Getting the most out of virtual events for podcasters with Danielle Desir from Podthon

During the pandemic we see a lot of conferences going virtual, but Podthon was a conference that started virtually last year! We took the time to have a conversation with Danielle Desir, co-founder of Podthon, founder of WOC Podcasters, and host of The Thought Card Podcast. Take a look at her answers about managing her time, hosting a virtual event and of course, Podthon! (Podthon 2020 went down in mid July)

TL;DR if you missed Podthon, you can get access to all the session here! 😏 

What made you decide to create a virtual event?

Lee Uehara and I decided to create Podthon after seeing many potential speakers of color getting rejected to speak at podcast conferences. With only so many slots available, we recognized that a lot of great content is left on the table at speaker-selection processes. We wanted to create a platform where podcasters can share their message, insights, and tips with the podcast community. Born out of the need for more representation, our mission is to increase the representation of speakers of color at podcast conferences and events.

A lot of events and conferences are switching to virtual, if you could give one piece of advice what would it be?

When planning a virtual conference, there are a lot of moving pieces. Find ways to stay organized. From your inbox to your videos, create clearly labeled folders so you can find what you need quickly.

I would also say to play to your team’s strengths. Lee is fantastic at designing, engaging sponsors, and produces all of our videos. I head marketing, sales, and media relations. Knowing our strengths, we get more done.

How do you schedule your time with your podcast, WOC Podcasters, and Podthon? Do you have advice for podcasters trying to be involved in multiple things?

I am multi-passionate so it’s no surprise that I’m involved in multiple projects with competing priorities.

The good news, I’m on a seasonal break from my podcast, The Thought Card Podcast. This means I have more time to work on Podthon right now. Lee and I make daily tasks lists for ourselves so we know the important things we need to work on daily. We also have frequent check-in calls to touch base and brainstorm new ideas and next steps.

For podcasters who are trying to juggle multiple things, I recommend working on one project at a time. When I am working on Podthon, I devote my time only to making progress on Podthon tasks. I reference my to-do list for the day and once I cross everything off, only then do I switch gears to focus on another project.

What’s your favorite thing about Podthon this year?

There are so many things I’m excited about this year, where do I begin!

This year Podthon is much bigger. At Podthon ’20 we have 30+ speakers joining us from all over the world including the U.K., Australia, and Malaysia. In addition to individual speaker sessions, we introduced panels as well. With that being said, I am most excited about our keynote panels. We invited (4) podcast conference organizers and (5) editors of podcast news publications to share what they are looking for when selecting speakers, pitches, and press releases. Our goal is to equip our attendees with the know-how to pitch to speak on more stages and work with media. This has never been done before.

What have you learned from the last year’s Podthon to bring to this year?

Last year we realized we needed more time to plan the event. Knowing this, we started planning in January, giving us seven months. Last year we also got feedback that attendees wanted to take breaks throughout the day. This year we’ve added coffee breaks and networking breaks.

What is your biggest takeaway from being involved with WOC Podcasters and Podthon?

Try everything even if it sounds crazy. I consider WOC Podcasters and Podthon innovative because we aren’t afraid to shoot for the stars or fall flat on our faces. When you are doing something that has never been done before you have the luxury of making your own rules. I love that!

Do you have tips for people that are attending your conference online since it is all day in front of a screen?

Look at the schedule and plan out the sessions you do not want to miss. While watching the pre-recorded presentations, write down any questions you have in the chatbox. Each speaker session will be followed by a LIVE 10-minute Q&A. This is where you can get your questions answered. Don’t forget to connect with speakers before and after their sessions on social media. I’m a big fan of sharing with speakers what you enjoyed about their sessions on Instagram and Twitter. Use the hashtag #podthon so we can amplify your message. Speakers love hearing your takeaways.

Interested in learning more and attending Podthon ’20? Get access to the 2020 sessions here Do it TODAY! Support Black leaders in podcasting. INVEST. 

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