The Ultimate Podcast Planning Guide (7 principles of sustainable success)

Use this blog as a guide to help you plan your podcast episodes and ensure you have the right resources in place for long-term success!

If you've been podcasting for any length of time, you know how much work it can be. While podcasting itself is simple, there can be quite a few logistics involved in creating high-quality, consistent episodes.

That’s why planning ahead is so important. It can help streamline your process and guide your execution: from crafting enticing show notes to booking guests, keeping a content calendar so you don't miss a beat is key to success. Use this blog as a guide to help you plan your podcast episodes and ensure you have the right resources in place for long-term success!

Principle #1. Start strong and cover the basics

Before you begin planning, make sure you have all the foundational elements of good content in place. If these are off, it's likely your episodes won't be as successful as they could be. Follow these guidelines before moving on to the other steps:

  • Define your podcast's goal. It sounds basic, but having a clear objective is essential to podcasting success, and sometimes it’s easy to start a podcast, get excited about the creative process, and not define exactly what you want to accomplish and how each episode contributes to that goal.
  • Know who your target audience is. Get to know who you’re trying to reach and how your content can benefit them. Your content should always be tailored to the needs and struggles of your ideal listener.
  • Have great podcast cover art. Podcast artwork is the first thing potential listeners will see when they find your show. It needs to be visually striking, memorable, and representative of your podcast’s content. Canva is a great (free) design tool to use and can help you out in other areas of content creation as well.
  • Do thorough research. Do some basic keyword research to find out what questions your audience is asking about your topic. This is a great way to generate content ideas and ensure they are going to be beneficial for your SEO, too. We recommend Answer the Public and Moz Keyword Explorer.  
  • Submit your show to allow major directories. Submitting your show to different podcast directories (e.g., Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, etc.) is essential for helping people find your content.

Learn more: How to Start a Podcast in 2023

Principle #2. Get organized & streamline your workflow

To keep your podcast running smoothly, make sure you have a content calendar or system of organization that allows you to plan ahead and keep track of everything you need to do each week.

If you're working with a team, try using project management tools like Trello or Asana to assign tasks, track progress, and update each other on the status of episodes.

If you're solo podcasting, consider using a spreadsheet to keep up with all the topics you've covered in past episodes and any ideas that come along for future ones. Using a calendar app like Google Calendar can also be helpful in organizing recording dates and interviews.

Principle #3. Build a sustainable content strategy

A content strategy is a framework for creating and managing your podcast content. It helps you define the purpose, scope, audience, and message of your show so that each episode has a consistent style and meets the needs of your listeners. To build your own, consider the following:

  • What types of topics are you covering? Are they timely or evergreen topics?
  • What format do you want each episode to take? Will it be an interview with a guest or more of a monologue on the topic?
  • How often will you release episodes?
  • What type of call to action are you including at the end of each episode?
  • What show notes template will you use?

By having answers to these questions, you'll be able to create content that is more attractive and useful to your audience, and the process of creating it will be much more smooth for you. 

Principle #4. Know how to book stand-out guests

Interview podcasts are the most popular type of podcast format, but of course, this section won't apply to every podcast host. For podcasters who do guest interviews frequently, it's important to identify the types of guests who will bring the most value to your audience and consider where you might find them.

Start by asking yourself a few key questions:

  • What kind of guests do I want on my show?
  • What criteria should they meet?
  • How can I make sure that each episode will have unique and valuable information?
  • Where do they hang out, both online and in person?

The best way to reach out to guests is via email or social media. You can also use platforms like PodcastGuests, which facilitates the booking process for both parties. Don't be afraid to reach out to guests who may not know you but whose expertise could benefit your show. There’s nothing to lose by trying, and one great guest could have a significant impact on your podcast’s success and visibility.

