Chris Krimitsos is the founder of Podfest Multimedia Expo, one of the largest podcasting events in the United States. Since 2008, he's personally facilitated over 1000 events for business owners.
With podcasting getting more and more competitive, live events are a way to make your podcast stand out. Beyond that, they're also a way to bring podcasters together. I asked Chris for his thoughts on starting, organizing, and marketing podcasting-related events as well as his own event for podcasters, Podfest Multimedia Expo.
What makes a great live event?
A great live event happens when you have the combination of great people, great content/education, and the opportunity for collaboration.
3 Elements That Make An Amazing Podcasting Event (No matter how big or small)
- An agenda that allows for breaks, so people can connect with each another.
- A great emcee/facilitator who sets the tone and for the event and will highlight and reinforce what the event is about and the value of what's being presented.
- Quality attendees who are invested in the event.
I'm a big proponent of events that have an admission fee. Even my meetups cost $5-$10 to attend. This gets attendees themselves are invested in the event and a high commitment level, which make events much better.
How To Get People To Your Podcasting Event
What do organizers need to know before planning their first events?
It's hard work to people get to attend any live event. It helps to have a strong social media and online strategy, but in the end it's a one-on-one game.
You meet people and connect with them one-on-one whether you interact with them on social media or face-to-face. They'll then help you attract the next group of attendees.
Advice on getting people to attend a first-time event...
Have "airline pricing." Escalating ticket prices as you get closer to the event creates urgency. It also helps to limit the number of attendees (and tickets available).
Barter where you can. Invite local leaders of related meetups and groups. Trade a ticket for an email blast to their mailing lists. Or give away a ticket to somebody within a group to help build momentum and get people within the group talking.
Advice on getting people to come back for subsequent events...
People show up for the content/education, but they come back for the community. If you can build a community from your live event, you've created something worth coming back to!
You have $1000 to produce a live event...
What kind of event would you do and how would you spend the money?
I would find a "Tier 2" hotel, like a Hampton Inn, and rent their classroom for $300-$400. These rooms will fit anywhere from 60-100 people.
For getting the word out online, I'd set up an event on EventBrite and Meetup.com as well as create a Facebook event page. I'd invest $200 on a video or two. Then use the remaining $400-$500 on Facebook and Instagram ads.
Offline, I'd attend local groups that were related to my event and invite the leaders of those groups to attend my event via a trade.
Tickets for a one-day local workshop range from $99-$199
Alternative Option - A High-End Event
If I wanted to do a high-end event on a $1000 budget, I'd would rent the nicest house on AirBNB for the full $1000. Then I'd sell the 12 spots available anywhere from $500-$2000 per person.
I'd then use social media to market it. I'd contact my closest contacts to see if I could get four people locked in for half-price early bird tickets. I'd then use half of that money to market to people looking for a high-end experience.
Why do a podcasting-specific event?
The medium is growing and educational events are helping get people started by connecting them with established podcasters. They help people to see what's possible with podcasting.
What makes Podfest different from other podcasting events?
We start with a Strategic Alliance (speed networking) session that connects participants with each other and helps accelerate a feeling of community. I had an actuary create an algorithm, so you never meet the same person twice!
We keep it fun. We have a full-blown "Friars Roast" poking fun at a special guest podcaster every year. We give away "Pazzie Awards" for the biggest f'ups our veteran podcasters have made and everyone laughs their asses off! Both these things helps strip fear away from beginners who are just thinking about getting started.
Our closing keynote an interactive presentation by the attendees themselves. We place two mics on stage and allow anyone to come up and share what they're grateful for.
We have a bonus workshop the first day called Vidfest, which teaches everything podcasters need to know about YouTube.
Who would most benefit from attending Podfest?
Both beginners and veteran podcasters will benefit from attending Podfest. We have elements for both groups.
What should a podcaster do before/during/after Podfest to get the most out of it?
Before: Research the schedule and make a list of events and sessions you want to attend. Join our Facebook group and get to know some people by introducing yourself and commenting.
During: Visiting all the exhibitors is extremely valuable. You can meet other podcasters by hanging out during lunch breaks and attending as many afterparties as possible.
After: Follow up with everyone you've met and take action on at least three things you learned. Then stay connected via our Facebook group.