When it comes to events, we tend to think that bigger is better. You want a large crowd so as many people as possible hear your message, right? Maybe not. There’s also tremendous power that comes from hosting quality micro events. The connections you make are much more authentic and can help you achieve your business goals — whether it’s growing an audience for your podcast or securing invitations to industry meetings and conferences.
My name is Ever Gonzalez and I’m the founder of OutlierHQ, a media and events company that provides indie podcasters the resources needed to help them start, grow, and monetize their shows. We host a series of micro events for podcasters around the country called the Outlier Podcast Festival — more on that later.
What are Micro Events?
Before we get too far into the benefits of micro events, let’s take a minute to understand what they are.
Micro events have historically been things that take place online — webinars, Twitter, chats, live video broadcasts, and things like that. They provide a way to engage a target audience with minimal set up required. They establish you or your organization as a knowledge provider and help you collect information to build a sales funnel.
Moving from Online to Offline
What if you could apply that same mentality to the offline world? Lots of people are already doing it, and seeing the power that comes from thinking small.
If any of you are live music fans, you might be familiar with the trend of micro music festivals. Seeing bands with 50,000 of your closest friends at Bonnaroo or Firefly is not everyone’s idea of the ideal festival experience.
Across the country, organizers are holding micro festivals with as few thousand, or even a few hundred attendees. In 2018, it was reported there was a 48 percent growth in micro festivals compared to the year before.
Why You Need to Host a Micro Event
The same strategy employed by music festival organizers applies to podcasts or any other type of community you are looking to create. Social psychologist (and frequent podcast guest) Jonathan Haidt describes humans as “groupish” — even the most introverted among us thrive when we’re with a group of like-minded peers.
So, why can you or your podcast be the catalyst for a group of your listeners? The Outlier Podcast Festivals have brought together listeners and creators in cities around the country via our micro events.
Benefits for the Attendee
Chances are that you’ve attended micro events and I’m preaching to the choir.
We’ve received a ton of feedback from our attendees telling us that they appreciated the opportunity to make meaningful connections over the course of a few days, rather than feeling like a number, not a name, at larger events.
Don’t get me wrong, large events are great for attracting big-name speakers, sponsors, and vendors. But they’re not for everyone, and certainly not feasible for an individual or small team to host.
Benefits for You
Micro events also bring tremendous credibility to you as an organizer or thought leader. You can utilize them to get your name out there and set yourself up as a power broker within your industry.
Build an Audience
Every time you organize a micro event, you capture information from attendees that you can use to promote future events or other things you’re doing. If your event is small enough, you can personally connect with everyone there so that follow up communication feels much more personal.
But Don’t Forget About Community
However, your event should not be all about data collection and building your network. You also want to encourage connection and community-building among your attendees. Start a Facebook group, Slack channel, or whatever other form of communication makes sense to continue the conversations that happen at the event.
If You Build It, They Will Come (And You’ll Get The Credit)
If your event goes well, people will notice. And they might invite you to speak at their conference, host a webinar, come on their podcast, or whatever other outlet they have. This kicks off a cycle of positive promotion that you can use to grow your audience for subsequent events.
Making a Micro Event Happen
Like a lot of things, planning and executing a successful micro event is easier said than done. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you go through the process of starting your own event:
Keep It Simple
Don’t set expectations too high and bite off more than you can chew, especially at the beginning. It’s better to underpromise and overdeliver than the other way around.
Pick a Target Audience
Much like a good podcast, a good micro event is all about the niche. Figure out who your target audience is and how you can connect with them. Join the communities they’re already part of and let them know how your event can add value to the conversations they’re having
Create Great Content On Stage
Every session at your conference or part of your event should leave a positive impression on attendees. They should be excited to share their experiences on social media and tell their friends or colleagues to sign up for your next event.
No matter how good you are, you can’t plan a micro event entirely on your own. However, you can’t have just anyone pitch in to help. A good partner can make or break an event, and you need to find people who share your vision and bring their own expertise to the table.
Promote, Promote, Promote
This includes reaching out to local media and doing your own promotion on social media and other channels. Figure out who the influencers are in a given community and build connections with them. Invite them to speak at your event, then give them the tools they’ll need to share their appearance on their channels.
Plan Ahead and Have a Backup Plan
Unexpected things always happen at events, but you can anticipate a lot of them and be ready with a backup plan when things inevitably go off the rails. Planning ahead adds even more work to your plate up front but you’ll be glad that you did.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
This is your moment to shine, and you should enjoy every minute of it! Amid all the craziness during the event, make sure you take a few minutes to reflect on everything you’ve achieved and build your excitement for the next event.
Call to Action!
Host your own micro event in the next 3 months. Really! You’ve been thinking about it for way too long. Now is the time.
We’re here for you and have convinced some of our friends to help.
You can contact me and my team if you’d like to chat about your next micro event free of charge. We want to help!
See you on the road!