Episode 121

Robb Wells Explains What a Podcast Has Done for His DestinationRobb Wells

About Our Guest

Robb Wells

In this special presentation from eTourism Summit, Relic's Digital Marketing Manager Josh Scheer hosts a discussion about the ins and outs of running a podcast for your destination. He is joined by Robb Wells, President & CEO at Visit Beaufort, who has been a partner in Relic's podcast program for the past ten months. Listen to learn the benefits of evergreen content, audience ownership, and why a podcast might be the perfect solution for a destination looking for a new and innovative way to tell their story.

"Sometimes you may not feel like you're making much of a return on this investment but for us, we own this medium, we're able to tell our story through this podcast, and we thoroughly enjoy it. We enjoy working with Relic to provide this experience to our potential visitors." - Robb Wells

Episode Highlights

  • Name: Adam Stoker
  • Position: Co-Founder and CEO of Relic
  • Favorite Destination:
  • Dream Destination:
  • Name: Josh Scheer
  • Position: Digital Marketing Manager at Relic Advertising
  • Favorite Destination:
  • Dream Destination:
  • Name: Robb Wells
  • Position: President & CEO at Greater Beaufort - Port Royal Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Favorite Destination:
  • Dream Destination:

“Robb Wells Explains What a Podcast Has Done for His Destination” – Show Notes and Highlights

 

Show Highlights:

  • Podcasts are a way to own your audience. 
  • According to recent research, 55% of people have listened to a podcast.

 

  • Importance of podcast as a medium for DMOs: 
    1. Allows you to create your own audience
    2. Talk to people directly
    3. Build a following
    4. Control your audience
  • Relic hosts the podcast for a destination, does production and editing, and then handles the posting and distribution at a very reasonable cost.
  • Robb points out that it was important to not only make evergreen content but also what the audience was saying.

 

  • Added benefits from creating a podcast: 
    1. Helps with website SEO by posting full podcast transcripts.
    2. Create reader-friendly blog posts.
    3. Voiceover opportunities.
  • Through Beaufort’s destination podcast, community stakeholders will participate in sharing not only their business but also the growth and development of the area.

 

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast:

Episode Transcript

Adam Stoker: [00:00:01] Hello, everyone. And welcome to another episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast. I’m your host, Adam Stoker. We’ve got a little bit of a different episode for you today. This is our presentation from the e-Tourism Summit towards the end of last year, and there was a great discussion between Josh Scheer, our digital marketing director and Robb Wells, the CEO of Visit Beaufort. And they had a great conversation about having a podcast for your destination and some of the results that Robb has received by having that podcast for his destination. So it was a great conversation. I hope you enjoy it. Here we go. 

 

Josh Scheer: [00:00:43] So here we are. Today this morning wanted to talk a bit about what it’s like to create podcasts for your destinations. She already introduced us, but I’m the digital marketing director at Relic Agency. We’re based out of Provo, Utah. Work with small to mid-sized DMOs across the country. Robb Wells is one of our favorite clients and kind of helped us spearhead this podcast program. So, Robb, if you want to introduce yourself real quick and then we’ll get moving. 

 

Robb Wells: [00:01:14] Yeah, hey, everybody I’m Robb Wells, I’m with Visit Beaufort on the Sea Islands here in wonderful South Carolina. I wish I could be there. I’m grateful for those who showed up in person for this conference. You mean a lot to the industry getting out being a part of this group, so thank you very much. 

 

Josh Scheer: [00:01:33] Cool. Thanks, Robb. So the first question I kind of want to tackle is, why do we buy media? We buy it to we want to access their audience because we don’t have our own audiences, right? We need to buy our presence there. But also, we want to be sophisticated. Especially for smaller DMOs, you want to be as omnipresent as possible. And that’s obviously really important for large organizations. But we want to make sure we’re everywhere. But podcasts are a way to kind of own your own audience. So as COVID kind of shut everything down, everybody started listening to more and more podcasts. It became a good medium for people, and it’s been growing over the years too, and I think this is just kind of spread it a little further. 

 

But according to some recent research, 55% of people have listened to a podcast. 37% of people listen to one regularly, about once a month. About a quarter of people listen to podcasts weekly. It’s an important growing medium, and I think that’s going to be growing even more. I think at least with my commute, I listened to a few every week, at least. Then 80% of those who are listening listen to all or most of the episode. So it’s a very engaging medium, especially when you can get someone’s attention for 20 minutes to 2.5 hours, depending on the length of the episode that’s important. 

 

So why is it important for DMOs to think about podcast as a medium for sharing your story? You know it allows you to create your own audience. You can use the medium to talk to people directly, build a following, and you have that audience and you can control it. Whereas, if you’re buying ads through magazines or social media or whatever, you don’t own that audience. And as we heard yesterday, it’s going to be harder and harder to get in front of the right people. So the more you can contain control of that, that’s really important. So additionally, while DMOs are struggling to get their story out there, the engaging platform of podcast is a great way to — yeah, to take advantage of that. 

