As stellar developers and new apps help us move further and further into the digital era, it becomes increasingly possible for us to manage our entire lives via our apps and smartphones. This is awesome in terms of the capabilities we have to make plans, meet people, learn new skills and communicate across time zones.

It’s less great in that, unless you’re very intentional, you can lose out on the real face-time experiences that happen when you’re unplugged.

If you’re like us, and you spend all commuting minutes listening to the next episode of your favorite podcast or daydreaming about producing a new show, chances are your experience is predominantly digital.

One of the coolest ways to engage with podcasts on a deeper level, and to move your professional development along if you’re looking to create your own, is to attend a podcast conference. With five awesome conferences in 2016, it’s time to step out of the studio and into some creative company.

Podcast Movement

July 6-8 | Chicago, Illinois, USA

Podcast Movement is created for all those who love podcasts–whether you already have a broadcasted show or are just getting started. In addition to some notable keynote speakers, the conference includes breakout sessions and panel discussions catered to a range of skill levels and interests.

The sessions and discussions correspond to five distinct conference tracks: creation, technical, industry, marketing, and monetization. Participants can select their preferred track to fully capitalize on the conference’s resources and achieve what they’re hoping to gain.

To further enhance the experience, the conference features six keynote speakers. An award-winning radio journalist, speaker Alex Blumberg is the host of StartUp and the CEO and cofounder of Gimlet Media.

Anna Sale transitioned from a politics-based career to become the host and managing editor of WNYC’s interview show about big questions and hard choices, Death Sex & Money.

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Glynn Washington is currently the host and executive producer of Snap Judgment radio show after a diverse career in many fields. Also an actor and filmmaker, Kevin Smith co-founded the Smodcast Podcast Network.

Finally, speakers Heven Nigatu and Tracy Clayton work at BuzzFeed and cohost Buzzfeed podcast “Another Round.”  And if the onslaught of exciting new information creates any gaps that leave you guessing, you can check out the Q&A room, open all day every day for Podcast Movement participants.

Click here for details. 

The Content Marketing Academy

June 2 – 3 | Edinburgh, Scotland

The Content Marketing Academy has quite a lot to live up to this year, following one of the best keynote speeches I’ve ever seen last year by Marcus Sheridan. But, going by the speaker roster, this year is going to be bigger and better!

The legendary Mark Schaefer is leading the line-up, with Ann Handley and Amy Schmittauer also providing keynote speeches. And, if that’s not enough to draw in the Podcasters, we have Pete Matthew, host of the award winning financial show, Meangingful Money.

The event promises to mix things up with a great range of standard talks, broken up by short, practical petcha-kutcha sessions. Don’t forget, too, that this takes place in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Edinburgh.

Note from Colin: I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this event the last two years, and founder Chris Marr is growing it, improving it, every year. So, don’t miss it this time around! I’m speaking at the event this year and Chris gave me a wee discount code. If you want 20% off the ticket, use colin20vip at checkout.

Click here for details.

Mid-Atlantic Podcast Conference

September 9-10 | Swedesboro, NJ, USA

Keynote presentations from prominent figures in podcasting and online marketing.
Celebrated speakers include Jessica Kupferman of She Podcasts, Tayo Rockson of UYDMedia.com, Shane Whaley of JuicingRadio.com, Dave Jackson of SchoolofPodcasting.com, Anthony Minaya of AnthonyMinaya.co, and Steve Swanson of MuppetCast.com.

This conference aims to take attendees on a step-by-step journey through podcasting, covering everything from generating an audience, converting audience to community, and making money through the process.

To spice things up, attendees can join the Creative Podcast Competition, where podcasters team up to create episodes up to five minutes long, incorporating three items given at the start of the competition. Prizes are awarded after each episode is performed on stage. Time to make your debut!

Click here for details.

Hivio

June 2-3 | Los Angeles, CA, USA

No key-note speakers – just Audio Future-Makers!

Hivio gathers one hundred influential figures in audio and media for two days of candid conversation. Unlike other conferences, Hivio has no keynote speakers. Instead, “thought-leaders” lead stimulating presentations.

Leaders and participants alike are “audio future-makers” in radio, online radio, podcasting, audio advertising, talent, and more, coming from some of the biggest names in the industry like Pandora, Spotify, iHeartMedia, and ESPN.

Independent of any industry organizations or agendas, the conference presents itself as a “one-of-a-kind event with world-class networking opportunities.”

Click here for detials.

New Media Europe

June 18-19 | London, England, UK

Europe’s Greatest Podcasting Event!

Like Hivio, New Media Europe is created for the audio and media community at large. Bloggers, podcasters, vloggers, entrepreneurs, marketers, content creators, social media managers, and even business owners from all over the world fill the attendance list.

New Media Europe’s founders, Mike and Izabela Russell, designed the conference to inspire the attendees to pursue their aspirations, maximize their potential, and bring new ventures to life.

Each day has a theme: Day One is titled “Inspire,” and Day Two is titled “Learn.” During Day One, speakers (including Dan Miller and Valerie Groth) share their stories and help generate ideas. During Day Two, attendees learn about new media tools in the marketplace and how they can be utilized to improve projects and earning potential.

A few New Media Europe presentations are directed toward podcasters in particular, such as Fabienne Raphael’s “How to Connect with Influencers to Build Your Online Business, Increase Your Awareness, & Expand Your Reach the Minute You Start Your Podcast” and Michael Szafranski’s “Blogger and Podcaster Toolkit – The Best Apps and Services that Will Help You Get Your Job Done”.

Click here for details.

NYC PodFest

May 20-22 | New York, NY, USA

There’s no business like podcasting!

The most entertainment-focused of the bunch, the NYC PodFest conference features exclusive live podcast shows in a cozy venue. It aims to bring fans and top talent together, representing every voice and opinion across the field. Performing personalities will celebrate average joes, entertainers, and pop culture figures alike.

Some of the diverse show options set to grace NYCPodFest stages include Where’s Larry, The Ensemblist, and Adventures of Danny and Mike. Check out the full lineup of 21 shows–and many more surprises–on the conference’s site.

There you have it; five different conferences and four different time zones to choose from as you take your podcasting prowess to the next level. If you can’t make it to a conference this year, never fear. International Podcast Day is September 30, and you can celebrate from anywhere there’s a mic and headset.

Click here for details.

This is a guest post from Toptal – a network of freelancers aiming to provide companies with developers and designers, as well as assisting with candidate qualifications, team dynamics, and bottom-line financials.