A podcast is the newest and hottest way to build your event community, increase sponsorship dollars and keep your attendees engaged year round. Here are 10 tactics to get you started and ensure attendees listening to your podcast will be foaming at the mouth for your next event… and your next podcast!
By now if you haven’t listened to the podcast serial you are a minority. Podcasting is quickly becoming the headphone filler for commuters, dog walkers, line waiters, gym goers, etc. Which means if you have an excellent event your attendees will be scanning iTunes looking for your podcast. Podcasts have proven to grow your community, be a huge addition to your social media strategy and a nice sponsorship opportunity for your exhibitors. Remember when your event or conference didn’t need a website or an event app? Well, Podcasts are the next value add you might consider for your next program.
What tactics should you be most concerned with your event podcast?
Not having a strategic plan, and a strategy will kill your show. On new shows you can often tell when people are trying to ad lib and stretch for time. If you realize this while you're doing it while recording, I assure you, your listeners can tell. Luckily your conference or event generates a plethora of content. Ask your team a few questions in the planning stage. What do we want to achieve with this podcast? How will we measure the success of the podcast? Do we have a clear schedule of episodes. Who will drive the podcast internally? Do we need an outside producer?
Think about when you favorite TV or internet season ends. It can be depressing because it is part of your life and routine. Consistency will help your audience. Most listeners will know your schedule (if it’s consistent) and will look forward to a new episode. If you build a great podcast they will be disappointed if they don’t see that new episode. When your conference or event ends your attendees will be itching for more content and you can build community by giving it to them year round, getting them excited for your next event.
Audio Quality matters in all digital media. If they can’t hear they turn it off. Your podcast will quickly be turned off if your listener is riding the volume control trying to get a good listening level. Think about fuzzy radio stations in your car - they are soon tuned to something else. Make sure your audio quality is perfect.
The Host or Hosts are vital. Listeners want a clear view of who is in their ear bud. Think about a newsroom there's usually one main anchor or maybe two. But everyone has a role. Think about the comedy movie Anchorman. Ron Burgundy played by Will Ferrell was the main host but he did have supporting news people to cover sports and weather etc. But he ran the show.
Strategically this guest should be adding value and be someone your audience has asked for or is an obvious choice. The audience needs to know who the guests are and why they are there. Do not take for granted the audience knows this person. If you have breaks for sponsorships make sure to repeat who the guests are just like you might see on a TV show. Above all always be interesting and get to the point quickly. Guest should be prepared technically and have an idea of the show flow for comfort and to bring forth their best content.
In the first 30 seconds of every show cover: who the host is and what is this show about and why your audience should be listening. Some can cover this in an intro bumper. An introduction bumper is the music and voiceover to explain this and even introduce the shows main sponsors each time. Listeners usually know what they like in 5-7 seconds.
Focus on how long you want your show to be. It is usually too long-no matter what length it is. Just like the opening video module from your conference is down to under two minutes. Keeping your podcasts short and value filled is what you will be striving for. But different audiences like different lengths. Ask your audience what they like. Typically a commute or a spin on your gym’s elliptical is around 20 minutes so historically podcasters have tried to keep it at 20 minutes. A good way to keep your show at the right length is to edit your show outline before recording.
Make it valuable to your listeners. Know your listeners. Use your existing audience or build an archetype of your conference attendees and feed that archetype the content they desire. Make sure to have an outline, not a script, with clear transitions between segments. Value is the key. If you don’t add valuable content you will have no listeners. You already have that content at your fingertips from sessions, and interviews from before, during and after your program.
No matter if you are just thinking about a conference podcast or already have a steady stream of podcasts make sure you are polling your audience. This gives your community a chance to tell you what they need and want from your content. Also check your analytics to see what podcast episodes are resonating with your audience. Obviously do more podcasts like that.
Make sure to feed your audience the content they hunger for. Your feed is also your RSS feed which stands for really simple syndication. Like in the old days you had a newspaper subscription when the newspaper released a new newspaper it would arrive via subscription to your doorstep. Also get your feed on as many mobile apps and of course iTunes. Keep in mind Pandora and Spotify now are bringing podcasting to their platforms. Cars are starting to have internet capabilities so for example in our Tesla I can listen to podcasts as I drive.
According to Edison Research 100 million people have listened to podcasts. Those who consume podcasts on a weekly basis listened to an average of five podcasts per week. Pandora and Spotify will soon be streaming podcasts. The ease of streaming and downloadable audio content is on a sharp rise. Following these lessons your attendees can listen when and where they want.
Look around, everyone is wearing headphones; cars are now wired to listen to podcasts, music and audio books. Giving your attendees the gift of podcasting will be essential to keeping your audience engaged, educated and entertained all year around with your conference podcast.
Need your first taste of a Podcast interview? How about listening to Event Manager Blog’s own Julius Solaris.