You found the perfect podcast idea, launched the first few episodes, things are running smoothly. Or are they? The first episodes were easy, but now you might find yourself overwhelmed and behind schedule. You try to do it all, but have more tasks than you can handle and more seem to come up each day. Don’t worry!
I’m going to give you a few easy tips to help you become a productive podcaster in no time.
Are you experiencing any of the following?
- Fatigue due to constant recording, editing, and publishing cycle?
- Doubt in your success as there are so many podcasts publishing regularly?
- Impatience and anxiety before the next recording session?
- Constant chasing your tail and working on a new episode?
If any of the above applies to you, it is very typical. Many podcasters experience this. A simple solution is to take better control of your podcast production cycle. This article aims at helping creators to be more productive and enjoy more their podcasting careers.
1. Focus on the content production system instead of business goals
When starting, you might be tempted to focus on your business goals.
There’s nothing wrong with having a clear image of what your business goals are. But to increase podcasting productivity, you need to focus more on your content production system. For instance, you need to be able to answer questions such as:
- How many episodes do you want to have per week?
- How long will each episode be?
- What’s the number of episodes you intend to release in the long term?
- Will you release episodes continuously, regardless of the time of the year, or Holidays?
Once you get these questions out of the way, it will be easier to focus on ideas for each episode, guests if you plan on having them. Ideally, you will easily reach your business goals by focusing on the content production system.
A successful content production system defines how many hours a week and in a month you spend on activities. And on which days of the week do you perform them. You should plan your efforts regarding:
- Ideas generation and research (effective brainstorming sessions)
- Scheduling guests
- Writing engaging scripts or outlines
- Recording sessions
- Editing recorded material
- Publishing new episodes
Your goal here is to have a plan and don’t always guess what you should be doing on any given day. Counterintuitively, planning gives a lot of freedom.
2. Monitor podcasting output and deliver each milestone
Planning is the first step to increasing your podcasting productivity, but if you don’t take the next step and deliver, you’re doing it in vain. So after you create your content production system, you’ll need to shift your focus to the output.
As a podcaster, this means the episodes, their length, and of course, their quality. Just like in the previous step, you need to focus on measurable, achievable goals that you can control.
- Control the length of your podcast by controlling your podcast script
- Control audio quality by having a high-quality podcasting gear
This doesn’t mean completely forgetting business goals, such as the number of subscribers or revenue. It means focusing first on things you can control.
The idea is to focus on goals that are simple, easily measurable, and achievable. But most importantly, you need to focus on the goals that you can control.
You can control the number of episodes and their length. Make sure each episode is useful for your listeners.
You control how many episodes you record. What audio quality they are and how often they are published.
You have much less control over how many people will subscribe and download episodes. But here’s a little secret: by focusing on each episode, you increase your chances of gaining more subscribers!
3. Create a schedule for content production and distribution
Let’s go back to talking about planning. To increase your podcasting productivity, you should aim to plan your work for one month at a time.
This means knowing how much time you’ll spend doing research, recording, recording, finding people to interview, and edit. If you want to experiment with new content, make sure you allocate time for that, but make sure you have some extra time in case things don’t go as you’d like.
And don’t forget about the deadlines! Nobody likes them, but they are a fantastic tool allowing you to become a productive podcaster. Especially when you have your own business, and no boss is telling you what to do, you might be tempted not to set deadlines. By setting deadlines for yourself, you are planning your month more efficiently.
Picture the 2 following plans:
- “research, interview guest, edit a recording, publish an episode, repeat”
- “research – 1 week, plan interviews – 1 week, conduct interview – 1 day per interview, edit recordings – 1 week, publish all the episodes – 1 day”.
Which one sounds more efficient and better organized? If you answered the second, you’d be right. If you replace “1 week”, etc., with actual dates, your plan will be even better. Deadlines are not only a way to keep your work more organized, but they are also a great accountability tool.
4. Group tasks and work in batches
Following the previous idea of properly planning each activity, the next step to increase your podcasting productivity is to work in batches and group tasks where possible.
How would that look like? It’s easy.
Say you establish you want to publish 1 episode per day. Instead of recording one episode per day and constantly worrying you need to record so you can keep up with the schedule, have a weekly recording session of a few hours. You can apply this even if you only publish once per week – by recording all your episodes once at the beginning of the month.
By grouping recording tasks, you will force yourself to group all the others as well. If you do all your recording in one day, it means you can also group your researching activity. In the same way, you can arrange the editing task, by dedicating a few days to this activity alone.
What’s the difference as opposed to doing everything separately in its own time? By working in batches, you will be a more productive podcaster since longer sessions can help you have a better focus on the task at hand.
Consider using the timeboxing technique
To-do lists and deadlines are great, but if you want to be the most productive podcaster out there, you might want to consider using the timeboxing technique. It is my favorite time management technique each podcaster should be using.
Through it, you will simply be taking your to-do list and schedule to the next level, by allocating a specific timeslot to each activity. The technique also relies on visualization, where you’re supposed to place each task in a box in your calendar.
