Media Voices have launched the Publisher Podcast Summit, the first and only event dedicated exclusively to supporting publishers in their podcasting journeys. Co-founder Esther Kezia Thorpe explains why they set up the Summit, and what publishers can expect.
Sitting and reading through entries to the Publisher Podcast Awards over Christmas last year, I was struck by how far podcasts and podcast strategies had come on since launching the Awards in 2019. Our core aim has always been to help publishers improve their podcasts throughout the process, firstly through a mini podcast series talking to the winners of each year’s awards. But we could do more than that by bringing people together in person.
Ongoing Covid restrictions meant we had to postpone the first Summit, instead focusing on keeping the Awards going. But now with a successful third year under our belt, we’re looking once again at our mission to help publishers improve and produce world-leading audio.
The Publisher Podcast Summit will take place in London on October 5th. We’ll be revealing more about the speakers and agenda over the coming weeks, but firstly we want to talk about why we considered a Summit at all (and why you should come, whether you have a podcast or are looking to launch one).
Publishers face a unique set of challenges in podcasting…
…but also a unique set of opportunities. There are other podcasting shows, newsletters and outlets providing news, advice and updates for anyone wanting to podcast. But publishers come from a different starting point.
They usually have strong brand credibility and existing audiences. This is beneficial when starting a podcast as it makes it much easier to build listeners, shape a show and bring in commercial deals early on. But it also brings its own risks. Publishers can’t afford to make the same mistakes as individuals with things like sound quality or structure. The product has to meet audience expectations for standards from the word go.
Publishers also have resourcing to consider. They can add podcast development and hosting to the responsibilities of existing editorial staff. This has the benefit of bringing editorial expertise and a deep knowledge of the audience to a podcast right from the start. However, it can also be an added burden to staff. The technical barrier to entry for podcasts is low, but the time commitment – especially in the early days – is high.
Through our time at Media Voices doing workshops, writing reports, and of course running the awards, we’ve come to gain an appreciation of what publishers have to navigate when looking to start a podcast. The Summit will have sessions aimed at helping publishers identify the opportunities podcasts can present for their brand, and how they can avoid pitfalls.
Networking is highly valued
Covid has helped reinforce the value of connection. Because podcasting is still a relatively new area for many publishers, it can be quite isolating for staff working on them within an organisation. Guests at the Publisher Podcast Awards have consistently said how valuable it is to be able to get together and share experiences with people working on podcasts in other publications.
We’re carefully building the networking experience to better enable these connections. Our venue, Proud Cabaret City, is intimate, with plenty of spaces to allow both serendipitous meetings, but also to sit aside somewhere and continue a conversation. We’ll be having some tables dedicated to certain topics, so if attendees are nervous about starting random conversations, they can come and start a chat around a podcast-related theme with like-minded people.
Networking doesn’t have to involve fancy apps, badges or other high-tech solutions. Our aim is that a well-crafted event with a small but influential attendee list will bring together the people who will most benefit from each other’s knowledge and expertise. The Publisher Podcast Awards has already forged lifelong connections between publishers, producers, editors and vendors. Our aim is to ensure the Summit does the same, and we can continue to build the community beyond the events.
Lessons should be accessible to all
Many events seem to have regressed since Covid restrictions were lifted. Despite companies lauding the benefits of virtual events, the costs and technical requirements of offering virtual streams alongside in-person events have meant that a growing number of conferences are now in-person only once again.
Podcasting, and many of the themes we are covering at the conference, are universal to all types of publishers. There are travel costs and potential health risks with attending in-person events, so we will be streaming the Publisher Podcast Summit live for those who can’t make it in person.
We’ve chosen to stream rather than attempt any clever event platforms partly to keep costs manageable, but also to keep the networking and roundtable sessions as an in-person benefit. This keeps the learnings from speakers and sessions accessible to people all around the world.
However, we are also charging for virtual tickets. There is a price to pay for the expertise of the speakers and panellists – and yes, we’re paying all of them. This needs to be reflected in what we ask of attendees, so although we’ve worked hard to keep the costs low, we are putting a price on watching the event online.
Why you should come along
First and foremost, there are no other conferences tailor-made to publishers with podcasts. If you’re a publisher and you have input into a podcast, whether that be presenting, editing, producing, selling advertising, or providing strategic direction, you should absolutely be there. Our four focus areas for the agenda – editorial, marketing, sound & production, and monetisation – have been carefully crafted with input from professionals just like you.
But if you don’t yet have a podcast, or are wondering what benefit it could bring your business, it is suitable for you, too. Come along and be inspired by case studies and stories of publishers who have seen huge success in the audio space, and what challenges they had to overcome to get there.
We’ll also be putting on a number of roundtables in the afternoon, featuring an expert speaker and a Q&A session constructed to help you get the most from the time. These will be on offer at a variety of levels, depending on podcasting experience and maturity.
What’s New in Publishing are media partners, so we’ve got an exclusive discount code for you. Use the code WNIP15 at checkout for 15% off single, team and virtual tickets.
See you there!
For tickets and more information, including agenda and speaker announcements, see publisherpodcastsummit.com