It’s the beginning of 2017, the holidays are behind us, and it is time to start a fresh new year. A brand new year with 365 fresh new days or 8,760 hours to do with as we please. There is an old adage that says, “we all have the same amount of time, it is what we do with it that matters.” Because of our individual time demands, we may not all have the same amount of time as Beyonce. Although, we can all benefit from better planning, organization, and few time saving tricks.
Podcasting opens doors. It’s a wonderful way to express yourself while promoting your brand and making connections. It can also be time consuming, but there are a few things you can do to up your podcast productivity by automating your process and staying organized and motivated. There are really 3 parts to podcasting the planning stage, the production stage, and the post production stage.
The Planning Stage
The planning stage consists of things like creating your podcasting editorial calendar and deciding on topics, scripts, titles, and booking guests. Being organized can make the day-to-day tasks of running a podcast routine which will free up your mental energy for the creative side of podcasting. It’s difficult to think of inspired topics and content ideas, when you are exhausted from all of the administrative tasks.
Create reusable templates for any repeatable tasks. Have templates for content creation, guest questions, or guest inquiry emails. Doing the work one time up front can save countless hours of repeated effort. Keep your communication organized. You don’t want to repeatedly contact the same person over and over or spend hours combing over old emails to keep the conversation relevant.
CRM software is designed for salespeople to keep track of leads and potential customers, but it can be used to track any type of conversations. I’ve been having good results using the free HubSpot CRM to keep track of my communications. You can also get creative with other software choices such as using a blogging editorial calendar for your podcasting editorial calendar.
Having an editorial calendar makes planning and knowing what is coming up as easy as glancing on a page. You can also use Google Calendar or a Kanban style board in something like Trello. In fact, Trello is my preferred choice because they offer a free version, and you can switch to calendar view.
- Get Organized
- Create a Routine
- Use an editorial calendar
- Create reusable templates for emails, guest communication, and podcast content planning
- Make smart software decisions – use a CRM for guest communication or Coschedule or Trello for topics and scheduling
The Production Stage
The production stage is really what it is all about. This is the actual presentation of the podcast itself and the recording of the show. Audio editing mostly falls into the post production category, but there are things that can be done in the production stage that will make things easier and faster. First off is recording quality, having the right equipment and audio setup can make a big difference when it comes to podcast audio quality.
One of my favorite podcasters, Daniel J. Lewis, did an entire show on Post-production editing vs. live-mixing. He states that it is possible to use “live mixing” while recording the show. What this means is having better equipment and understanding how to use it will reduce the need for time consuming edits. Better equipment like microphones, mixers, audio recorders, editing software, and audio editing plugins can produce a better recording, but they come at a higher dollar and time cost, at least in the beginning. He says when it comes to cheap, quick, and quality, you can only have two.
This might be a good time to audit your existing podcasting setup and see if there is something you can add that will increase your recording quality and lead to less post production audio editing. Perhaps, a better microphone or adding a mixer could make your recordings better and decrease editing time. Also, are you happy with your recording and editing software? It may be time to invest in something that has more built-in features and templates that will make the editing faster in the long run.
- Have a set routine for beginning your podcast (make a list and hang it on the wall) this includes everything from opening software, turning on equipment and microphones, to adjusting settings and levels, turning off notifications and noisy appliances, to checking personal needs like using the restroom and having water on hand. Also, have your notes and script on hand, and make sure your guest is equally ready to go.
- Record the best audio possible – this will lessen the time and effort spent on post production audio editing
- Use templates for interview questions or the general format of your show – create templates for any repeatable aspect of your show
- Write show notes in advance and use as a show outline
The Post Production Stage
This is where you finish editing your software and add intros, outros, and music. This is also where you take care of things like adding ID3 tags and converting your audio file into an MP3 format. You will also upload the file to your media host, iTunes, and your website. This is the stage where you polish your show notes and images for the subsequent blog post and where you begin your podcast marketing.
The whole idea of having a podcast is to reach listeners, so marketing your podcast and episodes is an integral part of this. If you already have a mailing list, you can let your subscribers know about new episodes. Also if you had a guest, notify the guest when the show is published so they can let their subscribers know. Use your already established tools to include these processes in your routine.
You can also semi-automate your social media promotion by using tools like Buffer or Hootsuite and either making the social promotion part of your editorial calendar or having a separate social calendar. When it comes to tools, processes and software, don’t get bogged down trying to use every possible tool. Find what works for you in a fast and easy way, and take advantage of the time saving features without overcomplicating the process.
