Building a powerful PODCAST WORKFLOW will require an investment of time.
But PLEASE don’t let that deter you from following the steps below.
If you do what is contained in this post, you’ll be among the rarest of breeds — those podcasters who actually INVESTED THE TIME TO DO what others refused to do — and achieve uncommon success as a result.
Consider this series to be similar to…
- Investing in your education through an advanced degree
- Studying and testing for industry-specific certifications
- Attending a webinar or seminar to learn a specialized skill
- Taking the time necessary to become an accomplished artist or musician
But in this instance, it’s all for the purpose of making your podcast production cycle
And the result will be greater podcasting success. That’s what a good podcast workflow leads to, every time.
I recommend you set apart an entire day to plan and implement what you’re about to read… NOW… go on, get out your calendar and pick the day you can spend time doing this.
It will take you 4 to 6 hours to complete — so why not budget an entire day just to be safe?
If you have a partner or team working with you, it sounds like a great project to address in a “team retreat.”
So… get your head on straight. Prepare your mind for action. Prove yourself to be CAPABLE of the success you’re seeking.
And keep reading…
EVERY SUCCESSFUL PODCAST THRIVES BECAUSE OF ORGANIZATION
There’s no other way to say it.
Every successful podcaster I’ve ever spoken with had to EVENTUALLY come up with a podcast workflow that keeps them on track and enables them to be more efficient, effective, and POWERFUL in serving their audience.
Maria Failla’s success is an EXCELLENT case in point…
BLOOM AND GROW RADIO started out as a hobby for the sake of self-education. She’s a confessed “plant killer” turned “plant lover” and simply wanted to talk with experts on houseplants about how to be successful as a “plant parent” (her term).
She only expected to release 10-ish episodes in entirety, because she couldn’t imagine the show would be popular or that there would be very much to cover.
MAN… was she WRONG!
Fast forward to today… not only is her podcast amazing, she’s got regular strategic partners who sponsor her show, a budding paid membership community, Patreon members, a joint-venture course with a professional horticulturist under construction (as of Fall 2021), and lots more.
But none of that happened accidentally.
Success came as she got organized, streamlined her purpose and podcast workflow, and MADE her show what she envisioned it could become (which included adjustments based on LOTS of listener feedback).
You can hear my conversation with Maria about the growth and monetization of her show on this episode of Podcastification (my podcast).
If YOUR podcast is going to attain any level of success, you’ll have to be intentional about it, too.
Notice the word I chose to use, there… intentional.
Success requires a PLAN.
This post is designed to help you get organized with your podcast workflow. I want you to be as successful as you want to be, however you define that.
And I know it can’t happen without a clear plan.
have PODCAST WORKFLOW IS… A CLEAR, REPEATABLE PROCESS THAT SETS YOU UP FOR SUCCESS, EPISODE TO EPISODE
Put simply, it’s a best-practice checklist you follow without fail EVERY time you record an episode.
Sure, you’re smart.
But you can’t and won’t remember everything, every time you need to remember it.
Life has taught you that by now, right?
And why SHOULD you put that burden on your brain anyway? You’ve got better things for your skull-encased super-computer to be doing, don’t you?
So learn to think of checklists as your friends. They…
- Remember things FOR you
- REMIND you of vital steps you can’t afford to miss
- ENSURE you are being effective with your efforts
- Help you AVOID mistakes and missteps
- Provide the soil in which SUCCESS can grow (to keep with Maria’s “bloom and grow” theme)
If you don’t create and actually USE a checklist from the beginning of each episode’s creation cycle, you’ll handicap YOURSELF.
I don’t want that for you. So get started with the following step…
STEP ONE: IDENTIFY the steps required to produce one podcast episode (30 minutes)
1) Take out a pad of sticky notes and a pencil.
2) Start at the beginning. Write down every step required to record/produce an episode, each on its own sticky note.
3) Keep at it until your brain hurts.
Go get a cup of coffee or tea and sip on it for a bit.
4) Come back to your many-sticky-note list and organize them.
Use a whiteboard, window, wall, whatever, to stick them up where you can see them all in one glance.
Sequence them in “first to last” order.
As you do, you’re likely to think of things you forgot to include. Add those to their own sticky notes and insert them in the proper place.
5) Once you are happy with it, sleep on it. Really. Go take a nap or quit for the day.
6) Approach your list with fresh eyes later and try to spot gaps in your process or steps you have missed.
I’m sure you realize right here at the outset, that #2 could include lots of different things. And what it contains is ENTIRELY UP TO YOU.
Your show will require different things than another show because you have different goals, different equipment, different lots of things.
DON’T GET BOGGED DOWN!!!
Some of the things you may want to place into your podcast workflow (ideas only, not “must”s)
- Guest invitation sequence and intake
- Episode & Guest scheduling
- Equipment setup
- Remote recording sound check and equipment check
- Artwork creation
- Audiogram selection and creation
- Social media posting and promotion
- Guest follow-up and joint-promotion coordination
Again, those are just SOME of the things you might want to include. YOUR list may include less or more.
STEP TWO: IDENTIFY places to optimize or refine EACH step (2 to 3 hours)
The best way to do this is by asking a series of questions ABOUT each step in your podcast workflow.
- How exactly does this part of my podcast workflow happen?
- Is there a better or simpler way to perform this step?
- How long does this step take to be finished? Is there a way to speed it up?
- Does this part of the workflow stall in any way?
- Is there any friction involved in this step?
- Can communication that is related to this step be improved or optimized?
As you answer these questions, find creative solutions to any problems you discover.
If you see places where something can be automated (EXAMPLE: Using Zapier to move files from Googe Drive, to Auphonic, then to your media host… so you don’t have to do it manually) write down “figure out automation for this” and move on.
