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Audience Driven Summit: The Recap

It’s been nearly a month since the first-ever Audience Driven Summit! This event brought together a stellar collection of entrepreneurial minds to share and discuss the latest techniques and strategies that work to grow an audience today. In this post we’re going to go a little bit old-school, Pat Flynn/SPI crash test dummy style, detailing the things that went well with the execution of the summit, and some things we want to improve on with future events.

What You Missed at Audience Driven (& How You Can Catch Up)

First off, in case you missed it, what the heck happened at Audience Driven? We had an amazing lineup of speakers, some of whom you might recognize and others you might not, all of whom shared their hard-won insights on audience building in 2021 and beyond. Here’s what you missed out on:

  • Keenya Kelly of If You Brand It, on how small communities can lead to large audiences
  • Neil Patel of Ubersuggest and, how to build an audience through SEO
  • Anne-Laure Le Cunff of Ness Labs, on how to build a sustainable community
  • James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, on the power of focus as a creator
  • Wes Kao, cohort-based course creator, on the rise of cohort based courses
  • Nicole Walters, founder of the RichFriend Club, on how to build a profitable business that is a true reflection of you
  • Alban Brooke, head of marketing at Buzzsprout, on how podcasts are grown in 2021
  • Shane Sams, CEO of Flipped Lifestyle, on how to guest on other podcasts
  • Roberto Blake, creative entrepreneur and keynote speaker, on changes, trends, and opportunities on YouTube today
  • Nathan Barry, founder of ConvertKit, on trends in writing, growing, and earning a living with email
  • Espree Devora of We Are LA Tech, on podcasting’s “3 Ps and M&Ms”
  • Ali Abdaal, doctor, YouTuber and podcaster, on consistent growth (even if you’re creating part-time)
  • Rob Maurer of Tesla Daily, on what to do when growth slows down
  • Monica Louie, Facebook and Instagram ads expert, on how to create and launch offers that get your customers results (and make your business grow)
  • Derrick Hicks of ConvertKit, on simplifying your tech stack with ConvertKit Commerce
  • Rob Gelb of HeySummit, on how to grow your audience with virtual summits
  • Pat Flynn of SPI, on the future of online courses
  • Andrew Guttormsen of, on trends in online community building

And by the way, even if you missed out, you didn’t really miss out. You can catch all the replays of these talks and Q&As at

So now you know what happened, let’s spend some time recapping what went well at Audience Driven, and what we’re hoping to do better the next time we run an event like this!

Things Our Audience Loved about Audience Driven (& We Did, Too)

Let’s be clear. It’s not tooting our horn to say that a lot of things went right at the very first Audience Driven Summit. We’re thrilled at how the event went, all things considered. Here are the things we’re most proud of.

  1. We delivered an absurd amount of value. You’re probably getting tired of me telling you how awesome our speakers were, but it’s true. Oh, and it was free! Like, completely free.
  1. Speaking of free, the content of the summit was also pitch-free. This was very intentional, and our audience appreciated it. We made a plug at the very end for our new Heroic Online Courses course, but our aim with Audience Driven was to deliver a ton of value uncluttered by sales pitches.
  1. People stayed engaged. Once they joined, they stuck around. We saw little dropoff in attendee numbers over the course of each day of the summit. People saw the value they were getting. We bet this had a lot to do with not just the diverse mix of awesome speakers and the valuable content they were sharing, but that we mixed it up with both live and prerecorded talks, plus Q&As.
  1. The event was not just Audience Driven, but team driven. The whole team was involved in planning and executing the summit—as you saw if you attended!

Speaking of attendees, here are some of our favorite bits of feedback on Audience Driven:

image of Audience Driven Summit logo of hand in rock n' roll salute, surrounded by collection of screenshots of Twitter comments about Audience Driven Summit that reads: Happiest Plate on Earth @teamSPl and @PatFlynn #AudienceDriven like drinking the ocean through a straw! Appreciating the replays izoldat @IzoldaT Fantastic talk by the amazing @EspreeDevora at #audiencedriven. My biggest takeaway was that you want your audience to be emotionally subscribed more than physically subscribed to your podcast. Thanks, @PatFlynn for putting this together. #podcasting •Dr. Joella @drjoelledc Nicole Walters just added so much value on #audiencedriven You need to check it out. "Do what you say you will do!" @NicoleWalters Thank you!
Boris The SE0 @boristheseo Congrats on hosting my favorite marketing event this year #audiencedriven. Such a information packed event with the best speakers. Thank you! @teamSPl @jayclouse @PatFlynn @MattGartland @JillianBenbow @tonybgoode Keith H @KH_waytolang Woke at 0430 in Japan to attend #audiencedriven and really got a lot out of it! @teamSPl did an awesome job of not just introducing different products, but also leading and educating. Very excited to implement what I've learned and keep growing as an entrepreneur Sandee Rodriguez @Sandeehodnguea @teamSPl keeps the incredible content coming in the #audiencedriven summit! It's been like drinking from a firehose today with so much good content! Thank you @shane_sams for all those excellent tips and strategies about guest podcasting! #SandeeSolves monica_Y1 . @monica_Y1 @teamSPl As new business owner, I have been following Pat Flynn for a while and applying small % to lead to launching my biz. The ADS a lot golden nuggets for free. Thank you: invested time expertise of service brelational consistant have fun step outside box #audiencedriven SuperSearching @SeekServices The Audience Driven Summit was an amazing experience! So much info to consider. Thank you to all the team members who made it possible! #audiencedriven @teamSPl Isabel Talens I Online Businesss @isabeltalens The SPI team has done it again!!!! What an inspiring event! #audiencedriven is a value-packed event, with speakers sharing not just tactics but the challenges of audience growth. An outstanding, down-to-earth format, full of quality content relevant today!! Bravo SPI team.

What We’re Building On for the Next Audience Driven

As with any event, especially a first-time one like Audience Driven, we’re excited about what went right and what we can do better next time. Here are the biggest things we’re looking at building on and improving with our next summit.

  1. Maybe the biggest thing we want to improve on next time is the scheduling and format of the event. Audience Driven 2021 was just a two-day event, but it felt like we could have stretched it to at least three days, given all of the incredible speakers and content. It was great, and it was a lot. We might also experiment with a smaller slate of speakers and less content. It’s a balancing act!
  1. We had some tech issues, pretty much a given for a first-time event like this, using several new-to-us platforms and getting them to work together smoothly—specifically, getting to work nicely with YouTube. To some degree, this comes with the territory, and we know what we need to get things working without a hitch next time!
  1. Although engagement was high, next time we’d love to encourage more folks to register and turn up. We’ll be exploring different strategies for promoting the event, as well as encouraging registrants to tune in—things like having “Add to calendar” buttons added to the registration process, and sending push notifications when the event is about to go live.
  1. We’d also look into an audio-only option for those who want to attend but can’t stay glued to a video feed all day long. We also want to continue to improve accessibility of our summit content (as we do with all our content!), such as by adding live closed captions to all the talks.
  1. Finally, we’d give a little more time for Q&A. This part of the experience was so valuable, and we realized that we could have used more of it.

We Want to Hear From You (No, Seriously)

If you made it to Audience Driven—and even if you didn’t—we’d love to know what you’d like to experience at our next summit. (Y’know, because audience driven…) Just hit us up on Twitter @teamSPI and/or using the hashtag #audiencedriven!

You can also head to and share your thoughts in a short video, audio clip, or written message!

Here are just a few of the comments people have sent us about the business growth and insights Audience Driven has sparked for them:

screenshot of feedback on Audience Driven Summit submitted to SPI team that reads: "Hey Pat, I'm really new to online audience building, so the summit to me was a smorgasbord of info - which meant I really felt like a sponge, taking in everything! My two favourite talks were: Nathan Barry (since I've spent the last two months setting up my email automations) and Roberto Blake (felt like a masterclass on YouTube). PS: I'm re-reading Superfans. Brilliant resource. Keep doing what you're doing. Josh (from South Africa)."
screenshot of feedback on Audience Driven Summit submitted to SPI team that reads: "For several months I have been hesitant to develop my business sharing high quality information about maintaining health and vitality as we age, because I had not identified an approach that matched my time constraints and felt comfortable. During the summit I recognized that developing an email list by initially using people I knew felt doable. I have signed up for the Email Marketing Magic course and on Day 3 of the challenge I am gaining all sorts of business (and personal!) insights from my friends' responses."
screenshot of feedback on Audience Driven Summit submitted to SPI team that reads: "The talk on building online community gave me a framework to do a relaunch and more confidence in moving forward! Thank you so much!"

And don’t forget—you can register to catch the replays and get announcements about future events at

One Last Thing

By the way, while the Audience Driven Summit focused mostly on the audience-building aspect of your online business, we’ve created something to help you generate a scalable income too.

Our latest course, Heroic Online Courses.

With Heroic Online Courses, you can learn how to become a course creator the SPI way. Over the years, we’ve generated more than $4 million in course sales by creating audience-driven courses. And we’ll show you exactly how we do it.

Learn more about Heroic Online Courses.

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