104: Podcast Production Workflow: How To Make It Happen Every Episode
Play • 48 min

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Welcome back to Podcastification - on this episode I’m walking you through the step by step details of what I do to carry out MY successful podcast production workflow every single week. It doesn’t matter if you publish episodes every week, every other week, or once a month - organizationally you’ve GOT to have an effective podcast workflow to ensure two things:

Quality AND Consistency

What I demonstrate and describe on this episode is not the ONLY way to do this - but it’s the best way I’ve found after 5 years of podcasting. And if you scroll down, you’ll also notice that I ALSO recorded this one as a video - with the workflow mapped out on my whiteboard. The visuals help on this one - honest.


If there’s one thing you get out of this episode, this is what I hope it is: Process leads to Success!


[1:18] The vital importance of having a well-considered podcast workflow: consistency & quality

[3:12] Write down every step of your process - one per sticky note: here’s why

[4:01] Beginning the process, one step at a time

  • Choose your topic
  • Research and preparation
  • GUEST EPISODES: Choosing and preparing for your guest
  • GUEST EPISODES: Reaching out to your guest
  • GUEST EPISODES: Your guest schedules a time
  • GUEST EPISODES: Asking the guest to provide you some vital info
  • GUEST EPISODES: Confirm the recording (the day of the recording)


[17:41] Do you see how the workflow enables you to be professional and consistent?

[21:45] Resuming the steps to your podcast workflow

  • Create a test recording/sound check
  • Record the main audio/conversation
  • Record the intro and outro immediately following the recording: Here’s why
  • Add the audio files to my Dropbox system (I describe it here)
  • Notify the editor (or set a time to edit on your own calendar if you do your own editing)
  • Create an optimized title and send to my VA (because the artwork step is coming)
  • Add to Auphonic (if you don’t use Auphonic, do it now!)
  • Writing the show notes and notify the VA
  • Artwork/graphics are created
  • Post the show notes and artwork to Libsyn and the website
  • Set up social sharing
  • GUEST EPISODES: Send promo info to guest


[44:15] Why process equals success


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Here’s why you need a well-considered podcast workflow


Nothing successful happens by accident. Here are a couple of real-life examples…


Your wrist watch or smartphone didn’t just “happen.” Somebody thought it up, designed it, and made it to do exactly what it does. And you get to enjoy the benefits of their detailed, systematic approach to creating a solution you need.


Your podcast is the same type of thing.


You’re trying to reach a particular audience to teach them particular things or focus on particular topics. And it’s not just going to happen…


You need to learn how to be systematic about it so you can be effective at it.


Process = Success: and in Podcasting the process that makes it happen is a powerful podcast production workflow.


When you have a podcast workflow that is well-considered and smart, you’ll avoid two fo the biggest problems that plague any content creator: inconsistency and lack of quality.


Said another way - getting down a great podcast workflow is likely the ONE THING that will enable you to stand apart from all your competitors. The very people you want to attract and benefit will be drawn to you because something about you is very obvious: YOU CARE about the content you’re producing and the people you’re producing it for.


This audio/video episode is aimed at showing you, step by step, how to create a podcast production workflow that is unique to you and your show - and how to keep it running episode after episode to ensure you provide the value to your listeners that you really want to provide.


OK - it’s time to create your unique podcast workflow. Are you ready?


What I’m about to describe to you is MY WAY of going about this process. You may have a different way that works for you - mindmaps, pencil and paper, computer software - whatever.


I don’t care HOW you do it, I just care THAT you do it. Process equals success: remember that!


My system involves the use of my whiteboard and a handful of sticky notes. I use this system because it’s easy to see in one glance and it’s easy to modify as I go by moving the sticky notes around on the board.


And to clarify, understand this: I don’t LEAVE it in this format. I’m going to transfer what I create onto a checklist that I use for every episode, but for now - as I’m creating it, I’ll ues this systems.


So, it’s time to get into the steps.


OVERARCHING METHOD: Write down every step of your production process: one step per sticky note


It may be helpful to do this the next time you work on your podcast episodes. It will require some additional time so make sure you set aside a chunk so you can do it. And let me warn you, you’ll want to shortcut this step because of impatience or eagerness. But don’t.


This is an example of doing something laborious now that will save you laborious steps later - and in an exponentially multiplying way - so stick with it and get it done.


Be as detailed about these steps as you need to be to ensure that you don’t forget anything about what goes into it. If you’ve never detailed the exact steps that you do by rote memory that go into each of these sticky note steps, I’d suggest you bullet-point those steps on the sticky note so you can actually see them and understand them visually.


Who knows, you may be handing a lot of this work to a VA or assistant in the future, so the more you have written down ahead of time, the more easily you’ll be able to do that.


Don’t worry about getting the steps in order at this point - just get them out of your head and onto the sticky notes. You’ll have time in the next step to arrange them in sequence. You’ll also find that you likely forgot some - that’s OK too. You’ll just record them on your own sticky note as they come to mind.


STEP #1: Chose the topic for the podcast episode you’ll be working on


When I first started podcasting I shot from the hip WAY too much. That means…


  • I didn’t plan my episode topics until the week of publication

  • I didn’t think them through in a logical sequence

  • I didn’t strategize for how I was going to BEST help my audience


Do you see where I’m going with this? How can you create amazing value to stand out in the crowd if you don’t plan to do so?


