Does the thought of podcasting without the security of the pause button and editing software fill you with terror and trepidation? That’s completely understandable! However, podcasting live, or hosting a live podcast event could also be exciting, exhilarating and a fresh, new experience for you and your listeners! Podcasting live, in whatever shape or form, is a great way to add variety to your show, and to really connect with your audience. It’s also not as scary as it sounds, and fairly simple to pull off.
Not quite convinced? Continue reading and we’ll show you how, with a little planning and the right equipment, live podcasting could be a great strategy towards achieving your podcast goals.
We’ll first look at the three linchpins of accomplishing a successful live podcast, and then further explore these elements in relation to hosting a live podcast event.
Whether you’re exhilarated or terrified (or a healthy mix of both) at the thought of live podcasting, if this is something you’d like to try, the first thing you need to do is plan. And then plan some more. As we mentioned, podcasting live removes the safety net of the pause button if a mistake is made, so you’ll need to be as prepared as possible before you hit record. There’s no need to overhaul your usual prep process, you’ll just need to amp it up a little to help minimize the “umms” and “aahs” and avoid awkward silences that could happen if you think about what to say next. If your live podcast is an interview, have your questions ready, and if possible, go through them with your guest first before you start streaming.
Related read: How To Plan For Recording Your First Podcast Episode
While planning is of utmost importance to a successful live podcast, undoubtedly, the key to its overall success is great sound quality. Studios, whether professional or home-made, ensure that you get the highest sound quality for your recording. However, wherever you plan to do your live podcast from will probably not have the luxury of a totally quiet, sound-conducive space. So the challenge is to create this unique experience while still ensuring that the audio is pleasant to listen to. It would be pointless putting all that planning into recording your podcast live at an exciting location, only for you to be inaudible due to a poor quality mic, or for the background noise to be too distracting for your listener, rather than adding to the “live experience”.
An in-depth hardware and software analysis is a discussion for another day, so for now, we will simply make mention of the basics you will need to get a high-quality live recording.
Most importantly, you will need a high-quality mic, and preferably one that limits background noise. You also need a means of capturing your audio, which can be easily accomplished via an app on your phone or laptop. When choosing the app for the job, you need to be on the lookout for streaming capability, as this is what will enable you to broadcast your show live, but you should also look for those which make provision for downloading your recording afterward, since you can then publish your live recording as an episode on your podcast. Depending on the app you use or your podcast host, you may also need an Internet radio hosting provider, as well as an encoder that will convert your audio to data so that it can be sent to the server, and distributed to your listeners.
There’s an abundance of information online concerning the pros and cons of the different hardware and software available, but ultimately, the hardware and software you choose to use will depend on your needs as well as on your budget.
Related read: Best Tools For Your Podcast Recording Process
Your location will largely be dependent on the type of live podcast you are looking to capture for your show. Conventions, conferences, or fairs related to your niche are great locations for live podcasts, as you could have a fair amount of control over such elements as background noise because you could always find a quiet spot to record from. Niche-related attractions and activities can also be great locations, but there are a few things to consider before deciding to podcast live from such places. For example, you should consider the potential background noise. If screaming children or roaring car engines could be a feature at the event, you may want to consider another location, as these would be most unpleasant for your listener, and have them pressing “next” at lightning speed!
Related read: 8 Strategies to Build Authority in Your Podcast Niche
Once you’ve got the basics of live recording down, why not up the anty and plan a live podcasting event! These types of events have experienced a huge surge in popularity, with some podcasts even heading out on world tours! But don’t for a minute think these live events are only for the who’s who of podcasts; any podcaster with a loyal fan base can make a live podcast event a rip-roaring success. Podcast listeners develop a very personal relationship with their favorite podcast hosts, making live events a great opportunity for podcasters and fans alike! Most listeners would jump at the chance to see a live recording of their favorite podcast and to be a part of a show they love. Live podcast events are also a really great way for hosts to connect with their audience and so can be a very rewarding experience. A successful live podcast event is also fairly simple to achieve if you carefully consider the following:
Just as with recording a live podcast, hosting a live podcast event requires some thorough planning and preparation. Firstly, you need to plan your content in relation to what type of show will your live event be. There are very many avenues you could explore with a live event. It could be an amped-up version of your usual format. Or you could plan something special like an interview or a Q&A session. Whatever you plan on doing, the trick to a successful live event is thorough preparation. If your event will be a scripted show, make sure you plan extra time to practice! It can be quite daunting doing your recording with a whole bunch of people staring at you! If your event will be an interview with a special guest, plan your questions well-ahead of time, and arrange a run-through with your guest beforehand, so you’re both aware of what will come up and there are no awkward pauses. If you’re wanting to include any music or sound effects, it will be a good idea to assign someone to handle these elements for you, so you can focus solely on what you need to say.
