2018 Podcasting Conferences
4 Reasons You Should Go & 3 Why You May Not
07.23.18 | Podcasting | By: Jon Street
If you’re new to the conversation, you should probably know that podcasting is incredibly popular these days. It is a medium that is gaining jaw-dropping numbers of new contributors and consumers every day. As we’ve discussed many times, it’s an easily accessible medium which is very approachable since it requires little knowhow and minimal investment. It’s no doubt then that many are looking to podcasting as a creative outlet, a proverbial soapbox and for those in the business or entrepreneurial world, a platform to share about your message and your brand. It’s quickly becoming much more than just a hobbyists’ weekend entertainment and with that comes the questions around scalability. What I mean her is scalability not only for the industry as a whole but also for the individual podcaster. Because this is becoming a medium with real substance, real gravitas and real listenership, people are looking for ways to capitalize on this and make it more than just a side gig or a hobby they find themselves dabbling in. So the questions becomes “How do we scale podcasting make it more than just a weekend project?”. This is where our conversation will focus. For it to have real, long term potential as a worldwide entertainment and media platform, we have to begin thinking outside the box on how to grow and expand its listenership. One of the questions I receive (and have also asked myself, honestly), is about the idea of conferences and networking. With so many people flocking to podcasting, many of which are people looking to make something serious out of it, this evaluation of networking and conferencing is legitimate. People in the business world network. It’s vital to the model of capitalism. They meet. They mingle. They discuss. They ask questions. They find ways to collaborate and work together. And in some ways, what more is a conference other than a large scale networking opportunity to connect with other like-minded and like-interested individuals? So the question of its place in the world of podcasting is only right to bring up. In all fairness as I write this I am a few hours out from boarding a plane to one of the year’s biggest podcasting conferences. There will be an estimated 2,000 attendees at the conference, mostly active or interested podcasters, of all different experience levels. Podcast Movement and other conferences like it have become tremendous resources for podcasters as it brings together people with minds and hearts who have a similar passion…to communicate something of great importance to them and to hopefully connect with others in an emotional way. In many ways it is seen as the “can’t-miss” event of the year for podcasting and an opportunity to have some tremendous connections with fellow podcasters. So now that I have revealed all of my cards on whether I see value in conferences and networking, I would like to offer a few pros, a few cons and whet the whistle for our next entry.
Why you can’t miss the next podcasting conference or event!
As I hinted at already, there are some tremendous benefits to networking with other podcasters at conferences and other similar venues. Opportunities like these can have real impact in the development of podcasters as they get to connect and chat with others who are passionate about the same thing, even if the genres they speak on are unrelated. Here is a very brief list of benefits to taking time to make this a part of your podcasting experience:
- It breaks down the barriers- One of the biggest obstacles, especially for new podcasters, is how overwhelming it can seem. For many podcasting is just a great idea that they don’t know how to execute. How do you come up with a name? How do you find your guests? How do you plan out your episodes? What equipment do you use? How do you ask good questions? The list of questions that could keep you away from podcasting seems almost endless. The great thing about having the chance to connect with others who are already doing it, is it makes it more approachable. It makes the laundry list of questions not quite as overwhelming and it makes the task at hand (at least) a little more manageable. Dedicating time to getting involved in networking and conferences gives you the opportunity to be face-to-face with others on the “front-line” of podcasting to get some real life insight into what it’s taken (or in reality, what it’s still taking) for them to have success in starting and continuing a podcast.
- It builds community- In a similar way, these gatherings promote the development of a community of people who are passionate about the same things. Now the reality is that podcast genres, the tones and especially the hosts…are all over the map. Literally, but also, figuratively. In many ways you could not find more opposite types of people apart of the same thing than you do in the podcasting world. But the beauty of any community, including the podcasting community, is the broad diversity found within it. And diversity is a tremendous thing. Through building a community of podcasters with different life experiences, different worldviews and different passions you begin to see the opportunity to be personally impacted from others who aren’t just like you. Listen, I know you’re the bees knees, but we all have something to learn from those around us. And in many ways, this is what makes podcasts so great. We all have a voice that should be able to be heard. And what better platform to hear from others than at an event designed to bring them together for a common purpose or goal.
