Podcasting workflow diagram

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.

1. Plan

The greatest podcasts start, build on, and end with plans. As an old proverb says, “Failure to plan is planning to fail.”

Set goals

What do you want to accomplish with your podcast? What do you want your audience to get from each episode?

Collect ideas

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.

2. Prepare

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.

Review feedback

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.

Gather resources

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.

3. Present

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.

Speak clearly

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.

Communicate passionately

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.

Relate authentically

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.

4. Produce

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

Wherever you host your media, it's time to put your episode there! Learn more about podcasting hosting, or jump straight into LibSyn or Blubrry with promo code “noodle” for a free month.

5. Publish

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.

Check website

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.

6. Promote

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.

Monitor performance

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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About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.
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Deacon Bradley
10 years ago

Thanks so much for this Daniel! I’m gearing up to launch my first podcast and have found a TON of value in your recent series (and all your stuff really, hah).

Deacon Bradley
10 years ago

It is going behind the scenes and inside the minds of high performers. It’ll be mostly interview format with some solo sessions mixed in. I’ve been having a blast on some pilot episodes and start recording for real in a couple weeks ;).

Plenty more of your tutorials to go through before launch :).

Prescott Perez-Fox
10 years ago

This is a great checklist and a great episode. I’m *totally* going to steal the 6 P’s and use them to create checklists. I use Podio to organize my workflow and this will be helpful for making podcast episode templates.

Mike Gantt
10 years ago

Great podcast and thoroughly helpful show notes, Daniel. Thank you.

More general question: do you keep copies of podcasts that you upload to your media host (and, if so, for how long) or do you trust that once the media host has them, that they will maintain some kind of redundancy of those files?

(I’m asking this because I don’t want the hassle and overhead of maintaining the original wav and mp3 files on my pc if it’s not necessary. Thanks.)


[…] 6 P's for a Proven Podcasting Workflowtheaudacitytopodcast.comHow 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! […]

6 years ago

Genius podcast, thank you. I especially like your suggestions for checking to make sure as a listener or viewer that the podcast is the way you want. Especially using Tor or crtl N on Google to go anonymous!! I find I am so nervous that I write all the podcast out and send the questions to the guest (if it is for an interview) ahead of time. Do you think this is overkill?
Another problem is that (only males for some reason, but that’s a different story!) some guests totally ignore the prep work I send them and make weird assumptions. So I always asked the guest, do you agree to share everything I mention or are you uncomfortable with anything. I’ve had an author say Oh, yeah sure. But then, refusing to answer questions I had thought he reviewed, because he said yes in my mind – bummer podcast! It was a learning experience for me but the author missed a great chance to promote his book. Live and learn!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

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