This series is all about libsyn’s podcasters. Its sole purpose is to introduce these awesome podcasts to the world as well as share their podcasting insight to empower the community!
Q & A with from Active Travel Adventures
When did you start podcasting?
I started the Active Travel Adventures podcast in the fall of 2017 after delaying six months from my originally planned launch date out of fear of not getting things ‘right’. I should’ve listened to others who said, “Just start it! It doesn’t make a difference in the beginning because no one is listening to you anyway, so you have lots of time to improve.”
In the spring of 2019, I started a companion podcast, the Adventure Travel Show, to teach folks the “How To’s” of adventure travel so that listeners would gain the skills, and get the courage and confidence to tackle some of the adventures I cover on the main show. The shows alternate Thursdays and promote each other.
Why did you start podcasting?
I knew I wanted to travel as my ‘retirement’ job and wanted to develop an online business. For the last thirty years, I have started a new business around whatever is my current hobby, and next up is ‘travel’.
My show and website are set up as a true business with the hopes of one day covering the costs of production and at least some of my travel. I am going to travel anyway, so it’s nice not to have the pressure to make a profit. I do not accept any advertising but work via affiliate links only.
I chose to do a podcast in particular because no one was covering what I wanted to talk about, which is adventure travel that regular folks like me can do on their vacation. There are plenty of travel podcasts that teach you to be location independent so you can work from anywhere, and there are hard core adventure podcasts out there, but I wanted something that this almost 60 year old reasonably fit body could do if I trained.
This means I cover things like hiking Machu Picchu, but not climbing Mount Everest. Most are a doable 3 out of 5 difficulty rating.
I find podcasts a surprisingly intimate medium. My listeners often become my friends and they write me as they would a friend. You don’t spend an hour in someone’s ear balls without them getting to know you, and as a listener, they self select to be someone I would like because we share a common passion in adventure travel.
I love all the amazing and inspiring people I have met because of my podcast!
What’s the name of your show and what is it about?
My podcast is called Active Travel Adventures, and I seek to inspire and empower folks to lead a bigger life through adventure travel.
On each episode, I feature an amazing adventure somewhere in the world where you have to hike, bike and/or paddle to explore the landscape and culture.
Sample adventures include trekking Patagonia and Nepal, rafting the Grand Canyon, kayaking Milford Sound in New Zealand, cycling rural Thailand and through the stiletto heel of Italy.
We’ve sipped wine in the Italian Lakes after a hearty hike, and tubed 60’ underground in a New Zealand cave filled with millions of glow worms.
What’s your podcasting set-up? Hardware, software, CMS, etc.
I’m embarrassed to say that I bought a lot of gear that I sadly still don’t know how to use. Being non-techie, I’ve yet to figure out how to use the Behringer Q802USB mixer I bought.
Nor do I use the H4N recorder, I was told I ‘must have’ because my pocket Roland R05 wasn’t the right thing to buy. I use neither.
So I just use my Mac laptop and ear buds, plus an ATR2100 mic, but I plan to actually now use the headphones I bought, now that I made a jazzy studio while in lockdown.
I may not be techie, but I AM handy. I’m actually quite proud of it and it makes for an economical studio that anyone can make.
I just reversed two bookcases I already had as “walls” against a corner. I padded the walls with (sissor-trimmed) King-sized egg crate foam mattress padding ($20 each x 3 which includes the ceiling).
I hammered finish nails spaced about ten inches apart across the top of the book cases and along the walls at the same height and then zig zagged heavy twine to form a support to hold the egg crate ‘ceiling’.
I attached the foam to the walls with a staple gun. I finished off the floor with scrap carpet and pad. I laid a shower curtain rod across the bookcases with a cloth curtain as the ‘door’. Then I just added a small table covered in two towels. Voila! I made a studio for under $100 and I think it’ll work out great. It measures about 4’ x 6’.
I record with Zoom because I was unhappy with the reliability of Zencastr, although I am thinking about trying Skype since Rob recommends it. I had heard that Skype was unreliable, but I trust Rob.
From there, if it is a solo show, I edit the audio myself and then level through Auphonic before submitting to Libsyn. If it is an interview show, I do a pre-audio edit of content, but let Podetize clean up the audio. They also do some web page work, transcription and a piece of social art for a reasonable price.
Other software/services used: If I am doing a solo show, I record on GarageBand, but am considering switching. It works fine most of the time, but every once in a while, I run into a glitch I haven’t solved where the audio sounds fine, but the sound waves for editing just about require a magnifying glass.
Online, I see others have the problem, too, but have yet to read a solution. It doesn’t happen often but it is maddening when it does and it takes forever to edit!
I use WordPress with the Divi theme for my website. LeadPages for my lead magnets. Aweber for my email subscribers. Dropbox for interviewees to submit photos for the website and to submit mp3’s to Podetize. Canva for artwork production.
How have you promoted your podcast?
Not as well as I should. I post on Facebook and usually Pinterest. I actually hire a gal from Bangladesh who manages my Pinterest account and she is doing a great job. I found her on Upwork. Pinterest is a search engine, so that is why I focus there rather than Facebook and Instagram, as I believe the work input gets more mileage in the long term.
I ask each guest and any affiliated companies mentioned on the show to share it with their followers and I provide artwork. I should provide suggested copy to make it easier for them to share, but I don’t.
Word of mouth is how most folks find me. As a CTA (call to action) in each show, I often ask people to share the episode. I’ll commonly use this CTA in my monthly newsletter as well.
I also try to get on other podcasts as a guest and hope to pitch more hosts as this has been effective the few times I have done it.
I know that promotion is a weak link for me, and I keep saying I’ll do better and be more active on social, but I falter here due to time and interest.
I know I could hire someone, but ask myself how much money do I want to invest in a passion project that is more expense than income? By choice, I do not accept advertising on the show or website and only use affiliate links.
I don’t have the download numbers an advertiser would want in any case, and regardless, I prefer to choose who I promote, and I reach out to them directly.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
I would tell people to forget about the equipment and I would just use your laptop and earbuds to start. As I (hopefully one day) learn more about the gear, little by little I would add what I actually needed. I got way too stressed out over equipment and wasted a ton of time and money. It also encouraged my delay in launching.
If I had spent that money with Dave at the School of Podcasting, or other reliable teachers, my money would have been better spent.
In addition, I would set up a system and checklist so that I wouldn’t forget a step, as I often have to start and stop production with many days in between, and so can forget where I left off, sometimes duplicating effort. I would also set up a standardized file format upfront for my assets (audio files, artwork and copy) to be better organized and to more easily find what I need. I do back up periodically to a hard drive to clear out space on my computer.
As people told me, “Just start!” You will figure it out as you go along. If you make it too complicated for yourself, you’re liable to be a pod-fader, if you ever even start. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s also gratifying and a lot of fun. Good luck and please let me know if this post is any help to you or if I can answer any of your questions (obviously not about tech.)
PS I am offering The Feed readers and listeners a FREE 10 pack Travel Collection of my most popular downloads to help them plan their travels, and to help them save money on and for their travels.
You can access it HERE No spam promise (only a once a month email with any new free downloads). Unsubscribe anytime. You will get an automatic ‘thank you’ email from me that, if you reply, will come directly into my inbox if you have any questions for me.
Are you dreaming about traveling? Are you also looking to be active and set goals that you could actually achieve? Then you need to subscribe to the Active Travel Adventures today!
If you are looking to go all in to podcasting, stop thinking about doing it and actually do it, we would love to help you get started! We have super affordable podcast hosting plans and this awesome how to start podcasting series to get you going!