(By Dave Jackson) Podcasting events are a great place for learning in sessions, networking with other podcasters, getting inspired, or finding new tools and strategies.
In March, I will be in Orlando for the Podfest Expo. In August, I will be back in Orlando for Podcast Movement. There are many others, and there are local meetups (see meetup.com). You may be thinking of going and wondering if it’s worth the expense and time.
As we all have different budgets and responsibilities there is no one-size-fits-all answer, but I can share what has happened to me at podcasting events.
Your Mileage May Vary
My situation may be different to yours. I always tell people to attend events around their niche. Podcasting is my niche, and so I may get more out of these than someone who is doing a show about NASCAR. With that in mind, I have:
- Found guests to appear on my show
- Developed partnerships with companies
- Found a co-host for my show
- Enhanced a relationship that lead to a speaking gig
- Recorded interviews and been interviewed
- Added consulting clients
- Developed relationships with people who are my “competition.”
You can get connected with the right people. I was talking with Erik K. Johnson of podcasttalentcoach.com and he was saying he needed someone to help him with his website. Later, I got in an elevator and asked the other passenger why they were at the event. It turns out he was a web designer and needed help with his content. This was the ultimate peanut butter and jelly in real life.
At Podfest, Kim from toastmasters101.net, ran into Stephen whose company rents microphones. Kim introduced us and this turned into an interview on the spot. Kim knew I would be interested in having him as a guest, and likewise, if I have someone who has questions about public speaking or Toastmasters, I’m sending them over to Kim.
At Podcast Movement I had a “behind the scenes” conversation with Michael Stelzner about his latest project. I can’t get that information anywhere. I also got to meet Marc Maron, but more importantly, I got to meet some of my listeners.
You Are Among Friends
One of the biggest benefits of going to a podcast event is you never have to explain what a podcast is to anyone. Everyone in the room has the same goal of getting more downloads.
You no longer have to explain why you are in your room talking into a microphone. It is the difference between going with the current or against it, and it’s exhilarating.
For a new podcaster, you are going to hear strategies that can help you avoid the pitfalls of podcasting, and help your show grow faster. You may find new tools, as many companies launch around these events (especially Podfest and Podcast Movement).
When you get there, DON’T BE SHY. I know this is hard (I myself can be quite the introvert) but all you need to do is walk up to the person near you and ask, “What brings you to the conference?”
But It Costs Money
But what about the expense? What if this is just a hobby? People spend money to attend Comicon (an event about comic books and more). So apparently it’s OK to spend money on a hobby even if you don’t make any money with your hobby.
One way to save is to check the schedule. In some cases, the first day of the event is filled with paid workshops and the actual “real” first day of the event is Day 2.
See if anyone else in your niche is attending and look into splitting the hotel costs or renting an Airbnb together. Going with a friend means you can split hotel costs and Uber rides.
As I said before, we all have different budgets and responsibilities.
In the end, it is all about relationships and those can be started, nurtured, and enhanced at a podcast event. I always tell people if you’re having a great conversation in the hallway and a session is starting, stay with the conversation. In almost all cases you can watch the presentation later.
If you’re attending a podcast event (or planning one) be sure to let me know. I’d love to meet you there.
Dave Jackson is a Hall of Fame podcaster and consultant. He started the School of Podcasting in 2005 and potentially has helped more podcasters with their podcast than any other human on the planet. Find him at www.schoolofpodcasting.com.