 

So you probably saw Obnoxious Booth right outside the door, but our CEO started the Destination Marketing Podcast about a year and a half ago, I think. Episode 104 went live this morning. Adam Stoker interviews people from the industry weekly, everything from tech to individual DMOs to talk about what they’re dealing with, how they can solve their problems. It’s been a lot about COVID this year, but trying to move past that and talk about other things now. But we started to get some questions from a few of our clients about you guys know how to do this now. Can we get a podcast of our own? So we started talking about it and made it happen, and Robb was kind of our first guinea pig, and it’s worked out well. 

 

So quickly what we do for our destination clients is we host the podcast. Obviously, not me. I’m not a great speaker, but we also do the production and editing. And then we handle the posting as well. But then marketing and distribution of the podcast, which is probably one of the tougher pieces. We offer it for clients who want it but it’s not something we do on a regular basis. And yeah, Robb, why don’t you tell us how you got started? 

 

Robb Wells: [00:05:22] Well, besides being an amazing presentation clicker, which is a great partnership with Relic that we have, I have to admit I was not a podcast guy. My commute was very short, very small community didn’t sit around and listen to podcasts. But over the last year, podcasts become part of that drive for me. And what an amazing way to capture ownership of content for us. And so we started looking at it here in Beaufort as a way for us to help tell our story even more. We have spent the last probably 8… 9 years really working hard to travel writers and influencers and bloggers and have them tell our story for us, in their words to their audience. But as we looked over the landscape, where was our opportunity to own that medium and share our story in our own voice? I think that’s where we started looking at a podcast. 

 

Now here’s why it makes sense to us. The first and foremost is is that we are a small bureau or a small CVB. We have six people on our team and to be quite honest, this is not our — four days is doing a podcast. Relic came up with a product being a part of this network makes the barrier of entry into the world of podcasting that much easier for us. And so, for a very reasonable cost were able to produce and control our own medium. Be able to have that authentic conversation with our stakeholders and with our audience, and we can see if our labor already start to materialize. But as Josh already pointed out, the production, the editing, the distribution in some cases, the content that comes along with it, those are all things that were new to us and being a partner in this Destination Marking Podcast Network. Has this made our entry into that a lot easier and something that we encourage by? 

 

We have this idea. We’re 16 episodes deep and you’ll see that in this slide coming up. But we have this idea that, hey, we’re going to create these podcasts and they’re going to have kind of an evergreen content to them. They can live across the website, they could be included in blogs and newsletters. That was going to be our idea. So we stopped at the first four or five episodes before we started distributing. Now, what we felt is that it was important to not only make evergreen content but also our audience was saying, “Hey, what’s going on now? We’re coming into the marketplace within the next week, two weeks. What’s transpiring?” The timeliness of the episodes became paramount, and so we now have evolved into making it more timely while still retaining that authentic evergreen voice when appropriate. And it’s an appropriate link for us. 

 

I heard her, Josh say something about so they range from 30 minutes to a 2-hour podcast. And you know what? I can see the 2-hour ones for somebody. But for us, a podcast is, I think ours averages around 17 to 24 minutes. I think is our average podcasting. So here in Beaufort, we have Intracoastal Waterway, by the way, and we have a swing bridge. So our sailboats come through our bay, the bridge turns and about the length that it takes several sailboats to cross through. You sit in traffic for that 20… 24 minutes. That’s enough to consume one of the Inner Coastal Podcast episodes. And so we’re keeping it somewhere in that wing because this whole thing is who we are. 

 

And of course, the production releases and timing we chose every two weeks. We have the flexibility to increase that to weekly episodes, and we may move in that direction. But I would like you guys to at least be consistent. Every two weeks works for us, but you may be your destination looks at it is in every week or maybe once a month each in a row. But for us, we found that appropriate note at this time. But there have been some challenges on the way, and that is more on our end as opposed to Relic in. But I will say that one of the things that we have that we’ve been able to overcome is how do you work with a podcast that may not be in your destination? Localhost was kind of one of those things. 

 

I think early on and Joshua will talk about this, too. We have this where our hosts from the network have never been to Beaufort and talked about it as you can’t wait to get to the area. But I would say eliminate that upfront. Natasha has been to Beaufort now. As a matter of fact, we’ve done live episodes from Beaufort, which is weird considering they’re in Utah, but she’s been there to the area. She knows exactly where we’re talking about when we talk about it, and it gives a different perspective. Now you have that okay, she’s no longer a potential visitor. She had actually been there, done that kind of host, and that’s important. 

