Kimberly Deese of the Travel Squad Podcast: How to Drive Podcast Bingeability Through Co-Host Banter and Humor
As part of my series of interviews about “5 things you need to know to create a bingeable podcast”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kimberly Deese.
Kimberly is the co-host of the Travel Squad Podcast, a fun weekly travel show. Kimberly has a career in digital public relations, is a podcast and media fanatic, and avid travelers. After first leaving the country at 26, she has since visited 12 countries and taken countless national park and weekend trips. The podcast started in 2019 to inspire people to travel, show how to do it affordably while working still full time, and capture the fun and excitement of travel.
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Can you tell us a bit of your “personal backstory? What is your background and what eventually brought you to this particular career path?
My college degree is in PR, I’ve worked in PR and digital marketing for seven years and I’ve always loved media of all forms. I became obsessed with podcasts and travel four years back and was inspired to start a travel podcast of my own after seeing a need for a younger voice in travel to bring excitement and comedy to the space.
Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?
I was on a first date in my hometown of San Diego at a speakeasy that you entered by sitting at a table that spun around to enter the hidden bar. While getting ready to turn on this table someone walked up to me and asked, “Are you Kim from the Travel Squad Podcast?” It was so surreal to be recognized from the podcast!
Can you share a story about the biggest or funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaways you learned from that?
The first episode we ever recorded we didn’t press the right record button and lost the whole thing! We were so defeated, trying to start a podcast without any audio recording or editing experience and had been working so hard that night. We stayed longer that night to re-record it and it was saved right the second time around, but it just shows you aren’t going to know everything about starting and growing a podcast, and there will be plenty of roadblocks and challenges, just keep going.
How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?
The Travel Squad Podcast debuted August 15, 2019 and we have released over 63 episodes since and several YouTube videos.
What are the main takeaways, lessons or messages that you want your listeners to walk away with after listening to your show?
Before launching the podcast, myself and the other three co-hosts of the podcast all sat down to really nail down who our target audience is and what we want them to get out of our show.. We want people to be inspired to travel because we capture the fun and excitement of the trip and destination we’re talking about, and because we have given so much detail on what to see and do there the trip is already planned. We also wanted to show people travel is possible no matter who you are, by showing them how affordable it can be, and how to work in travel while balancing a full-time career.
In your opinion what makes your podcast binge-listenable? What do you think makes your podcast unique from the others in your category? What do you think is special about you as a host, your guests, or your content?
We’re funny! There are four hosts on the Travel Squad Podcast and we have all known each other for so long, but each have our own, different personalities so it makes it really fun. We are always telling jokes, laughing about sexual innuendos, making fun of each other, and laughing about funny stuff that happened while traveling together. We prioritize making the episodes fun, and light with great banter that keeps our listeners interested.
Doing something on a consistent basis is not easy. Podcasting every work-day, or even every week can be monotonous. What would you recommend to others about how to maintain discipline and consistency? What would you recommend to others about how to avoid burnout?
It is a lot of repetitive behind-the-scenes work to produce a weekly podcast. You have to keep it interesting by trying new things and having fun with it. Remember what inspired you to create the podcast and keep that inspiration alive by noticing how your efforts play out in the growth and connections that result from your podcast. Keep having fun by changing your podcast format, the types of guests you interview or segments in the episodes.
What resources do you get your inspiration for materials from?
I’m a big fan of podcasts, so I get inspiration from my own subscriptions every week. I pull from cool things I’ve seen in how others introduce or promote their guests, the opening script, and how to incorporate ads in naturally and authentically. And as a travel podcaster, I’m inspired by wanderlust and the excitement of discovering beautiful, cool places.
Is there someone in the podcasting world who you think is a great model for how to run a really fantastic podcast?
Lauryn and Michael with The Skinny Confidential Him & Her show. They bring their unique perspectives to all matters and guest interviews, and they’ve known each other for decades so they keep it entertaining with jokes and stories. This was the podcast that got me hooked on podcasts and inspired me to create my own. They said multiple times, that the market is not saturated, and saying that is an excuse not to start, and I really took that to heart.
What are the ingredients that make that podcast so successful? If you could break that down into a blueprint, what would that blueprint look like?
The Him & Her show clearly spends time thinking about the guests they want to have on and the content they want to put out. They understand their audience well and know what they like, but it mirrors with what they like, and you can really see that authenticity. As far as a blueprint goes, I would say be authentic to yourself, know your audience, and stay true to the mission of your podcast.