You don’t want to get bogged down in the details of HOW to do things at this point.
You just want to IDENTIFY the places where something needs to be improved.
BE SURE TO WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO CHANGE
There are a couple of option shere…
A) You may want to bullet-point possible changes ON the sticky note for this step.
B) You may want to give your improvement a sticky note of its own.
Do what seems best to you… the sticky notes are not the final form of your checklist, so for now, it’s not important what format you use, just get it documented.
When you are finished with the first sticky note step, place it face down on the table in front of you and move on to the next one.
For the second step in your workflow, ask the same questions — do the same evaluation — brainstorm step-specific improvements.
When you finish with that step, place it face down on top of the first sticky note.
Repeat these steps until you are done with the entire process.
You now have the skeletal system of your future, never-fail podcast workflow.
Next, you’ve got to add muscle to it. That’s the IMPLEMENTATION part.
STEP THREE: IMPLEMENTATION is where the power of your podcast workflow resides (30 TO 40 minutes per step, potentially)
Good intentions only matter if something is DONE to bring them into reality. Implementation is where you get things done.
The basics of this IMPLEMENTATION section are pretty simple…
1) Start at the FIRST note of your sticky note stack.
2) Read the notes you made.
3) Figure out how to DO what you wrote down.
4) DO it.
5) Then move on to the next sticky note and repeat.
How easy or difficult it is to actually DO what you said depends on your level of expertise, your budget, your willingness and ability to learn, your ability to outsource… all kinds of things.
To make it real for you, let’s imagine an example “step” in a podcast workflow and I’ll walk you through how I would IMPLEMENT in that situation.
Keep in mind, not every step in your workflow will be as complex as the example I’m about to give you. But there may be some that are MORE complex.
And remember YOU CAN FIGURE OUT ANYTHING IF YOU WANT IT BADLY ENOUGH.
EXAMPLE STEP: Share the podcast episode to social media
At some point in your podcast workflow, you’re going to come to the promotion of each episode. I’ll have a future article in this series specifically about how to effectively promote an episode on social media.
For now, to illustrate, I’ll show you ONE way I would do this, including the tools I’d implement to make it happen.
And know this too, at times your bigger steps will require sub-steps. Don’t let the complexity intimidate you into doing nothing. Take one thing at a time, solve it, then move on.
You’ll get there. Remember, you can figure out anything if you want it badly enough.
THE SOCIAL SHARING STEPS I CAME UP WITH LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS:
- Decide which social media platforms I want to promote on
- Determine the promotion frequency and approach I’ll use on each of them
- Create compelling, appropriate text for the social media platforms I’ve chosen
- Use the episode image or audiogram or video clip I already created to make my promotions visual.
- Add both to a RecurPost repeating library for my podcast, “Podcastification” and schedule them for each platform
- Don’t forget to include a URL to the blog post for that episode
It’s a pretty simple list. But as you can see, some of the steps require that previous steps have already been completed…
- I can’t do step 4 if I haven’t already created episode images/audiograms/video clips — so those creation steps must come earlier in my podcast workflow sequence (have their own sticky note).
- Step 5 requires that I already have a RecurPost account (my social sharing tool of choice – affiliate link) and that I’ve already decided how to organize my RecurPost libraries for ongoing sharing.
- Step 6 requires that I have already posted my show notes and audio player to my website and have an available link for the post. So again, that process would need to happen earlier in my podcast workflow.
Again, specifics about best practices on social sharing will be shared in a future article in this series. But for now, use this as an example of what ANY step IMPLEMENTATION process could be like.
Use the following guidelines to refine and optimize your implementation process.
1) Keep things as simple as possible: Fewer steps are better — but only IF fewer steps can get the job done effectively and efficiently.
2) Optimize, Automate, Delegate: That’s an order-of-operations devised by Ari Meisel (a previous client) and it’s one that will serve you well.
1ST, OPTIMIZE everything you can, which means make it simpler and easier to perform.
2ND, AUTOMATE what can reasonably be automated.
Many podcast media hosts have built-in integrations with social media platforms. Some can also integrate with audio platforms like Auphonic.
3RD, DELEGATE appropriately and effectively.
Once you have all of that done, for every sticky-note-step in your workflow, it’s time to put it into a format that you’ll actually use.
STEP FOUR: DOCUMENT & USE IT: The only way to consistently produce great content (30 minutes)
We are in the home stretch, so hang in there!
Now is the time to put those sticky notes into your final format — a list or system that is easy for you to use, episode to episode.
Because I’m working with a team that helps me produce various assets in my podcast production workflow, I use an online system for my documentation and steps — Notion. Notion enables me to invite others to specific workflows and pages so they can work with me on the same process.
You may have another preferred online system that helps you keep track of things and such… great! Use it!
Or if hard-copy is best for you, do that!
Regardless, get your podcast workflow into a system that enables you to…
- Easily pull up your steps every time you need them (when you begin your podcast episode creation cycle)
- Sequentially walk through those steps so you don’t miss anything
- Check them off as you go, so you don’t lose your place
- Easily edit your steps as you make improvements or tweaks
- Reuse the steps for future episodes (templating functionality)
Then comes the really tough part… something you’ll have to TRAIN yourself to do.
FOLLOW YOUR CHECKLIST, step by step, every single episode for the foreseeable future
It only does you good if you use it. And you didn’t get this far only to abandon it now (did you)?
Make it a new habit that you REFUSE to divert from.
Don’t let yourself think you can remember it all — you can’t.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking you don’t really need it — you do.
Like an airline pilot, follow your checklist to ENSURE that every part of your system is ready, operational, and usable.