Let's get the giant elephant out of the room first. The Podcast Show in London isn’t something I’m ever gonna get excited about. But I’ve got to go if I want to continue publicly ‘hating’ on it.
My show “The Podmaster” has a deeper explanation around that as well as some more ‘colour’ from my experience attending. And you can choose your favourite player below to listen.
This annual podcasting conference claims to bring together podcasters, industry experts, and enthusiasts from around the world to share ideas, insights, and innovations in the podcasting world. But did it? In this article, I'll share my top takeaways from the event, including keynote speakers, panel discussions, and notable exhibitors.
The Podcast Show
The Podcast Show is a two-day event that takes place in Islington's Business Design Centre every year. Well, that is to say it has done for the past two years.
This year it was packed with exhibitors and speakers from some of the global brands and as a long time podcaster, I was gobsmacked by the actual lack of any real podcasting experts among them.
The event kicked off with a keynote speech from one of the most prominent podcasters in the world, Ashley Flowers. She spoke a little bit about her story and how she came to be so massive in the podcasting world. We'd have hoped this inspiring speech might have set the tone for the rest of the event.
2023 Podcast Show keynote speakers and their insights
In addition to Ashley Flowers, there were several other keynote speakers who shared their insights and expertise on podcasting. One of the most notable speakers was Dan Misener, the founder of We Are Bumper. Dan spoke a lot of sense about the current methods of data gathering in podcasting and shared tips on how to get a little deeper with your metrics.
Another standout speaker was Bryan Barletta from Sounds Profitable. I've been following Bryan for quite some time now and his knowledge around the Ad-tech space in podcasting is second to none. His discussion "How AI and Twilight smart technology can empower podcast publishers to monetise content" was as thought-provoking as always, and it sparked a lot of discussion among fellow attendees.
Other panel discussions and major themes at the Podcast Show
And sadly, for me at least, that was it.
The Podcast Show also featured several panel discussions on a variety of topics that were kinda loosely related to podcasting.
One of the more bizarre of the panels was "The unstoppable rise of the visual podcast" and was sold as being about how to grow audio podcasts by adding video… which discussed the total opposite of that! I mean it was literally all about taking a video and turning it into audio. Staggering that this talk featuring Audioboom and London-based 'creator' agency Sixteenth ever got the greenlight from the organisers.
Yet here we are.
Some Podcast Show top takeaways
Look, I was disappointed in The Podcast Show (as I knew I would be) but it wasn't a total bust.
And so here are some top takeaways from my time there.
Big brand mentality
Big brands like Sky and Netflix aren't approaching their podcasts in the same way you and I are. These guys know their shows have to be a success and so they're taking the time to properly strategise the marketing end of it. And that means cash investment. They're creating highly focused content and carefully curating their audiences to ensure the content's targeted to audiences that will more likely resonate. Interestingly, that's how we do things at Podknows Podcasting too…
Podcasting creates trust and advocacy, unlike any other medium
You're dealing with a huge amount of trust when you're podcasting, so don't wreck that relationship. It can be all too tempting to rush the process and create click-baity sales funnels that lead to landing pages that don't offer what was promised. Resist that urge and exercise patience and the return on your invested time will come.
YouTube offers more community options but less of a community feel
It was super interesting to hear a couple of YouTubers mention their joy around the sense of loyalty they feel from their audio listeners on their repurposed podcast content. They mentioned the real-time benefits of their main video platform shows were obvious in terms of comments and engagement, yet there was an obvious distance felt between the creator and audience.
Make of that what you will, but I know what I'm taking away from it…
Don't keep a diary with your visuals
Branding agencies are making a simple mistake for their clients – following a blueprint with their marketing visuals. That blueprint is the Diary of a CEO style.
A couple of successful show-runners I spoke to were literally mocking the podcast's influence over all podcast marketing for normalising bland, safe, corporate-looking content.
The message I took away was "do what works for your own unique brand and voice not what the popular shows do".
Oh, and understand that these highly stylised podcasts have large teams working on them, so don't be sucked into trying to create a BBC show trailer when a simple but effective scrappy-looking trailer will do. It's about the theme not the production value.
Understand the non-monetary benefits if you're not going to invest
One of the more frustrating aspects for a podcaster can be starting a show, knowing there must be an audience for it, and then discovering that seemingly nobody cares. This can be disheartening and lead to a very quick 'podfading' incident.
It was interesting taking on board some wisdom from Holly Tucker who largely ignores the monetisation aspect of her podcast, and focuses on the unpredictable opportunities. She refers to her podcast as her 'MBA'.
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