Want to Boost Event Attendance & Loyalty? Launch a Podcast

event attendance

The podcast nation continues to experience steady growth, with some of the biggest gains happening thanks to people tuning in from their vehicles.

So says Edison Research, in their report, The Podcast Consumer 2018, just released a couple of weeks ago.

In 2005, when Apple released their first iTunes version with native support for podcasts, it was the “wild, wild west” era of podcasting. Program quality back then was sketchy, at best. As an early adopter who started listening in 2007, I had to “McGyver” my way through a series of complicated steps just to access these programs.

Fast forward to today and the friction is all but gone. Podcasting has become a more sophisticated and nimble medium, tapped by many organizations to enlighten their customers.

Podcasting has become a more sophisticated and nimble medium, tapped by many organizations to enlighten their customers. Click To Tweet

Here are a few more thought-provoking takeaways from the Edison Research 2018 report:

  • 26% of Americans have listened to at least one podcast in the past month, a two percent year-over-year gain from 2017 – and up from 9% in 2008.
  • Consumption spikes for various demographic segments are beginning to level off, as we take a closer look at the monthly podcast listener:
    • By gender: 27% men (same as 2017); 24% women (three-percent gain)
    • By age: 34% age 18-34; 36% age 36-54; 19% age 55+
    • Podcast listeners tend to be more affluent than the general population. While 38% of the US population earns $75K or more, 51% of podcast listeners are at that same income level.
    • Podcast listeners also tend to be better educated. While 44% of the population holds a four-year college degree or higher, 61% of podcast consumers meet or exceed that benchmark.

event attendance

Now, think about your event audience – many already fall within this higher income and higher education zone. Rest assured, many are probably already enjoying podcasts produced by others on their daily commute or while working out at the gym. This audio-on-demand option is perfect for busy people on the go.

This audio-on-demand option is perfect for busy people on the go. Click To Tweet

If you haven’t jumped into the podcast pool yet, now would be a good time to do so and start perfecting your podcast production strokes.

There are still quite a few blue ocean opportunities waiting to be seized, but this podcast feast won’t last forever. In fact, the waters are starting to get a little pinker with each passing year.

3 Reasons Why Podcasting Makes Great Sense for Event Organizers

As you ponder this “Should We Podcast?” decision, consider this:

  1. Podcasts are an outstanding amplifier for event marketing messages.

    You just signed on a five- or six-figure keynote speaker. How hard would it be to record a short, pre-event phone interview with this thought leader? Something you might publish in the weeks leading up to your conference. Most speakers would welcome this added exposure and it’s a nice way to give your event audience a taste of what they’ll enjoy at your conference. For some speakers, the added exposure might help you negotiate a more favorable speaker fee. A well-designed podcast is far more shareable and memorable, which is a great segue to our next big reason.

    A well-designed podcast is far more shareable and memorable, which is a great segue to our next big reason. Click To Tweet

  2. Podcasts help attendees remember and apply more of what they learned at your conference.

    There’s a famous quote that you’ve likely heard from a study conducted years ago:

    “We remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see…” 

    Granted, your participants are engaging all five of their senses while they’re navigating your event, but within a few hours, the Forgetting Curve will start to kick in. Soon, their brains will start to dump information that hasn’t been revisited.

    When your attendees leave your event, most are heading for the airport. Why not recommend that they download a podcast episode that showcases more wisdom from your speakers? Something they can listen to on their flight home and possibly again, when they’re trying to solve a problem that links to these event learning gems.

  3. Podcasts extend the event value runway – often, for months to come.

    Your attendees have been out of the office for several days. When they return, they’re often greeted with a mountain of work that piled up while they were away. Later, when the boss stops by and asks, “What did you learn at that conference?” – what will they say? A well-designed podcast sets the stage for richer and more fruitful follow-up conversations with colleagues who didn’t attend.

    With a monthly podcast, you’d likely have at least a half-year of meaningful content from your event that could be repurposed and shared – maybe more. Podcasts are also helpful to rev up your marketing engine for the next event cycle.

    With a monthly podcast, you’d likely have at least a half-year of meaningful content from your event that could be repurposed and shared – maybe more. Click To Tweet

event attendance

I haven’t even touched on sponsorship – yes, podcasts are sponsorship assets that are valued highly by your event investors, for many of the same reasons I’ve outlined above.

Even better, there’s no more guesswork on sponsorship ROI. Digital channels have now advanced to a point where we can show sponsors exactly how many times an episode was downloaded, as well as average listening times for each episode. Try doing that with a program print ad or conference bag insert.

Digital channels have now advanced to a point where we can show sponsors exactly how many times an episode was downloaded, as well as average listening times for each episode. Click To Tweet

At Experient, we’re more than a year into this podcasting adventure, with more than a dozen programs of the VIP Lounge being downloaded regularly. Was Show #1 perfect? Hardly, but with each program, we’re continuing to sharpen our production, creative and interviewing skills. We’re also taking a closer look at back channel data, to better understand which podcast segments are consumed most.

Are you ready to explore podcasting? If you’re a bit uncertain on steps to get started, drop me a line at donna.kastner-c@experient-inc.com and I’d be happy to share a few tips and answer any questions.

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