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| Written by Marie Johnson, CMP

Events > Forward — Adding Podcasts to your Event Marketing and Promotional Mix

Organizations and associations can leverage podcasts as part of their overall event marketing strategy. Every successful event starts with a great story that entices attendees. When people come to an event, they are committing their time, money, and effort, so they want to know what they are receiving in return. And there’s probably no better way to share your message than using a podcast. Podcasts are a very efficient and cost-effective option to promote your event content, increase the value for your sponsors or partners, and extend the experience for your attendees.

Celebrating Season 1 of the Events > Forward Podcast

Last year, M&IW launched its very own branded podcast focused on the meetings and events industry called Events > Forward. It’s increasingly important to be well-informed about current issues facing the meetings and events industry. The M&IW podcast was a longtime dream come true for Jeff Naue, our Special Projects Marketing Lead.

As this marks our 1-year anniversary of the Events > Forward podcast, we wanted to turn the table. In this special episode, Marie Johnson, CMP, the Director of Marketing and Strategy for M&IW, puts Jeff in the hot seat to learn more about how he got started in podcasting, perfected his craft, and what we can expect from him and the Events > Forward podcast in the future.

Tune in to our conversation with Marie Johnson and Jeff Naue to hear more and see if launching a “podcast series” might be a good fit for your next event! Podcasting has been around for well over a decade but it’s probably not the first thing event planners think of when they’re building their marketing plan. Adding podcasts to your promotional mix can be just what your event needs to grow excitement and audiences. Podcast listeners already care about your message — they’ve tuned in specifically to hear what you have to say and help your event reach beyond the walls of the convention center.

To stay up-to-date on M&IW’s efforts on safety initiatives and protocols for returning to in-person events, be sure to tune into our Events > Forward Podcast Series. In each episode, we interview subject matter experts on relevant and timely topics. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.


Hello Everyone and welcome to the final episode of Season 1 for the Events > Forward Podcast. As this marks our 1-year anniversary, we have decided to shake up the format. I am Marie Johnson, CMP, the Director of Marketing and Strategy with Meetings & Incentives Worldwide. And, today I have the distinct pleasure of interviewing our interviewer and podcast host, Jeff Naue.

Jeff, how does it feel to be in the hot seat?

Feels Good! I’m ready!

Let’s go back in time. When did you first get interested in podcasts, either listening or the idea to create your own?

Well, back in 2015 I was working in Yosemite National Park and I met Mason Gravely, the host of Adventure Sports Podcast. He is the one who turned me on to listening to podcasts. I think one of his favorites is ‘Stuff You Should Know.’

Anyways, what you need to know about Mason is he is an adventurer; he has done several cross-country bike tours and can tell you so many amazing stories about his trips. I really looked up to Mason, and thought, ‘what a cool guy’ and when I learned he hosted his own podcast, I decided if I’m going to be cool, I need to host one too!

In all seriousness, I realized podcasts offered a unique and effective way of sharing information, knowledge, and experiences with people. The final product is dense, rich, and full of practical applications to life.

And where did you get the idea to launch a podcast for M&IW?

Every year our company hosts an innovation contest styled off the popular ‘Shark Tank’ show. There is an idea submission process, review selection, and then the final contestants’ audition for the judges comprised of our M&IW executive team. It is a great opportunity for employees to pitch innovative and creative ideas that potentially become a reality within M&IW’s portfolio of services or business strategies.

In my research, I did not find many podcasts dedicated to the meetings and events industry. However, I knew podcasts were gaining in popularity. At that time, 155 million people listened to a podcast every week, the most popular age group 25-44, and more than 55% of the US population had listened to a podcast. I imagine it’s even more now!

So, I took a leap of faith, wrote up a business brief, created a demo reel, and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our executive leadership team. The next step was to connect with you and our marketing team to better understand your content marketing strategy and how a podcast could potentially be used to reach a new audience, build trust, and drive business.

Yes, as a huge podcast fan myself – I was intrigued by your “Shark Tank” idea and excited to explore how we could add podcasts as part of our omnichannel marketing initiatives. And, at the same time, we were beginning to realize that COVID-19 was going to have a significant impact on the meetings and events industry.

Can you tell our listeners how the “Events > Forward” topic surfaced?

Yes, in response to the impact of the pandemic on live ‘in-person’ events, M&IW formed a cross-functional task force called Events > Forward. As we know, it has been a moving target in trying to understand all the implications and evolving changes due to COVID-19. Our Events > Forward team is sharing information with our clients via video calls, team presentations, and client communications. And all those efforts have received great feedback from our clients.

So, in building off that momentum, we saw an opportunity to add a podcast to the mix. The Events > Forward podcast series is for event management professionals seeking to grow their knowledge and learn about real-world, practical, and actionable advice on new health and safety developments, what to anticipate, and how to prepare for the return of “live” in-person and hybrid events.

Over the past year, it has been fantastic to be able to interview and learn from so many of our M&IW subject matter experts. I am looking forward to what Season 2 has in store for our listeners.

As we look at the changing landscape of events combined with a greater focus on digital content, I see podcasts playing a much greater role within event marketing. Would you agree?

Absolutely! It’s all about increasing engagement and elevating the experience. There are reasons why podcasts are so popular, they are effective, entertaining, inspiring, and accessible.

Plus, podcasts are very affordable, easy to share, and can provide a rich and dense amount of information in a relatively short amount of time. Which makes them an excellent return on investment, especially when you have a direct audience.

How do you see podcasts being leveraged for meetings, conferences, and incentives programs?

There are so many options. Here are just a few ideas top of mind:

  • For corporate meetings, they can create excitement and promote content by interviewing one of the keynote speakers.
  • For incentive programs, they could tease up the group activities or highlight fun facts about the destination with an interview from one of our M&IW destination experts or a local DMC.
  • With conferences, you could look at offering podcast interviews to your key sponsors for them to showcase their product or service in a conversational format.

So, whether you’re planning a national sales meeting, trade show, training session, or an incentive trip — podcasts can help drive engagement and can build on the attendee experience pre, during, and post event.

That’s fantastic. For event planners interested in creating a podcast for their event, what advice would you give them in getting started?

Believe it or not. When I decided to start podcasting, I purchased a beginner’s course on Udemy for about $10. I learned the tools, practiced, practice some more, and perfected. Another great way to get started would be to find a coach who already has experience in hosting. And, of course, anyone listening and interested in learning more is welcome to contact me!

From a development standpoint, there are two main components; hosting the show (being the voice, finding guests, creating content), and production (editing individual episodes, uploading to your platforms, making sure your content is enjoyable and readily available to your listeners).

Being able to collaborate with your marketing counterparts and/or event stakeholders is critical in releasing content that resonates with your audience.

Wonderful! And Jeff, thank you so much. It has been a tremendous year. I am excited you presented your “shark tank” idea to our Executive Team and we were able to make this dream of yours become a reality. I am looking forward to what Season 2 has in store for all of us and our listeners!