How to create a personalized podcast workflow that makes your life easier

Scrambling to do all the editing, writing, graphic designing, and video production you need for your next podcast episode? You need a podcast workflow.
April 24, 2023
Erin Ollila
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Your next podcast episode is scheduled to air in just a few days, and you’re scrambling to edit your raw audio files, write show notes that follow SEO best practices, and create all the graphics, audiograms, and video clips necessary to promote the episode to your audience. 

To say you’re overwhelmed would be an understatement, and you wish you didn’t find yourself in this situation as often as you do. If this scenario seems even remotely familiar, you need a podcast workflow.

In this article, we'll dive into the critical phases of podcast workflows, including preparing, recording, editing, and promoting your podcast. We'll explore who needs to be involved in each stage of the workflow and share practical tips and strategies to help you create a podcasting workflow that fits the unique needs of a seasoned podcaster or one who's just starting out.

Who’s involved in a podcast workflow?

Podcast workflows vary from show to show. Some shows, especially newer or smaller ones, may only have one person working on them — the host. If they aren’t working with a team or they haven’t hired help for individual tasks, all of the podcast workflow tasks will be assigned to them.

While doing it solo can be overwhelming, filling all of the roles is helpful for newer podcasters to get a better understanding of how long each task takes, which they’re best suited to do, what parts can be outsourced later, and how each task plays a role in the success of the overall show.

But there are many different groups of people who can be involved in a podcast’s production. Some podcast workflows may include complete podcast management teams, writers, sound engineers, composers, graphic designers, virtual assistants, social media strategists, PR teams, and other professionals.

The phases of podcast workflows

Successful podcast workflows cover all the phases of running a successful show, which is why it’s important to determine your approach to content development, guest management, production, postproduction, and podcast promotion.

Content development and planning

What are you going to talk about on your show? For a serial podcast (a show that presents one story over multiple episodes), your content strategy should be planned in advance before doing anything else. During this phase, you’ll determine how you’ll present the story to your audience, such as what information you’ll lead with, what will be withheld at certain points, and how to build up a strong narrative arc.

But no matter how much planning you do ahead of time, serial shows may still require adjusting on the fly, with extra research, content development, and strategy tweaks. These tasks would be assigned to you or someone on your team for each and every episode.

For episodic shows (that is, shows that cover one topic per episode), each episode will have its own defined need for content development. During this phase, you’ll plan what main topic you want to cover in the episode, any secondary content that supports your main topic, and how you’ll structure and introduce the flow of content.

Whether you produce a serial or an episodic show, you should consider creating an outline for each episode during the content development phase of the workflow. The outline can help you stay on track during the entire process, inspire good questions for your interview(s), and act as a first draft for the episode’s show notes.

Guest sourcing and management

If your show has guests, take note of each step in the guest sourcing process for your podcast workflow, as well as everything that needs to be accomplished after a guest has accepted the invitation to join you on the show.

Read more: Where to find podcast guests: 7 tips to find your next guest

If you’ve determined your content strategy in advance, you’ll know exactly who you need as a guest. Search Google, YouTube, and podcast apps to see who would be a good fit for your show. Ask your colleagues or former guests for recommendations. And finally, if you allow for guest pitches, review recent pitches to see if anyone who has submitted recently would be a good candidate.

Once you know who you’d like on the podcast, let them know! Reach out via email, in a social media DM, or by asking someone in your network to connect you directly. 

In addition to finding people to come on your show, guest management tasks include scheduling the interview date and time, sharing interview questions in advance so they feel prepared, letting them know any expectations you have, as well as sending reminders before the interview itself.

And let’s not forget the guest experience, either — guesting on a podcast takes time, preparation, and more than a little vulnerability. Brittany Herzberg, co-host of the Simple and Smart SEO Show says, “We didn't set out to have guests, but — surprise — that's the bulk of our show now! And for us, it's really critical that everyone feels cared for and knows what to expect as they join us on the show.” 

Consider the ways you can set your guest up for success, such as those preparation tasks mentioned above, sharing the episode content with them before it airs, and following up to share any praise received for their episode. 

Recording

As you’re well aware, there are many technical considerations when it comes to recording a podcast. First, you want to make sure that you have the right tools, such as a microphone, headphones, and other recording equipment.

