Great podcasting doesn’t happen by accident. Even good podcasting can be made better with a more deliberate approach. It’s OK if you don’t agree. Plenty of others are planning podcasting’s future without you.
The future is going to come one way or another. You get to decide what role, if any, you get to play in shaping that future.
I’d like you to play an active role. You’re a working podcaster. You have a vested interest in making podcasting better, don’t you? Of course you do. So let’s plan on making podcasting better.
There are four levels of podcast planning I want you to think about, and I particularly want you to think of them in sequence so you can see how they build on one another.
Planning For Better Podcast Episodes
The first layer of planning you should consider is the planning you do for each of your episodes. You have a plan for your episodes, don’t you? A plan for each episode? Even if you’re the kind of podcaster who likes to just get behind the microphone and wing it (I have been that kind of podcaster), you need a plan for each episode.
How much planning you do is completely up to you. If you ask the successful podcasters out there, you’ll get a wide range of answers. For a lot of experienced podcasters, planning becomes an innate thing. “Life is show prep”, it’s oftentimes said. And that’s fine, so long as that’s the plan.
Let me use an episode of Podcast Pontifications as an example. A friend of mine and fellow podcaster (hi, Mike!) asked about my planning process. Specifically, he wondered if I scripted out each episode. I don’t, and I prefer to speak more contemporaneously on the episode. But that’s not without planning. So I wrote out the steps I go through on every episode, from conceptualizing to the final touches of publishing to various distribution points.
I go through 14 distinctly different steps to make each episode of this show. So yeah, I have a plan.
Now, I didn’t start out with that plan when I released the first episode of the show almost two years ago. In fact, I didn’t have much of a plan at all. It was just me sharing some thoughts and ideas on podcasting.
But now I have a plan that I rarely deviate from. And you know what? According to my stats and the commentary I receive from listeners, the show is better.
But don’t think that planning is just for your episodes. You can do more.
Planning For Better Podcasts (Shows)
You need a solid plan for your entire show. How do the episodes of your show link together? Can you create an arc that allows each episode to be unique, but deliver a payoff for listeners who stick with you episode after episode?
How far out are you planning your episodes, keeping the preceding paragraph in mind?
Are you using seasons for your show? And if not, have you considered it? Do you know when the season you are in will end? Have you worked out a plan for the weeks or months you’ll take a break from podcasting so you don’t overload on stress? And do you have a plan for letting your audience know when that’s happening?
What about your show’s website, social media accounts, or other digital assets? What about the promotional materials for your show, like flyers, stickers, t-shirts, and more?
But don’t stop there. You can do more.
Planning For Your Involvement On Other Podcasts
Do you play an active role in podcasts other than your own? Not necessarily hosting a show on behalf of someone else. Maybe you’re a recurring guest. Or maybe you offer services you do well to other podcasters. Maybe you’re great at editing audio. Maybe you’re a great copywriter. Maybe you’ can write fancy jingles or create other elements people can use on their own podcasts.
Can you play a role in other people’s shows? If you can, you really should plan to do so. Spreading your influence beyond just the episodes of your show is a great way to increase your overall visibility and cause opportunities to happen. It’ll also make you better at all aspects podcasting when you’re doing more than one thing.
But don’t stop there. You can do more.
Planning For A Bigger Role In The Podcasting Industry
Even if you’re brand new at podcasting right now, you won’t always be. And that means you need a plan to have a bigger role in our industry.
Are you submitting to speak at podcast conferences? New ones are cropping all the time, and many of them are desperate for speakers?
Are you engaging in constructive conversations with other podcasting leaders, either at conferences or in online communities? Are you well known in podcasting as someone with valuable and worthy opinions? If not, what’s your plan to establish yourself at that level?
Or if you are well known already… and people kind of think you’re a dick? Assuming you didn’t do that on purpose, what’s your plan to change your image and be more helpful? (He said, speaking from experience.)
Think about those four layers of planning for better podcasting. Plan to make better episodes, but don’t stop there. Plan to make a better show, but don’t stop there. Plan to play roles on other shows, but don’t stop there. Plan your own ability to influence the direction podcasting is heading to make podcasting better for us all.
I think you can do it. I think we could all use some occasional reminding to not be so focused on our singular podcast that we lose sight of the bigger picture. And almost always, having a plan is better than having no plan at all.
Since you got this far, how about mashing that 👏 button a few dozen times to let me know you dig the written-word version of my thoughts on these podcasting topics? I’d sure appreciate it!
This article started life as a podcast episode. The 257th episode of my four-times-a-week short-form podcast called, oddly enough, Podcast Pontifications. It’s a podcast for working podcasters that’s focused on trends in our growing industry and ideas on ways to make podcasting not just easier, but better. Yes, you should listen. Here’s an easy way: 👇
Evo Terra (hey, that’s me!) has been podcasting since 2004, is the author of Podcasting For Dummies and Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies, and is the CEO and founder of Simpler Media Productions, a strategic podcast consultancy working with businesses, brands, and professional service providers all around the world.