I’ve thought about doing a podcast for quite awhile, but have been struggling with where to put my focus (and on how best to incorporate it into my already jam packed scheduled.) So when I saw Podcast Movement, a 2 day conference dedicated to the art and passion of podcasting, I figured that would be a great way to immerse myself in the idea and see what came of it. I’ll tell ya, I’m really glad I did.

Podcasts are definitely having a zeitgeist moment right now, as the 1500 person strong attendance at Podcast Movement showed. There was a fabulous variety of people and interests and backgrounds. The medium of on-demand audio is a prime example of how DIY technology has allowed all kinds of voices that would never have made it past traditional gatekeepers in the days of radio/tv monopoly, to now have a platform and the potential to get their message out to the world.

My favorite opening keynote was Anna Sale of Death, Sex and Money, who did a fun presentation of “10 Ways Having a Podcast is Like Having a Baby.”

The amazing @annasale can drop vaginal dryness in a @PodcastMovement presentation & make it work. #PM16pic.twitter.com/jpQVzzhQQR

— johnny gwin (@thejohnnygwin) July 7, 2016

Kevin Smith (of Jay and Silent Bob) also delivered a keynote that must’ve set a record for the most F*bombs said on a stage in 60 minutes! In between all those swear words he shared an important tale of how podcasting has not only changed lives, but has saved lives of those he cares about. He also talked about how the podcasting community/platform gives anyone with access to a smart phone the ability to amplify their voice and their passions.

“I like what I like, fuck everybody else.” – @ThatKevinSmith #PM16 #original #confidence

— Kali Williams (@Kali_Williams_) July 7, 2016

First up for the breakout sessions was “How to Sound Like a Humanperson: Interviewing Techniques” by Gretchen Johnsen & Tricia Bobeda. They had some great advice, but for me the most helpful takeaway was about setting a ritual before an interview. I’m big on rituals in general to set up a specific and desired mindset, but I tend to rush when trying to get things done. So it was a great reminder to hear this:

Have a ritual before you start to get settled and get focused. Look at the questions ahead of time so you’re not nervous or rushed. Take a few minutes to center yourself and say, “I am the host of this show. I’ve got this.”

Next was one of my favorite sessions of the entire event, and what ended up being THE most helpful achieving one of my goals for the event, to be invited on at least 4 podcasts to share my expertise. Jessica Rhodes presented “Rock the Podcast from the Other Side of the Mic!” with 5 strategies to get consistently invited onto podcasts to be interviewed, as well as advice on how to captivate an audience and how to cultivate relationships. I’m always glad to hear when speakers confirm the techniques I’m already doing, it’s never a bad thing to have validation that you’re on the right track!

At the end of the class, she asked if anyone had any questions, so my hand shot up and I asked…

I have 16 years of experience, but due to a transition in audience from sexuality confidence & relationship coaching to more career and life coaching, I only have about 6 months of content that fits the new presentation of my skills. How long do I need to wait until I make myself available to podcasts for interviewing?

Before she could even answer I had half-a-dozen people around me handing me their card and saying “I’d love to have you on my podcast!” It was an unexpected and awesome response! It goes to show, when you put yourself out there, speak up and use your voice and you’ll get a response.

Pat Flynn is definitely a superstar of the podcast world and his presentation lived up to his reputation. During “How to Get Off the Plateau and Create a HIT episode that Will Skyrocket Your Downloads” he shared a ton of great tips, but my best takeaway was his encouragement to follow Netflix’s lead with something called ‘The Burst Strategy’, which is to release all the episodes at once, in a big burst. This maximizes both the lead-up and the release marketing buzz.

“If you want to change somebody’s life…start by changing their day.” – Pat Flynn

The next day was full of workshops, and for me it kicked off with “Podcast Editing: Start to Finish” by Corey Coates. I’m planning on outsourcing the editing of my podcast, I just don’t have the time to learn a new tech skill at the moment. My passion is content creation and I’m a firm believer in sticking to your strengths and hiring out the rest. But I wanted to see what the process was so I’d know what I was hiring out. There wasn’t enough time for him to get to a description of the editing process, but he shared plenty of tips that would make me better at recording to give my editor (and audience) a higher quality podcast.

In the afternoon I struck out with the next few classes. One of the downsides of the event programming was the short length of the time-slots and the lack of clear categorizing of the topics, especially by beginner/intermediate/advanced skill/knowledge level. Since I’ve been an entrepreneur for my entire adult life and spend quite a bit of time self-educating on best business practices, marketing & branding, a lot of the information being shared wasn’t new or helpful for me personally. It would’ve been very valuable to me to know what skill level each presentation would be addressing so I didn’t have to waste so much time.

The last two keynotes were both inspiring, but with very different energies. First, Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu took us through a tour of their high-speed rise through the podcasting world thanks to the launch of their podcast “Another Round” and how they’ve embraced their own unique sound to create a podcast unlike those that had come before it. These young women (at one point Heben said “I used to listen to podcasts in high school…” and I thought to myself, oh how times have changed since I was in HS!) are inspiring in their authenticity and beautiful #BlackGirlMagic.

Wrapping up the event was Alex Blumberg, another community superstar as host of the podcast StartUp. He is an incredible skilled orator and took the audience through humor and tragedy to highlight the power of audio and the responsibility of those that use it.

Big thx to @abexlumberg for ending #pm16 with passionate reminder of power of audio to < empathy. That speech alone was worth the trip.

— Amy Martin (@amymartinmt) July 9, 2016

There’s an obvious sense of community and encouragement in the podcasting world, at least from my experience at Podcast Movement, and the trip as a whole was super inspiring. The highlight of the event though were the people I met and made fast friends with. The experienced podcasters that reached out with offers of support and recommendations, and the new podcasters (like me) joining in with enthusiasm and a desire to learn.

It’s a new event (this was the 3rd year) and there’s definitely some growing pains. My hope is that they’ll take the feedback they receive and continue to improve, I’m already planning on attending in Anaheim, CA 2017!

I also ended up with a slew of podcasts to listen to, here are a few that stood out most to me –

Good to Air – A podcast about two friends who watch and review TV shows that were cancelled before their time.

The Crazy Marketing Ladies Show

The Dear Mattie Show

Straight Talk for a Curvy World

Also a couple of super cool companies supporting & serving the podcast community –

International Podcast Day – September 30th!

Signl.fm – “A spoken-word blogging platform – Podcast 2.0.” Share Your Conversations

Buzzsprout – this is the podcast platform I decided to go with due to their simple interface, I’m excited about getting it started!

Modern Life Network (the founder is also the creator of International Podcast Day!)

Podfly – Podcasting Made Easy