Read more: How to set up the ultimate podcast studio

This phase of your podcast workflow also includes setting the physical space up for success: make sure you’re in a quiet room, remove any distractions, and silence your phone and computer notifications. You’ll also want to check your internet speed when recording remotely — switching to a physical ethernet connection instead of WiFi, if possible — and closing any memory-hungry apps before recording. And don’t forget to run a test recording to make sure you’re actually capturing sound, and make any necessary adjustments so that editing is easier later.

And while this may sound silly, it’s super important to actually press the record button before starting. I can’t tell you how many podcasters I know who have forgotten to press the record button at the beginning of an interview at least a couple of times in their podcasting careers. For my show, “press record” is its own action item.

Finally, once the recording is complete, check to see that your computer, backup drive, or recording software successfully stored the raw audio.

Postproduction

One of the most helpful places a host can hire help is with podcast editing. A sound engineer can take raw audio and do wonders to improve the quality. But if you’re working alone, some of the tasks in your podcast workflow may include cutting audio clips, mixing tracks, removing background noise, and equalizing (if you use Descript, Studio Sound will do a lot of this for you). Once the audio is ready, it’ll need to be scheduled to your podcast hosting software.

And while the finalized audio file may be the most important asset that comes out of a podcast workflow, there are other tasks in postproduction that all podcasts need to identify in their workflows — specifically, creating other content around the episode.

After the episode is edited, it’s time to focus on the written and visual elements of the show. Each episode will require show notes — also known as a podcast description — that get published in podcast players alongside the audio. You may also want to consider longer-form show notes, and even potentially a complementary blog post, for the podcast website.

Next, use the copy you’ve created to inspire both social media posts and an email newsletter that will help promote the episode.

There are also visual content creation tasks that take place in this podcast workflow phase. Many podcasts audiograms and short-form videos to promote their episodes on social media and share with guests in the hopes that they’ll do the same. If you’ve recorded in Descript, this can be as easy as copying a paragraph to a new composition and exporting it as a video.

If you’re pushing your podcast content onto other channels, such as YouTube, you’ll need to do additional editing to the video portion to split it into smaller clips and add any other visual elements — like thumbnails — that match your YouTube channel’s branding. 

Podcast promotion

Remember all that content you’ve created? Now’s the time to share it!

In the podcast promotion phase, podcast workflows usually include tasks like scheduling emails and social media content, publishing show notes and blog posts, and emailing the guest, if you had one, to share some of the content you created with them.

Don’t forget some of the hidden work that goes into this phase of your podcast workflow. When writing the podcast description, show notes, and any complementary blog posts, follow SEO best practices by using long-tail keyword phrases that your ideal listener would use in a search to direct them toward your podcast.

Use social media tools to schedule out each episode’s posts and put those posts on a content repurposing cycle so each episode continues to get shared. Hashtags and keywords should also be used wherever you share your content outside of your website.

How to create a podcast workflow

Now that you know the main phases of all podcast workflows, it’s time to make one of your own. 

There’s no rule on when you should create a podcast workflow. If you’re a new podcaster, you might want to start with a pre-designed workflow that you can personalize later, while some seasoned podcasters jump in and create their podcast workflows once they’ve naturally worked through the process.

Regardless of what point in time you begin to work on yours, know that creating a workflow involves listing out all the items that need to be accomplished for each episode, having an organizational system set up to remind you of those tasks in the future, and automating as much as possible to make things easy.

To create your first podcast workflow, just write a list of all the things you think need to get done. You can then add to that list over time. This is exactly what Brittany did when she and her co-host started their show. She says, “What worked for me was just to start by creating a rough outline of all the steps I thought I’d be walking through and add to it as I learned.”

Now get started

If you’re reading this thinking to yourself that you’re managing just fine without a workflow, I’d challenge you to reconsider.

As Angie Colee, host of the Permission to Kick Ass podcast says, “The key thing is — you have a podcast workflow whether you think you do or not. You just may not have written it down yet.” 

“It's been a long journey of tweaking to get to where I am now, but it started with me sitting down and doing a brain dump video from start to finish. From there I was able to figure out the pieces I didn't like, the places where I was getting stuck, and bring in people and software to help eliminate the friction.”

So if you’re just thinking about podcasting workflows after successfully producing a show for some time, know that you’re in a good place. Take note of your current processes, audit the effectiveness of your approach, and make changes as necessary.

Just remember, the important part is committing the podcast workflow to paper or project management software, not keeping it in your head.

