When I look back at the past 18 years, so much has changed with the landscape of the internet. From attending my first conference back in 2000 when I flew across the country with my dad and took a week off of high school to attend Commission Junction University in San Diego, to seeing the massive amount of internet conferences held today, it’s been quite the journey.
With time comes changes, and when you throw business into the mix… then you have adaptation. If you don’t adapt with the changes around you, then you will surely fair.
From my start in affiliate marketing in the mid 90s, to building out my own sites and lead generation in the early 2000s and then launching my blog in 2007, it’s all about knowing what’s next.
So what was next on my list? Podcasting of course!
With the launch of the Rise of the Entrepreneur podcast I would take everything I’ve learned over the years and combine it with some excellent people (show guests) I’ve met along the way as well. The result… an amazing wealth of free content for anyone willing to listen.
I’ve poured in my blood, sweat and tears into the show and the result has been amazing… thus leading me to Podcast Movement — but did it live up to the hype?
The origin of Podcast Movement is almost one of dreams… heck, it started out as an idea on Kickstarter and it got the backing it needed to grow into a real event and much more. With an initial goal of $11,000, the campaign ended up generating over $30,000 and the attention it needed to scale in size and move to a bigger venue. Even after contribution ended on Kickstarter, the sales kept flowing through on their main site, resulting in over 600 attendees at their first conference.
You can view the original Podcast Movement Kickstarter campaign video below.
When you find a niche market and something that people are passionate about, then you can definitely make some big things happen and get the attention it deserves.
One of the unique things about the event was seeing all of the shirts that Podcast Movement handed out to all of their early Kickstarter backers. The shirts had their logo on the front and read “I funded Podcast Movement 2014” on the back… brilliant!
The rest of the conference was laid out in the same detail and fashion.
The success of a conference can greatly be attributed to the line up of speakers and sessions they have. Though I’m already familiar with many of the headliners, it was great to see them all speak, network, contribute and offer their support to the event.
The first keynote speaker was Chris Brogan, whom I’ve had the chance to previously interview on my show. His out of the box discussions and keynote drew a lot of laughs, thoughts and inspiration. A great way to kick things off. (photo credit)
The second keynote was Srinivas Rao, who had the joy of following up Chris Brogan — which many might see as a disadvantage. This was the first time I got a chance to see Srinivas speak and he did an amazing job. It’s easy to say someone did a great job, but the real passion and story behind the success and failures that Rao walked us through was quite amazing. (photo credit)
In short, the morning keynote sessions for the first day were excellent.
The rest of the day was filled with a steady flow of various sessions, many of which were great. One of the best being a session from Tim Paige of LeadPages, who rocked the mic even though he said it was just his first time speaking. This session was great not only for podcasters, but for anyone looking to get the most out of email marketing, lead gen and monetizing your content. Greg Hickman also had a great session on using mobile notifications and webinar signups. (photo credit)
The morning keynote the second day was with Jaime Tardy of EventualMillionaire.com, who’s made a successful career out of podcasting and interviewing millionaires. Jaime’s keynote was focused on the Future of Podcasting, but was brilliantly put together and grabbed everyone’s attention.
I also got to meet up with my audio guy, Darrell Darnell, which is cool. He did a session on using Audacity to master audio. It was another great session, but not something I ever want to have to deal with!
I had to leave before the closing keynote by Cliff Ravenscraft, but I heard it was a good one. Recordings of all sessions and keynotes are due to come out mid September.
When you hear about internet conferences today, you usually think about the benefits of sticking around in the conference hall and trying to meet with people in the hallway. This is usually true, but the majority of sessions during Podcast Movement were really good.
Another important factor of every conference is where it’s being held. Podcast Movement 14 was held in Dallas, TX at the Westin Galleria Dallas. This was the first time I got to visit Texas and unfortunately I was in the hotel 99% of the time… however, this was an extremely unique and cool hotel because it was attached to a huge mall, which had four floors and a skating rink in the middle of it!
The conference sessions were all located on the same floor and everything was close together and within walking distance. Sessions were usually separated by just 5-10 minutes, so it was a breeze getting through them all and there wasn’t much dead time. Good job on the venue.
Internet marketing conferences are also known for their lavish parties that sponsors love to spend a ton of money on. Podcast Movement kept it classy in this area as well.
After the first day of sessions, the Podcast Movement House of Blues party took place. PM provided transportation for all attendees and rented out the whole building for everyone to enjoy.
The night was filled with food, drinks and games — while also offering an experience where you can hear the person next to you talking, which is always nice. (photo credit)
During the second portion of the party, the keynote speakers and other attendees took the stage to play “Minute to Win It” — in short, a variety of funny games to entertain the audience, while also showing even the largest podcasters and keynote speakers in the world are just like you and me.
As mentioned, I’ve been to a lot of different conferences and the audience you get at each of them is usually different. The marketing conferences are usually as you’d expect — online marketers. Blogging conferences “used” to be more about passion and building your platform, though they are more monetized focused now. The bottom line is that conferences, attendees and their interests grow with time.
With this being the first Podcast Movement, it was all about the “passion” for many of the attendees. Many of the attending podcasters were new and some were still waiting to get started. There was little talk of monetization or business models associated among the attendees and speakers… though I’m sure it was on the back of most of their minds.
While there is something to be said about being passionate about your work, you still need to pay the bills and this seemed to be something that the majority of the attendees and speakers avoided or simply didn’t touch on at all.
Some podcasters are getting into this space for the wrong reason and are blinded by the fame and financial success of others. If you are podcasting for the sake of podcasting, then it is all about the passion. However, not all podcasters are on this same path.
The mantra of “follow your passion and the money will follow” is a good one… but more often then not it doesn’t work out that way. Unless you are already financially stable, “passion based” podcasters needs to realize this is the internet, and while the gateway into podcasting may be much smaller than blogging or online marketing you still need a business model if you want to survive.
Yes, I do podcast… and yes, I am passionate about it. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be doing it. It takes up a lot of time, resources and it isn’t easy… but in the end, I have a longterm goal and business model around it. I provide value to my audience and it helps grow my following, branding and business in the process.
During the last day of the event, PM announced their plans for the next Podcast Movement ’15 event, which will be held at the Omni Hotel in Downtown Fort Worth Texas 2015, July 31st through August 2nd. In addition to releasing the show location and date, advanced early bird tickets were on sale and they also announced that Pat Flynn will be keynoting the event as well. This was done through a well planned video before the morning keynote on the second day.
The future is bright for podcasting and seeing an event like this go off so well says a lot about the industry, the people who put the event together and also all of the podcasters who came together to make it happen.
I’ll probably see you there… in the meantime, don’t forget to check out Rise of the Entrepreneur.
My name is Zac Johnson and I have been an online entrepreneur for the past 18 years and blogger since 2007. This is my personal blog and I welcome you to the site. In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that I am benefiting financially or otherwise from everything you click on, read, or look at while on my website.
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