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Tips for pitching to potential guests:

When you make contact with potential guests, a clear and concise pitch is essential. Your pitch should include:

  • Who you are and what your podcast is about
  • What will be covered in the episode, and why it would be beneficial for them to be interviewed
  • Any promotion that could come from appearing on your show, how the appearance could benefit them, etc.

Once you have a few interested guests, be sure to take some time to research their work before the interview. Being familiar with their work will help make them feel more comfortable and allow you to ask better questions during the show.

Pro tip: Having another podcast host on your show can help you get exposure to a new podcast audience who will likely be interested in your content. This kind of cross-promotion can lead to growth for both parties.

Principle #5. Structure episodes to increase engagement

There’s no need to create strict rules or guidelines for your content, but a little forethought can go a long way toward making your content exceptional. Start by creating a rough outline of what will be covered in the episode. This structure can help guide you as you research and create content for each segment of the show. 

Here are some things that can help:

  • Think about ways to break up the episode into smaller sections that fit together to form a cohesive whole.=
  • Take time to make a basic script for each episode and determine the appropriate episode length.
  • Come up with interesting hooks, questions, or facts that will captivate your listeners and keep them wanting more.
  • Use keyword research to drill down on relevant sub-topics within your episode's main theme.
  • Use an editing tool like Audacity, Descript, or GarageBand to make easy work out of making adjustments to your file.
  • Having a well-structured episode is key to keeping your listeners engaged and tuning in for more.

Principle #6. Publish consistently for optimal visibility  

 Once your podcast is recorded and edited, it’s time to promote it! The key to promoting your podcast effectively is to create a clear plan of action.

Choose a publishing schedule:

Decide how often you will be releasing episodes–consistency is key. To help stay on a schedule, we suggest picking a publishing cadence and leveraging pillar number two to stay on track. Here are some of the most popular podcast publishing schedules (studies show that Wednesdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays are the best days for releasing a new episode). 

  • Weekly: Release a new episode once every specific weekday.
  • Bi-weekly: Release a new episode every other specific weekday.
  • Monthly: Release a new episode at the beginning or end of each month.
  • Seasons: Release 5-15 episodes at once and then take a break for a few months.

Once you’ve chosen a schedule, make sure you include it in your podcast description! This will help listeners know when to expect new content from you.

Promote on various platforms:

Create a marketing plan that outlines your strategy for reaching new people. Think about how you want to position your podcast and which channels are the best fit for your show. Social media is a great place to start, but be sure to explore other options as well, like paid advertising, cross-promotion, blogging, etc. 

If you host your podcast website with Podpage, you can take advantage of our built-in marketing features to increase visibility and push your new content:

  • Blogs. Create and post blogs directly to your website in just minutes. You can also categorize blogs so that they’re easy to find alongside relevant episodes.
  • Linked social posting. Link to your social media profiles and new episodes and reviews will automatically post when they are imported.
  • Mailchimp integration: Send an announcement to your email list about your new content so your most loyal listeners stay in the loop.

These are just a few Podpage features you can use to get the word out about your podcast. Experimenting with different methods will help you find which ones work best for your show!

Principle #7. Plan for future content

One of the biggest challenges podcast creators face is consistent content generation. Even if you’re passionate about your topic, it can be tricky to find fresh new ways to approach it. These tips can help keep the ideas flowing. 

  • Always brainstorm good ideas for future episodes and jot them down so you don't forget.
  • Stay up to date on industry trends or news that could be relevant to your show.
  • Create a list of possible guests who could add valuable information or insights in the coming months.
  • Use analytics tools like Apple Podcasts Connect, Google Podcasts, or Spotify For Podcasters to see which episodes are performing well and use the data to inform future content.

By doing a little planning ahead of time, podcast creators can stay organized and make sure that every episode is engaging and relevant.

Final thoughts

Creating a successful podcast takes consistency, effort, and dedication. But with the right strategies in place, you can create an amazing show that stands out from the rest. Follow these pillars for podcasting success, and you’ll be well on your way to making quality content with less stress and more creative enjoyment along the way!

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