I was on a balcony overlooking to ocean in sunny Puerto Vallarta when I first realized systems were “my thing”.
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Podcast Movement 2016 in review
With the sun beating on my face and the sea breeze dancing around my toes I sat in the hot seat. (“Hot seat” is a term we like to use in the entrepreneurial space when you’re meeting with your mastermind group and it’s your turn to be the focus.)
Sitting on the hot seat usually comes with the responsibility of sharing something you’re working on right now, or something you’re struggling with.
I’d been on the EOFire team for nearly two years at that point in time, but I was feeling lost – like I didn’t have a focus.
I knew this is what I wanted to talk about during my time in the hot seat – this feeling of being lost without a focus.
What I didn’t know is that the powerful knowledge I’d walk away with from my hot seat would greatly shape everything I’ve done here at EOFire since.
I’ve been obsessed with planning, creating lists, organization, and doing things efficiently for as long as I can remember. But it wasn’t until that sunny day in Puerto Vallarta in January of 2015 that I realized the skills and experience I had with systems could be leverage in BIG ways for our business.
A year and a half later, in July 2016, I was grateful to be able to share what systems can mean for every business at Podcast Movement in Chicago.
But more on that in a bit…
First, I want to share a recap, along with some of the biggest takeaways we had from attending Podcast Movement 2016, and how these insights can help you in your business – regardless of whether or not you have a podcast.
Day 1: Wednesday, July 6
Unlike past years, John and I decided to head out to Chicago on Tuesday – the day before the conference started – which allowed us to wake up bright and early on Wednesday morning to set up our booth and prepare for our Exclusive Podcasters’ Paradise meet up we’d be hosting that evening.
All of this just before the Red Carpet event and the Podcast Awards Ceremony being hosted that night.
Oh yeah, and we got to meet up with a local rockstar, Dean Patino, for breakfast!
Dean was nice enough to offer up his home as a storage spot for the several things we needed to order in preparation for Podcast Movement, including 8 boxes of Freedom Journals, 3 boxes of t-shirts, 3 shipments from Kinkos, and more.
Thank goodness Dean is so kind!
Oh yes! …AND we got to sneak in the Podcast Websites meet up at a local pizza joint!
Sounds like a pretty crazy day, right?
But crazy in an amazing way. And with crazy comes lessons learned.
Allow me to expound…
The Podcasters’ Paradise & Freedom Journal Booth
This was our first year having a booth, and some of the biggest takeaways we had from that experience are:
- Booths give you a unique opportunity to easily connect with A LOT of people;
- Selling your products at a booth can be very beneficial if you’re in front of the right audience (we sold over 200 Freedom Journals!);
- It takes a lot of preparation and planning to do it right.
We were lucky to find Kelly on Task Rabbit, who helped us run our booth all 3 days. This allowed John and I to be at the booth when we could, but at the same time have the peace of mind that someone was there taking care of things when we couldn’t.
All-in-all, I think having a booth is a major plus, but be prepared to invest a lot of time (and some money, too), in actually having it run properly throughout the event. Just simply securing a booth will not even come close to the ROI of running it.
Our Exclusive Podcasters’ Paradise Meet Up
Once we had our booth set up and Kelly had arrived, it was time to head to the Virgin Hotel rooftop for our Exclusive Paradise meet up.
This is the 3rd year in a row we’ve hosted an Exclusive meet up for the Podcasters’ Paradise community, and just like the first 2 years, it was an absolute blast!
Josh Kercher, host of the upcoming podcast LifeStyled, helped us secure an incredible spot at the Virgin Hotel – rooftop status! A huge thank you to both Josh and Virgin for helping us make this meet up happen!
One of the biggest lessons learned I have when it comes to hosting a meet up for your community is that connecting people is priceless.
Each year we purposefully host our meet up the night before the event starts. That way, everyone who “kind of knows one another” from online can meet in person, helping those who might be a little more introverted to crack their shell pre-conference.
And let’s face it: it always helps to see / know a familiar face. So why not connect the community before the event starts so Paradisers can stick together?
The Podcast Awards Ceremony
Post-Paradise meet up, we headed back to the Hyatt Regency for the Red Carpet event and the Podcast Awards Ceremony.
While EOFire was nominated in the Business category (yay!), our only time on stage actually holding an award was to announce the winner in the News & Politics category.
The night ended shortly thereafter since Thursday was going to be another bright-and-early morning for us. It was not only the official first day of sessions (including keynotes throughout the morning), but it was also our Systems Workshop day!
Day 2: Thursday, July 7
Three opening keynotes preceded our nearly two hour Systems Workshop. Lucky for us, that meant we got to catch both Glynn Washington and Anna Sale on stage before getting sweaty palms ourselves.