- Audio Editing – Create a standard procedure or use templates for your editing processes and for your tagging. You can also outsource audio editing and other production tasks.
- Automate as much as you can from RSS feeds to social scheduling.
- Use your existing contact, email, and guest packet tools to remind guests and influencers when your show is published for additional promotion opportunities.
Smart Workflows and Keeping It Simple
Keeping things simple is usually the best solution. Freeing up time from your podcasting production schedule is a matter of getting organized, establishing routines, using templates for anything repeatable (workflows, editing, emails, etc.), finding easy software solutions, and being smart about your workflow.
Motivation and Interest
People say motivation is about will power, or money, or any number of things, but it usually boils down to the fact that it is easy to be motivated if you are interested in what you’re doing.
In my Internet journey, I have run across countless blog posts about how to be an early riser. These posts are filled with useful tips like go to bed earlier and start out by waking up 15 minutes earlier. These are probably helpful tips, but the true secret to getting out of bed early is to be excited about what you getting up to do. Kids have no problem waking up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning. They are motivated to get out of bed because they are excited by what they are about to do.
The same thing goes for entrepreneurs. The sound of the alarm clock used to be one of life’s most dreaded noises. Now that they are working on projects that they choose, their eyes pop open at 5:00 AM because they are excited to start their day. This is probably why being an early riser is such a popular Internet topic.
If you are creating something that you’re interested in, there is a good chance that you will be motivated to put that work in. Choosing a topic you enjoy and find interesting will help keep your motivation up even when work feels like work.
I reached out to a few people who I like and admire to get their perspective on productivity and motivation for podcasters and life in general. Here are the results.
Paula from Afford Anything
I’ve been following the journey of Paula Pant from Afford Anything for quite a while. Her transparent journey into rental property investing and Internet business has been nothing short of inspiring. Here is what she had to say.
As a podcaster, one of the top ways that I stay productive is by focusing my material on topics and people that fascinate me.
I don’t try to figure out what my audience wants to hear, and then create content around that. Instead, I scratch my own itch, interviewing guests whom I want to talk to and covering topics that I want to explore.
As a result, I’m more motivated to prep for every interview. I don’t procrastinate because I’m eager to dive into the work. And this level of preparation leads to higher-quality episodes.”
Carol Tice from Make a Living Writing
Carol Tice is a successful freelance writer who runs the Make a Living Writing blog and the Freelance Writers Den membership site. I have been a fan for years, and I belong to her writing community. When I asked her about podcasting productivity tips here is what she had to say.
So, what’s my best podcasting productivity tip?
Collect questions ahead of time. Don’t feel like you have to think them all up yourself!
Here at Freelance Writer’s Den, we ask members for their questions ahead of every call.
The result is no dead air, no awkward silences, and plenty of interesting questions ready to go.”
Julie Neidlinger from The Lone Prairie Network
Julie is an artist, writer, and pilot based in North Dakota. I became familiar with Julie’s work by reading her articles on the CoSchedule blog. You can learn more about Julie on her website The Lone Prairie Network. Julie is a great writer and here is what she had to say about productivity.
I guess the best tip I can think of that I use is to not get caught up trying to be productive. What I mean is, if you fixate on being productive, you tend to get wrapped up in finding the perfect productivity tools, or the perfect to-do list method, or always reading about how some person found a brand new way to be productive that is going to blow everyone’s minds.
Those things are simply distracting. It feels like you’re productive, because you’re busy making sure you’re gathering the tools and habits to be productive, but they get in the way of actually doing things.
So if you like to write lists on paper, do it. Find the method that works for you. It doesn’t have to be someone else’s method, and you don’t have to get caught up in making your lists look so artistic so that you can put them on Instagram or something.
Productivity porn is a real thing. Just do the work with the tools you already instinctively or habitually use, and don’t waste time trying to find a better way. If you need to find a better way, the pain of the problem that is driving you to do so will put down that way naturally.
I’ve wasted far too much time trying new apps, tools, notebooks, and so on only to come back to the tools I was already using quite successfully, even if they weren’t trending.”
There is no magic bullet when it comes to productivity or motivation. Being smart about your work process and creating systems and templates to automate repetitive tasks is helpful. Staying organized with smart initial planning, and periodic audits of current processes can keep things moving forward.
The best way to stay motivated is to enjoy what you do and keep it interesting. Even with all of these things in place, sometimes you just need to put your head down and do the work. Have a happy and productive 2017!