If you want a coherent podcast output that doesn’t confuse your listeners, you need to plan it out. It’s not as simple as jotting a few notes into a rough script, but developing a comprehensive strategy for your creative endeavors.
And in this article, I’ll teach you how to plan your podcast from start to finish. So without further ado, let’s get into the plan we’re planning to plan.
1. Define Your Podcast’s Overall Goal
Before you even begin to think about recording or writing, you need to clarify what you want your podcast to do. This means understanding your target audience, knowing what message you want to deliver, and specifying how you will measure success.
- Target audience: Professionals in the marketing industry
- Goals: Help professionals stay up to date with the latest trends in the industry and offer valuable insights
- Success metric: Email list sign-ups and number of listeners
Imagine you were creating a podcast about the hit game Among Us:
- Target audience: Fans of the game Among Us
- Goals: Provide entertaining content about Among Us and help fans to stay up to date with the game
- Success metric: Number of downloads/listens
Now that you have a clear goal for your podcast, you can move on to planning and strategizing the rest of the process.
2. Brainstorm Your Podcast’s Content
Once you’ve established the core purpose of your podcast, it’s time to think of topics and content that would fit the goals you’ve set.
Start by coming up with a list of potential topics – these could be interview ideas, debates, guest suggestions, game features, season arcs, etc. Once you have this list compiled, you’ll have an idea of what kind of content you’ll be delivering in each episode.
For example, if you’re producing a marketing podcast, you might include topics like digital marketing trends, customer journey mapping, customer engagement strategies, emerging industries, etc.
Finding Your Niche
Once you’ve identified your podcast’s focus area, develop a few topics and spin-offs that zero in on a particular facet of the larger topic.
For example, if you’re producing a podcast about marketing, you might want to focus on a few different aspects, like content marketing, SEO, or social media marketing. Each episode could be devoted to exploring one of these niches in more detail.
Or, going back to our gaming example, you could focus on a particular game mode, a strategy that’s used in the game, or even the design and development of the game itself.
Further reading: What Makes a Good Podcast?
3. Find Your Format
Once you’ve identified your podcast’s focus, you need to establish an appropriate format for it. The format should be based on your target audience, the level of engagement you’re aiming for, the goals you’ve established, and the available resources.
You might choose between various formats, such as interviews, debates, Q&As, solo shows, roundtable discussions, audio dramas, or visual presentations. Explore and experiment with different formats to determine which works best for you.
- Interviews will require inviting guests over and having them talk about specific topics, so this format works for podcasts that focus on professionals and their career experiences
- Debates are good for podcasts that focus on shedding light on two different sides of a certain issue
- Q&A podcasts provide a space for listeners to ask their questions and receive answers from experts
- Solo shows require you to do the talking yourself. These are best for podcasts that focus on one specific topic and are driven by narration
- Roundtable discussions and audio dramas may be more difficult to pull off, but can also be fun and engaging and offer different perspectives
4. Outline Your Episodes
Now that you know what the podcast is about, the format, the topics, and the spin-offs, the next step is to create an episode outline. You can always fine-tune and adjust it later, but having a basic roadmap allows you to plan the show with precision.
Your episode outline should be broken down into segments. For example, if you’re going for a solo show, you can categorize the different parts and then break them into further segments:
- Main topic (1)
- Subtopic (1)
- Subtopic (2)
- Main topic (2)
- Subtopic (1)
- Subtopic (2)
5. Organize Your Workflow
Create a workflow for yourself that outlines the tasks you need to complete before, during, and after each episode. To illustrate:
- Pre-episode tasks:
- Research topics, guests, & industry news
- Choose topics & guests
- Create a script, if necessary
- Contact guests & book interviews
- During-episode tasks:
- Record and edit the podcast
- Collect audio, video, or any other media and prepare it for release
- Post-episode tasks:
- Write and share a blog post related to the episode
- Publish the podcast on your website and various podcast
- Promote the episode on social media
- Analyze the podcast metrics
These are just some basic tasks that you should have in your workflow, but you can add more depending on your podcast’s format and goals.
6. Schedule Everything
As you plan your episodes and tasks, you’ll inevitably devise a timeline of when and how everything should be done.
Good scheduling and task organization can save you from many hassles and ensure that all your tasks are done on time.
So make sure to create a schedule for when your episodes should be released, when the pre- and post-production tasks should be completed, and when your guests need to be contacted.
Moreover, set aside enough time for editing, promoting your content, and analyzing feedback and metrics. These are important parts of running a successful podcast, so don’t overlook them.
7. Track Your Progress
Finally, you need to be able to track your progress and analyze the results of your efforts. Podcast analytics will help you measure success, find areas for improvement, and optimize your workflow.
Set up a system for tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), such as total downloads, time spent listening, email list sign-ups, and social media shares. This way, you’ll be able to see how effective your podcast is and adjust accordingly.
For instance, if the time spent listening is low, you may want to adjust the length of your episodes or refine the topics to make them more engaging and relevant.
Creating a podcast isn’t as difficult as it might seem. It’s just important to be prepared and to have a plan every step of the way.
If you go about it in a methodical manner and focus on creating a quality show that provides value to your audience, you’ll be well on your way to having a successful podcast.
My advice? Don’t be an imposter. Get the basics right, and you’ll have a good foundation for creating an engaging podcast. Have fun!