I’ve been to a handful of podcast conferences in my day - but there’s nothing quite like Podcast Movement. As my guest, Dan Franks says, “It’s the single largest gathering of podcasters in the world,” and that makes it pretty special in its own right.
But there’s so much more than just that it’s big. PM is filled with great content, attended by tons of great people, and offers an education and enthusiasm about podcasting you won’t find anywhere else. No offense, but not even at those other podcasting conferences I’ve been to.
In this conversation Dan and I talked all things Podcast Movement - from what different level podcasters might experience to the exhibit hall, to they types of sessions offered, and more.
My first experience at podcast movement was in Chicago back in 2015. It was one of those environments that was truly electric, you can feel the excitement in the air. Everyone who comes is an enthused podcaster, or is interested in becoming one. It's great just to meet people, even if you don't attend all the sessions you are interested in.
That first year, I think I only went to two or three sessions because I was so busy talking with people in the hallways. Everyone was so generous, sharing their best practices, explaining how they accomplish some amazing thing on there podcast audio, or walking you down the hall to a vendor that they personally vouch for. It really is a unique atmosphere that I recommend to every podcaster experience at least once.
I was curious how Dan and the Podcast Movement team originally came up with the idea to create such a conference so I asked him. And this conversation he shares how he and some of his buddies were very frustrated with another conference - New Media Expo. They attended 2 years straight and both times there were more podcast of New Media publisher, but there were very few sessions about podcasting.
In a typical “can do” approach that many podcasters have, Dan and his friends decided to create the conference they wanted to attend. Podcast movement was born.
Both years that I've attended podcast movement I met a number of individuals who hadn't started their podcast yet. But it was clear they were very serious about doing so. You don't spend money to go to a mega podcast conference without being serious.
New podcasters who want to attend podcast movement are going to have their minds blown. There's so much content, it is like drinking from the proverbial fire hose. But if you go about it in a smart way, you can really get a fast-track education about what it takes to create and publish a stellar podcast.
When I say you need to go about it in a smart way, what I mean is that you should do a little bit of self education first before you land at the largest podcast conference in the world. Become familiar with podcasting terms, watch some YouTube videos, you might even consider taking our starter course to prepare yourself for what you're going to learn at Podcast Movement. It only cost $99 and we'll have you speaking the language in no time so that your experience at podcast movement is all it can be and more.
But even if you decide not to purchase our course, please do something to learn what you can about podcasting. But be careful out there, there's a lot of dated information and advice that isn't based on best practices or what we come to know about podcast search, statistics, downloads, and but I would call Smart podcasting.
Podcast movement is not only a podcasting conference for newbies. Even seasoned podcasters can learn a lot by being strategic.
When I asked Dan about the kinds of things experience podcasters might learn to podcast movement he said the best approach for podcasters who are looking for something specific, is to look through the sessions and be strategic about what sessions you attend and why.
Set goals for yourself. Tell yourself, “y the time I leave I'm going to know how to X, Y, Z.” Then, put your plan in place and make it happen.
The way I figure it, you're spending the money to get to Philadelphia, get into the conference, stay in a hotel room and feed yourself, you should make the most of it. But keep in mind, that doesn't only happen in the panel sessions and keynotes. You will meet people in every hallway who have more experience than you do and perhaps have learned how to accomplish exactly what you want to learn.
Don't be shy. Introduce yourself to people. Ask them what their podcast is about (That's one of the easiest ways to start a conversation at a podcast conference, you know). The more you isolate yourself and act like a junior high boy at the first school dance, the less you were going to benefit from. Guess movement.
Be bold my podcasting brothers and sisters! Get out there and meet your fellow podcast siblings and build the community you long to be a part of.
You may think that's a bit dramatic, but it's not. You really do need to take initiative.
We probably all been at conferences where the exhibit hall is crammed full of any company or service that would pay money to be there. I was once at a Christian booksellers conference where one of the main aisles in the exhibit hall had not only one, but two massage chairs.
Yes, it might be nice to get a massage in the middle of a conference, but what does it have to do with selling Christian books? You kind of get the feeling that the organizers were willing to sell boots to anybody who had a bank account.
Dan Franks promises that podcast movement will never go in that direction. Every exhibitor is vetted before they are allowed to write the check to be in the exhibit hall. The podcast movement team wants to ensure that everything it's attendees are supposed to is relevant to some aspect of podcasting.
That's a breath of fresh air.
And one of the things I noticed when I attended podcast movement is that the exhibitors are usually there because they want to help. Yes, they believe their products or services are a valuable way to help you, but if they don't offer what you need, they are quick to point you in the right direction. That's exactly what happened to me one year as I was searching for a particular technology to solve a problem I had with my podcast. The person I spoke to going to me to another company entirely, simply because he wanted to be helpful.
That's a winning combination. But I'm going to miss my massage.
Imagine that you are telling a co-worker about your favorite series on Netflix. How effective is your enthusiasm about the show going to be on that co-worker if they don't even know what Netflix is?
The same thing is true about podcasting.
All of us want to gain more listeners to are podcasts, but there are still hundreds of thousands of people in the United States alone who don't even know what a podcast is. It's going to take all of us, promoting our podcasts, explaining what podcasting is, in even borrowing our friends smartphone to pull up there podcasting app and show them how to subscribe, before podcasting will become as prevalent as well known as Netflix.
Being on par with Netflix isn't the goal, but that kind of notoriety in familiarity definitely needs to happen in the industry.
Everyone of us who podcasts is responsible to make sure that happens. It's actually pretty simple. Don't forget to talk about your podcast to people who you think might be interested in it. Mention other great podcasts that you have listened to recently, show your friends how to find it for themselves.
The more enthused we are about the podcast Kool-Aid we've been drinking, the more convincing we are going to be and getting others to drink it.
If you haven't thought about attending podcast movement, I highly recommend it. You'll come away from the largest podcasting conference in the world with a renewed enthusiasm not only for your podcast, but for podcasting in general. You will also Come Away with more than one great idea for improving your podcast, adjusting your process to make the consistent publication of your podcast possible, and maybe even a new podcasting best friend.
[1:16] Here’s what you need to know about Podcast Movement: The World’s Largest Gathering of Podcasters
[2:22] PM came out of frustrations with New Media Expo: What about podcasters?
[7:29] The first ever podcast conferences at sea. Really. It happened in 2015 and 2016
[10:22] Dan’s experience at Midroll Media (a major podcast sponsor company)
[13:22] What can you expect at PM18 if you are a brand new or aspiring podcaster?
[16:50] Seasoned podcaster with specific questions? Set your goals and learn it at PM18
[24:20] How can business professionals interested in podcasting think about Podcast Movement?
[27:30] How to make the most of the exhibit hall
[33:10] The things Dan sees in the podcast industry that excite him
[36:19] What you can do to raise awareness of podcasting
[40:10] If you can’t attend PM18, check out the virtual pass