What I Learned from Podcast Movement 2017

August 29, 2017

Last week, what felt like the entire podcasting industry descended upon Anaheim, CA for Podcast Movement 2017.

Hosted by Dan Franks & Jared Easley and rocking hard into its fourth year, Podcast Movement is fast becoming the benchmark for not only podcasting events, but for entrepreneurial events across the globe.

Myself and the Podcast Websites team arrived in California a few days prior to the event to get over the jet-lag and really get a feel for the venue and of course, hit up Disneyland!

The two days prior to Podcast Movement starting were in equal measure relaxed and fraught with eagerness to “get going” and hit the conference hard, and with time to spare we had the Podcast Websites exhibitor booth set up and ready to rock – featuring our superb 2017 limited edition t-shirts and plenty of swag including yes, fidget spinners!

Personally, I was thankful for the jet-lag forcing me awake at 4am so that I could continue my Podcast Accelerator coaching sessions and deliver my usual free coaching Fridays on time and honestly, that allowed me to keep a little “normalcy” outside of the crazy conference settings, which much of the time felt more like a trade show than a conference due to the segregated exhibitor halls – a first for Podcast Movement.

As both a speaker and exhibitor this year, I'll be honest insofar as I didn't hit up as many talks and workshops as I'd have liked but for me, simply being around hundreds and hundreds of other podcasters, plus running our annual Podcast Websites meetup – bowling this time – made sure that  I felt like I'd maximised the impact of the conference on my network.

Based on the sessions that I did attend, including Dan Carlin, Aaron Mahnke, Kate Erickson, Jonathan Oakes and during my judging of the inaugural PMx contest, I began to notice several themes cropping up and some serious learning points for myself and my community:

  • Storytelling is key right now. Regardless of niche or focus, the ability to tell captivating stories is enticing listeners to share and spread podcasts that they love. If you aren't telling stories that capture the imagination, even in business, then you're missing a serious opportunity. Your interview show might need some thought…
  • Podcasting is growing, steadily but surely. A wonderfully geeky and wildly insightful presentation by Edison Research really illustrated that this podcasting “boom” isn't really a “boom”, it's just the natural progression of an on-demand media that serves the needs of people when they need it. This isn't a surprise, but seeing it delivered that way when there's so much talk of podcasting's heydey was refreshing – this is an industry that will exponentially grow as consumers' desire to control their consumption continues to remain important to their media experiences.
  • There's no right or wrong, we're all in this together. NPR, Midroll, How Stuff Works (1 billion downloads, wow!) – the big players are just as curious as us little guys! For so long, so many podcasters have been told by many of the “old guard”: “here's how you should podcast” yet everyone from NPR down to me is experimenting with formats, ideas and techniques that keep pushing the industry forward and allowing more and more people to enter without fear of “getting it wrong”. This is our industry; this is our medium and we can shape it, dictate to it and pull it around, however the hell we want. So don't be afraid to try things, break the mould or challenge convention!

Overall, Podcast Movement reminds me every single year that we are all friends. We are a community and there is NO competition between companies, individuals or shows.

By pulling together and leaning on each other, the whole industry grows and benefits. And as that continues to happen, we can all just enjoy it more.

See you in Philly next year, and don't forget the more you expect from yourself, the more you WILL excel!

Mark Asquith

That British podcast guy, Mark is co-founder of Captivate.fm, the world's only growth-oriented podcast host. A Harvard, TEDx, Podcast Movement and Podfest speaker (amongst many more!), he's a wildly approachable Brit and Star Wars/DC Comics geek.

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