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The Family Vacationer

The Family Vacationer is a podcast created by Rob Jones and Danny Evans and dedicated to families who travel. It was founded two years ago, is published weekly and has 81 episodes in total. Our marketing specialists have taken a look and a listen at what the show has to offer and have identified four areas where its promotional prospects could be improved – advice that any podcaster can apply to their own show.

1. Look again at the artwork

Listeners find podcasts in one of two broad ways. Either they’ve been told about it (perhaps via a friend or on social media) and they search for it, or they stumble across it (perhaps via an advert or a mention in a newsletter). Regardless of which way they discover it, usually the first thing they see before making a decision on whether or not to listen is the cover art. First impressions count and therefore it is vital the cover art is working as hard as it can be to communicate everything that’s brilliant about a show. In short, better artwork = more clicks.

What we liked

The 3D effect is certainly eye-catching and stands out from other shows.

What we recommend

Potential listeners do judge a ‘book’ by its cover – and in this case the overall design choice is unfortunately somewhat dated compared to the rest of the market. To paraphrase one expert: if your design includes a microphone, it’s not a good design. We recommend upgrading your cover art to give it a more contemporary feel and to capture the essence of what your show does best. Consider bringing out the family travel aspect front and centre in a new design.

2. Pick the best podcast category

A podcast category is more than just an incidental place to locate your show. Ultimately, it can still be found regardless of the way it is categorised but certain audiences might focus their searches in certain places – for example, do cookery fans start their search in ‘Leisure’ or ‘Health & Fitness’? Equally your progress (in, say, the Apple Podcasts Charts) will be measured against everyone else in the same category. So making sure your podcast is in the place your audience will be looking is important, and so is considering how competitive those categories are and whether your show would benefit from moving to one that is less competitive.

What we liked

The Family Vacationer is listed in the ‘Places & Travel’ sub-category under ‘Society & Culture’ which, at first glance, makes sense.

What we recommend

recent article from Dan Misener, looked at the number of podcasts listed in different categories and showed that ‘Society & Culture’ had the second-highest number of shows (after ‘Religion & Spirituality’). From a discoverability point of view, it might prove beneficial to list The Family Vacationer in a less-competitive category. For example, from Misener’s data, there are far fewer shows in the ‘Kids & Family’ category (only ‘History’, ‘Fiction’, ‘Government’ and ‘True Crime’ have fewer). What’s more, within ‘Kids & Family’, the ‘Parenting’ sub-category has 7,398 shows on Apple Podcasts compared to 10,868 for ‘Places & Travel’. So already we can see that an alternative – but arguably equally valid – category is about a third less competitive.

Next, if we put ourselves in the mind of potential listeners – e.g. parents – are they more likely to be looking for family related content in ‘Society & Culture’ or in ‘Kids & Family’? While it’s a big decision to change categories, we recommend reviewing your options and thinking about where your target audience is most likely to be looking.

3. Check the product matches the packaging

Marketing and promotion is always centred around the ‘product’ – in this case the podcast. And every podcast is, at its heart, a combination of host(s), guests and format. So when it comes to promoting your show, it’s important to consider how well the packaging matches the product.

What we liked

The Family Vacationer is billed as a show that covers destinations, apps and gadgets and talks to travel experts – and successful delivers on this, with some great episodes around the Disney Genie app and with guests representing different towns and cities across the US.

What we recommend

A big thing that struck our team was that it might be better to hear more of a family’s perspective compared to that of travel professionals. Given Rob’s professional travel background, it is understandable why the show has been structured in this way but, considering the target audience, listeners might expect to hear more about how a family would experience a destination. Consider bringing in a segment (or maybe even another host) that is more representative of a family’s point of view and softens the ‘travel leaflet’ feel.

4. Supercharge your social media

Social media marketing is a whole topic in itself – and in future issues of The Podcast Clinic we’ll be hearing more on this from our Guest Consultants such as Hannah Weintraub. At its core, however, social media offers an opportunity to find and engage with your audience, and one key thing to consider is how you can use it to add value to that audience. In simple terms this means to pay more attention to what you can offer to your audience (such as facts, advice, fun videos), rather than what you might ask from them (such as “listen to my podcast”).

What we liked

Rob and Danny already have a meaningful following on Instagram and Facebook and are posting lots of visual content, which audiences find engaging.

What we recommend

Consider finding ways to give social media audiences some more information they’d find useful – perhaps a top-5 list of destinations for kids in a particular state, or the latest offers for a particular theme park. It can help to build up a library of content in advance of posting it – resources such as Buffer can be really helpful for this (and really affordable). Once you have this content, help people who aren’t following your account find it through the use of targeted hashtags and boosting posts on Facebook and Instagram. Don’t spend more than a few dollars at a time, though, as it can quickly add up! You’ll soon learn which types of posts people respond to and which aren’t working.

As our featured podcasters, The Family Vacationer’s creators will receive one free month of Pro Membership, giving them access to Podspike’s Powerups – a range of professional services they can use to help promote their show. We recommend they consider the Diary Drive Powerup to help the team identify key dates for when to promote their show.

  • Listen to The Family Vacationer here