Pro tip: Part of your preparation should include planning to get to the venue well in advance. This will allow you time to sort out any technical mishaps, as well as give you the opportunity for a run-through before the actual event.
Related read: How To Land a Guest Spot on a Top Podcast
You may think that a live podcast event is out of your league as you’re not able to fill a theatre with fans. But the reality is that a live podcasting event does not require much in terms of venue. A successful live event also does not require fancy lighting or laser beams. All you need is a space for some seats for your audience, a table for your equipment setup, and chairs for yourself and any co-hosts or guests.
Your venue could be a traditional theatre or hall, but it could also be a restaurant, a coffee shop, or even a retail shop space willing to accommodate you and your listeners. School gyms or community centers are also great potential venues. If you’ve got the right equipment, you can pretty much podcast from anywhere! Which brings us to…
Live podcast events require the same basics as a live podcast recording, with a few added necessities. While live podcasting needs a microphone, a live podcasting event requires a microphone as well as speakers, as vital to the success of your event is that every member of your audience is able to hear you clearly. If your venue doesn’t have all the sound equipment you need, you may need to bring your own equipment in, or getting a sound team to bring in all the equipment, leaning on their expertise to set it up correctly. They will also be prepared with all the necessary cables and connections you need for the sound system to work correctly.
Pro tip: Wherever possible, have extras! Extra charged batteries, extra cables, a backup laptop – anything that could have a possible technical malfunction should have a backup if possible.
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A live podcasting event can also be a great way to monetize your podcast by selling tickets to the event. The funds you receive can then help with any of the costs involved in your set-up, the renting of any equipment, as well as any costs involved in renting out the venue. Your profits can then be injected back into your podcast to help it reach new heights.
In terms of promoting your event and selling tickets, make use of your podcast and social media platforms to market the event. You should also create posters or flyers and ask permission to put these in local shops or businesses around the area near where your event will be hosted. That way, even people who are currently not part of your audience will know about the event, leveraging the event as a great marketing opportunity.
Other Options to Consider:
Some other elements you could consider:
- To add variety and interest to your live podcast event, you could invite local musicians to play in between segments.
- Create a slideshow or video element to accompany the content of your show (remember to ensure that you have the equipment for this if needed!) as this could really enhance the overall experience.
- Think about ways to incorporate your audience in your show. This is an added bonus for the audience as they will really get to feel connected to you and be part of the magic of your podcast.
- If you have any podcasting buddies, consider collaborating with them or asking them to be your “opening act”. This can be great in terms of audience reach as you’ll gain access to each other’s listeners.
- Keep it authentic. Part of what makes podcasts so unique is the personal relationship that develops between podcast host and their listeners. Keep this in mind when you’re organizing your live event. There may be the temptation to pull out all the stops and have all the bells and whistles, just be careful not to lose the essence of your show.
Related read: The Top 8 Benefits of Having a Podcast Co-Host
While live podcasting can be a scary prospect, here’s hoping we’ve been able to persuade you that it could also be a lot of fun! A simple live podcast can add variety to your show and can give both you and your listeners new and unique experiences. A live podcast event is a great way to expand your audience reach, as well as to really connect with your loyal listeners. Put the time into planning the best episode or event you can, ensure that you’ve got the right equipment, and you’ll start to feel terrific, rather than terrified, at the thought of live podcasting.
Have you attended a live podcast event? Or have you tried live podcasting? Share your experiences and feedback with us in the comments below!