My 5 Biggest Takeaways From Podcast Movement 2021

Podcast Movement 2021 was one for the books!

It was not only the first major conference I’ve been to since 2019 — it was also in an awesome location (Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN) with some of the most amazing attendees and speakers in the industry.

Podcast Movement 2021 was also extra special for these reasons:

  • I was asked to be the opening keynote!… this was SUCH an honor
  • John and I got to meet and hangout with our fellow HubSpot Podcast Network hosts
  • We got to host our first Podcasters’ Paradise meet up in 2 years!
  • Friends both old and new were in attendance
  • We got to explore a new city: Nashville!

Building relationships at Podcast Movement

While I didn’t attend a ton of sessions this year, I did choose a select few — and I have some pretty incredible takeaways from those sessions.

But before I get to my biggest takeaways, I want to share something that really stood out to me at this Podcast Movement.

Relationships.

I value relationships at an incredibly high level.

And I know that what I put in is what I’ll get back.

Sometimes being at a conference and trying to build relationships is tough because there are SO many people and so much going on! Opportunities to meet, mingle, chat, exchange info… are around every corner.

That’s why it’s incredibly important to be intentional both leading up to — and while you’re at — a conference.

This of course begs the question, “How do I get the most out of a conference?” …and it’s a question I get a lot.

How do I get most out of a conference?

Getting the most out of a conference is about focusing on 3 main keys: preparation, discipline, and flexibility.

  1. Preparation: If there’s someone you want to meet, or a specific strategy or part of your business you’re focused on improving, make it a point to prepare ahead of time. How can you meet that person, company, or learn more about that strategy? Do your research ahead of time so you’re not spending your time on the ground in your room alone trying to figure out what your next move is.
  2. Discipline: No matter the conference you’re attending, once you arrive it basically feels like you’re drinking from a firehose. In other words, there will be A LOT to do, see, explore and you’ll have the opportunity to pretty much do anything at any given moment. Stay on track and leverage your preparation so you aren’t distracted by shiny objects.
  3. Flexibility: It’s always nice to have a few gaps in your schedule to allow time for impromptu hangouts or activities. This way, if you meet an incredible individual in the hallway on your way to your next session and want to hangout and chat for 20 minutes — or you’re invited to grab coffee in the morning with a group of people in your industry or niche — you have the space to make it happen!

The 3 Keys in action at Podcast Movement

So you can see exactly how this might play out, I’ll share my experience at Podcast Movement and how I used these 3 keys to make sure I got the most out of my time.

  1. Preparation: About 4–6 weeks before the conference I started reaching out to individuals who I’ve met online, at previous conferences, or who I wanted to meet at Podcast Movement. As a result I was able to set up a 10-person dinner with an incredible group and a coffee date with a couple we’ve been friends with for years. This never would have come together without that preparation.
  2. Discipline: After a long day of travel and several flight delays, we got to the hotel about 4 hours later than we had anticipated, around 11pm. Immediately upon arrival we had several opportunities to join people at the bar, jump in on a late dinner, explore the hotel… But to be honest, we were both exhausted, and we knew if we started the trip out with a late night and little sleep, that would set the tone for the entire conference. With a little bit of discipline we decided to shower and go to bed, which allowed us to wake up rested and ready to rock!
  3. Flexibility: Most afternoons I would go to the conference area and just walk around the main entrance and expo area. No agenda, no plans. Just walk around, meet people, and see what was going on. As a result of keeping this time block open, I was able to graciously accept an invite from a fellow podcaster, Alicia, to be on her podcast Business Infrastructure — and we had a blast! If I hadn’t allowed myself that space, I wouldn’t have been able to hit record and have an awesome convo with Alicia.

Now that we’ve covered the 3 keys to getting the most out of a conference, let’s dive into the top 5 takeaways from Podcast Movement 2021!

Top 5 Takeaways from Podcast Movement 2021

Preparation is key

Not to sound like a broken record, but the time I invested in preparation prior to Podcast Movement changed the game. Had I not done that preparation, it would have been a completely different conference experience.

In addition to the preparation I’ve already shared here (planning ahead in order to set up a dinner and coffee date with people I wanted to spend time with), I also spent a lot of time preparing for my time on stage.

Being invited as the opening keynote was a huge honor for me. While I’ve spoken at several conferences — including Podcast Movement — many times before, I’ve never done an opening keynote in front of thousands of people.

I was nervous, excited, and everything in between! And I was working on a brand new presentation that I’d never done before.

I knew that my preparation was going to make or break my experience on stage — and the level of value I could provide.