Erin Ollila
Erin Ollila is an SEO copywriter, lover of pretzel bread, and host of the Talk Copy to Me podcast. Learn more and connect: https://erinollila.com
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How to create a personalized podcast workflow that makes your life easier

Various Mario-style pipe openings with a microphone coming out of one and a computer monitor coming out of another

Your next podcast episode is scheduled to air in just a few days, and you’re scrambling to edit your raw audio files, write show notes that follow SEO best practices, and create all the graphics, audiograms, and video clips necessary to promote the episode to your audience. 

To say you’re overwhelmed would be an understatement, and you wish you didn’t find yourself in this situation as often as you do. If this scenario seems even remotely familiar, you need a podcast workflow.

In this article, we'll dive into the critical phases of podcast workflows, including preparing, recording, editing, and promoting your podcast. We'll explore who needs to be involved in each stage of the workflow and share practical tips and strategies to help you create a podcasting workflow that fits the unique needs of a seasoned podcaster or one who's just starting out.

Plus it’s a fully powered editing suite that does everything you need to make a great podcast. If you know how to edit a doc, you’re ready to get started.
Descript makes editing audio as easy as editing text.

Who’s involved in a podcast workflow?

Podcast workflows vary from show to show. Some shows, especially newer or smaller ones, may only have one person working on them — the host. If they aren’t working with a team or they haven’t hired help for individual tasks, all of the podcast workflow tasks will be assigned to them.

While doing it solo can be overwhelming, filling all of the roles is helpful for newer podcasters to get a better understanding of how long each task takes, which they’re best suited to do, what parts can be outsourced later, and how each task plays a role in the success of the overall show.

But there are many different groups of people who can be involved in a podcast’s production. Some podcast workflows may include complete podcast management teams, writers, sound engineers, composers, graphic designers, virtual assistants, social media strategists, PR teams, and other professionals.

The phases of podcast workflows

Successful podcast workflows cover all the phases of running a successful show, which is why it’s important to determine your approach to content development, guest management, production, postproduction, and podcast promotion.

Content development and planning

What are you going to talk about on your show? For a serial podcast (a show that presents one story over multiple episodes), your content strategy should be planned in advance before doing anything else. During this phase, you’ll determine how you’ll present the story to your audience, such as what information you’ll lead with, what will be withheld at certain points, and how to build up a strong narrative arc.

But no matter how much planning you do ahead of time, serial shows may still require adjusting on the fly, with extra research, content development, and strategy tweaks. These tasks would be assigned to you or someone on your team for each and every episode.

For episodic shows (that is, shows that cover one topic per episode), each episode will have its own defined need for content development. During this phase, you’ll plan what main topic you want to cover in the episode, any secondary content that supports your main topic, and how you’ll structure and introduce the flow of content.

Whether you produce a serial or an episodic show, you should consider creating an outline for each episode during the content development phase of the workflow. The outline can help you stay on track during the entire process, inspire good questions for your interview(s), and act as a first draft for the episode’s show notes.

Guest sourcing and management

If your show has guests, take note of each step in the guest sourcing process for your podcast workflow, as well as everything that needs to be accomplished after a guest has accepted the invitation to join you on the show.

Read more: Where to find podcast guests: 7 tips to find your next guest

If you’ve determined your content strategy in advance, you’ll know exactly who you need as a guest. Search Google, YouTube, and podcast apps to see who would be a good fit for your show. Ask your colleagues or former guests for recommendations. And finally, if you allow for guest pitches, review recent pitches to see if anyone who has submitted recently would be a good candidate.

Once you know who you’d like on the podcast, let them know! Reach out via email, in a social media DM, or by asking someone in your network to connect you directly. 

In addition to finding people to come on your show, guest management tasks include scheduling the interview date and time, sharing interview questions in advance so they feel prepared, letting them know any expectations you have, as well as sending reminders before the interview itself.

And let’s not forget the guest experience, either — guesting on a podcast takes time, preparation, and more than a little vulnerability. Brittany Herzberg, co-host of the Simple and Smart SEO Show says, “We didn't set out to have guests, but — surprise — that's the bulk of our show now! And for us, it's really critical that everyone feels cared for and knows what to expect as they join us on the show.” 

Consider the ways you can set your guest up for success, such as those preparation tasks mentioned above, sharing the episode content with them before it airs, and following up to share any praise received for their episode. 

Recording

As you’re well aware, there are many technical considerations when it comes to recording a podcast. First, you want to make sure that you have the right tools, such as a microphone, headphones, and other recording equipment.

