How do you podcast from nothing to a finished, publicized episode? Here are six main steps with key implementations to make a podcasting workflow like the professionals!
This topic was requested by Gene Desepoli.
The greatest podcasts start, build on, and end with plans. As an old proverb says, “Failure to plan is planning to fail.”
What do you want to accomplish with your podcast? What do you want your audience to get from each episode?
Capture every thought you have for your content, no matter how rough the idea is. Use an easily accessible tool like Evernote or a small notebook to log these thoughts the moment they come. Don’t withhold any idea!
Even if you already have your content planned or handed to you, continue to collect insights, illustrations, feedback, and more.
Pick the topic(s) to cover
If you have freely collected ideas, all you have to do is pick idea to develop for your next episode.
Schedule for preparation
Something will always need or steal your time. Set aside specific time for you to create your podcast. You could split the separate workflow steps into separate sessions, or do them all in the same time.
Get ready to record! But to make for a smooth presentation, some preparation is in order.
As the communicator for your idea, you should strive to be the authority. Look up facts, check third-party research, review your source material, and whatever it takes for you to know everything you need.
If your show receives feedback, review this to see if your upcoming episode will properly address or incorporate the feedback.
Outline the content
Whether you script or ad lib, starting the content with an outline will always help. It could be as simple as a bullet-point list of items you want to cover, or it could be a thorough outline with master points, sub points, and asides.
Starting with an outline also helps you give a more understandable presentation.
Draft show notes
I like to have my show notes prepared before I record. It is a way I refine my ideas. Having these show notes in draft before you record will improve your presentation. This also reduces the amount of time it takes to publish an episode after you finish recording.
Do you need videos, pictures, sound clips, guest or cohost information, or anything else? You’ll often discover these needs during your outline and draft process.
Test and practice
You don’t have to test and practice your entire presentation, but there may be particular points or transitions you want to communicate well. Test these on other people and practice them yourself—even if just mentally.
“Preflight” before recording
Check out my 20-step podcasting preflight checklist for the things you should do before recording.
Ready? Then it’s time to record! Have everything you need in front of you so you won’t get distracted trying to find things.
Record the episode
“Duh,” yes. Put aside whatever reservations you have and take this leap with the record button!
Focus on the goal(s)
As you speak, remember what you want to accomplish with your show, this episode, and what you want your audience to get from it. Remove or differ the stuff that doesn’t work toward these goals. For example, talking about a recent storm may be irrelevant to your audience coming to learn how to be awesome. If your personal story is actually related, make sure your audience knows that before you start.
Slow down and don’t be afraid to pause. Although faster talking is often associated with higher intelligence, talking too quickly can also result in more stumbles and reliance on verbal crutches.
If you’re excited about your topic, let it show! Emotions are contagious, so ensure you’re conveying positively and your audience will be inspired to get excited, too.
Don’t try to be someone you’re not. But also don’t try to make this all about you. Let your personality come through. If something is funny to you, it’s okay to chuckle. Share your personal opinions! Do you really have the audacity (guts) to podcast™? Then be real about it!
Call to action
Give your audience something to do, but don’t overwhelm them. Your primary call to action should relate to your goals. Reinforce it throughout your episode, where appropriate.
Editing is often everyone’s biggest hate in podcasting. This doesn’t mean you have to meticulously edit every detail, but there are simple things you can do to enhance your production.
Edit the recording
Even if you’re not attempting a “perfect” production (which I don’t recommend, anyway), take note on the major places you may need to edit. Remove any intro and outro silences.
Add additional pieces
Add your guest’s audio if recorded separately, audio or video branding, sound clips, promos, lower thirds, B-roll footage, intros and outros, and anything else your episode needs to be complete.
Enhance as necessary
Check for consistent volume levels and adjust as necessary. Remove any distracting noise. Adjust the equalization (EQ) only in tiny amounts, if at all. Correct video colors. Add transitions.
Remember that you only need to “sweeten” the production a little. You shouldn’t try to make yourself sound like someone you are not.
Finalize show notes
Revist your show notes and add any extra material that came up in your recording. Check your spelling and grammar.
Hyperlink relevant text instead of pasting the URLs or using “click here.” Format your text with headings, bullet points, bold, italics, and embedded media.
Optimize for search engines (SEO)
How effectively and clearly have you communicated for humans? That’s the most important aspect of search-engine optimization (SEO). But you can also ensure that you use your relevant keywords a few times.
For example, our new podcast about the Resurrection TV show needs to have the word “Resurrection” in the show notes, or else it may not seem relevant to humans or search engines.
Don’t forget to add keywords, a description, and special title to your SEO fields if you have them.
Export the final
With all the pieces in place, export your final media file! I suggest MP3 at 64 kbps (mono) for audio, MP4 at 640 × 360 for video podcasts, full 1080p HD (when possible) for YouTube.
Add tags to MP3s
Add all the necessary information to your ID3 tags for MP3 audio (or AAC, if you still do that). Remember to include the track number, URL to this episode’s show notes, and your cover art.
Upload to host
Put aside your fears and put that episode out there!
Schedule or publish now!
When everything is ready, don’t forget to publish! Alternatively, you may schedule your episode to publish at a specific date or time. I recommend as much consistency as possible.
After your episode has published, double-check your website. I recommend using a “private” or “incognito” browser so you see your site exactly as a first-time visitor would.
Check for things like working links, appropriately embedded multimedia, and ensure that your cache has refreshed.
Ping feed service (if applicable)
If you use FeedBurner or another third-party feed service, you may need to ping or resync in order for your latest post to be immediately available.
Check RSS feeds
Double check your RSS feed to ensure the latest episode is there and that nothing has broken.
Verify updates in apps and directories
Subscribe to your own podcast in every app you can get and ensure your newest episode is available. Remember that some directories (like iTunes) may have a delay before they reflect your updates, but subscribers will receive the episodes anyway. Some apps may also have a schedule for when they check for new episodes.
Tell the world! This isn’t Field of Dreams where “If you build it, they will come.” Be proactive to grow your audience and even let your current audience know that there’s something new.
Submit to news sites
I’ve seen great success in submitting my episodes to sites like Reddit and StumbleUpon.
Share on social networks
Go where your audience is, but don’t be a spamming self-promoter. Consider Facebook pages, groups, and your profile; Twitter accounts; Google+ pages, communities, and your profile; Pinterest boards; Linked in pages, groups, and your profile; and forums or other social networks where your audience hangs out. But don’t spam!
Send to email subscribers
If you have an email list, they may not only expect to hear when you have new episodes available, but it may also bump you to the front of their minds so they will consume your episode sooner.
With great caution, I recommend that you check your stats, but only briefly! Don’t obsess. In fact, you may be best to wait a couple days or a week before you even think about measuring your audience to see how you’re growing.
What is your podcasting workflow?
Share your own tips, tricks, and approach in the comments!
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