Podcamp Topeka 2011 – You are Invited!

Have you heard about Podcamp Topeka 2011? If not, go visit the website, read about it … and register! Podcamp Topeka is an unconference that my library helps organize and run. This will be the third year we’ve had it – it’s gotten better every year! This year, it’s on October 22 … and only costs $10 to register.

It’s not a library event … but librarians are certainly welcome to attend, and will definitely learn something and be able to contribute as well. What exactly is Podcamp Topeka? Here’s the blurb from the website:

PodCamp Topeka is a low cost unconference dedicated to emerging web media – social networks, podcasting & videoblogging, blogging, Twitter, Facebook, photography, and web design, for starters. Our goal? To learn about social media from social media experts, to network with fellow bloggers, podcasters & social media creators … and to have a blast!

And the video embedded in this post is me, giving some brief thoughts on why I like Podcamp Topeka. We’d love to see you there!

Organizing a Podcamp

This past Saturday, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library co-hosted (with WIBW Studios) our first Podcamp  – Podcamp Topeka. Don’t know what a podcamp is? It’s an unconference dedicated to web 2.0 tools and social media (read more about them here). It was a blast! You can some of my notes from the day here, watch my video about it above, and you can read Brandon Sheley’s notes here (he attended and lead a session or two), and even watch a quick video from channel 49 news.

So – how did I organize this thing?

OK – first things first. It’s a podcamp – there’s really not much conference planning to do. The details revolve around meeting rooms, food, and potential schwag – not the actual conference schedule. The important planning revolves around how many people you hope to attract – you have to have enough space to accomodate them. Also how long each session should be – and be able to accomodate that. Then, it runs itself (more on that in a minute).

Use your contacts for help. I poked around a bit on the interwebs, and found out Ryan Deschamps, cool librarian and blogger at The Other Librarian,  had organized some very successful podcamps. So I asked him for tips, and he emailed me some great advice on how to run a podcamp.

Sponsorships – the library provided meeting rooms and our other sponsor, WIBW, paid for food and t-shirts. How’d that happen? In this case, I know Jim Ogle, the general manager of WIBW, and also know he’s excited as I am about social media and 2.0 stuff. So I asked him if he wanted to help plan the podcamp, and he did … and he ended up being a sponsor, too. For future events, I’m told that some local organizations might potentially be interested in sponsoring the event.

Ask for Specifics. Know how much money you need up-front, then ask specifically for your needs! Much better to have a plan for what you need (and what they’ll get out of a sponsorship) than to vaguely ask for “a sponsorship” hoping someone will provide what you need.

Registration: it was a free event, but I asked everyone to register, since a head-count was involved for t-shirts and food. Eventbrite worked GREAT for this! Free and easy to use – we had over 100 registrations. I was able to email a reminder to all attendees 3-4 days before the event through Eventbrite’s admin side. They actually sent me a couple of pre-event emails making suggestions on how to run an event (ie., do you have nametags?), too.

What actually happened?

People goal: our goal was up to 150. We had over 100 people register, and approx 50-75 people actually attend. Not bad for a first time.

Interestingly, we had an odd but fun mix of people. We had a variety of skill levels from experienced user of 2.0 tools to extreme novices and an age spread from probably age 20 -85 (someone actually came up afterwards and told me how old she and her friend were). So we improvised a “Basics of Social media” session that turned into one of our larger sessions.

Food and t-shirts: I went ahead and ordered t-shirts and food for 150, not knowing how many would really show up. So we had … a LOT of food. And I have a box of Podcamp Topeka T-Shirts in my office…

Schedule: You can see it here – we ended up with quite a few great topics and sessions!

Planning details: PBWorks (used to be PBWiki) worked great. Here’s our Podcamp Topeka Wiki.

Advertising: This is interesting. We advertised in our library newsletter, in 2.0 tools (twitter, facebook), on our website, at a social media group’s Ning site, and were lucky enough to get a TV spot or two (since WIBW was a co-sponsor). We asked attendees to fill out a “how you heard about this” flyer – only 22 people filled it out. But look at their responses to where they heard about our podcamp:

TV – 4
friends – 2
twitter – 2
facebook – 2
our website – 2
didn’t say – 2
social media KC Ning group – 2
online – 2
invite – 2
Google – 1
tscpl email – 1 (guessing it was our enewsletter)

That’s a pretty large spread of responses!

And finally, Feedback. What did attendees think of the day? Honestly, most of the feedback I received was some form of this – “What a GREAT day! When’s the next one?”

So – we’ll have to start planning the next Podcamp Topeka, I guess!

Notes from Podcamp Topeka

Yesterday, I spent most of my day at Podcamp Topeka – the first event I have ever organized. Judging by the comments, tweets, etc … it was a success!

If you want to read reactions from people who attended, search for #podcamptopeka on Twitter (ok – or just click this link).