Read more: How to set up the ultimate podcast studio

This phase of your podcast workflow also includes setting the physical space up for success: make sure you’re in a quiet room, remove any distractions, and silence your phone and computer notifications. You’ll also want to check your internet speed when recording remotely — switching to a physical ethernet connection instead of WiFi, if possible — and closing any memory-hungry apps before recording. And don’t forget to run a test recording to make sure you’re actually capturing sound, and make any necessary adjustments so that editing is easier later.

And while this may sound silly, it’s super important to actually press the record button before starting. I can’t tell you how many podcasters I know who have forgotten to press the record button at the beginning of an interview at least a couple of times in their podcasting careers. For my show, “press record” is its own action item.

Finally, once the recording is complete, check to see that your computer, backup drive, or recording software successfully stored the raw audio.

Postproduction

One of the most helpful places a host can hire help is with podcast editing. A sound engineer can take raw audio and do wonders to improve the quality. But if you’re working alone, some of the tasks in your podcast workflow may include cutting audio clips, mixing tracks, removing background noise, and equalizing (if you use Descript, Studio Sound will do a lot of this for you). Once the audio is ready, it’ll need to be scheduled to your podcast hosting software.

And while the finalized audio file may be the most important asset that comes out of a podcast workflow, there are other tasks in postproduction that all podcasts need to identify in their workflows — specifically, creating other content around the episode.

After the episode is edited, it’s time to focus on the written and visual elements of the show. Each episode will require show notes — also known as a podcast description — that get published in podcast players alongside the audio. You may also want to consider longer-form show notes, and even potentially a complementary blog post, for the podcast website.

Next, use the copy you’ve created to inspire both social media posts and an email newsletter that will help promote the episode.

There are also visual content creation tasks that take place in this podcast workflow phase. Many podcasts audiograms and short-form videos to promote their episodes on social media and share with guests in the hopes that they’ll do the same. If you’ve recorded in Descript, this can be as easy as copying a paragraph to a new composition and exporting it as a video.

If you’re pushing your podcast content onto other channels, such as YouTube, you’ll need to do additional editing to the video portion to split it into smaller clips and add any other visual elements — like thumbnails — that match your YouTube channel’s branding. 

Podcast promotion

Remember all that content you’ve created? Now’s the time to share it!

In the podcast promotion phase, podcast workflows usually include tasks like scheduling emails and social media content, publishing show notes and blog posts, and emailing the guest, if you had one, to share some of the content you created with them.

Don’t forget some of the hidden work that goes into this phase of your podcast workflow. When writing the podcast description, show notes, and any complementary blog posts, follow SEO best practices by using long-tail keyword phrases that your ideal listener would use in a search to direct them toward your podcast.

Use social media tools to schedule out each episode’s posts and put those posts on a content repurposing cycle so each episode continues to get shared. Hashtags and keywords should also be used wherever you share your content outside of your website.

How to create a podcast workflow

Now that you know the main phases of all podcast workflows, it’s time to make one of your own. 

There’s no rule on when you should create a podcast workflow. If you’re a new podcaster, you might want to start with a pre-designed workflow that you can personalize later, while some seasoned podcasters jump in and create their podcast workflows once they’ve naturally worked through the process.

Regardless of what point in time you begin to work on yours, know that creating a workflow involves listing out all the items that need to be accomplished for each episode, having an organizational system set up to remind you of those tasks in the future, and automating as much as possible to make things easy.

To create your first podcast workflow, just write a list of all the things you think need to get done. You can then add to that list over time. This is exactly what Brittany did when she and her co-host started their show. She says, “What worked for me was just to start by creating a rough outline of all the steps I thought I’d be walking through and add to it as I learned.”

Now get started

If you’re reading this thinking to yourself that you’re managing just fine without a workflow, I’d challenge you to reconsider.

As Angie Colee, host of the Permission to Kick Ass podcast says, “The key thing is — you have a podcast workflow whether you think you do or not. You just may not have written it down yet.” 

“It's been a long journey of tweaking to get to where I am now, but it started with me sitting down and doing a brain dump video from start to finish. From there I was able to figure out the pieces I didn't like, the places where I was getting stuck, and bring in people and software to help eliminate the friction.”

So if you’re just thinking about podcasting workflows after successfully producing a show for some time, know that you’re in a good place. Take note of your current processes, audit the effectiveness of your approach, and make changes as necessary.

Just remember, the important part is committing the podcast workflow to paper or project management software, not keeping it in your head.

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