Engaging with your audience, pre, during and post-event are important considerations for any event planner. Building a community and creating a buzz, pre-event, will help with promotion and increase registrations. Sharing the action during the event will allow those who can’t be there to engage with the topic. Distributing the content afterwards will extend the reach of your event beyond the day itself, providing added value for your stakeholders.
We looked at the ways content is generally shared and unsurprisingly, video technology and slide share platforms topped the list but increasingly, organisers are looking to podcasting as a means to create and share content for conferences and events…with podcast listenership doubling in the UK since 2013.
Always curious – we wanted to know more so we caught up with Angela Young from Cambridge Podcasts to find out more about her skills and to ask her some questions about using the medium of podcasting for events.
How did you get into this career and what’s the story behind Cambridge Podcasts?
A former BBC News Editor and teacher of media handling, I have a skill in communicating a message through both the written and spoken word. I set up Cambridge Podcasts to help people tell their story in a clear, concise and engaging way.
How can podcasts be used effectively for conference and events?
A podcast series provides a lasting and measurable impact for your event. A venue could hold 300 people, but your organisation might have several thousand members. A podcast enables people who could not attend your event to listen to the key messages whenever and wherever they wish.
What are the advantages of using podcasts over other forms of communication and marketing?
Many event organisers record entire sessions and upload them onto their website; but if someone wasn't there, they are unlikely to sit in front of a screen and watch the entire proceeding. This means they may miss out on vital information. Video recordings of the highlights are very expensive and require the audience to watch on screen. Podcasting is extremely cost-effective and as listening is a secondary activity, your audience can listen while commuting, gardening, walking the dog or in the gym.
Can anyone produce a podcast?
There are many thousands of podcasts available but if you listen to a few, you will realise that they vary hugely in quality. Yes, you could buy a microphone and set up a studio somewhere and perhaps learn to use an audio editing software programme but a professional producer will take you through the process from concept to publication on podcast platforms, ensuring that your podcast is of broadcast quality.
What should organisers think about when briefing a podcast producer?
First, you need to think about whether you require a series from your event, a one-off podcast or an ongoing commitment. Event organisers should think about the message they wish to convey from the event: will the podcast be used to provide information about the latest developments in their fields, or will it be a summary of the highlights; would you like a series of interviews and should there be a round-table discussion as the final episode to bring everything together?
Do you have any tips and advice for organisers that would like to produce a podcast on a tight budget?
Podcasting is extremely inexpensive and cost-effective. Your series could simply be one presenter and one interviewee per episode, recorded live, requiring minimum editing and mixing. Once you reach an audience of around 10,000 you can begin to think about sponsorship, making the podcast cost neutral.
Who ‘owns’ the podcast and how can it be shared?
The organiser would own the copyright and could decide how to use it. It could form part of a marketing strategy on a website or be provided to subscribers and members; but it could also be made available on podcast hosting platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher etc for anyone to listen to.
Can you give any examples of conferences and events that have used podcasts successfully?
The Institute of Continuing Education at Madingley Hall commissioned us to make a series of podcasts from their fiction residency course. We interviewed four authors including Louis de Bermieres, whose novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin was turned into a film starring Nicholas Cage.
We provided four podcasts of about 15 minutes which the Institute use on their website to give a taste of what students can expect. We also provided audiograms (short pieces of audio with an image) which can be used on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, in which the interviewees spoke about the advantages of taking part in the course, thereby endorsing the product.
Do organisers have to think about using actors or finding music etc.?
Absolutely not! The production company should take care of voice-over artists, music and design. We use an award-winning composer who will write your own introductory music and we have a talented artist who will design artwork for use on podcast hosting platforms and social media.
Have you got a favourite or unusual event that you have worked on and can you tell us about it?
Yes! When the University of Cambridge Library acquired the archive from the Spitting Image TV series, we made a podcast about it. We were delighted to interview Roger Law, one of the creators, but also Steven Nallon, who provided the voice of Margaret Thatcher; we were particularly excited to include the voice of Margaret Thatcher from beyond the grave!
If you’re interested in using podcasting for your next event, Angela would be delighted to have a chat. Her telephone number is +447446326746 or you can reach her by email to firstname.lastname@example.org