- It allows for collaboration- One of the most amazing things I have seen in my time around podcasting is how willing the podcasting community is to help each other out. Maybe it’s the grassroots mentality that’s made it sweep across the globe like a wildfire, or just the nature of wanting to help others follow in your own footsteps and find success, but podcasters are generally more-than-willing to be a helpful resource for others. There’s many ways this can happen. A simple conversation that leads to an introduction to someone who could help with an topic being covered in your episode. An offer to be a guest on another podcast to help boost listenership exposure. The suggestion of doing an ad spot-swap with another podcast. There are lots of ways collaboration can and does take place, but it’s just plain easier in the real world when you get to talk to others and connect with them as real people, not just sending out a blind, cold email to a stranger.
- It promotes a sustainable future- All of these things come together to show how simple things like conferences and networking in podcasting can promote and stimulate a real future for the artform. You never know how the conversation you just had, the idea you are working through on your next episode or the thought that came to mind might develop into another podcast idea or influence others. By attending and mingling you may have just helped prolong your own podcasting life. All that aside though, these types of events show how much traction podcasting has gained as a whole. At these events we’re talking about tens of thousands of people gathering together for a few days who are really just a sampling of the whole big, beautiful industry. This isn’t a family reunion, it’s a movement. The more we can get involved in these types of events, the more people will notice it’s legitimacy and relevance and the more fires will be lit in the hearts of passionate people with great ideas. And what can this mean except that podcasting will be around for us to enjoy for years to come.
3 reasons you may miss the next podcasting conference or event
Now I get that it’s really easy to only focus on the appealing aspects of something. It can always be easier to focus on the pros while forgetting the (sometimes) serious cons. Fair enough. I’ll play your little devil’s advocate game. Reversing roles I do want to cover a few of the bigger obstacles for making networking and conferences a priority as a podcaster.
- What about the cost- This is no doubt a real barrier. Many of these conferences can come with an expensive price tag. Most of them may not be within driving distance or next to Great Aunt Margaret’s house. The cost for travel, food, hotel, let alone the conference entry itself, can be overwhelming. I get it. As an exhibitor, some fees can cost thousands of dollars. It’s not always a drop in the bucket. And while I don’t know your situation I do know that many just can’t justify the cost for the perceived benefit (or lack thereof). While the thoughts covered above may not be enough to open your mind to writing the checks and swiping the cards to make it happen, I do hope they give you reason to reconsider. If podcasting is something you’re passionate about, you don’t know what your future in it might be. There is an ever-growing list of people who were doing something else, who just fell into podcasting and who have had tremendous success with it. And not just “Oh cool, I got more downloads on my last episode” success, but like “Hey, I can get paid to do what I love?!” kind of success. If you think you might have a real interest in podcasting as a future it may well be worth the investment of your time and resources to make it to a conference to see if it’s something that might just catch fire for you also.
- It’s just so overwhelming- This one goes out to all my social anxiety folks. Yeah, I see you over there cowering in the corner. For some people, even the thought of being congregated with anyone other than just your cat or goldfish is terrifying. And I get it. The DMV and Disney are not top-of-list for my favorite places to be either. Crowds are just too much sometimes. It’s easy to see conferences as just a whole…lot…of…people. But inasmuch as you’re able I want to have you remove yourself from that fear to see the value in what we’ve discussed. Yes, the crowds can be overwhelming. It can be a real big to-do.Being around that many “professional” podcasters might seem pretty intimidating. But think of the tremendous good that can come from a conversation or a break-out session that can prime the pump for your own podcasting ventures.
- I can do it on my own- Here’s another one that I’m sure many of you will throw out at me. Listen, I know you probably think you can do it on your own, you don’t need the support or help and there’s no real value in what others could bring. But the reality is, you literally can’t do it on your own. For your podcast to work you will have to have…listeners. You will more than likely need guests or a co-host. You may even see the value in having some support from professionals on the production side of things to help it sound good. Wherever you find yourself it’s inevitable you will have to have others involved in some way. What I want to stress to you is that one of the reason podcasting is being so successful right now is because of much support there is right now from other fellow podcasters. You may be able to swing it on your own (at least in some ways), but I’m confident your experience would only thrive if you had a little help from others.
My goal over the next week is to capture my own experience at Podcast Movement as a means of encouraging you to get engaged in conferences or other networking events. I know there will be tremendous value and takeaways, while I plan to document and share with you next week. If you’re in Philadelphia this week for Podcast Movement, come by the Resonate and Tenderfoot TV booth and say hello! Remember, podcasting is a great and glorious opportunity and it’s built on the blood sweat and tears of those who have gone before us! Let’s find a way to make something great out if together!
Have questions or comments? Email the Resonate team at [email protected] Interested in connecting with our team and learning more about our services? Check out our website or schedule a call at your convenience.
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.