Live, virtual events are a great way to amp up the connection between you and your audience as they make it possible for you to interact with your listeners, no matter where in the world they reside. Getting to put a face to the voice, and seeing you in real time takes that special bond that exists between podcast hosts and their loyal listeners to a whole new level.
These live events are also really effective when it comes to growing your podcast audience. Particularly if you’re using one of the multitude of social media platforms to host your live event, i.e. Instagram or Facebook, you can leverage the audience you already have and turn them into podcast listeners. They might love your Instagram or TikTok for all your hilarious videos, but once they see all that you offer, they’ll fall in love with your podcast too!
And depending on the type of virtual event you’re looking to host, they can be a really top way to monetize your podcast. Because they’re virtual, there is no venue fee, catering budget, or accommodation required, so once you’ve covered any basic costs, the profits you make from selling tickets to your live event can then be injected back into your podcast to help you make your show even better!
So, now that you’re sold on the idea that live podcast events are a) a really fun idea, and b) something you can totally pull off (with the right equipment, and a fair bit of planning – seriously, don’t neglect this part!), let’s check out 10 different types of live, virtual events you could be hosting one day in the not too distant future.
One of the most common types of virtual events is the webinar, and their popularity has only grown during these times of lockdowns and social distancing. But even when we’re able to meet freely once again, the popularity of the webinar shows no signs of slowing down.
Essentially, a webinar is a seminar that takes place online, hence the resulting portmanteau “webinar”. Depending on your niche and area of expertise, your podcast content may lend itself well to this type of podcasting event. You could use the platform of a webinar to share more in-depth content than you’re able to cover in your podcast, or share on more complex topics that require visuals to really be appreciated.
Once you’ve picked your platform, webinars are fairly easy to set up and run. Many of these platforms also provide the options to sell tickets to your webinar, so this is a top option if you’re looking for a new way to monetize your podcast.
2. Q&A Sessions
Your virtual podcasting event doesn’t have to be super formal to be effective! It could be as simple as hosting a laid-back, fun Q&A session between you and your listeners. These types of events provide an incredible space for your listeners to actually get to interact with you in real time, and ask you all those burning questions they’d love to know the answers to!
Let your audience know in advance when and where you will be hosting the event as this will allow your followers some time to think about what they would like to ask you. Promote your event on your podcast, and all over your social platforms, letting them know when and where it’s all going down, as well as providing the ways they can ask you questions. Some questions you could answer live as they are submitted, but it can also be helpful to prepare a little in advance for some of the questions, so getting them beforehand could be really helpful.
You can then use your social platforms to host the event. These sessions may be informal, but they can really strengthen the bond between you and your listeners. They are also a fantastic opportunity to find out directly from your listeners what they are looking for in terms of your content, or what else they would love to hear from you.
3. Live Podcast Recording
A really great, and relatively simply virtual event that you could host are live recordings of your podcast episodes. Your audience can pop up a big bowl of popcorn, and tune in to watch as you record your latest episode…live! I know it sounds scary, but it could also be epic!
These types of events are great as they don’t require you to do anything too different from your usual process. Except, perhaps, a little extra preparation as you are recording live after all. So you may have to move your podcast studio outside your closet for this one! Although, you could totally record your live episode from there if you want to give your audience a glimpse at exactly how you pull your podcast off! And you’ll also need the added equipment of a camera and the software or platform from which to broadcast your live recording.
Your live recording could be a brand new episode, or, depending on the type of podcast you have, your live event could be a re-enactment of one of your fan-favorite episodes. The possibilities are truly endless!
Related read: How To Create A Video Podcast From Home
4. Panel Discussions
Has your podcasting journey afforded you some remarkable podcasting buddies? Or do you happen to know some interesting people who are experts in your niche or an aligned niche? Why not bring them on board for your live event – your panel discussion.
Depending on your particular set of variables, your guests could join you in the studio, or via Zoom, or your hosting platform of choice.
Panel discussions are usually really fun and entertaining to watch, besides all the value that’s being dished out! And that’s because panels provide the opportunity for great banter to take place between all the panelists, and this can bring an engaging chemistry to the mix, meaning that your viewers will just have a really great time listening to all interaction between the panelists, besides gleaning all that insight from what each member shares. And because of all this value – both content-wise as well as the entertainment factor – you can offer tickets to your panel discussions as another way to monetize your show. Just be sure to settle all these types of “legal and financial issues” with those joining you on the panel.