 

I think that’s been one of the key hurdles for us to get past just because it has a different conversation for the other distribution. I mentioned earlier that we wanted to stop our episodes and use our tools and as we grow and see our audience grow with it, where they consume our podcast, where they’re introduced to the podcast has been mixed. Some have seen it on the website, as most have picked it up on social media. Others have received it from our newsletter, and some have just been searching Beaufort or Sea Islands through iTunes. Distribution is important. Make sure your strategy is sound. Make sure you’re fluid in that strategy. We get to work with Relic and how that distribution model works. But it’s our ownership of it. I believe this is one of those things that for us it works better for us to distribute it ourselves across the channels while production may not be our case, distribution is. We have definitely done a better job of that in the past couple of months and people are eager to consume it. 

 

So I think our numbers speak to that as we get it. So I think we’re 16 episodes into it, Josh. Is that right on the screen there? 

 

Josh Scheer: [00:11:56] Yep. Good. 

 

Robb Wells: [00:11:56] over 1000 listeners listens to the thing. And our growth has been quite large and it kind of compounds as you pick up new listeners. Of course, your folks are going to be more engaged, and it’s been pretty cool to watch it. 

 

Josh Scheer: [00:12:15] Yeah. So obviously, podcasts have their benefits and everything, but you could get added benefits from creating a podcast, so it’s kind of pre-built content that you can use elsewhere. So I know Robb mentioned this earlier, but you can use it for other things. Like we encourage our clients to use and post full transcripts of each episode. Helps with SEO value for your website. It’s usually very keyword-rich content, so it makes a lot of sense to share that way. Or if you want it to be a little more reader-friendly. We also recommend turning them into blog posts. We create pull quotes for social media, for our clients and then it’s a good way to use to create voiceover opportunities for videos if you’re doing that sort of thing too. 

 

Robb Wells: [00:13:10] I will say that there are some other podcasts in the destination world out there. So, I encourage you guys to go and see those and how they distribute the podcast across their platforms that they do currently on whether it be their newsletter, blogs, their website. However, we have what works for us. You may find something that works better for you guys, but we being new to the podcast game rely on Relic quite a bit on how to distribute those things. And I would encourage you guys to look at that as their tool because they’ve done it. I mean, Adam has his own podcast, and he’s been at it for a year and a half and he’s seen the overall groups. We’re talking with a group that had experienced the podcast growth format. That’s important. 

 

Josh Scheer: [00:13:56] Yeah, and so next steps at least for Relic and growing the Destination Marketing Podcast Network. We’re focused on bringing on new clients. We have Laredo, Texas has their own podcast. We started that for them a couple of months ago. Then I think we’re onboarding a new Utah podcast this year. Robb, what about you? 

 

Robb Wells: [00:14:20] Yeah, for us, in this time I think and I can’t see everybody in the room, but I would assume that the majority of you guys were having a conversation with either in your office or in your marketing teams or with your organization as a whole. How do we do it? How do we pivot coming out of this as we move forward during this time? We’re involving our community more. In our community, some of our community stakeholders are some of our biggest cheerleaders for the destination. And they have a unique spin on the destinations. We give them an opportunity to talk about not only their business but also what they find attractive about the area. We see this becoming a more fluid community too whether we expand that and to bringing our folks from the economic development side of the house, and company recruitment or just from our elected officials being able to talk about growth and community development. 

 

We see this as a community too. And why not? I mean, we’re more than just Destination Marketing Organization. Were actually a Community Marketing Organization. And we want to showcase and use our tools for that. And you know what? Our feedback that we received from our folks that we have partnered with on our podcast who have episodes dedicated to them, they love it. They absolutely loved the showcasing of their business, but also love talking about this destination. And they have done a fantastic job doing so. 

 

Josh Scheer: [00:15:44] Awesome. Well, I think we’re about out of time. But hey, Robb, real quick. Will you tell the story from about a week ago? 

 

Robb Wells: [00:15:53] I will, yeah. And so my follow-up, I want to end with this part before questions may come up, yes sitting at the office, we received an email. The email was from a person who was planning their vacation to the area. One year wedding anniversary for him and his wife, and they had selected Beaufort, South Carolina. So they had emailed us and said, “Hey, listen. Started listening to your podcast and researching places to go for our first year anniversary. Love the Inner Coastal Podcast. In your podcast, you said to reach out if you have any questions and I have a question. I feel like you’re the guy that I should ask. Where is a great place to take my wife for our one-year anniversary, restaurants, places to dine overlooking the water? Fired up an email right back to him. Shared a couple of great locations that may or may not have been mentioned on the podcast. He emailed back, said, “Thanks for the response. I would ask for a visitor guide, but I’ll just keep listening to the episodes.” 

 

So what great feedback. We didn’t share that with everybody. Everybody on the team. Everybody at Relic was excited about some of the feedback, and he’s not the first but he definitely had a pointed question. Sometimes it feels like a grind. You may not feel like you’re making much of a return on this investment, but for us, we own this medium. We’re able to share or tell our story through this podcast and we thoroughly enjoy it. The team enjoys it. We enjoy it and thank Relic that provides this experience for us.