Podcast Planning – What You Need to Know to Get Started

I have gotten a lot of questions from clients recently about starting a podcast, so I figured I would share some tips so that you can help your clients, too.  

The questions inspired me to jump in and some research – hello high Kolbe fact-finder!

The general themes I’ve been hearing from clients wanting to start a podcast seem to be aligned: they want to expand their reach, provide valuable and meaningful content to their audience, and really just grow their business!

The other common theme from these conversations was that they faced overwhelm when trying to figure out where to start.  So, I put together an outline of the initial planning considerations in order to start taking action. [You are welcome to use this for inspiration with your clients as well! No need to reinvent the wheel.]  I told them to think of this as a “table of contents” for the Podcast project we will ultimately create, implement, and manage for their business.

The most important thing is to help your clients create a clear vision of what the podcast is going to look like.

If you only take one thing away from this blog, I hope it’s this:  Before you do ANYTHING else, if your client is considering starting a podcast, the very first thing I suggest is that you identify a place to organize all of the initial research and planning efforts. It can be as simple as a Google Sheet or you can map it out in your project management tool; I don’t care what you choose but pick something that works for you.  Give this project a home because there are a lot of moving parts.

Here is an example of a simple spreadsheet that I recently put together for a client’s initial planning call. I use this framework in the initial stages to clearly map out the rough outline and then build the bigger plan in Asana or Teamwork for tracking due dates, assigning to specific team members, etc.

Figure out what your client’s podcast will look like.  Draw it out.  You need a clear vision before you can successfully move forward.

Get clear on these key areas:

  1. Identify the target market.
  2. Identify the format.   Will it be a monologue, an interview or a combination of both?
  3. Identify the theme.
  4. Pick a name for the podcast.  Spend some time on this. There are a lot of things to consider.  Is it available?  Episode Naming Considerations: Good practice to avoid using “Episode 1”, “Episode 2”, etc.  Make it clear to people what they will get from listening to your show.  If you look at any podcast directory you will see shows with titles like “How To…”, “Five Tips For…” etc. These are popular because they work.  You can search iTunes by episode name, so choosing episode titles that highlight your material is important.
  5. Identify the Schedule.
  6. Frame out the cadence – how many episodes per week?
  7. Determine the length of podcast – Industry standard for episode length: anything from 20 up to 45 minutes seems to be within the “sweet spot”
Drill down further by considering the following OPERATIONAL PLANNING components…
Scheduling Logistics

Action Item:  Does your tool have a scheduling tool for booking guests?  If not, they will need one. My preference is Acuity Scheduling*, but there are other options out there as well.  I have used Acuity* for over three years for myself and have set it up for many clients.

Why I like it:  It’s easy to integrate with your own calendar and their tech team is super responsive.

Action Item:  Identify a list of potential guests and prepare a strategy for how you will invite them (via email, who do you want as guests on your initial shows, etc.) Once guests have confirmed and booked in with your client, be ready with information to send them in order to prepare for their show, as well as marketing materials that they can use to cross-promote the podcast to their network.

Recording Logistics

Action Item:  Identify the recording space.  Record in an echo-free room.  Does your client have access to one of these in their home or home office?  Or, will they need to seek out co-working spaces, etc.

Action Item:  Purchase a microphone.  If they are going to record in their own office, they need a microphone – and a good one at that.  My suggestion is the Audio-Technica ATR2100 $79.99 from AmazonWhy I like it:  This model continues to pop up as a “must-have” across the board.  A lot of trusted resources use it.  It’s a good quality at an affordable price point.

Action Item: Select a recording service.  I like Zencastr ($20/month) personally. It records files locally to each person’s computer for maximum audio quality and automatically uploads them to Dropbox. Why I like it:  your client can have unlimited guests, unlimited recordings, access to a live editing soundboard; Zencastr records in high-quality MP3 and 16-bit 44.1k WAV.  There are also 10 hours of automatic post-production included each month.