I’ll post something next week about planning this type of event and what we could have done better. But for now, here’s a run-down of the sessions I attended – sorta sparse notes, but it’ll give you an idea of the day:

Session 1: Balancing Personal/Business Use of Twitter

  • you have ability to destroy yourself online
  • One guy doesn’t cuss in Twitter because it turns some people off
  • TV News guy – doesn’t say some stuff that he wants to
  • talking back & forth – sharing yourself is important
  • remembers he represents a company – always has that in the back of his mind
  • News guy again – because of sharing themselves on Twitter, they get news tips from people
  • Helps get stories written because he’s connected to twitter – because of the relationships they’ve developed
  • TV News guy again – they are talking to other local TV stations! Very different than five years ago
  • discussion about community/following people locally vs anyone for business

Session 2 – Comment Boxes and Community

  • I shared about the library
  • anonymous or profile?
  • Local newspaper tends to have crazies – not much registration/monitoring there
  • getting people to register – are there any non-bribery ways to get people to register? One idea – Business gave away free stuff to get sign-ups
  • other ways to share? Comment box, polls, ratings, etc  – without just sharing in a text box
  • viral marketing campaign (I think she was from a radio station) – had some hateful comments – ended up having to block someone’s IP address
  • how to get more comments? Ask questions, ask what do you think
  • separate actual story from comments
  • part of your job should be commenting on other people’s sites
  • personal responses are great – gave example of that
  • personal is the new hand-written note
  • marketing is conversation now
  • deleting one comment vs turning off whole thread – which works best? We generally agreed that turning off the whole thread (like Flickr sometimes does) seems like punishing others for one person’s mistakes
  • twitter is instant gratification

T-rave talking about blogging #podcamptopekaSession 3: Selling Yourself in 30 Frames per Second

  • T-Rave presented from t-rave.com – He’s very passionate about videoblogging!
  • trying to sell your brand – many times, that means selling yourself
  • when you were a baby trying to get attention and affection, you were selling yourself – so you do this all the time
  • big fan of gary vaynerckuk of winelibrary.tv
  • Word of mouth – that’s how T-Rave sells his product/himself
  • Using video is a great way to bring in viewers to your website/blog
  • t-rave.com attracts people of all ages (from 13-65), all states, international… check your demographics
  • People of all ages, all nationalities like video
  • You can feel connected by being approachable – on twitter, on video
  • be the same online, in video, in real life
  • passion + drive … interest, consistency, responding back to comments

Session 4: Basics of Videoblogging

  • T-Rave again
  • Went over various software to use
  • talked a little about cameras
  • talking about uploading to a service – how long it takes
  • Talked a bit about copyright and free music – likes jamendo.com for a free music service.
  • Uses Viddler quite a bit. They featured T-Rave the second week after he started making videos.
  • mentioning tubemogul.com – great place to upload video to more than one account automatically
  • Has a variety of cameras from the Flip to a large semi-pro camera
  • Very open to having people contact him with questions, suggestions for cameras, etc.
  • He does 5 videos a week – different theme every day. He did this for 6 months.
  • some discussion of posting video to Facebook vs another video service
  • Live Streaming video: upstream.tv, livestream
  • Good questions/discussion

Session #5: Monetizing a Podcast

  • Rob Walch, Podcast 411 and Wizzard Media spoke about podcasting
  • Come to Jesus – most of us will never really make money on this

Ways to make money with podcasts:

1st way to make money:

  • CPM – typical rate is around $10-15 per thousand downloads
  • More niche = higher CPM, but lower download numbers
  • Video gets a little higher CPM rate than audio alone
  • Not generally “quit your day job” money

2nd way to make money:

  • CPA model – or direct response ads
  • Netflicks – they pay $25 for everyone who signs up for an account that comes from the ad
  • Right audience at the right time can =some good money

3rd way – sponsorship model

  • Must disclose when you are being paid to review something – the FTC actually watches out for that stuff

4th way:

  • Premiumcasts (premiumcast.com)- offer a little bit of content for free, pay for the larger, more complete show

5th way – make an iphone app for the show.

  • Probably half your audience will have an iphone or ipod touch.
  • 10% of those will buy your app

Cool – Rob is describing RSS like a magazine subscription – I use that example too!

iTunes podcasts – shows top podcasts that are popular in the last week or so.

How long to make a podcast?

  • average commute time = 25 minutes
  • average treadmill time = 20 minutes
  • Best length for a podcast – go until you’re done
  • leave people wanting more “is that all?” rather than “boy, when is this over?”

Release every day or week – US is trained for that. be in their routine
Best times – early to mid week

Update on Podcamp Topeka

Not remembering if I’ve mentioned this or not … but we’re hosting a Podcamp at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library! It will be held on September 19, 8:30 am – 3:30 pm at the library, and we’re planning for an extremely fun and informative day. We’re planning for 150 people (74 have signed up so far!).

What’s a podcamp? It’s a FREE unconference dedicated to emerging web media – social networks, podcasting & videoblogging, blogging, Twitter, Facebook, photography, and web design, for starters. Our goal? To learn about social media from social media experts, to network with fellow bloggers, podcasters & social media creators … and to have a blast!

Yep – you heard right. It’s free. Thanks to our sponsors (WIBW and the library so far), the space, food (continental breakfast and a sandwich lunch), and a t-shirt are all free. All you have to do is register, show up, and … talk/network/learn/have fun.

Here’s some more info about the podcamp:

I’ll make sure to update everyone after it’s over, too, to let everyone know how it went.

And – the YouTube video below is me, talking about Podcamp Topeka. WIBW took the video, has it up on their website, and is running it periodically on TV. Wow.