A guide to podcasting for event organisers and attendees
Podcasting is the perfect addition to your marketing mix, and event organisation is no exception.
On the surface, it looks like the concept and practice of podcasting belongs to comedians, The Guardian and the BBC. The truth is that podcasting is for everybody, regardless of professional background, media skills, budget and time. These elements may help you get into the podcasting charts, but beneath the celebrity shows and media corp regurgitations, there are audience-specific, niche podcasts that serve a purpose more than simply to promote or generate traffic to other endeavours.
For event organisers who need new registrants, repeat visitors, loyal brand advocates, engaged speakers and enthusiastic exhibitors, communication is vital. As a marketing tool, there’s no disguising the unique and authentic appeal of podcasting, but I would argue that it’s as effective a communication tool as anything else you have in your comms setup.
From its ability to create engagement with your followers, customers and clients, podcasting is the secret weapon largely untapped in event organisation. A podcast strategy can help you reach out to new audiences across different industries and demographics. It improves networking potential for everybody: you, your exhibitors and your visitors. It has the ability to enhance all of the other things you do for marketing, adding power to your strategy and demonstrating that you’re ahead of the curve.There are so many benefits to podcasting, but let's begin at what you need to know at the organisational stage.
Pre-event podcast strategy
First of all, what kind of podcast do you want to produce? Is it a regular series that talks about forthcoming events, with guest interviews, event information and so on? Or are you thinking about a live show for the event itself? What do you want to achieve? Make some notes about this. Be sure you know what you want as a tangible outcome.
For live podcasting, there are quite a few things to consider. Ahead of time, know your space (where you want to record a podcast), with regards to audience, number of podcast participants, sound quality of venue, and so on. Correspond with your guests ahead of time so they come prepared about what the topic is, who they’ll be talking to and how many people they’ll be addressing. Let them know how long the podcast is, and what will become of it once their turn is over. It’s a good idea to cover the bases by having your guests sign a participation waiver before you press the big red record button.
Develop a loose script to help you or your host with topic bullet points. This will help to keep the discussion flowing if you have dry conversation or nervous guests. You may need to briefly rehearse your interview, or have a pre-interview to warm everybody up.
The guests you invite are a part of your strategic plan. Bear in mind what your event or business needs the most. For instance, what are your sales and marketing teams working on at the moment? Who are they trying to reach out to? Can your podcast help?Perhaps you’re inviting a regulator to talk about your industry, or a key CEO. The sales team will thank you for the information!
Don’t be scared by the technology, and know what it does
For the technical side of things, leave it to a professional. If you fancy getting your hands dirty by doing it yourself, here’s a checklist of things to consider before you go live:
The variables that are hard to predict are hecklers, technical faults and your nervous disposition. Think about how you might handle these things ahead of time. Be prepared for most scenarios, and have a plan B!
What if I’m an exhibitor at someone else’s event?
All of the above applies, but with a few adjustments to your thinking. Here’s your opportunity to demonstrate professionalism in an area where many of your competitors struggle. While marketing and communications is often the first department to be culled when times are tough, it’s actually the lifeboat that saves the passengers, so long as you’re good at it.
If you show aptitude across various disciplines, you'll be attractive to potential customers who visit your event stand or see your product demonstrations. They see that your grasp of new forms of marketing and communications technology courtesy of podcasting is impressive, and you may find they come to you rather than your competitors when they need a business partner.
In fact, invite potential customers on to your podcast to shoot the breeze, or to talk about in-depth industry topics. These are strong leads! You’re using podcasts to develop and strengthen your relationships with the people interested in what you do. And don’t stop at your podcast – make yourself available on their show too. Share your knowledge, reveal your character and demonstrate leadership in your field.
Logistics-wise, be sure to know your space. Arrange meetings and connections ahead of the event. Prepare your equipment, get the right people in place to make it run like clockwork, and have a plan B for when it doesn’t!
What happens after the event?
Post-event content is enhanced by your podcast. From your show, not only can you reconnect with your guests to thank them for their time, you can reach out to your audience and visitors with the episode recording. Create blogs, show notes and social media posts from your podcast, and help to increase awareness of your brand. While you’re at it, promote your next event!
And don’t forget to tell your colleagues and employees about the show. Podcasting as part of your internal comms mix is really effective. It’s a chance to be able to share what’s going on from event to event, whether you’re the organiser, exhibitor or visitor, and your employees can engage with podcast content and share it across their own social media channels.
Alongside the podcast, reveal information about how you set it up, who was invited, who was interviewed, what the purpose of the podcast was, what the outcomes were, and perhaps top and tail the show or post-event marketing with messages from your senior leaders.
Last but not least, let your event podcast say something about your energy. Use the last episode to reveal what your next event is. Demonstrate that you’re always thinking ahead, always on the move and always pushing forward. Invite your listeners to get involved, to register, to meet you, to see your next demonstration, to do business with you. A simple podcast takes some thinking about, but the rewards are impressive. Be sure to reap them!
If you need help putting a podcast strategy together for your event, get in touch. Before you know it, we could be working together on your first show!