9 steps to help you make time for running a successful podcast.
(Requested by Alaina Frederick.)
1. Recognize the time requirements
Podcasting takes time and doing it well takes more time. For quality audio content, assume at least a 4:1 ratio—4 hours of preparation and editing for every one hour of content. Video is closer to an 8:1 ratio.
So if you want to release an hour-long, weekly audio podcast, then you'll need to set aside five hours every week.
Remember that the less time you spend in preparation for your podcast, the lower the quality will be.
2. Separate your tasks …
Podcasting essentially has four tasks, each starting with the letter P:
- Preparation—collect your ideas, develop your outline, gather links and resources to use, maybe even write your shownotes
- Presentation—record your episode
- Post-production—edit your recording, complete your shownotes, publish your episode
- Promotion—tell others about your latest episode by tweeting, sharing on Facebook, posting in other social networks, or notifying your email list
You may find it easier to make time for each task, one at a time. For example, Spend an hour of preparation an Monday and another on Tuesday, record on Wednesday, edit on Thursday, then publish and promote on Friday.
Subdivide these tasks to make them even easier to do throughout the week. Pick your topic as early as possible, then always carry something that allows you to take notes as you have random inspiration. There are hundreds of mobile apps, websites, and physical tools for doing this. I recommend whatever is most convenient, simple, and accessible.
3. … or batch your tasks
You may also find great success in batching your work. John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire records all of his daily episodes on a single day and Cliff Ravenscraft from GSPN.tv records most of his weekly podcast episodes on a single day as well.
4. Schedule your time
I've heard many successful people say something like, “If it's not on the calendar, it won't happen.” That works for us mere mortals, too!
Be intentional about your time and commit to it by scheduling it. Every Monday, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. is blocked out in my schedule for The Audacity to Podcast. I can work on other things before that. But I know that when 11:00 a.m. hits, I have an appointment I must keep with my podcast.
As an aside, this is also why I like to live-stream my podcasts—it reminds me that others are relying on me to present my content at a specific time each week (currently Mondays at 2pm ET).
5. Use a timer for focus
We all have the same 168 hours in a week. If you try searching for time, you will never find it. You have to intentionally make the time for the things you want to do.
I've found that a simple timer can do wonders for my productivity. Use a kitchen timer, your mobile device, or E.ggtimer.com to set a timer for 25 minutes (or your choice) and work on only your podcast during that time. No Twitter, Facebook, email, YouTube, phone calls, text messages, playing with things, or anything but your task.
When your time is up, you can take a break to address those distractions. Or if you found yourself in “the zone” of focus, simply reset your time for another 25 minutes.
6. Simplify and don't attempt too much
I've found that the podcasters who struggle the most with their time make one (or both) of two mistakes: they don't intentionally set aside the time, or they don't understand how much time it will take to do what they want.
The higher you raise the bar of “perfection,” the longer it will take you to publish anything.
If you try to remove every “um” or “uh” from your audio episodes, you'll add hours to your workflow.
If you try to make your video podcasts fancy with transitions, animations, effects, lower thirds, and more, you'll find a five-minute video taking days to publish.
Simplify your standards and workflow. If it takes you a couple hours to find just the right stock photo, maybe you should grab your own camera and take your own photo (or vice versa). I've done this many times with my Canon T4i digital SLR (Amazon.com | B&H) . My episode about podcast backups has a beautiful photo of some DVDs. I searched for 30 minutes to find a great but inexpensive image before I decided to take 5 minutes to shoot my own.
You don't have to be perfect! Even professional radio hosts have things go wrong or stumble over words. Just because you have the power to edit doesn't mean you should. Allow yourself to be natural. If something needs to be fixed, fix just the major areas, or learn how to prevent them in the first place.
7. Remove something else from your schedule
The easiest way to make time for one thing is to not do another. If your podcast is a priority, then you'll need to decide what lower priorities can be sacrificed for your podcast.
Relationships aren't on this list! Always keep your relationships as the highest priority, but also agree one a specific schedule you can have to pursue your podcasting goals.
8. Get reminders or accountability
Setup regular notifications to remind you of what you need to do or the schedule you're trying to keep. You could take this a step further by asking others to hold you accountable with your time.
In some way, your audience is already depending on you and may even schedule their time around your episodes. Perhaps you look forward to listening to The Audacity to Podcast every Tuesday morning during your commute—I try to always honor that by having my episode online, if possible, before you even leave work on Monday.
9. Get help
If the workload is still too much, or you have too many other responsibilities and you can't drop the podcast, then it may be time to get someone else to help.
You can look for a volunteer for your passionate community, hire a virtual assistant, bring on an intern form a local school, contract a consultant, or even pay a family member.
Here are some example tasks that you could easily designate to someone else.
- Writing shownotes
- Finding photos
- Editing audio or video
- Shooting extra footage
- Curating content
- Filtering email
- Moderating public messages
- Scheduling guests or your guest appearances
- Promoting in social networks
We have several volunteers performing each of these tasks for our Once Upon a Time podcast, and it has been a huge stress-relief!
How are you “redeeming the time”?
I like what the Bible says in the book of Ephesians, chapter 4, verses 15–18.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time [another translation says, “redeeming the time”], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit … [Ephesians [4:15]–18, ESV; emphasis mine]
Even if you don't try to live by the Bible, as I do, this passage can remind you that our days are busy, so we have to make the best use of our time. And wasting time is downright foolish.
So how do you make time for your podcast? What has helped you focus and stay consistent?
I can help you launch or improve your podcast
I'm available for one-on-one consulting to help you launch or improve your podcast.
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Find more podcasts about technology on the Tech Podcasts Network.
Check out more Noodle.mx Network shows
- The Audacity to Podcast: "How-to" podcast about podcasting
- Beyond the To-Do List: Personal and professional productivity
- The Productive Woman: Productivity for busy women
- ONCE: Once Upon a Time podcast
- Welcome to Level Seven: Agents of SHIELD and Marvel’s cinematic universe podcast
- Are You Just Watching?: Movie reviews with Christian critical thinking
- the Ramen Noodle: Family-friendly clean comedy
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