The overwhelming theme at Podcast Movement 2016 was the power of story telling.
The power of the story telling that went down on stage this year left me speechless and with goosebumps all up and down my arms.
Glynn Washington, Snap Judgement
Simply put, “Storytelling is everything.”
I couldn’t agree more.
In fact, some of the things Glynn said not only made me realize just how important story telling is for engagement, but also how much it helps you connect with your audience on a personal and intimate level.
By the end of Glynn’s talk, I felt like I knew every person whose story he had shared. Not because they were standing there on stage, or because I got to shake their hand, but because they knew how to tell a story. They know how to connect with people who are listening.
Have you ever thought about the power of storytelling in your own business?
Have you ever told or shared your story with members of your audience?
If not, I highly recommend taking the time to think about what your story is, and how this might help you finally find the right path to connecting with your audience.
Anna Sale, Death, Sex & Money
10 Ways hosting a podcast is like having a baby
Anna’s presentation was entertaining, raw and super relevant. …well, for her anyway.
Having just given birth to a baby girl, Anna was able to prove the parallels, and bringing in a life event like having a baby made the concepts and insights easy to understand.
My favorite of the 10 Ways:
- It changes as it grows. Go with it.
And it’s the same for anything in business: nothing is static or permanent, so be prepared for change, and be flexible enough to go with it.
JLD & KLE, EOFire
Hey, that’s us :)
John and I were lucky to secure a double session this year in order to really dive deep into goal setting, planning, and – you guessed it – systems.
John started us off with a super solid outline for goal setting called W.O.O.P. from Gabriele Oettingen. It goes like this:
- Wish (this is your goal)
- Outcome (the best possible scenario once you accomplish your goal)
- Obstacle (the things that might prevent you from accomplishing your goal)
- Plan (how you’ll overcome any potential obstacles)
The most powerful takeaway here for me (and from many who attended our workshop and came up to me afterwards to talk about it) was this:
If [obstacle] happens, then I will [effective action].
It’s all about planning, checking in on your progress, and being prepared for unexpected results and outcomes so that when they do come up, you’re ready to tackle them head on.
Next, I went straight into the exact system we use in order to set goals.
Goal Setting System
- Choose your goal
- Make it SMART
- Put a plan in place
- Ask for accountability
- Take action
I hear from so many people who are FIRED UP about setting and accomplishing goals, but they simply don’t know where to start.
That’s why I was really excited about sharing this framework: it’s literally a step-by-step process that will walk you through how to come up with your goal, and also how to put a plan in place in order to accomplish it.
For more on goal setting and how to put a plan in place in order to accomplish your goals, check out Season 1 on Kate’s Take, where I focus solely on this topic!
The rest of our Systems Workshop was focused on podcasting systems specifically.
I walked through a total of 4 podcasting systems, including examples, checklists, and processes to follow for:
- Content creation
- Recording & Editing
John and I both felt really great about the workshop as a whole, and we were grateful to receive some amazing feedback from those who attended live.
Pat Flynn, Smart Passive Income
How to create a H.I.T. episode
Pat brought the heat with 10 totally do-able ideas for how to create a H.I.T. episode for your podcast.
What I loved most about Pat’s talk is that every idea he presented can (and will) work for every podcast – regardless of your niche, topic or format.
The biggest takeaway I had from Pat’s talk is that the most important part of creating a H.I.T. episode is that you treat it like an event.
Don’t just promote it one time across your social channels and move on to the next (like you’re probably doing for every one of your podcast episodes now).
Make it an event!
Andrew Warner, Mixergy
If you want raw, solid advice about business, then pay Andrew Warner’s site a visit today. It’s Mixergy.com.
Andrew’s presentation was all about how to solve a problem (not just start a podcast).
The purpose and drive behind Andrew’s message got me super fired up; not just because I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment, but also because it made me realize how often we (and when I say we, I am in fact admitting that I’ve done this before) throw up content without making sure it’s serving someone.
Andrew shared a great framework for how to actually solve a problem – your avatar’s problem – and it goes like this:
- Ask what they’re trying to accomplish – start there
- Don’t ask “what bothers you?”
- Mask your request (as a benefit for them)
- Understand your pain and make sure others do, too
Next time you get ready to publish a piece of content, or launch something new in your business, really think about whether or not what you’re creating can serve someone.
Something that was super cool about this year’s Podcast Movement is that I not only got to hug and chat face-to-face with literally hundreds of Fire Nation and Paradise members, but I also got to share this event with my 3 best friends:
- Kara Lamerato, host of The Wedding Planning Podcast
- Vanessa Merten, host of the Pregnancy Podcast
- Jen Hatzung, co-host of She Percolates
For me, when you get to spend time with people you love, doing what you love, that’s success.