Thanks to my preparation — which included me putting a plan in place with due dates and milestones that helped me feel excellent when I stepped on stage — I walked away from my keynote feeling lit up and like I had provided so much value to the audience.

My talk was all about the Entrepreneurs On Fire Podcast Workflow, and how our workflow has helped us be in business for nearly 10 years, amass over 100 million downloads, and gross over 20 million in revenue.

There’s a lot to keep up with in the podcasting world

Rob Walsh from Libsyn presented on a number of podcasting topics and concerns, including listener privacy.

His main points included:

  1. Podcast Listeners have no way to Opt-in or Opt-out of being tracked.
  2. IP (Internet Protocol) Address = PII (Personally Identifiable Information)
  3. Any Podcast Attribution / Tracking service is violating Listeners Privacy if it shares IP addresses.
  4. iOS 14.5 Apple states Apps will have to specifically request permission to track you.
  5. iOS 15 starts the blocking of IP Addresses.

Rob’s conclusion?

“Using any Pixel Tracking / Attribution tool in Podcasting WILL violate the privacy of Listeners who have NO way to Opt-in or Opt-out of being tracked and will both hurt the Advertisers brand and the trust in the podcaster.”

So if you’re currently leveraging a 3rd party statistics tool, be sure you read the extra fine print, as that tool could be obtaining personal information its not supposed to be obtaining — and you’re agreeing to the terms and conditions by using it.

For more updates and to stay “in the know” when it comes to podcasting, check out Libsyn’s podcast The Feed.

Be recommendable, be better

Tom Webster, SVP of Edison Research, gave a noteworthy talk on podcast listener behavior — and being recommendable.

His piece on listener behavior came from research data collected by Edison with NPR. The main takeaway: discoverability is critical for your podcast. You have to be easily found by your listeners on the platform they want to listen on.

He also highlighted the importance of being recommendable. Edison Research found that 23% of podcast listeners most often use family and friends as their source for discovering new podcasts. Time to stop focusing on growing your downloads, and instead figure out how to be better?

YES.

A talk I found a lot of parallel messages in, albeit on a completely different topic of podcast sponsorships, was Allison Melody.

She pointed out that getting a sponsor is a big deal, and should be treated as such! Just going through the motions of reading a sponsorship verbatim isn’t enough. You have to be better, do better, want better.

Allison shared her pitch deck for sponsors (learn more about how Allison pitches her sponsorships), gave examples of a “normal” sponsor read and her version of that same read (brilliant!), and she also busted out some rapping skills with the help of our very own John Lee Dumas!

By the end of Allison’s talk I was definitely rethinking how I approach our sponsor reads.

You can’t replace in-person events

Since the pandemic started we’ve all had our fill (and then some) of virtual events. And while some of them have been quite impressive, the truth remains: you can’t replace in-person events.

I’m not saying Podcast Movement 2021 was the same as the last conference I attended pre-pandemic, but just the act of being in a room — in the same location — with thousands of individuals who invested in themselves to travel and learn and meet one another, is inspiring.

There’s a certain energy you feel when you walk into an event space — the stage set and the chairs in place. The lights, the music, murmurs on the microphone of people making sure everything is working properly. And that sudden tap on the shoulder from someone you haven’t seen for months.

You just can’t replace those feelings and experiences.

Community is priceless

Have you ever tried accomplishing a goal or going for something on your own?

Me, too.

It was hard, somewhat boring, and more often than not, unsuccessful.

That’s because doing something alone versus doing something when you have a community rallying around you are two completely different things.

The support, experiences, lessons, shared vision, and friendships that come when community is present is priceless. And there’s no better place to know this is fact than when you’re at a Podcast Movement event.

Podcast Movement truly is a movement. A community of individuals who have a shared passion, vision, mission, and love for the same thing: impacting millions through the medium of podcasting.

Upcoming Podcast Movement events

If you want to learn more about Podcast Movement, why it’s so awesome, and when the next event is so you can attend, check out the Podcast Movement Events page.

And if you’re looking for a community of podcasters who are on the same path as you — looking to share their expertise with an audience and make a meaningful impact — then check out Podcasters’ Paradise!

Paradise is filled with over 3,500 enthusiastic, driven, motivated podcasters and we’re having conversations, brainstorming, and supporting one another daily inside our Private Facebook Group. We hope to see you there!

Kate is the engine at Entrepreneurs On Fire, the host of the podcast Ditch Busy, & co-author of The Podcast Journal: Idea to Launch in 50 Days.