Hosting + Editing Logistics

Editing can be time-intensive. If you don’t have the bandwidth or the skill set to be that editor for your client’s content, you might need to consider hiring someone for this role.  There are lots of freelancers out there with these capabilities. Check out FIVERR*, for example.

There are free options such as Audacity that you can use for basic edits/adding music. A few editing considerations: Intros – way of introducing the topic, your client and client’s guest, and what you will discuss. Outros – should have a call-to-action for the listener.

Music resource for both intros/outros: AudioJingle royalty-free Hosting and Streaming.

Hosting costs can vary depending on the number of downloads, etc.  Some of the popular platforms are: Podbean, Libsyn, Blubrry and Pod.ad.  There are many other options out there as well, but this is a starting point for your research journey!

I like PodBean for a few reasons:  they are all-inclusive and have a free version as well as a number of affordable options with monthly and annual pricing.  Their site is easy to navigate and has lots of tutorials including how to submit your podcast to iTunes.

For people to stream your show, register it on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and TuneIn. If you have to start with just one option, iTunes seems to be the most popular destination.

Adding Transcripts to Website or Blog   Adding transcripts and show highlights to a website can have a strong SEO value.  NOTE:  This process can also be time-consuming and is a great thing to delegate or outsource.

You may want to consider Done-for-You Services.  As the name suggests, these service providers can take care of the entire editing and production process for you.  For many of us who’s client is just starting out with a podcast, this is cost-prohibitive, but still, something to consider as you scale the podcast.

Here are a few key players:

  • Market Domination – Uses podcasting as a tool for those writing a book.
  • PredictiveROI.com – Produces podcasts, and builds sales funnels for their clients.
  • Brandcastingyou.com – Specializes in end-to-end podcast production and marketing.

Marketing Planning

Creating Content 

You will need copy written for a variety of marketing avenues including emails to send to your client’s lists and promotions for social media.

Action Item:  In your planning tool (whatever you end up choosing), make a template for capturing show notes for each episode.  These should include a headline, episode summary, and highlights (with timestamps) for listeners.   These will serve as an excellent resource for promoting your client’s new episodes and referring to historical episodes in social media posts and email marketing efforts.

Graphics for cover images and social media – you can create these in Canva or work with a designer, depending on your client’s budget.  If this is a solo venture, apart from their current business, you might want to have them create a unique Podcast logo.

Social Media – 5 Key Tips:
  1. Share in Facebook groups that your client is a part of (where allowed)
  2. Ask your networks to promote it/share on their pages
  3. Have your client do a Facebook Live on his or her Business Page
  4. Give teasers
  5. Invite people to ask your client questions that could be answered on future shows
Email Marketing – Start With These Two Points:

Utilize your client’s current network for promoting the podcast.  I can’t say this enough.  Don’t underestimate the power of sharing.  Always keep it genuine.  If you don’t have a huge list to work with, or even a list at all, that’s OK!  We all have to start somewhere.  Create a genuine email and send it to your client’s former co-workers, employers, even cousins…get the word out there. These people know and love your client, so they’re excited to receive that genuine email.

  1. Send out a series of emails promoting the podcast itself.  Give teasers about upcoming topics and guest appearances.
  2. Include links to current episodes in your client’s newsletter.

Wrapping this up (for now)…

A lot to consider, I know, but this should get your well on your way to planning the outline for WHAT your client’s podcast will look like.

Beginning a podcast is exactly why a client would consider enlisting the help of an OBM (online business manager). You, the virtual assistant or OBM, can tackle the planning of this venture and manage the logistics so your client can focus on the content and just doing their thing!

In the meantime, find a home for your planning and research (remember, that one take away I mentioned in the beginning) and start brainstorming.   Now get out there and have some fun with the planning process; you’re going to make something great!

If the idea of becoming an OBM sounds like something you might be interested in, send me an email at melissa@melissafroehlich.com or find out more about my services here. If we aren’t the right fit for one another, don’t worry – I’ve got an amazing network of people and I will happily share my resources with you!

 

*I am an affiliate for this company and may receive a commission if you purchase. I only recommend products and services I truly believe in.

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