As part of our series on podcaster communities, we spoke to 11 different people who are helping to run active communities both online and offline in different parts of the world. Our goal was to both better understand the motivations and challenges of the organizers, as well as highlight the great work of these organizers, share their travels and celebrate their achievements. In these interviews we have deepened our insights into some incredible communities and their knowledge that we would like to share.

The organizers who participated in this study were:

Mark Deal – Podcast Atlanta
Bernie J Mitchell – London Podcasting Community
Pato Lopardo – Union Podcastera
Colin Gray – The meeting of the Scottish podcaster
Jeremy Enns – Cut the BS Podcasting
Aaron Weinbaum – Podcasting made easy
Victoria Turnbull – Mic
Tracy Tsang – HK Podcaster Society Meeting
Chris Holifield – Geographic Podcasts
Joe Lewis – Brisbane Podcasters
Jillian Beytin – Berlin Podcasting

The two dominant platforms: Meetup and Facebook

When choosing the platform for their communities, all but one respondent used either Facebook or Meetup (or a mixture of both) as the primary residence for their community. The only exceptions were Pato Lopardo and Union Podcastera, who prefer Telegram as their communication channel, a platform that has gained in importance in recent years, especially in Spanish-speaking countries.

Overall, organizers generally agreed that Meetup was great at discovering events by attendees, but that Facebook was better suited for group discussions.

Joe Lewis of Brisbane Podcasters uses both platforms for event listing:

“I feel like we get a lot of RSVPs from meetups, but these people are not as likely to show up as those who found out about our event on Facebook. Meetup attendees are notoriously fluffy. “

Why organizers run these groups: a mix of business and pleasure

When asked why they took part in organizing these communities, the reasons given were mostly altruistic and professional.

In Jeremy Enns’ case, he started his group with professional incentives at first, but it quickly grew into something he does for the larger podcaster community:

“When I started the group, I initially hoped to get people into my production business at some point. However, I quickly realized that the people who were most likely to get involved in the group would never become customers, but at this point I was having so much fun with it that I decided it was worth doing it myself. “
Jeremy Enns – Cut the BS Podcasting

There are a wide range of demographics and interests

All respondents reflected the variety of topics podcasts deal with and responded that their groups covered a wide range of niches.

“We have members who have podcasts about everything. There is no related topic. “
(Joe Lewis – Brisbane Podcasters)

In terms of gender, all but two of the groups targeted a male audience. Mark Deal, who leads the podcast meetup in Atlanta, is working hard to ensure that the meetups are as diverse as possible. He searches for multiple speakers using his access at the national podcast level to look for opportunities for speakers from less well-represented backgrounds.

Jeremy Enns describes his Facebook group as:

“Less about business podcasts than about other groups. It’s a hobby, a fun thing for the most active people. The focus is less on monetizing and using podcasts to build your own business than on other groups. I think it’s partly the vibe I’ve established that has drawn in a lot more creative guys. I was more interested in just community building than tactical advice and the same topics discussed elsewhere in the context of monetization. To talk about topics outside of these naturally engaged people who were in the background in other groups. “

Tracy Tsang, on the other hand, says her meetup group in Hong Kong:

“One of the few who is predominantly female and has a tendency towards art and cultural content.”

Communities attract podcasters of all levels

The general consensus was that the communities attracted a wide range of podcasters at different stages, from podcurious to experts. In several instances where groups met in person, the organizers described an 80/20 split between podcasters who were there for the first time and regulars who were at a more advanced stage. This sometimes posed the challenge of making relevant programs available to both target groups.

Communities work well with sponsors

All organizers described their commitment to sponsors as a positive experience overall. There were a few minor exceptions, however.

“Dealing with companies relatively new to podcasting who want an immediate impact in the marketplace can be challenging. Some of these sponsors don’t last long.”
Mark Deal – Podcast Atlanta

Organizers have challenges

We asked the organizers to rate six potential challenges, which on average were rated in the order of magnitude:

Activation and engagement of the community
Time spent as an organizer
Long-term sustainability of the group
Event logistics
Overfunding by members

Bernie Mitchell, who leads the London podcast community, added that “figuring out if people have come to speak to a small group without wanting to sell anything can be difficult. There are so many people teaching podcasting. “

Communities are full of success stories

The organizers described how offline communities made it easier for people to find work, to make a living from podcasting, to find their co-hosts, and to share their voice with others. Union Podcastera’s Pato describes how his group helped a new, younger member by giving them real-time support and help getting their podcast off the ground. This made the other members feel like proud parents.

Final advice

Many organizers emphasized that making personal meetups participative works well, especially for small to medium-sized groups.

“Having a structure made a difference – we would have a catch-up process (social networks), but that also includes a 5-minute portion – which is included in the description of the meetup. That gave it a lot more direction – it also seemed to increase attendance – the feedback was that the attendees really enjoyed it. “
Colin Gray – Meeting of Scottish Podcasters

“At the end of our meetups we usually have 3 speakers where I always give people the opportunity to talk about a project – at the end of the event they can do matchmaking and so on. It is a really good idea to give people the platform ”.
Jillian Beytin – Berlin Podcasting

This concludes our two-part series on podcaster communities. If you’ve participated in any great meetups or online communities that caught our eye, let us know in the comments below!