As podcast conference time draws near, the frenzied rush pack your convention essentials means that you’re more prone to overlook or forget something. (And trust us, there’s nothing worse than traveling several hours away to a conference only to realize that you left your charger or your business cards.)
So check out our patent-pending Podcast Conference Checklist to help you prep for your best con yet!
Your podcast conference schedule
Prep for pod con success by checking out the list of panels, vendors, parties, and more before you start your trip. Podcast conferences are the best places to form relationships, make connections with other podcasting pros, and get the deets on new trends and developments in the industry. Prepping a schedule ahead of time means that you’ll have your goals in mind to actively work towards, which will be a good focal point to return to if you get overwhelmed. And depending on the conference that you’re attending, their con app may be the best (and easiest!) route to take!
Pick out some panels
There are lots of panels featuring all sorts of guests, from big name podcasters to podcast host representatives to recording professionals. Check out the list and select a few that you’d like to catch.
Schedule one-on-one meetings ahead of time
Podcast conferences are busy and jam-packed for everyone, so trying to scrap together a spur-of-the-moment meeting may not always work out the best. If you check out the attendee list and spy someone you want to meet with, try to connect with them ahead of time and plan out a meeting.
Check what vendors are going to be in the expo hall
Not every podcast conference features every name in the podcasting industry, so always check the vendors list to see who’s got a booth going! Knowing who you want to visit beforehand lets you prep any questions, concerns, or collaborations you’d like to share.
Plan some off-time
No matter how much you prep, a podcast conference is going to be a high-energy activity. Balance out your “on” time (doing meetings, panels, networking, etc) with some “off” time. Use this time to relax and recharge so you can rejoin the party at full strength!
Your on-the-go recording gear
All of this may not be applicable to everyone, so as always your mileage may vary. But if you’re planning on recording or taking notes and making connections, you definitely don’t want to be caught without your equipment.
Your microphone/pocket recorder
Depending on how well your equipment travels, it’s up to you to decide what’s best to bring. Pocket recorders are easy to pack and made to be a bit sturdier than the average microphone, but that comes at the cost of sound quality.Your microphone may be the best bet if you’re looking to keep your average sound quality, but please take care in packing it to travel.
Once again, it’s up to you if your usual equipment is necessary for what recording you’d like to do while traveling at the podcast conference.
Your camera/lights/gimbal/phone mount
Much like the above, if you think you’re going to need it (or are planning to do some serious content creation), don’t forget to pack it! Podcast conferences are full of great places to get crowd shots, while also featuring some nice alcoves/quiet places for more serious recording. Just remember to always ask permission before recording the folks around you.
Regardless of your decision to record anything during your podcast conference adventure, a notebook and note-taking tools are always great to have on hand. It’s perfect for writing down tips and sites from panels, names, email addresses, and more. No longer will you be the one to ask, “Do you have paper?” because you will, in fact, be the one to have it.
You pod con go-bag
Consider this your Mary Poppins’ carpet bag. Anything you may need during the day while out and about enjoying your podcast conference experience should be in your go-bag. Whether it’s a backpack, a totebag, a messenger bag, or a handbag, there’s no reason to not have it on hand. But what should go in your bag?
The above tools
If you plan on recording, have your recording stuff on hand! This of course does not mean that you should carry the whole studio with you, but have your camera or your pocket recorder or your phone mount handy so when the opportunity strikes, you’re ready.
The best way to make sure your connections remember you is by having business cards on hand so they can reach back out! Get bhold and creative with your design, but always be sure to include your name and email address so it’s easier for people to find you once the con rush is over.
Your phone charger
Your phone can (and does!) do everything from recording audio and video and enabling you to post content to helping you navigate an unfamiliar city. The last thing you want is for your phone to die on you while you’re mid-conference. Keep a charger on hand to take advantage of any charging stations you see, or keep a portable charger with you to keep your phone at hand no matter your battery percentage.
Reusable water bottle
If you’ve never had to speak for long lengths of time before, you’re going to underestimate how dry it makes your mouth. You’re also going to become more dehydrated during high-energy activities (like pod cons) than you would doing your day-to-day activities. Having a water bottle on hand means that you’re spending less time hunting for water and more time enjoying your con experience. (Also, note: if you’re going to a podcast conference during the summer, in an area that’s already prone to heat before there’s the mid-summer heat wave, remember to drink even more water than you think you need.)
Much like water, you don’t realize how chapped your lips get from talking for long periods of time. Keep some on hand to prevent discomfort.
As of the writing of this post in August 2022, don’t be afraid to keep masking up if that’s what makes you feel most comfortable. Keep extras on hand in case the one you wear gets wet, sweaty, or dirty.
This is, of course, a no-brainer. Where you go, your wallet and phone go. Keeping it in your bag is just another way to keep it safe.
Any needed medicine
Prone to allergies or migraines? Not used to being on your feet? Be prepared with the medication you may need to avoid any unnecessary misery during your pod con adventure. (We are not doctors, of course, but our best reminder is that if you’ve had to take it at home, you’re going to want it at a conference. If you’re not used to the high-energy activity, the area’s local flora and fauna, allergies and headaches are more likely to strike.)
Your con fit
First impressions matter! Whether you decide to dress up or dress down, keep in mind that you’re presenting your best self.
Break in those shoes
Make sure that the shoes you choose are comfortable to be in for the day. Even if you’re going to sit for a couple panels and then head out, walking in shoes that are uncomfortable will not provide the best experience.
Bring your best day look – and your best night look
Podcast conferences are all about providing the best opportunities for professional connections, and professional partying! If you’re planning on hitting any of the networking parties, don’t be afraid to bring extra clothes to party in.
As you can guess, these aren’t absolutely required to have a good time. But they’re worth the consideration to ensure that you have the best time.
Your own lanyard/stuff to decorate your lanyard
Conferences will usually provide lanyards for your badge, and maybe even some pins to denote things like how many years you’ve been podcasting, your pronouns, etc. But sometimes it’s also fun to bring your own stuff, especially if you have pins or buttons made for your podcast. They’re a great conversation piece, and will help to break the ice as you meet new people.
This is hit or miss depending on the time of year and if you plan to go outside, but it never hurts to have this on hand. (From your loving post writer, who is getting over a severe sunburn that’s taking more than a week to heal: please wear sunscreen, don’t do what I did.)
Fun stuff to hand out
Have stickers, pins, or buttons for your podcast? Bring them along to hand them out! You never know where you’re going to find a listener, and studies show that handing out stickers automatically make you the coolest person at the podcast conference.* (*Note: this is not an official study, but stickers are still the absolute best.)
Fun stuff for your downtime
Reading a cool book? Trying to keep your streak in Animal Crossing or Duolingo? Knitting a sock? Bring it along to aid in your “off” time. And who knows, you never know who you’re going to run into who has the same interest!
A check-in buddy is always key
No matter who you are or how far away from home you go, having someone that you text, call, or otherwise check in with is absolutely vital. This ensures that someone knows where you are and how you’re doing, just in case anything happens. They’re also a great touchpoint for times when you’re getting stressed or overwhelmed, or if you want to share great news that you’ve just heard!
Preparing for a podcast conference is the first step to ensuring it’s a successful endeavor. While there’s no such thing as a perfect plan, the best plans offer enough direction to keep you from feeling bored, but enough room for improvisation for new experiences and impromptu breaks.
You can download our ultimate Pod Con Checklist here!
Is this your first trip to a podcast conference? Check out our walkthrough of what to expect from your first podcast conference.
Planning your trip to Podcast Movement 2022? Find us at booth 603 to meet the Podbean team and collect some neat con-exclusive swag!