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Lesson 5: Podcasting Workflow
Everyone has their own specific way they approach creating their podcast, but I’m going to line out some of the basic things you’ll need to consider for your workflow.
Plan the episode
Just like you took time to plan the overall podcast, you’ll need to set aside time to plan for each individual episode. There are different ways to approach this:
- Each week, figure out what you’re going to talk about.
- Each month/quarter/year, plan out the topics for the upcoming episodes; then spend time each week flushing out the details for each episode.
Either way you approach it, you’ll want to make sure that you take in account for the other people you’ll need to talk with (i.e. interview, co-host, etc.), the resources you’ll need available during recording (i.e. websites, books, etc.), and the call-to-action you want to make.
The better you prepare beforehand, the easier it will be during the recording and post-production phases.
If you are having interviews or co-host, you’ll need to make sure to get them scheduled on your calendar.
Note: it’s not uncommon for people to reschedule (even last minute), so be prepared in case you need to change your content schedule.
Create an outline or script
As part of your preparation for the episode, you’ll want to have some notes written down. Very basically, this would be an outline of the points you want to talk about, along with the resources you need to reference.
For an interview, this could be a list of a few questions (it’s best to have at least a few written down, even if you plan to have a free-flowing conversation).
For a co-hosted episode, it’s good to have at least an outline of what will be discussed so that everyone knows what to expect (at least for the most part).
Some people go so far as to script the episode. This can be a word-for-word script or just a really detailed outline.
I personally fall somewhere between an outline and loose scripting for my podcast episodes (I sometimes wander off the script, but it helps keep me on track).
Record the episode
After you everything prepped, it’s time to record. You’ll want to make sure that everything is plugged in and turned on.
You also want to make sure to push the record button. I have missed this a couple times, and it’s no fun when you finish the episode and realize that it never recorded.
As you record, you’ll want to learn and practice good mic technique. This is beyond the scope of this mini-course, but here are some basic pointers you start with.
Edit the audio
There are some people that want to keep their podcast raw, but you are going to want to do at least some editing of your audio. Many times, you’ll at least need to add the intro and outro, but I recommend doing more than that.
The purpose of editing is to make the episode easy for your listeners to consume without causing distractions. While you may want to keep it raw and authentic, if there are a lot of filler words, stumbles, background noise, rabbit trails, low or fluctuating volume, or other things in the audio, it might distract your listener and they won’t get what you’re trying to share.
I am a podcast editor and have a podcast production company, so I may be a little biased here – but this is also why I started the company in the first place.
To edit your audio, there are many pieces of software to choose from.
I started with Audacity because it was free, and I used it for several years. It is a great option for many people (especially if you are budget conscious).
I then switched to Adobe Audition because it was a lot more powerful, but it does have a monthly subscription fee.
I’ve heard of others using Garage Band, Reaper, Hindenburg Journalist, and other DAWs (digital audio workstations), but I’m not very familiar with these personally.
Learn to use the software you choose, and you’ll be able to make your podcast sound great!
Create the show notes
Some people actually create their show notes prior to recording and editing, and then use the show notes as their outline/script for recording. Or they may just take their outline/script and use it for their show notes.
There are many ways that people approach show notes, but the key is that you need something. Very basically, there are two main reasons for show notes:
- For the listeners to get the links and resources (or refer to during or after listening)
- For people searching for podcasts, and it can draw them in
A basic way I approach show notes is to have an introductory paragraph or two about the episode (this can introduce the topic and/or interviewee), a bullet-point list of the topics covered in the episode, and a list of links and resources mentioned in the episode.
Publish the episode
After you finish recording the audio and have your show notes, you then need to add the ID3 tags to your file and upload the episode to your media host. You can either publish the episode immediately or you can usually schedule a specific date/time for it to publish. Scheduling the episode ahead of time helps to keep a consistent schedule for your listeners, regardless of when you work on the episode.
Promote the episode
After the episode is published, it’s your job to promote the episode.
Many people use the “build it and they will come” approach, but this is not how it really works (at least not to grow your podcast more quickly). Apple Podcasts (as well as Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, and many others) is only a directory where your podcast is listed – just like a digital phone book.
If you want to grow your podcast faster than just hoping that people stumble across the podcast, you’ll need to do some promotion. This can be through your email list, social media, word-of-mouth in person, advertisements, or a number of other ways. Asking your followers to share the episodes can also help.
Just like shampoo, you’ll need to wash, rinse, and repeat for every episode. Now, your workflow may differ from this basic outline, but creating a system and process will help you to be more consistent. Over time, you’ll also get faster and better at creating episodes.