Podcast Movement 2018 Recap
5 Reasons to Network Market with Podcasting
07.30.18 | Podcasting | By: Jon Street
In a previous post I discussed the idea of networking and conferences and their valuable place in the podcast world. My intention was twofold: to bring to the table some valid reasons why people do not invest their time and money in these opportunities, but also to offer some valuable reasons why they are incredibly beneficial. By way of review, I suggested 4 reasons why you should be open minded about the idea, but 3 reasons why people usually are not. The reality is there are a number of reasons to shrug them off as just unnecessary or inconvenient. My hope is that after digging in that you will be one of the ones who sees that the benefits will very likely outweigh the cons. At the close of that post I also mentioned that I would be attending the Podcast Movement 2018 conference and offer my thoughts on the experience afterwards. So here I am as promised, writing this on the plane ride home, while my mind is (literally) soaring. I have to say that walking away from Podcast Movement 2018 that I am without a doubt feeling exhausted from several days of being on my feet, interacting with hundreds of people. Knowing that there are roughly 2,000 people migrating through a room over a couple of days can be overwhelming. If I wasn’t a people-person I would likely want to hide in a room for a week to detox and regain my composure. But interacting with other passionate people rejuvenates me, so I am incredibly energized and optimistic about the future of podcasting directly because of what I saw, heard and felt at the conference. I saw a lot of people who were either already actively podcasting, feeling empowered to start podcasting and professionals offering solutions to podcasters as a means of making their lives easier. I heard the voice of many podcasters excitedly talking about this growing medium. It was undeniable that people were excited to be there and invested in this concept. I felt the energy of people both young and old, from all walks of life, who are carrying the mantle of podcasting in this generation as a means of ensuring its place in the years to follow. Because of the hard work and dedication of the people I had the chance to interact with, podcasting will be here for a long time. There is so much that could be said about Podcast Movement 2018, but I want to offer a handful of practical takeaways from the time, hoping it will inspire you to get involved in another upcoming event yourself.
Podcasting is not going anywhere because the future is bright
This is something we say nearly every post...because it’s quite literally true. The updated statistics offered at the conference were something in the range of 54% of US households are now listening to podcasts equating to 75 million listeners and 500,000 active podcasts on iTunes alone. These numbers are staggering. In our always-binging, immediate-gratification, microbite-minded world, a non-video medium is gaining traction in incredible ways. While film and video content will certainly be around for the inevitable future, many networks, companies and professionals are seeing incredible value in podcasting as a way of the future. I’m not here to say that video content is lacking because of podcasting. Video is an overwhelming presence in our world and podcasting will not be overthrowing it from its throne. All I am suggesting is that when you look at podcasting as a platform for broadcasting your personal or business message, you are looking to the literal future of a sizable portion of our broadcasting and entertainment content in years to come.
Podcasting is for everyone and there is incredible diversity present
The world we live in is such a diverse melting pot that it should come as no surprise the variety we see in our local or global communities. Every day you can meet someone new from a unique place, with a different life story. The podcasting world is really no different. A simple browse through iTunes will confirm the broad diversity of genres and topics covered as well as the hosts that guide the conversations. When bringing that reality to the topic at hand of networking and conferences, there’s something especially unique with coming face to face (literally) with thousands of podcasters and seeing how different they are. Sure they come in different variations of height, age, ethnicity and professional background, but I was truly mesmerized by how different each person’s story was that I had the chance to talk with. I talked with hundreds of people over 3 days and each one was different in so many ways, yet with the common thread of wanting to share their story, their vision with the world through podcasting. But this is not a US phenomenon. It’s easy to isolate podcasting the the continental US, but I met many people from overseas who are excited about the rapid surge in popularity for podcasting in Europe and abroad. I also talked with several people in the tv/film industry who were making the intentional migration in their careers from film to podcasting because of the valuable, long-term future there. I talked with a new podcaster who is podcasting about nomadic podcasters. On the last night I had the chance to talk to a professional musician who understands the incredible value of using podcasting as means of helping fellow musicians make a real living through their creative talents. When you think about how quickly podcasting is growing you have to also affirm that the list of types of people podcasting is growing just as quickly.
There is a lot of freedom in podcasting
It’s a no-brainer that podcasting is unique because you can (at least theoretically) say whatever you want. It’s a form of free speech that people find valuable. Sure, there will always be people who abuse that freedom to tear others down, but I want to remind us of the tremendous value of having a platform where free speech and a personal voice (from people who traditionally might not have a voice) can still be heard. This aside there is tremendous freedom for you as you are compiling your content and your theme. I was astonished to learn about the different types of podcasts represented at the conference, each with a message, a following and a future.
There is a responsibility for podcasters
One of the most impactful takeaways from my time at the conference came from a panel discussion with some of today’s top podcasters. The discussion was entitled The Evolution of Podcasting and featured notable podcasters like Payne Lindsey, Marc Smerling, Gotham Chopra, DeRay McKesson, Mimi O’Donell and Mary Lisio. The purpose was simple-to discuss (in a very general way) where podcasting was and has now come in recent days. And while the overall growth trend and its impact in daily media consumption was highlighted, one of the aspects really driven home was the journalistic nature of many podcasts and how there is an incredible responsibility inherent in it. Think about it. Podcasting is different from much of traditional printed media because there is a real conversation that is taking place which has a level of vulnerability in it. In many cases you are asking personal questions to people who are open to sharing but there is always the temptation to twist the story to meet your own agenda. There is incredible responsibility in a podcaster’s journalism to represent people fairly, to use your moral compass and bring an incredible story to life. As Payne Lindsey said, “you have the opportunity to be led by your moral compass while finding ways to be aggressive and push the boundaries to bring an engaging story to life.”
You are not alone as there is a lot of support through people and products
When I wasn’t interacting with podcasters I took some time to walk around to the other exhibitor booths at the conference. There was literally everything available to learn about. From podcasting hosts like PodBean, Libsyn and Blubrry to new and innovative technology from companies like Cloud Microphones and Shure. There were services and support for podcasts like SquadCast, Podchasers and Podcast Memes. There was no shortage of things to see learn and hear. One thing was clear though-there is an ever-growing market of tools, programs and services available to help enable you improve your podcast experience. But hardware and software aside, there were many conversations had between podcasters looking for real, specific ways to get help from other podcasters through sponsors, ads and mentorships and an equally large number of people interested on offering those things to others. Podcasting is not an individual sport. As a podcaster you will have to lean into others for the support needed to make it happen. The exciting thing is that the support is there and you will likely not have to search too far before you find the support you’re looking for.
There is so much that can be said about the time at Podcast Movement 2018. Walking away I was really encouraged by my time and am very thankful to have gone and been a part of the conference. It is amazing to think that podcasting in many ways is still in its infancy and its future is brilliantly bright. Joining that with the reality that there is such a diversity of content being produced by an equally large diversity of podcasters is really exciting to see. It’s not one-size-fits-all. And while with this reality comes incredible freedom and responsibility, knowing you have others to look to for guidance and support is incredibly helpful. And there is no better way to interact and engage with people who are willing to help you with your own journey then through networking and conferences.
By: Jon Street
As the Production Manager at Resonate Recordings, Jon leads the production team and ensures that all our podcasters have everything needed to release consistent high-quality episodes. Jon and his family are from West Palm Beach, Florida and now live in Simpsonville, KY.