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Podcasting is no longer a niche activity, it’s a mainstream string to any business’s bow, and a major source of entertainment and information for ever growing numbers of consumers. But the world of podcasting has also evolved, its core appeal, an audio broadcast, a person talking about interesting or informative topics, hasn’t gone away, but these days podcasters offer much more.

In some ways starting a podcast can change your life, as a podcaster you certainly move into the role of broadcaster, commentator and even entertainer. But these days you are also likely to be something of an event organizer and host. This is because the popularity of virtual events has grown massively in recent years, and podcast events are now a growing phenomenon too.

Podcasting afterall, is a natural fit for virtual events. It fits perfectly into a world where individuals, groups and organizations want as never before to feel connected and engaged.

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There’s much to gain, as a successful podcast event can elevate your output and increase your audience, it can also grow your podcast expanding what you offer and giving you valuable experience in the process.

But as with anything worth doing, it’s a case of doing it well. So, what are the key areas to consider when it comes to hosting a podcast event? Let’s break it down.

Podcast v. Podcast Event?

So, first of all, let’s look at the difference between your regular podcast and hosting an event. 

As someone who runs a podcast you may already occasionally host live sessions, but an event is much more than this; it’s an occasion, something extra, you’re adding value to your podcast and potentially offering your audience a greater range of ways to interact and connect. Events can be more personal, more varied and often, more fun.

But remember, while giving your audience more you are simultaneously giving yourself more too. This is one of the best branding strategies for you and your product. 

The extra that you offer can be anything from a workshop on mindfulness to a celebrity interview. The possibilities are virtually endless. Of course, different events will be a better or worse fit than others for your particular podcast, but let’s look at some of the most popular.

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Types of Events

The type of event you choose will depend on the nature of your business and the style of your podcast. What’s suitable for one podcaster might not work for another. It’s a good idea to check out the podcast events hosted by podcasters in your own field. This way you can get a good idea of what might work for your podcast.

Q and A Sessions and Panel Discussions

This type of event can really engage your audience, but make sure the preparation is sound in order to give the best experience to your listeners. 

Involve your audience, let them know who the panelists will be, and ask them to come up with questions for your Q and A session. You could also involve listeners in the initial selection of guests or topics for discussion. Ask them at the planning stage who they would be interested in hearing from, and what they would like guests to discuss.

With panel discussions and questions and answer sessions, it’s advisable to prepare beforehand, by running through things with your guests in a video call

If you aren’t used to managing a discussion between several parties, you could even get some friends to role-play this with you, so that you have some practice.

Webinars, Presentations and Workshops

Giving your audience some closer interaction from your podcast is the real benefit of these types of events. Offering to share skills, educate, and encourage is something that goes down very well with an audience. Your listeners after all are likely to come from a particular interest group or sector, and will be interested in shared knowledge relating to their particular niche.

Make sure you choose a platform that enables you to share images and resources clearly and easily. It’s also aIso a nice addition to offer links to free videos and other content as a follow up to the event. 

Conferences and Networking

Conferences take a fair amount of organizing and planning in advance, you want to make sure you have quality contributors and sessions. These are the real draw when it comes to a conference, especially a ticketed one where attendees pay a fee. A conference can succeed or fail on the strength of the guests.

Conferences that focus on a particular business sector that also offer networking opportunities are particularly attractive. Organize break-sessions and social chats. Help delegates by advising beforehand that they make sure they’ve considered ways to keep in touch with new contacts, such as setting up digital voicemail.

Lastly, don’t leave yourself out of the networking, make sure you promote and raise awareness of your podcast throughout.

Interviews and Special Guests

An interview can form part of a conference or Q and A session, but it can be a more scaled down, more intimate event. Good question preparation is essential, and also keeping a timescale in mind. You want to leave time at the end for further discussion or audience questions.

You could also involve your guest in promoting your podcast, in a sense you could become affiliate marketers promoting your guest’s services or products, in exchange for a boost for your own.

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Parties, Quizzes and Fun Events 

Remember, it doesn’t all have to be about work. Your podcast audience will really appreciate the occasional fun event, where you get a chance to show your human side, to let your personality shine and to make your listeners feel good. This is the way to find superfans of your podcast.

The event could be anything from a social virtual drink and chat, a celebration party related to a national or international holiday or a personal milestone for yourself or industry. But it could also be a chance to do some arts and crafts with your listeners, exchange recipes, or play a game. Quizzes are particularly popular and work really well virtually.

