, I cry. I literally cry every single one.

Because he like just covers positive news that's happening around the world. It's like, the ultimate, it's like 25 minutes of warm fuzzies coming at you.

So, Christy, what's your warm fuzzy? What have you seen happening?

Christy Camren, Travel Geniuses: [01:08:44] So I have to, I don't make them real quick cause one is my kids. So I'm older than you guys. My kids are adults now, but my niece and nephew are still really young and this has been so hard on them.

Like their friends aren't necessarily social distancing very well and they've been stuck at home. So my kids have been playing Fortnite with them and Animal Crossing and Game Pigeon. So I just appreciate them and love that they're doing that.

And then, not related to my family. I just saw this Instagram story.

This lady's son, it was his eighth birthday. And they had presents for him and then some of his friends came over and they had lunch. They all got McDonald's and sat in their trunks of their cars and he was sitting there and said, something like, 'what would be a better birthday than this?'

And then his mom was like, 'I don't know. What do you think?'

He's like, 'I don't know. I can't imagine a better birthday than this. I was just wondering if you knew.' And I thought that was sweet and all the neighbors later that night, they're very close and all came out and she had delivered tiny birthday cakes to each neighbor and they had a party. So that was sweet.

Steph Lee: [01:09:50] I just, I get goosebumps.

Christy Camren, Travel Geniuses: [01:09:52] I just love it.

Steph Lee: [01:09:52] I love this. Everyone else is like, I mean, I'm very sad about the pandemic, but like the sweet stories that are coming out of it and the creativity... 

Alright. Doug, what's yours?

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [01:10:04] I would probably say the local news station here. So with unemployment—there's a ton of restaurants here in Jacksonville, and so many people are unemployed—it was, it was depleted.

So the local news network put this drive thing together, like on a whim. And they filled it. They filled it, it was this big warehouse like across the river here, in a matter of hours. And it was just like, it was really cool to see everyone coming together.

You would just pull up, pop your trunk. You didn't have to get out to talk to anyone. They would come pull the food groceries out and you just drive off. It was really cool to see that kind of stuff happening, not just here, but around the U.S.

Steph Lee: [01:10:45] Yeah, I'm

Doug Parker, Cruise Radio: [01:10:47] so

Steph Lee: [01:10:47] sensitive to this stuff.

Alright, Kate, what is yours?

Kate Thomas, Travel Pro Theory: [01:10:55] I would say... so my mom's a nurse and my family lives in Virginia. They're rural Virginia, which is nice because it's not a hotspot like some of the cities are right now. But, obviously being in smaller doctor's offices and things like that, you have even less access to gear. And so the community came together. Well, she's pretty resourceful, so she actually came up with a lot, but the community came together and like sewed them lots of masks for them and for patients, and for patients' families to keep everyone safe.

Steph Lee: [01:11:26] So sweet. Lynn.

Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast: [01:11:31] So I work for a hospice company and, we were able to take lunch and sometimes dinner to the emergency room, nursing staff. And then we put signs out in front of all the hospitals in our area, thanking all the heroes.

And then this week is nurses' week. So I've just been taking all the nurses, social distancing dates, uh, in the parking lot. So we just parked in the parking lot and we order lunch and we eat on our hoods of our cars. So, it's just been really nice to be able—and they're so appreciative.

And it's just wonderful what they're doing. So, that's not going to stop. So every week we're going to pick a hospital, pick somebody, and make sure that they know that we appreciate what they're doing. And feed them. Get them, you know, a little bit more fuzzy and round because that's what's happening right now.

Steph Lee: [01:12:29] I know those darn gym closures. Super sweet.

Well, thank you for sharing everyone.

I know times are hard right now. but there, there still is a lot of beauty and kindness out there in the world and hopefully you can find it.

Well, it's official. We've wrapped up another episode of TAC. and you know what it's time for, right?

Yes. You.

It's time to start getting that podcast that you've been thinking about off the cut room floor and into production! So podcast besties, all of you on the call, thank you.

You're the bees knees. Thank you for spending so much time sharing your knowledge and experience and, having a pandemic party with me.

It was a very fun.

Thanks Steph

Kate Thomas, Travel Pro Theory: [01:13:20] Thank you.

Lynn Blanco, The Travel Agent Podcast: [01:13:21] Thanks.

Steph Lee: [01:13:23] Well, that was such a fun few hours with you. We should really do this again. In fact, if you want to relive the episode in a different format, I can make that happen for you.

You can watch a video, read a transcript, and view these zillion zillion, show notes of today's episode by visiting and clicking on episode 15.

We're in weird times and I know many of you are struggling as your business have all been shut down and the future is uncertain. I want you to know that the entire team here at Host Agency Reviews is here with you. We have articles on the site listing grants beyond the PPP for small businesses struggling from the effects of COVID.

We have an article listing the free and greatly reduced discounts on tech, marketing and education programs for agents. And an article discussing how you can create a crisis management plan for your agency to help you through this pandemic.

And most importantly, keep your head up. Keep your eyes focused on the kindness and beauty that has popped up as a result of this unprecedented situation.

Thanks for listening. Stay safe and be well. My friends.

About the Author
Steph Lee - Host Agency Reviews

Steph Lee

Steph grew up in the travel industry, helping on and off with her mom's homebased travel agency. She has worked with thousands of agents in her role as a former host agency director before leaving in 2012 to start HAR. She's insatiably curious, loves her pups Fennec and Orion, and -- in case you haven't noticed -- is pretty quirky and free-spirited.

If you’re looking for Steph, she leaves a trace where ever she goes! You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn (her fav) and Pinterest as 'iamstephly'. 🙂 You can also catch her on her Substack, Bumblin' Around, where she writes on things outside the world of HAR.