A Guide to Managing Your Podcast Workflow
Here are some of the job's most common challenges and some ideas for avoiding them.
Podcasting will keep you busy. Scheduling, writing, editing, marketing, managing social media, and keeping up with emails upon emails can make it all seem like a lot sometimes.
Fun as it is, podcasting does—like any job—involve some stress, and managing that requires some planning and intent. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, check in with your needs, your expectations, and your reality, and find an approach that balances the three.
Organize your workflow
Give yourself a moment to look over your workflow and see where you’ve got some bottlenecks causing you stress. Drawing out a flowchart of your process can help you identify where you’re repeating your work, or where you can build a more efficient workflow that can help free up your time. First, think about which processes you can automate or schedule. Being able to knock out smaller tasks at once, like social media posts or episode uploads to your host, can help free up your time to work on processes that take more time and focus. Scheduling specific task-based time for yourself--an hour for scheduling social media posts, two hours for editing--can decrease the switching costs dragging down your workflow.
Delegate when you can
You don’t have to be a great host and editor and researcher. Think about which processes you excel at and which could use some improvement then hire people to help. Reaching out to podcasters who love the parts of your workflow you struggle with can help you focus on the parts of the workflow that invigorate you. Bringing in artistic collaborators can help your art flourish from different perspectives and skill sets while also giving you more space to relax.
Make podcaster friends
Podcasting doesn’t have to be a solitary effort. There are wonderful groups of podcasters both on social-media platforms and in meetups across the world. Follow podcasting hashtags on Twitter, join Facebook groups for podcasters, or look at your local venues for podcast meetups—and if you don’t find any, make one yourself. A book club-style podcast meetup, or podcaster networking hangouts, are a great way to find friends who will understand your editing woes or get excited about the new season of The Adventure Zone with you. Even if you enjoy the support of friends and family in your podcasting endeavors, it’s valuable to talk to a group of people who really know where you’re coming from. You’ll also find yourself surrounded by people happy to offer up advice if you've been running into any problems or glitches in your process.
Switch to a season model
Remember that you don’t have to constantly be in the process of making new episodes. Plenty of podcasts, like This is Love or Serial, use a season model instead of releasing year-round. Having a season model means you’ll have time to record and edit, and then time to actually release your podcast. It gives you wiggle room for producing episodes, and might make it easier to live your life outside of podcasting, too. With season models, you don’t need to worry about bulking up your backlog around the holidays or upcoming events; you can just schedule your release schedule around those instead.
You also don’t need themes or topics to make a season one cohesive idea—you can just choose to release at certain times of the year and prep at certain times of the year. If that seems too drastic, you can simply give yourself a set amount of time off if you’re feeling burnt out. Let your audience know when you’ll be back, and give yourself some time to relax.
Remember why you love audio
One of the best ways to remind yourself why you’re making a podcast is to get back into why you love podcasts in the first place. Take some time while you’re doing chores or relaxing to listen back to your favorite podcast episodes and remember why you love them and why they inspire you. Find inspiration by checking out new podcasts you’ve heard rave reviews about. If you’re already listening to podcasts all hours of the day, listen to music, watch movies, or engage in other non-podcast media to give yourself a break from podcasts. Remember that sometimes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. If podcasting feels like a job that’s tiring you out, help yourself remember why you started creating in the first place.
Podcasting doesn’t come without its challenges. It’s a medium with moving parts and a structure that initially seems daunting. But when you identify the challenges specific to you and your podcast, you’ll be able to clear up your time and your mind for what makes you passionate about podcasting.