If you’re an entrepreneur or involved in the business world at any level, there’s no doubt that getting out and about and investing your time (and resources) into event marketing is a tremendous value. Networking events, chambers of commerce, meet and greets and other types of events are a MUST if you’re trying to grow your influence. Conferences are another go-to source for people who are looking to mix and mingle with others, expand their knowledge, connect with like-minded people and just get the word out about what they do.
Podcasting is no exception, really. While the end goal may be different, many podcasters are starting to see the increasing value of having a higher level of interaction and engagement, not only with their listenership but with others in the podcasting scene as well. If this is you, I’m with you. And with this in mind, here is a list of the top 5 podcast events you need to attend in 2020.
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:
1. 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 (in person or virtually) 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 a 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 (or virtual) 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.
4. 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 art form. 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.
1. Events Cost Too Much
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. But in 2020 and 2021, many podcasting events are happening virtually, which can often offset the costs and lower that barrier to entry.
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.
2. Events Are 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.
3. 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.
Now that we’ve walked through some reasons to attend (virtually or in-person) a podcast event, we want to share our list of the best podcast conferences and events of 2020-21.
Best Podcast Conferences and Events of 2020
The X Fronts (Virtual Event)
September 24, 2020
The X Fronts is “a full day of virtual presentations from indie networks, podcasters and fresh voices who will expand your thinking about the possibilities of podcasting.” Produced by Work x Work, this virtual event looks like it will be packed with value for podcasters of all backgrounds. Work x Work has a solid track record of working with some of the top brands in the audio and storytelling space, including NPR, Spotify, Adobe, and more. We look forward to seeing how this new virtual event unfolds, and how it brings together new connections between advertisers and independent podcasters.
Podcast Movement Virtual 2020 (Virtual Event)
October 19-29, 2020
Our team has attended Podcast Movement for the past several years, and it’s always been an amazing experience. This year “the world’s largest podcast conference” is going fully virtual. Podcast Movement has always been an incredible place to grow as a podcaster.
You can get inspired by networking with fellow podcasters, learn about cutting-edge technology with podcasting vendors from all spaces, learn practical tactics for improving and growing your podcast through the various breakout tracks, and more. While we’re sad to not be meeting in person with everyone at Podcast Movement this year, we’re certain their team will make this virtual event well worth the investment. And one of the benefits of this virtual event is that the ticket prices are much more affordable than ever.
CrimeCon 2020 (In-Person Event, Orlando, FL)
October 30-Nov 1, 2020
CrimeCon is one of the largest podcast conferences, and has a nearly cult-like following. We have attended CrimeCon for the past few years and have always enjoyed connecting with other creators who are passionate about making change through their shows.
While many podcast conferences are transitioning to a fully-digital experience in light of social distancing, CrimeCon is still (as of August 26th, 2020) planning on meeting in person in Orlando, FL.
If you attend CrimeCon 2020 you’ll get to network with inspiring podcasters from all walks of life, connect with vendors to learn about new services and technologies, and much more.
DC Podfest 2020 (In-Person Event, Washington, DC)
November 6-8, 2020
DC Podfest will be one of the last podcast conferences in 2020, closing out the year. This 3-day conference is a smaller, more exclusive event with only 200 tickets up for sale in total. If you are looking for a more intimate experience where you can learn about how to be a better podcaster, and be inspired by those around you, you’ll definitely want to check out DC Podfest.
Best Podcast Conferences and Events of 2021
The Podcast Show 2021 (In-Person Event, London)
May 26-27, 2021
The Podcast Show is an exciting conference taking place in 2021 at the Business Design Centre in London. Sponsored by major companies like Spotify, BBC Sounds, Acast, and more, this conference looks like it’s going to be incredible. This conference boasts of having international influence and a global outlook on the podcast industry. Their site says the 2021 conference will be “An unmissable, one-of-its-kind event that will inspire, power and shape the future of this influential world.”
ShePodcasts Live 2021 (In-Person Event, Scottsdale, AZ)
October 15-18, 2021
Last year (2019) we attended the very first ShePodcasts conference. As the She Podcasts team identifies, “Everyone deserves to be heard. That’s the foundation of She Podcasts. We started this group because we believe women have a unique challenge in getting their voices to be heard.” Simply put, a solution is needed. And that’s exactly what this conference has done-provide an opportunity for the voice of all women to be heard and emboldened through podcasting. She Podcasts is a blossoming community that is built on equality, empowerment and encouragement. And this is exactly why the Resonate team wanted to participate from the very beginning. With over 50 sponsors and a stunning lineup of speakers, the conference was a breath of fresh air for women podcasters of all kinds. We trust that the 2021 ShePodcasts conference will be the same and even better than last year!
In 2020, plans and events have been more uncertain than ever. Many events have gone virtual or pushed back until 2021. While we can’t wait to get back in person with podcasters to connect, learn, and be inspired, we are really excited to see what innovations and new opportunities evolve through the rest of this year. Hopefully something on this list caught your attention and will help you connect with the larger podcasting community. Whether you’re just getting started or a seasoned podcaster, these conferences are a wonderful place to connect, learn, teach, and be inspired.