You could also have a poll and decide on what event to ghost by asking your listeners.

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Venue

This might sound a strange one to consider, as you may host your podcast from a room in your home that your listeners never get to see. But many podcast events are hosted from an interesting location or public space and events of course can involve live video, so it is important to think about this.

Maybe your event involves coming live from a business conference venue, where you interview a delegate about how an automatic call distributor can help businesses. It can be interesting for your audience to see the venue and get a sense of the hustle and bustle and vibe of the event, especially if they are unable to travel to such a place themselves.

Live events can offer the opportunity to take your audience on a trip, to live vicariously through you and your commentary, to hear a different soundscape to your usual podcast.

Perhaps your podcast is aimed at the travel industry or nature conservation companies. Why not come live from a beach or beauty spot? Or perhaps your panel event could take place in a local museum or library if you are using video. 

Thinking about venues and being creative in this way adds value and interest to your podcast.

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Promotion and Tickets

If you’ve done your homework and given serious thought to what your audience needs, you will be selling tickets to something that’s truly appealing, and in this way you will not only overcome sales objections, but you will also have the potential for word of mouth promotion among your audience. 

It’s a good idea to look at other similar events before deciding on pricing, you want to be competitive yet not undersell yourself.You also want to consider concessionary tickets for those in groups who might find it unaffordable, and you’ll need to consider how many tickets you’ll make available. 

With certain types of virtual events such as a presentation, tickets can really be limitless, as the audience is mainly just watching or listening. But any event where you create break-out spaces or where the audience is allowed to ask questions or participate, you really need to judge how many attendees you can reasonably cope with. Remember if you are overwhelmed the event experience for your audience will be compromised, you don’t want this to happen.

Make sure any tech is up to scratch and that you have practiced using it and have contingency plans if something goes wrong. Do some run-throughs, practice with friends and family. Make sure your event is as likely to go without a hitch as you possibly can.

Planning and Practice

It’s vital to be organized, you don’t want to come across like you are winging it to your audience, schedule the preparation you need to do, set up email reminders and plan for potential problems.

It’s also vital to be inclusive. Make sure you have thought about the needs of disabled listeners, do you have sign language available or transcripts? If it’s not possible to offer these live, you could add them after the event and send the recordings to those who need them. But always aim for everyone to be able to attend live and be able to participate.

Make sure you really know your audience and what might interest them. Choose locations and topics that appeal to this group, and find out what’s already out there for them. How can your podcast event fill an empty space? Can you offer something that’s needed but currently missing?

Think about the timing of your event. Make sure it’s the best time slot for the majority of your audience. Consider time zones and the working and school day in most places. Make it a popular time for as many of your listeners as possible.

Run through any speeches you want to give, practice reading out loud, and don’t be afraid to bullet point or script with timings to help you stay on track. A virtual phone number can also be handy for organizing and staying connected if you are in more remote regions, or on the move.

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Why Do a Live Event?

Well, at its most basic level, hosting an event is a way to market your business with a podcast

And to raise awareness of your brand and business or activity.

But there’s no doubt that an event can mean a huge amount of work, and if you don’t have time, it’s better to wait until you can give it your full attention. A bad event won’t help your podcast or business, but a good one can give a valuable boost.

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If you research and plan effectively, ask your audience for suggestions and really focus on what they want and need, you will have a great starting point for your podcast event. But ultimately, the extra special ingredient is your own style and personality, after all, this is what your audience already keeps coming back for. Look at what other podcasters in your market sector do in terms of events, but don’t forget to be original and try something a little different or new.

Your first event will not be perfect, but it should be as professional and well put together as possible. But it’s a learning curve, and you will gain knowledge and skills just by having a go. The other thing that can really be a benefit, is finding ways to get feedback after your events.

These could be in the form of questionnaires or simply comments from your audience. 

The responses you get will be invaluable in steering the future course for your podcast and looking ahead to bigger and better events, more reach, more listeners and more success.

Bio:

Tanhaz Kamaly – Partnership Executive, UK, Dialpad UK

Tanhaz Kamaly is a Partnership Executive at Dialpad, a cloud communications provider that turns conversations into the best opportunities, both for businesses and clients. He is well-versed and passionate about helping companies work in constantly evolving contexts, anywhere, anytime. Check out his LinkedIn profile.