Amplifying Austin: Discover Austin turns to podcasting to get the word out about Spamtown
Published 6:31 pm Friday, July 14, 2023
For the last few years, Discover Austin has been using the open road to promote what the community has to offer to out-of-towners.
However, Austin’s tourist organization is now turning to the internet and the world of podcasts to get that same word out.
“It’s a little further reach than what we could normally do,” said Executive Director Nancy Schnable after recording one of the episodes.
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This new method of reaching people follows on the wheels of Petunia the Pig, a VFW Bug covered with a pig-themed wrap complete with a snout and curly tail.
For the last two years, it’s been roaming the Midwest, participating in festivals and parades while touting the community known for its famed canned meat.
However, that was only a two-year marketing plan and has since been sold, yet her lasting impact is still being felt.
“She was a show-stopper for us,” Schnable said, noting that when they were looking to sell the car it was shared over 14,000 times on Facebook. “Even now that she is gone, people are still asking for her. We still get requests for events from people who want her to attend. She came to life as far as the marketing world goes.”
With that idea having run its course, Discover Austin began looking for new ways to reach the masses. A podcast hit the right note.
With so many podcasts devoted to so many things these days, Discover Austin joining the trend seemed like a natural evolution to what the group is trying to do in promoting the community.
“We kind of got this presence in the Midwest. How do we keep that going?” Schnable said. “The idea of a podcast came up because we can target (people) with geo-targeting 20 minutes out, an hour out from Austin.”
“If they are rolling through podcasts, ours will pop up,” she continued, adding that by working with a third party company they are able to get the podcast on outlets like Pandora, iTunes and Spotify. “They can help us get the word out a little bit further than we would be able to on our end.”
Started in spring of this year, Schnable said that the organization is already hearing from people who have heard the podcast.
“Some people have actually called and said, ‘hey, we’ve heard about this and have a few more questions,’” she said. “That’s exactly what we wanted to hear. We can see how many people are listening to it. We’re satisfied with how things are going so far. Finding topics hasn’t been difficult.”
The podcast isn’t necessarily replacing anything though. Rather it augments Discover Austin’s other efforts as it seeks to balance reaching new people while still touting the good word to people right here at home.
In other words, Discover Austin is diversifying its efforts.
“We have a very diverse marketing plan,” Schnable said. “This is another feather that we put in our hat to reach people. The more diversity we can have, the more people we can connect with.”
While most of their plans are two-year plans, Schnable said that she’s unsure how long this particular project will last.
With equipment that can allow for work both in Discover Austin’s office as well as out on the road, there is no specific time table for the project.
It’s more of a wait-and-see as the podcast continues to develop.
At the same time, the road is still very much in use as the Austin-themed semi, a 10-year project that can track the trailer across the United States, is still traveling throughout the county.
“We still get calls from people. ‘Hey, we saw this truck,’” Schnable said, noting that some have been people who once lived in town, but have since moved.
Look for the podcast by searching for “Discover Austin, MN.”