5. Behind-The-Scenes Tours
A fun, less formal live podcast event is going live behind the scenes. You could use the live features on your social platforms to take your audience behind-the-scenes of your recording process, on a studio tour, or take them with you on a day in your life as a podcaster.
Not only are these events fun to share with your listeners, and allow the connection between you to solidify and deepen, but they also show your community just how much work and energy you put into making your episodes the best that they can be. Your listeners will likely gain new respect for all you do to make your show and your stellar content available for them.
6. Live Interviews
You could channel a little Oprah and host a live interview! Whether interviews are your usual podcasting M.O. or not, they can make for great live events! There’s a reason we have so many talk shows – interviews will always be engaging! And if you pick the right guest – someone who will provide quick quips, hilarious banter, or even controversial opinions – your viewers will be hooked.
Interviews take a fair bit of preparation in order to pull off successfully, but as long as you put the work in, prep your questions, and prep your guest, you’ll have the foundation of an incredible interview at your feet!
A really unique live podcasting event could be a collab between you and another podcast host. Whether it’s your friend who also has a great show, someone you’ve connected with within your niche, or even be a podcast host who sees things totally different to you! Whoever it is, a collab could be fun!
And it doesn’t necessarily have to be the two (or more!) of you recording an episode together – it obviously could be, but it certainly doesn’t have to be! You could really get creative and come up with a live event concept both your audiences will love! And that is an important point, as one of the main reasons for doing a collab is to reach new audiences. If you can find a unique idea that appeals to both of your audiences, you can chalk your collaboration down as a rip-roaring success!
8. “Pub” Quizzes
Looking for another fun live event idea? (Ok, so I’m sure you probably want to make any type of virtual event you host “fun”, but what I mean here is a “not-actually-podcast-related-but-still-engaging” type of “fun”.) How about a virtual “pub” quiz?
You could offer tickets to a limited number of participants, who could then compete for the crown. Your quiz could be a mix of pop-culture, world history, or general knowledge questions, but it could also be a quiz featuring questions focused on your niche. This format can work really well as it is likely the thing that drew a good portion of your listeners to you in the first place – their shared love of your favorite topic, be it Friends, comic books, or French cooking. And in your role as Quiz Master, you get to interact with your listeners in a whole new way!
9. Virtual Hangouts
Another popular virtual event are hangouts. Hangouts are a far less formal approach to hosting a live podcast event. In a hangout, participants get to – I’m sure you’ve guessed it – “hangout” with all the other participants, in a similar way to how you would if you were all in an actual room together.
Hangouts provide a relaxed atmosphere, which is perfect for building that sense of community around your show. You can plan activities for these hangouts to keep them interesting and engaging, or you could have a central topic that’s on the table for discussion. Hangouts tend to work best when the “room” is not too overcrowded, so this could be another perfect opportunity for a ticketed event.
Last but not least, you could host a live, virtual conference. This event can involve quite a few more logistics to pull off successfully, but if you are a part of a strong community of fellow podcasters, or niche-related experts, you could consider hosting a full-fledged virtual conference.
Your conference could include multiple sessions featuring different speakers, virtual panel discussions, and even virtual networking sessions. Conferences are a great way to build connections in the industry as well as the perfect opportunity to gain new listeners.
You could use this type of event as a successful monetization strategy as if you have a great line-up of speakers, and have put in the work to advertise far and wide, no one will want to miss out on all that your conference has to offer!
Live, virtual podcast events have proven to be a great success, particularly during the uncertainty of the past two years. And we predict that they will continue long into the future, firstly because of the relative ease with which they can be pulled off, but mainly because it enables you as the host the incredible opportunity to connect with all your loyal listeners, no matter where in the world they might be.
And while not all of the ideas for virtual events are directly related to your podcast, they all still serve to build your podcast community, strengthen your relationship with your listeners, and help establish your brand, by offering something unique and accessible to your audience. So take inspiration from these ideas and start planning your live, virtual extravaganza today!
Related read: How To Build a Strong Podcast Community