Our Vic visited Podcast Movement 2019, the biggest podcast conference in the world to learn the latest podcast trends, thinking and industry standards. At MIC, we want to be on the podcast ball, when it comes to helping to make your podcast dreams come true 🤩
So, in-between eating delicious sandwiches, stroking puppies, escaping a bank heist, meeting wonderful humans and discovering how US supermarkets rank alongside UK ones (Publix is on the Sainsburys level by the way) – it was these 9 things from this year’s Podcast Movement that Vic couldn’t wait to share with you
1. TNECA is Klingon for love.
Before I get a ton of strongly worded letters from Trekkies, that’s not actually true. But it is how to make a podcast according to producers Ant McGinley and Aimee Joshua, who hosted the ‘Podcast from Nothing’ session. It stands for Topic, Name, Equipment, Content and Artwork and to prove it’s all you need, Ant and Aime and the audience came up with a podcast idea in just 45 minutes.
2. Women are authority killers
No, this is not the name of a new true crime podcast, but ‘Authority Killers’ is the term Carrie Caulfield Arick from YaYa Podcasting, used to describe the words more often than not used by women in their conversations. In her session “People Breathe: the art of editing an interview”, Carrie talked about the bad verbal habits that can undermine our confidence, stature, clout etc and that as audio editors we should look to taking out or reducing – stuff like ‘I guess’, ‘sort of’, ‘maybe’, ‘like’, ‘kinda’…
Podcast presenters and interviewees, practice your authority – speak with clarity and confidence (easier said than done, I know!). It’d also make the life an editor a bit easier too!
Also great to bump into guys from the Podcast Editors facebook group at this session. Bloody love meeting virtual people in ‘real life’ (See #7 below).
3. It took a while for radio to love podcasts
During the panel, ‘Radio Leaders on Their Podcast Strategies’ it was revealed that radio industry types had to be persuaded to come to the first Podcast Movement back in 2014. Look how far podcasting has come in five years, they’re now fighting them off with a shitty stick (my words not theirs).
I’d very interested to hear a discussion about the UK Radio’s podcast strategy. Our radio landscape is much smaller and of course the BBC dominates the podcast market here. Also, if our commercial stations get more podcast savvy, is it even a podcast anymore?
Lots of questions – perhaps we should do a panel on this sometime?
4. Everyone can create great sounding audio
During Marcus dePaula’s session, ‘The Most Common Problems in Audio and How to Fix Them’ – he banged home some of my golden rules for recording audio,
- Do everything you can to capture the highest quality audio – so g’dam important. This reminds me of the saying, ‘moment on the lips, lifetime on the hips’. It takes a few minutes to move away from a noisy space whilst interviewing someone. Remain there and record? You’ll spend ages trying to remove background noise in the edit – which will have a detrimental impact on the quality of that audio
- Listen whilst recording – OMG wear headphones. There’s no argument here, sorry. And if you fancy having a row about this, then I seriously question your ability to podcast. You better have blumming good reason!
- Improve your sound as to not lose listeners. Content consumers are a fickle bunch. It’s easy for you and me to turn off and pledge allegiance to a new favourite at the switch of a button, or a swipe of a screen. Listeners won’t settle for bad audio and you shouldn’t too. OK, podcast listeners can be more forgiving, but that doesn’t mean your sound should be shit. Approach your sound quality as an ever developing and improving process- make it the best you can. To help judge the quality ask yourself, ‘would I listen to this?’
- Invest in good tools – I disagree with this. Buy what you can afford. The cost of equipment can be a real barrier for people who want to get into podcasting. You don’t need the best, top of the range, bells and whistles equipment to get going and go on to make lots of episodes. Most of the time, you just need to use it well.
5. Stalk your listeners
Keynote Patrice Washington is a best selling author, speaker and she is an absolute queen.
