If you want to challenge yourself to be a better podcast host, create excitement around a big announcement, build a community with your super fans, or generate additional revenue, a live podcast event could help. Here are eight tips for planning and hosting a live podcast event.
Book Your Live Podcast Venue
Selecting the right venue for your live podcast is key to making the event run seamlessly. You’ll need a performance space that can seat your entire audience, cancel out background noise, and stay within your budget. If you’re a podcaster without a team, venues that provide recording equipment, along with marketing and promotional materials for the live event, are often best.
Live podcast events can also be held virtually, so your venue could be your usual recording studio. Hosting a virtual live podcast event is great if you’re tight on funds but still want a way to connect your audience through webinars, Q&A sessions, behind-the-scenes tours, premium content, and more!
Fund the Podcast Event
Live podcasting can be another way for podcasters to make money—through event sponsorships, advertisements, merchandise, and ticket sales.
To encourage sales and help cover the production of your live podcast event, you should set the right price on your tickets, which will depend on a number of factors like your level of popularity, the location, your audience’s purchasing behavior, and more. If your goal is to fill seats and sell tickets well in advance, consider tiered pricing, where you reward early booking with a discount, give VIP options, and charge more for tickets at the door.
Find Ways to Keep Your Audience Engaged
Audience participation during a live podcast event is critical to maintaining interest throughout the set, so build in time for Q&A sessions, polls, voting, or interactive games. In fact, Q&As are a great way for the hosts and audience to connect since audience members can share stories related to what the host is talking about.
Unlike regular podcasting, a live podcast can use visuals to accompany your story. Prepare photos, videos, and lighting in advance to enhance your show. But don’t forget the audio elements! Beyond your voice, your live event can have sound effects or music performances—whether during your set or while you’re on break.
All of these considerations should be informed by your listeners’ preferences, so use social listening to figure out what people already love about your podcast and do more of that during your live event.
Bring Quality Equipment to Your Show
Clear audio seems obvious, but it really is important when running a live podcast show. If it’s hard to hear in the venue, the audience will lose interest fast.
High-quality podcast equipment ensures your audience actually hears you! The type of equipment you bring can depend on the size of your venue and your podcast format, but you’ll always need a mic to dampen background noise and a quality PA sound system to project your voice.
Just be sure to have backup equipment and cables in case of technical issues during your live podcast event. If you’re worried about managing your audio on the day of the show, it may be worth it to hire professional soundboard operators so you can focus on hosting.
Choose Podcast Software & Streaming Platforms
If you want to host a hybrid or virtual podcast event, your software needs to support live streaming. A few of the best podcast hosting platforms with live streaming include Podbean, Castos, Libsyn, StreamYard, and RiversideFM.
Don’t want to release your show right away? Instead, turn the event into a new podcast episode or other repurposed content. Simply record and download the audio after recording your live event.
Promote Your Podcast Event
You should start promoting your podcast at least two weeks before the event to help reach a larger audience. Two weeks before the event gives people time to plan, but it’s not too far in advance that they forget about it.
But how do you promote your live podcast event? If your venue or partner organizers don’t offer marketing services, spread the word yourself through a podcast tour or by making a quick announcement on your podcast. This will attract your already-engaged fanbase.
You should also utilize email marketing, episode swaps with fellow podcasters in your niche, audiograms, and social media. Publicize your event locally, too, by inviting local leaders and local businesses to showcase your physical marketing materials like flyers or posters.
Rehearse Your Show
Because it’s a live podcast, you’ll want to be extra prepared, so plan an outline to prevent mistakes from occurring on the day of the event. An outline will help you stay on track, especially while interviewing guests by serving as a reminder of all the topics you want to cover.
Then, predict how long the overall event will last and the duration of each podcast segment, accounting for pauses with guest interviews, technical difficulties, and audience reactions.
If there are many different production elements, keep the show schedule on hand so that the talent and the producers are on the same page. Live events seldom follow that schedule run exactly, but it at least gives you a framework to go off of.
Additionally, podcast hosts should rehearse in the actual performance space to familiarize themselves with the acoustics, equipment, and layout before hosting the live event.
Create an Event Day Checklist
You’ll likely have many distractions throughout your show day. If you write a podcast event day checklist, you can stay organized even while nervous. Better yet, a checklist can help you delegate tasks to your team. Here’s everything you should do before going live:
- Configure the stage and event space (i.e., merch and concession stands, sign-in table, green room for guests, breakout zones for audience Q&As, etc.)
- Gather materials (i.e., show outline, beverages, or equipment you’ll control)
- Put your phone on silent to reduce distractions
- Meet with your guests and chat to feel comfortable together
- Perform a final test of your podcast equipment
- Test your internet connection for virtual podcast events
- Pay the venue/partner organizers