I had to learn that lesson the hard way and hope you don’t have to. That’s why I’m focusing on this right at this point.


Your audience deserves the very best from you - so give it to them through planning out your episodes.


Once you choose the topic for an episode, you’ve only done the FIRST thing. The next step is even more important.


STEP #2: Research your topic and/or prepare for the episode


Very few of us are accomplished enough or talented enough at public speaking to think of a topic and then effectively ad-lib as we record an episode. So don’t try it - not for a very long time.


You need to develop the discipline of researching, learning, growing, knowing your topics backwards and forwards - THAT is what will get you to the point that ad-libs are acceptable and possible.


People like John Maxwell do it all the time - but hey, he’s John - which only means he’s paid his dues over the years THROUGH the kind of diligent work I’m talking about.


So… what goes into good research? For me, it’s a combination of things, depending on whether I’ll have a guest on the episode or not...


  • Read up on the topic


It’s not enough to know what I think about something. I need to know what’s being said by others who are knowledgeable on the topic. If I don’t take the time to do this I can come across as a naive know-it-all. I don’t want that.


So I typically collect links to articles, etc. in my Pocket account and then link them to the card in my Trello board where that idea is recorded (I created a video about how I do that once upon a time). That way I can easily go to the topic > click on each link > read articles without having to search for them > and begin my own bullet point outline for the episode, all in the same spot on my Trello board.


  • Create a bullet-point outline of my thoughts


As I just mentioned, the next thing I do is begin my own outline of the topic. I want to include things I’ve discovered/ learned, things I believe from my experience, and what others who are experts on the subject have to say.


I want to leave no stone unturned - because it’s that kind of comprehensive quality that will get the attention of my listeners/readers AND get the attention of Google. Honestly, it does work that way.


Once I’ve created my bullet-point outline, I’ll go through it slowly to ensure it makes sense from a sequential standpoint. If I need to reorder or reorganize it, I will.


It’s got to make sense the moment a reader/listeners glances over it. If it doesn’t they’ll probably click off to something else.


  • Journal/write about the topic


I don’t always do this, but if I’m dealing with a complicated subject, or one that is easily confused (in my own mind, especially), I’ll add this step - I journal my thoughts and understanding about the topic.


Why do I do this? Because as Dawson Trotman once said, “Thoughts disentangle themselves when they flow from lips or fingertips.”


Typing/writing things out helps ME understand it. When I finally record the episode I want to be speaking about the subject matter naturally, as one who has studied and understood the topic for myself (because I have).


If I shortcut this step, it will show up in the quality of my episode content - and I believe that costs listeners/fans/followers in the long run. I can’t have that.


I won’t have that. :)


  • Brainstorm/decide on guests for the episode


If the topic I’m interested in would benefit from a conversation with an expert guest, I start thinking through who that guest should be. Nobody is out of the realm of possibility. My philosophy is to ask because the worst they could do is ignore my outreach or say “No.”


That’s not so bad, is it?


In a future point I’ll tell you how I go about reaching out to these experts.

  • Brainstorm resources I may need for the episode


Are there any special graphics, audio clips, sound effects, or other resources that would make this episode ultra special?


If I can come up with good ideas, I jot them down. I’m going to do everything I can to up the value of the audio and the show notes to make them stand out - to my listeners and to Google. My philosophy on that is that if it pleases my listeners, it will likely please Google too.


But be careful here - don’t overdo it. I went through a season on my podcast where I did lots of cutesy sound effects just for the sake of doing them. I thought they were fun and gave the show a unique sound.


My audience told me they were annoying. (Listen to your listeners when they give you feedback).


STEP #3: Give my topic, potential guest, and resource needs to my VA/Assistant


If you don’t have a VA or assistant who helps you with this kind of thing, you’re making a list for yourself - and you have another set of things to do in order to publish the show as you have planned.


It’s a lot of stuff, but it’s worth it to do things right. I’d rather have an episode publish late and be phenomenal than to publish on time and be so-so. I believe my audience knows the difference - and is glad when I don’t shortcut the process.


So… passing these things to my VA puts a new task on her plate, which is the next step in this process - reaching out to the guest I have in mind.


If I’ve decided to approach the guest through a contact or friend, I do that legwork before I pass this info to my VA. I want her to have as easy a time as possible connecting with the person I have in mind.


She’ll also start collecting the resources I need, whatever they are, and place them in a predetermined Dropbox or Google Drive location. That way when I or my editor are ready to produce the episode or show notes, the resources are available.


STEP #4: Reach out to the potential guest


Once I’m ready for my VA to reach out - I have her do so using a template I’ve written and provided to her that she customizes to the person I have in mind, the topic I want to chat with them about, and the timeframe in which I’d like to record the episode.


I thought about providing a copy of my template here but decided against it, simply because any template you create needs to be in your voice and reflect the unique characteristics of your podcast and brand. I can’t write that for you.


So, spend quality time on this. It’s important. The first impression you give to potential guests is powerful for them and could make or break their willingness to be a guest on your...

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