Her talk is just jammed to the rafters with golden advice for podcasters, especially as she learnt her craft at this very conference. During most of her talk I was fully about to climb on the top of my seat and start whooping. The bit that resonated with me the most, was all about audience.
As content creators we often get so hyped about the stuff that we’re putting into a podcast or how we’re making it, that we forget about the people that are going to be consuming it.
Patrice knows her audience inside out. She Facebook stalks her listeners, seriously. She discovers what they like, if they have kids, what they had for breakfast…
She’s created an avatar of her typical listener, she’s even named her. As a result she then tailors her content accordingly. Patricia’s podcast does not speak to everyone. Patricia speaks to her avatar, her audience.
This is why she’s wonderfully successful at what she does.
Do you know who your audience is? Yeah but, do you really?
It’s also the first talk I’ve been to where I could hear a thunderstorm happening outside.
6. Gratitude (& pizza) pays
“At first we couldn’t pay our cast or team, but I made sure they had pizza.” This how keynote speaker Lauren Shippen thanked her contributors during the early days of the ‘The Bright Sessions’, her kickass, sci-fi fiction podcast.
Other talks at Podcast Movement spoke about creating tailored thank-you packs or distributing specially recorded messages.
However you say thank-you – it’s important that you do it. Always say thank you. It’s one of the main things that I bang on about during my podcast workshops and it’s a something I’ve lived by, my entire professional life.
Gratitude makes the world go around. Being thankful to your guests, cast, crew, the guy that comes in to fix the internet connection etc, it’ll ensure that you’re remembered for all the right reasons.
This point falls into the all important ‘Don’t be a dick’ category.
7. Meeting the face behind the voice is strange and joyous
We’ve all been there when we meet someone we’ve only interacted with on email or on social media and say something along the lines of, ‘wow, it’s so good to meet the face behind the tweets / facebook etc.’
This is taken to a new level with podcasting! Voices you have in your ear and form part of your personal, daily life, are now speaking to you in real life. Like this bodiless entity has now inhabited a human form!
This happened a number of times at Podcast Movement 2019, for example with James Cridland who hosts and delivers the bible of podcasting news, Podnews (who I listen to as part of my Google daily briefing), Colin Grey from The Podcast Host (who I listen to whilst I’m jogging) and Lauren Shippen (who didn’t meet, but heard speak) – who’s a voice on her Bright Sessions podcast, which I binged continuously in just a few weeks.
It’s an odd, joyous moment!
7. Exhibitors? Go to freaking town on your booth
Odds are, if you’re exhibiting at a conference, you’ve paid a pretty penny for that booth. Well, some of the exhibitors at Podcast Movement 2019 made sure they stood out, from live grass and free, nice coffee from Spotify, a haiku whiskey challenge from Alitu, frozen rose wine from Himalaya, to an actual escape room from Audioboom and the Casefile podcast. However, The best stall at Podcast Movement, no, the entire world, was Launch Pad’s free beer and puppies. Actual free booze and small dogs. Heaven.
8. Podcasting isn’t in a precarious bubble – it’s a sud-filled bubble bath, that’s over flowing because you put too much bubbly bath in it
My biggest takeaway is that podcasting is not going away. We haven’t reached peak podcast – whatever the hell that is anyway.
There’s been 3,000 attendees to this year’s Podcast Movement. There’s over half a million podcasts in existence (and that figure is growing rapidly), there’s technology being launched all of the time to help to simplify the process of creating, hosting editing and distributing podcasts. Not to mention the industry shifts, including premium and subscription content models and company buy outs. On top of all this are the emerging podcast markets including India, Spain and South America.
What’s plain to see is that the UK podcast scene isn’t a patch on the US’s. It’s unfair to say that the UK is ‘behind’, moreover that there’s an incredible opportunity to grow, contribute to and sustain our podcast industry.
I’m chuffed MIC‘s a part of that, especially in the North of England.
Hmmmm if only there was northern podcast conference of some sort. 🤔