This method is excellent to ensure there are no overruns in your schedule, and it helps you control your working environment. Still not convinced? Here are a few other advantages of the timeboxing technique:
- ensures you focus on one task/group of tasks at a time;
- helps you avoid overwhelm;
- it makes it easy to see your progress;
- it is perfect for perfectionists as it enables you to stop when the allocated time for a task has run out, so the temptation to go back and “perfect” the same thing over and over again is reduced.
Perfectionism is excellent, but with too much of it, you end up becoming your worst enemy by constantly second-guessing your results and trying to perfect everything. Using timeboxes, you are less likely to fall into this endless perfectionism loop.
5. Use automation tools for repetitive tasks
While you can’t have a tool to do your research or interview your guests, specific tasks can most certainly be automated. Some examples include:
- publishing on social media;
- sending email sequences;
- responding on social media or via email;
There are several tools through which you can automate all of those things and more. Social media usually requires daily content (or even more, if we’re talking about Twitter or Facebook, for instance).
It would be very inefficient for you to spend 1-2 hours each day to create and publish social media posts. However, using the techniques described previously, you can create all the posts for the week ahead and schedule them using one of the many tools available.
If you use email marketing to gain more clients and listeners, you might have heard about the importance of sending new subscribers to several emails at certain time intervals to keep them engaged.
Keeping track of each new subscriber and the exact time and date when they received their last email would be the complete opposite of productivity. Most, if not all, email marketing tools allow you to create automated email sequences.
Each time a person subscribes, the email sequence starts being sent to them. You can now easily focus on other tasks, such as creating content or analyzing the behavior of your subscribers, without worrying about actually sending the emails.
6. Outsource non-essential tasks
Outsourcing is a very useful tool. You’d think everyone would want to do it as soon as they can afford it, because why wouldn’t you want fewer tasks on your hands? Funny enough, most entrepreneurs postpone outsourcing as long as possible.
They fear the person they hire won’t be efficient, that they won’t have the same vision over the business as them. Most also try their best to do it all in an attempt to earn more.
And if in the beginning doing everything by yourself might work, once you establish your business and you have more clients, the amount of work you need to do will increase.
As a result, doing everything alone will start to be very unproductive. In the long run, it might lead to the lower overall quality of your podcast and your business in general. Finally, you can lose clients and subscribers.
OK, I convinced you of the benefits of outsourcing. But what should you outsource? The short answer: outsource all the non-essential tasks. Think about those things that feel like a chore that you don’t particularly enjoy doing, or that you’re not very good at.
The best things to outsource to increase your podcast productivity, are:
- episode transcripts;
- designing pins for Pinterest;
- designing covers for your podcast, YouTube channel or social media;
- recording the intro and outro music.
7. Learn from your experience and build processes
Experience is the best teacher, and it applies to any field in work and life. When it comes to working your way towards being a more productive podcaster, you might not be able to implement all the above steps at once. And the truth is you might not have to. Each person is different. Each podcast has its unique features. Ultimately, it is up to you to find what works and what doesn’t for you.
There’s no shame in trial and error. So learn from your mistakes and your experiences. Look back and decide what seems to have worked best and what hasn’t helped. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little until you find the most successful approaches. How should the result look?
Ideally, you want to be able to create a 30-days plan for all the work revolving around your podcast.
Include here everything from content production, distribution, promotion, and sales. Of course, customize according to your work and to where you’re at in your business. For instance, if you’re at a moment when you’re not trying to sell anything, you will focus only on creating content, distributing, and promoting it.
Bonus tip: How to create your 30-days plan for your podcast
There are several ways to do this, but I’m going to give you a few tips that always help me increase my productivity throughout the month.
While it may seem like a lot of work at first, if done correctly, this plan should be reusable during future months with minimal modifications.
- Begin by looking at the month as a whole, and what are the main tasks that must be accomplished.
- Choose the biggest tasks (for instance: research, record X number of episodes, promote).
- Set a tentative deadline for each of these tasks.
- Now take each activity and break it down into smaller tasks.
- Then break them down even more, and repeat the process until you can’t break down your tasks any longer.
Take, for example, promoting your new episodes:
- Write down each platform where you want to promote it, each social media channel, ads, emails, etc.
- Now break it down to the number of the exact posts, ads, and emails.
- You can go even further as some of these will require design or interaction with your audience.
Once you’ve broken down all your tasks, see how you can group them to maximize your productivity.
It is also the perfect moment to use the timeboxing technique. In the end, you should end with a perfect 30-days plan that you can easily visualize in your calendar, with tasks and goals that are measurable and achievable.
Being a productive podcaster is easier than it seems.
Building an excellent system, based on maximized productivity, is crucial to:
- Have a regular publishing schedule,
- Publish more than 1 episode per week,
- Free yourself from stress connected with constant recording and publishing cycle.
The key is to focus on precise tasks; on those things you can control through a little work. Of course, your long-term business goals, the number of subscribers or sales are essential. But they don’t help you take action. And this is exactly what productivity is about: action that leads to results you can see and achieve quickly.
Breaking down your goals and setting clear deadlines and even timeboxes are all things that help by keeping you accountable and focused on the mission.