Day 3: Friday, July 8
Shannon Cason, Homemade Stories
“Purpose. You can have purpose with your podcast…”
I’ve seldom seen or heard from someone who demands the amount of attention and interest that Shannon Cason demands. Another story-telling expert at work, Shannon shared what brutally honest storytelling sounds like.
When asked “How do you learn how to tell great stories?” from someone in the audience, Shannon answered something to the effect of:
“You learn. You listen back to every one of your podcast episodes – and to every video you create. How can you improve? How can you be better at recording the next time?
You listen, and watch others who are great storytellers, and you notice how they leverage pauses, voice inflections, and emphasis to grab you. Learn from yourself and from others who do it really well.”
This brought me back to when I first launched Kate’s Take – before I had any experience recording podcast episodes, or sharing my lessons verbally.
I listened – and to this day, I still listen – to every single episode I publish. Not because I like to hear myself talk, or I think I’m sooooo smart, but because it teaches me how to be better. It forces me to hear when I’m slipping into the rhythmic voice that encourages zone-outs, and the “um’s” and “ah’s” that I desperately want to get rid of.
It’s really amazing how much you can learn from yourself, and from others, when you just observe and listen.
Cliff Ravenscraft, Podcast Answerman
It was a great pleasure to see Cliff on stage, and an even greater pleasure to get to chat with him in person several times.
Cliff was a huge mentor for John when he first started out on his podcasting journey, and to bring it back to the basics with Cliff was really helpful for me.
This was probably the 4th or 5th time I had heard a speaker mention the importance of being clear about your message, and sometimes it actually takes 4 or 5 times until you actually digest or have that “ah-ha”. This was that time for me.
Hearing Cliff talk about having a clear message – as the #1 thing top podcasters have in common – made me think about my message.
Is it clear?
Should I revisit this?
While I do feel that I have a clear message, it always helps me get re-centered and re-energized about the message I want to share, and the value I want readers and listeners to walk away with.
So even if you DO feel you have a clear message, I encourage you to think about what that message is – even if it’s just to re-center and recharge your love for what it is you’re sharing.
Here are the other things Cliff listed off as things top podcasters have in common:
8 Things top podcasters have in common
- A clear message
- They Consistently provide hope, encouragement and inspiration
- Provide consistent, compelling content
- Are focused on quality (audio & artwork)
- Authentic (just be yourself)
- Passionate about the content they create
- Know how to network with other content creators in their niche
- Build a relationship with your audience
Dan Miller, 48 Days
“You don’t have to copy someone else. Be your authentic self.”
The most common piece of feedback I heard after Dan Miller’s presentation was the ease with which he presented a monetization strategy.
Dan actually advised against sponsorships, and challenged his audience to think of the dozens of other ways you can monetize a business (and podcast).
To name a few:
- Write a book;
- Offer coaching;
- Lead a mastermind;
- Host an event.
It was refreshing to hear this from Dan, and I know it really stuck with many who were in the audience.
Gretchen Rubin, Happier with Gretchen Rubin
After you check out Gretchen’s 11 Ways to create your podcast manifesto below, I know you’ll be convinced that having a clear message and the power of storytelling truly did steal the stage at Podcast Movement 2016…
11 Ways to create your podcast manifesto
- Be very clear about what you’re doing
- Remember the 4 desires of your listeners
- hunger for stories
- fun of companionship
- desire to learn
- ease of listening (good audio)
- Be consistent, and also surprise
- Highlight your conflicts
- Be transparent & vulnerable – the more you reveal the more your audience engages
- Beware of banter
- Remember how people listen
- People love to talk and share
- Live shows / events
- Connect with listeners in as many ways as possible
- Strong voice repels as well as attracts
That’s a wrap!
What I found refreshing about every talk I attended at Podcast Movement this year was the ease of consumption.
Not one talk that I sat in presented complex strategies or ideas that were super hard to grasp. In fact, they all presented strategies and ideas that I know every person reading this post or listening to this episode is 100% capable of doing.
But it takes discipline, focus, and putting a plan in place to make it happen.
That’s why I knew that leveraging my expertise with systems was perfect for our Systems Workshop.
A closing thought: next time you have the opportunity to meet up with like-minded people – people who are on the same path as you and understand the struggles you’re facing and how exciting and motivating the wins can be – do it.
Sign up. Show up. Be engaged. Build relationships. Share ideas. Ask for feedback. Spend time with people.
It can be a real game-changer.
Shout out to those behind the Podcast Movement event! There were so many incredible volunteers and people working hard behind the scenes to make this happen, and that doesn’t go unnoticed.
Thank you to each and every one of those people for creating a truly incredible experience.