Podcasters! Who is ready for ALL of the peopleing? Going outside? Talking to other folks in real life – face to face?
And attending your very first podcast conference!
Why attend a podcast conference?
Conferences are where we get together as a community to learn, share, network, grow and simply enjoy each other’s company. After the past couple of years, we need them.
There is something that attending podcast conferences in real life gives you that you can’t quite explain – unless you’ve attended one.
They can be life-changing.
The whole preparation podcast conference stuff might prove to be a bit daunting, especially if this is your very first time.
So with IRL conferences coming back full-swing in 2023, I asked my close friend, co-host, and business partner, the one and only Jessica Kupferman, CEO of She Podcasts and creator of She Podcasts Live to give us some advice.
She gave us 10 Tips that would help conference attendees — especially first-timers — really enjoy and get the most out of their conference experience.
Not only does she run her own podcast conference, but she also does a ton of traveling to conferences and has for years, so she knows what she’s talking about.
Jess’s conference tips
- Choose ONE goal.
Not two, not a bunch, but ONE. Choose the one thing you want to get from the podcast conference, whether it is learning to do social media marketing, connecting with other podcasters, learning whether you are ready for a sponsor — whatever. ONE goal to accomplish by the end of the conference. Make it specific. Everything you do, every event decision you make throughout each day should be based on furthering this goal. Make event decisions based on that.
- Use your goal to determine what you need to prepare.
Is your show/service applicable to most people that are going to be at the conference? Do you want people to download an opt-in? Do you want to find guests for your podcast? Looking to get that first podcast sponsor? And then get your things ready before the conference — months before — so you don’t have to think about it when you are packing.
Create a QR code that goes directly to your calendar booking page, opt-in page, etc
Have your media kit ready to go! Have a few printed and a way for folks to download from your website
- Attend to your podcast conference comfort.
Think about what you struggle with the most when you travel and attend a conference. Put together a bag with everything you need to ease these discomforts. I have trouble sleeping in hotels, so I bring Z-quil or melatonin. I get sweaty from walking, so I bought a pretty little fan to keep cool. I bring, Tylenol, extra earbuds, nail polish remover, nail polish to cover the nail polish that has not been removed. You get it. If you get cold on the plane, bring a blanket. Whatever it is, pack light in something that you can bring down to the floor so you are not running up and down to your room all day. Conferences are exhausting. There are 100 things you could need. Figure out what makes you feel confident and well-rested, prepared for anyone you meet.
- Know your micro-elevator pitch.
Be able to explain who you are and what you are working on – succinctly. For instance: My podcast helps these people with this thing. Or my podcast makes these people feel better about this thing. My pitch? I have a podcast for women about podcasting. And because She Podcasts is my business, I follow this with: we help women start, maintain & monetize their podcast. If you don’t have that, you’re going to stumble every time you meet someone. Have it down and then you never have to feel nervous or unsure.
You are going to want to think about what you need to spend money on while at the conference. The expense that always surprises me the most is alcohol. Especially hotel alcohol — holy Moses is it expensive! The later the dinner, the more people end up getting drinks and those drinks are almost as expensive as the food! If you want to have a drink with people, try to do it during a time when they are having a happy hour or offering drink tickets, so you can pay as little as possible.
In terms of food, sometimes it is cheaper to leave the hotel for meals. Most hotels will have a marketplace where you can get a sandwich & salad. That can cut costs. Also depends on how you eat. I eat a light breakfast, so if I purchase a box of granola bars to keep in my room, I’m good.
Finally, if you are the kind of person who can share a room, go with someone or find a friend to room with. If you can’t bear the thought, get the most minimal room possible. You won’t be spending a lot of time there, so spend your time (and money) thinking of how to maximize other comforts.
- Timing your ticket purchases.
The earlier, the cheaper. As an event planner, everything we do depends on how many people are attending the conference. That’s why the people who pay the most are the people who sign up at the last minute. Think of it as a built-in convenience fee. We’ve already ordered all the food, all the t-shirts, all the things, so you’re going to pay more for us to be able to accommodate if you wait. Also, if you have to cancel, most places will give you a credit, a refund, or re-sell. So, by buying early, you are not taking a huge financial risk.
- Same with flights. The earlier the better.
The earlier you purchase your ticket the cheaper it will be. And go directly through the airline rather than an Expedia or Travelocity. This way, you can usually change or cancel your reservation without a fee. You won’t get a refund, but you will get a credit that’s very easy to use. And really, the savings of going through a third party are not significant. Trust me. Plus, with the actual airline, they don’t nickel and dime you to death. You can bring food on the plane; you just can’t bring liquids. You can’t bring yogurt, but you can bring a sandwich.
- Fly when your body chemistry is optimal.
If I get up at 5 am, I will inevitably forget something important. Pick a time that works for you. I usually pick flights between 11-1 in the afternoon, so I don’t have to get up at some ungodly hour of the morning when I am not functioning at my best. If you are a night person, take a red eye!
- Check your bag. Check your app.
This is a personal thing. I am short and weak and don’t have luck with the overhead, so I prefer to check my bag rather than risk injuring myself or someone else with the clumsy handling of my overnight. Sometimes if you look on the app close to flight departure, you’ll get the option to upgrade for like $30, so you can get on first, get off first and get to the overhead first. It’s not first class but saves you a lot of hassle/stress/sweating … and injury. It is so worth it.
- Pick a podcast conference wardrobe palette.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to make all your clothes match all of your other clothes. Like if you can’t predict the weather, bring a sweater that goes with everything. This way, you don’t have to plan outfits per se, but can mix and match. Definitely a top 10 travel tip!
There are so many incredible events to keep an eye on and for you to start to plan to attend. We can’t wait to see you there!
A handful of the best podcasting conferences
Add them to your calendar now!
- She Podcasts Live
- Podcast Movement
- The Podcast Show in London
- Afros & Audio
- Blk Pod Festival
- Africa Podcast Day
And if you want the latest and greatest, make sure that you check out this page often!