Can you share with our readers the five things you need to know to create an extremely successful podcast?
The five things you need to create an extremely successful podcast are consistency, connection, value, entertainment, and expansion.
- Consistency — All good podcasts have a consistent posting schedule, and they stick to it. It’s also consistently delivering quality content and audio.When COVID hit in March, our travel podcast understandably tanked, but we didn’t want to abandon our listeners because travel was on the back-burner. We quickly adapted to zoom recordings and put out episodes that made sense for the time while still staying entertaining and relevant to our travel audience.
- Connection — Good podcasts from relationships with their audience. Podcasting is a medium of talking to your audience, so use reviews and social media to have conversations and bring those interactions into your episodes so your audience can bond with you too.We live for reviews on Apple Podcasts! Hearing from our listeners makes our day, we love to see what they have to say about the value we provide and how they enjoy it. We also welcome people to DM us on Instagram so we can have real conversations with our fans and put a face to the numbers. That connection makes our listeners real and makes the process so much more rewarding.
- Provide Value — All good podcasts provide value to their listeners. From the guests they bring on to the topics that are discussed, you want users to walk away learning something new, hearing a new perspective, and being inspired to take action in some place in their life from what they heard on your podcast. That’s really what will keep them coming back week after week for more of your content. We include travel tips for that in every episode because we want our listeners to learn from our experiences so it’s easier for them. We strive to bring value in the form of the research that trips can load on, things like drive times, best places to take a photo, where to rent a car, how to get from point A to point B are all things you have to look up, but when you listen to our podcast, we give it to you.
- Entertain — People spend hours with you in their earphones, so make it entertaining. Laugh, tell jokes, go on side tangents, show your personality.One of the reasons I was inspired to start a travel podcast is that i was struggling to find a good travel podcast to listen to. All of the shows I found were monotone, boring, and the typical white male voice. I wanted to bring comedy and excitement into the travel podcast field.
- Expansion — Good podcasts continue to grow what they offer. From introducing new segments and guests, to breaking into new products or episode types, keep growing your podcast and your audience and results will grow with it. We asked ourselves, “how can we give our audience even more value?” when brainstorming how we could expand. That’s where the idea for our travel itineraries came from. We already had all the info on routes, thighs to see and see, costs and so much more, so we built that info into beautiful multi-page PDF travel itinerary and trip guides. For example, we have a 3 day American Southwest road trip itinerary, one week in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks and more. It was a natural expansion for us to bring more travel inspiration to our fanbase.
Check out the full interview in Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine Article about Kimberly Deese!
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1) Book Great Guests. I recommend keeping a lot of guests you want and keeping it organized with their status in booking, and link to the episode once live. A booking tool like Calendly is essential for working out schedules with less back and forth. The Travel Squad Podcast added a contact form on our website for guests to inquire about coming on an episode, this way we get answers to all the screening questions we would initially ask to vet a guest to move the process along quicker.
2) Increase Listeners. Increasing listeners is an always-on task of podcasting. Promotion is a big aspect of the podcasting puzzle, so telling everyone that will listen about your podcast is a great start, as is partnering with similar podcasts to swap interviews, or just interact with them on social media. Engage, engage, engage on social media, don’t wait for them to come to you.
3) Produce Like A Pro. This means having the right recording equipment and taking the time to edit for sound quality. Get a good quality microphone, make sure it’s level with your mouth for the best audio, and reduce background noises.
Editing takes about three times as long as the recording does. In this step you can remove lulls, filler words, or bloopers that will happen. You can also add sound effects to give your podcast that up leveled production value. A great, free tool we found is a software called Levelator, this program takes your audio and levels all the sound out, so you don’t have one person speaking loudly, and another soft.
4) Encourage Engagement. Ask for it. On our episodes we always ask our listeners to review us, follow us on Instagram and tag us in their travel pics, send in their questions of the week and they do! We also make sure to talk about our listeners and our interactions with them on our episodes, so it encourages more people to reach out.
5) Monetize Your Show. Have multiple streams of income running at the same time. Mid-roll ads, affiliate marketing, brand collaborations, and selling your own products and services are all great streams to create and build on over time.
Check out the full interview in Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine Article about Kimberly Deese!