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Five Takeaways From the Atlantic Podcast Summit

The Candian city of Halifax is widely known for its seaside beauty and its lively nightlife. But did you know it has a vibrant podcast scene?

Every month listeners from around the world are tuning into the city’s podcasts, from Sickboy, a funny and life-affirming show about living with disease, to the hyper-local, true-crime podcast Nighttime.

When we heard about the Atlantic Podcast Summit, Halifax’s first major conference for podcasters, whether we should attend or not was a no-brainer. Not only did we want to check out the sweet Canadian city, we also wanted to know the answer to the following question: what is inspiring all of these quality podcasts that are coming out of the region?

Tracy Kaplan, Patreon’s Head of Creator Partnerships, headed out to Halifax and brought back the biggest ah-has from the conference.

Here are Tracy’s five takeaways from the Atlantic Podcast Summit.

1. In podcasting, local is hot

Just because you don’t live in New York or Los Angeles doesn’t mean you can’t create a great podcast.

Of course many podcasters tend to broadcast from regions that are more traditionally known as media outlets. However, you podcasters who live far away from the Empire State Building and the Hollywood Walk of Fame have something those podcasters don’t — you have inside information about a unique and interesting location.

This is something that Nova Scotia’s podcast scene knows very well. At the Atlantic Podcast Summit, we met many podcasters who are creating highly localized content. And their audiences, both inside and outside of Canada, are loving them for it.

Take Nighttime, a true-crime podcast produced in Halifax. The show is unapologetically local, featuring mysterious stories from in and around Nova Scotia. The local twist on the true-crime format has listeners on the edge of their seats, earning the podcast over 7 million listens since it first launched.

The Nighttime podcast is part of a strong network of Nova Scotian podcasters that are taking inspiration from their local surroundings. Tracy loved the region’s rich and collaborative podcast scene, which is made up of DIY enthusiasts and industry professionals who love where they’re from (and think the rest of the world should too).

“Halifax is truly an artists’ hub with strong local organizations and a vibrant creative spirit.”

2. Mix and match the methods you use to make money with your podcast

Whether it’s membership through Patreon, sponsorship, merchandise, or live performances, there are many ways to get revenue for your podcast.

But is one monetization method better than another?

“The Business of Podcasting” panel at the Atlantic Podcast Summit aimed to answer that question. At the panel, Tracy and other industry experts talked in front of attendants about the various methods of gaining revenue in podcasting.

And, according to Tracy, while there was a lot of great financial advice for podcasters, one key take away was this — when it comes to monetizing your podcast, more methods may be better than one.

Rather than rely on one method of revenue to support your podcast, make your revenue stream more reliable by diversifying it. If your show already has sponsors, launch a Patreon account too, and then plug it at the end of your podcast. Or, if support on Patreon is going strong, then maybe it’s time to start putting together a live show, as well.

Using various revenue methods that are authentic to your audience will go a long way in helping you accrue the income you need to keep your podcast going for the long haul.

“The business of podcasting panel was a great lesson in podcast monetization options. For those new to podcasting, choosing what type of monetization is right for their podcast can be confusing. At the end of the day, a podcaster should think about what methods are an authentic fit for their message and audience. After all, they know what will best resonate with their audience.”

3. Know your goals

There’s a rumour floating around that podcasting is a great way to earn some fast cash. But is that a realistic expectation for the medium?

While many do make a living from podcasting, reaching financial stability probably wasn’t a quick or easy process. Even podcast pioneers, like comedian and interviewer Marc Maron, spent years doing their podcast before they were able to earn enough money to cover more than their production costs.

Most likely, there are faster and easier ways to get rich than by starting a podcast. So given this reality, what advice did panelists at the Atlantic Podcast Summit have for the podcasters in attendance?

When it comes to podcasting, their advice was to know your whys. Why did you start a podcast in the first place? Why did you choose your podcast’s theme? Did you start your podcast because you wanted to get a particular message out to the world? Or, perhaps you loved a certain subject matter so dearly that you wanted a reason to explore it more deeply.

Whatever your goals for podcasting are, it’s good to be intimately familiar with them. That way, when the going gets tough, your why can serve as a powerful motivator.

“It’s hard work to create, to distribute, and to monetize a podcast. There are easier paths out there to make money. It’s important to know what your goals are and what success means to you. Maybe it’s engaging a community or being a storyteller. As Kimberly Hacuman from the Entertainment One Podcast Network asked, are you going to be as passionate and interested when you are at your 50th episode, your 100th, or your 200th?”

4. Don’t be a lone wolf

Considering there are only so many podcast listeners in the world, and only so many hours in a day for them to listen, you’d think podcasters would be smart to be competitive.

On the contrary, if the Atlantic Podcast Summit is any indication, collaboration and community in podcasting is alive and well. As it turns out, collaborating with other podcasters doesn’t just feel good — it’s an essential part of growing your podcast’s audience.

When a podcaster is a guest on your show, they’re bringing along more than just their radio personality. They’re also bringing along their audience and who knows? If they like what they hear, maybe they’ll become your audience, as well.

So, please soak in this message, podcasters: don’t be a lone wolf. Collaboration is a great way to generate content, build an audience, and even make a new friend.

“In the 'How to Cut Above the Noise Panel,' the panelists spoke about how important it is to reach out to other podcasters to be guests on your show. You can’t push someone to promote their appearance, but if you are providing value to them, they will want to promote and help your show.”

5. Why You should Go Next Year

There was plenty to write home about the Atlantic Podcast Summit.

Firstly, you can’t talk about the summit without mentioning the beauty of Halifax. The Canadian city has a certain je ne sais quoi that made it the perfect backdrop for the summit. Maybe it was the city’s pretty seaside location, or perhaps it was all of the friendly people who live there. Whatever it was, Halifax itself was a memorable part of the Atlantic Podcast Summit.

Then there was the event, which was as informative as the city was beautiful. Whether attendees needed help with practical aspects of podcasting, such as buying equipment and recording their show, or sought advice on the business and marketing side, the 3-day summit had something for podcasters of all experience levels. Plus, it’s just a ton of fun.

Would we go back again? Most definitely.

“Aside from being a beautiful location with the friendliest people, the conference provides the full picture of the podcasting industry. From the opportunity to pitch a podcast, to hearing from industry experts, the event was a valuable experience for attendees of all professional levels.”