Podcasting, like everything else, has its quirks and trends. Podfest Tampa, an annual event, brings podcasters and podcast vendors from all over the United States into one room where just about any topic to do with podcasting and podcasting trends is covered.
Here's what I observed and heard at Podfest Tampa, in no particular order.
- Podcasting is where the online business world was about 8 years ago in terms of helpfulness and friendliness – podcasters are extremely collegial and helpful, talk often about generosity and having each other's back. (The online world now has more backbiting and competition – our bad.)
- Networking and building new relationships is the byword of the podcasting industry. While in the online world it is considered passe to even offer a business card, at Podfest business cards flew out of pockets in the first 10 seconds of meeting someone. It's been years since I've actually run out of business cards!
- Many businesses have sprung up who do podcast consulting – what equipment to use, getting your show notes done and uploaded, strategies for monetizing, etc. There were a number of “consultants and coaches” for budding podcasters available for hire. (See the list in my detailed event notes, which you can grab below.)
- The advice I heard many times was “podcast about something you are passionate about, don't focus on monetization at first.” However, strategies for monetization (beyond sponsorship) were a big topic of conversation.
- While monetization has been through sponsorships (and still is for those who have a large following) the new strategies are what we in the online world have been doing for years now – building funnels, building list, and developing digital products to sell through one's podcast. Also, setting up a complimentary website. It felt like Throwback Thursday hearing so many people talk about list building and product funnels.
- There are podcasts for virtually any topic under the sun. The first question a newbie is asked is, “are there existing podcasts on this topic?” Not that there isn't room for more than one, there is, but that's considered due diligence and basic podcastmanship.
- While some are talking about video podcasting, everyone says that isn't nearly as popular (yet, anyway) and not where the crowds will follow you. Advice given was that if you want to do video podcasting you should strip out the audio and also upload a regular all audio podcast.
- I heard some talk about making sure to upload your podcast to your own website as some there reported getting far more downloads from their own site than from iTunes.
- There are services to help you get podcast interviews and interviewees. These are, as far as I could tell, fee based. Although surely there are some free podcast directories around.
- John Lee Dumas and his podcast and community Entrepreneur on Fire is the grand poobah of podcast knowledge and expertise. Everyone seemed to be a member of his site, Podcaster's Paradise (about $1K a year at this conference).
- As with online businesses, some podcasters are clearly wannabes and some have made it big. Lots of talk about getting to 5 figures a month with one's podcast.
- There are podcasters (such as realtors, financial advisors, and others) who do podcasts in an effort to build visibility and credibility but who know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the online world we all live in. There is money to be made in educating and helping that market.
A big thank you to my friend Esther Kiss, who owns Born to Influence, and who invited me to come as her guest to Podfest Tampa. It was great to reconnect in person with her. And thanks to Chris and Katie Krimitsos of Tampa Bay Business Owners for putting on such a lively and useful event.