Hosting in-person events for your podcast is vital to strengthening the community of your show.
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
In-person meetups are an excellent way for business owners to strengthen the community of their podcast. If you’re not sure how to start, don’t worry. Here are the key steps for hosting your first in-person event, and some advice on what makes them successful:
What is a podcast meetup, and why should business owners host one?
Podcast meetups for your listeners are a fantastic way for you to meet your audience, existing customers and prospective clients face to face. It allows you to make a real and personal connection. You become more than a voice on a podcast. You are a natural person that cares about your audience, which is wise for business.
You can meet a few of your listeners over a coffee or an evening happy hour.
You can allow your attendees to introduce themselves, share their favorite podcast episodes with the group and then ask for feedback on what they enjoy about the show.
You can leverage the opportunity to use this time to share details about upcoming episodes. You can also learn about other business-related podcasts that your audience listens to and what they like about them. Hosting these types of meetups will give you insight into how your customers and audience react to your show, which allows you to tweak future episodes based on their feedback.
Another reason entrepreneurs should host meetups for their podcast listeners is to allow attendees to meet each other. I have attended small gatherings for some of my favorite business podcasts in the past, where I met other attendees with similar interests. I’ve created some amazing friendships because of this, and I’ve also made additional contacts in my network that are helpful for business ideas, recommendations, encouragement and mastermind conversations.
How business owners can create an event for their podcast meetup
Starting a meetup for your podcast audience does not need to be complicated. You have a variety of options that you can try.
Are you taking a trip for work or pleasure? Perhaps you could share on social that you will be at a particular coffee shop or brewery and welcome anyone that listens to the podcast in the area to join you. If you think the turnout will be larger than a few people, it would probably make sense to speak with the venue first to ensure that you have adequate space.
You can create an Eventbrite page, Facebook event or LinkedIn event (or all three) and share these on your personal and business social channels to help promote the meetup. Search for similar meetings in your area and find out where they meet. Toastmasters is a good example. Where do they have their meetings? Could you get permission to use that particular room or location?
You may be able to use a conference room at your local library, or meet at a local park if the weather is nice. Suppose the niche of your podcast is relevant to a specific type of business or industry. In that case, you can always reach out to another company or organization and see if they would allow you to host your meetup at their space. For example, a business podcast about wine could meet at a winery or conference room at a Total Wine & Spirits store.
Tips for hosting and running a successful event
One strategy that worked well for me when I would plan meetups was collaborating with other entrepreneurial podcasters for a listener meetup. You can find a podcast in the same category as you in the city or area you want to meet.
Contact the host and see if they would be willing to co-host the meetup with you. This way, you can share the event with your audience, and your meetup co-host shares the gathering with their audience as well. The attendance will likely be higher, and some of the other audience members are more likely to check out your show if they haven’t already and vice versa.
Another effective strategy is to consider piggybacking off a conference or event you are attending in your business niche. Could your group meet at the lobby bar or in a common area? Would it make sense for everyone to go out and do karaoke with each other on a night that the conference does not have any events planned for that particular evening?
The best practice here is to get in touch with the conference organizers and ensure that you are not scheduling anything that would prevent event attendees from skipping an official event to be at your meetup. You want to avoid creating ill will with the event organizers, which isn’t helpful to you, your business or your podcast. You may get lucky and have the event organizers add your meetup to the conference schedule if you plan and communicate with them far enough in advance. This will help you get more attendees for your community gathering.
Hosting in-person events for your podcast is a great way to strengthen your show and business community. You receive feedback on your episodes, grow as an interviewer and host through discussion with your audience — and have some fun!
Hosting a meetup for listeners can take time and effort, but it’s worth it when people come together with common interests. If you haven’t hosted one yet, don’t be intimidated by the process.