Imagine that you find a TV show you love. You look forward to every episode with excitement. One day, it gets taken off Netflix mid-season with no explanation. Infuriating, right?
It’s the same with podcasts. Listeners nowadays often develop a loyal following with good shows and expect to see new episodes regularly. The most popular podcasts tend to have the biggest, most consistent catalogs of episodes. This makes intuitive sense: an inconsistent podcast schedule will draw negative reviews and deter new listeners.
The solution is simple! You need to establish a consistent schedule. You’re in the right place: in this article, you’ll learn how to create a schedule you can keep, automate, and scale.
Just build it and the listeners will come!
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Why You Should Have a Podcast Publishing Calendar
Tired of scrap papers with scribbled episode ideas? Looking to make sense of your current systems? This means you’re ready. You’ve come here to master consistency and to tidy up your workflow.
Chin up, you can do this!
First, review a few ways a podcast publishing calendar can help better align your podcast marketing strategy.
1. It Keeps Your Podcast Strategy Organized and On Track
Producing a regular podcast could take hours to days. It’s easy to get lost in the details.
A beefy editorial calendar supplies you with a bird’s eye view of your brand and strategy as a podcaster. Too many guests covering the same topic? Inconsistent episodes? A schedule can help you understand the impression your listeners get from your podcasts.
Always knowing what’s next ensures peace of mind for you. You can focus on your tasks at hand instead of stressing about upcoming episodes.
2. It’s a Great Way to Brainstorm New Ideas
Wouldn’t it be nice to come up with ideas in peace? No urgent deadline knocking on the door? It’s the best perk of having a podcast publishing calendar: you know what’s on your table for 1-2 months ahead and you have time to plan.
Given ample time to brainstorm and research new ideas, you might find that your content’s quality will also improve. Mind-mapping, for example, is said to help you ignite your creativity and boost your productivity. You can download mind-mapping templates if you’re new to this method.
3. It Maintains Consistency
Remember the times when Dallas was on air every Friday at 9 pm? Everyone was glued to the TV because the experience was consistent. Well, that, plus there was little else to watch.
Today, you are competing with thousands of other podcasts; many of them have been on the air for years. One of the best things you can do to build trust around your podcast is to stick to a schedule.
The other best thing? Delivering episodes consistently doesn’t cost extra, yet it can make or break a show.
4. It Keeps Your Audience Engaged
There are about a million shiny things on the internet nowadays. And not just podcasts. Blogs, social media, videos, you name it. Businesses finally see the benefits of content marketing and rightfully so. Therefore it’s doubly important to run your podcast on an editorial calendar. It locks your audience in and keeps them engaged.
For example, you can create a series that keeps the listeners hooked with new developments in every episode. Great examples of this are fiction or true crime podcasts that are arranged in a serial format.
Producing a series is a good choice but simply delivering single episodes on time is just as efficient. You know your listeners best and what makes them happy.
5. It’s Easier to Promote
Where there is podcast production, there is promotion. Which is a whole different ball game.
Enter the editorial calendar. If you’ve been a marketer for a while, you probably live and breathe your content calendar. Your podcast should have its own calendar or at least its own category to succeed.
In the sample calendar below, podcasts and related social promo posts are marked in orange. In CoSchedule Calendar products, you can schedule, drag & drop, and customize entire projects—no need to manage dozens of tasks and posts one by one.
Knowing what’s airing in the coming weeks can give you a head start in scheduling social media posts, creating your email workflow, sending push notifications, and more. It’s also a great opportunity to do marketing outreach in advance.
6. It Feeds Into Your Broader Digital Marketing Strategy
Nearly 84% of companies have a content marketing strategy today. Content is everything. If done right, your podcast can play a strong supporting role in your broader digital marketing strategy.
Setting up a good B2B content strategy is even more critical. If you market to other businesses, you’ll need to deliver all-around specialized advice. For example, if you’re running a dog-grooming podcast, your listeners will be dog-groomers who want to hear practical tips beyond simple pet grooming (think: the business aspect of grooming).
Additionally, your podcast can become a regular source for leads and a revenue source for your business.
Pro-tip: planning to become an authority on a topic? A regular podcast is an excellent way to emerge as a thought leader in your niche.
Factors to Consider Before Establishing a Schedule
Not every schedule is created equal. No matter what the experts are touting, you know your audience and your niche best. Here are a few factors to help you create the ideal number of episodes and set up an editorial calendar.
1. What is the Subject of Your Podcast?
In total, 38% of Americans have listened to a podcast within the last month. That’s a lot of people. How do you know what will work for your audience? The answer: look at your genre.
Is your show about books? Generally, listeners will need at least one week to keep up with book reviews. Are you a gardening-focused podcast? You’ll need to publish content with the changing seasons in mind. Again, this depends on where you are and who you want to reach.
Evergreen-type podcasts need yet another approach. Since they are evergreen by nature, you need to keep them relevant by introducing new ideas, or tips that have not been covered already (yup, forget about the skyscraper technique). Determine whether you can commit to producing something original every week or just every other week.
Every podcast is different. Step up to the plate and experiment with daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly releases. Or best yet—ask your audience what they want.
2. How Much Content Do You Have?
Podcasts make excellent TOFU content material. But how much can you say about a topic? Some podcasts may never run out of content (think: parenting, tech, philosophy, and more). Some podcasts have an expiry date, such as shows that cover a set number of topics.
For example, The Office Ladies is a podcast that breaks down an episode from The Office each week. It is expected to end once the whole TV show is covered.
Determine how many seasons you could go on with your podcast by doing a big (BIG) list of episode ideas. Don’t forget to add any previous content to the mix—you can always repurpose older blog posts or ebooks.
With this approach, you may get a ballpark figure of all the content at your disposal.
3. Are You Partnering With Brands or Hosting Guests?
There is a lot that goes into podcasting. From planning to recording to publishing, you need to account for all steps of the process. Now add partners or guests to that lineup and you’ll see how it can get overwhelming.
When you work with guests, you need to manage bookings, correspondence, and follow-ups, as well. Remember to allocate plenty of time for these steps in your calendar. By being prepared, you are not only saving your sanity but will also appear organized and professional in your guests’ eyes.
An ideal time-allocation could look something like this:
- Guest or partner scouting: 3-5 hours
- Initial correspondence:1-5 days
- Agreeing on the date and time to record the episode: 1-3 days
- Recording day: 1-2 hours
- Follow-up and correspondence about marketing: 1-3 hours
In total, you should create your schedule in a way to accommodate an extra 5-8 days of guest management.
4. What is Your Content Production Schedule Like?
What is your high-level availability like? Are you working full-time and doing podcasting on the side? Or do you easily have up to 30 hours a week? The way you set up your content production schedule depends on your personal availability, especially in the beginning.
If you’re a one-person show (pun!), then you may find that you have different strengths. For some podcasters, the editing process is a breeze but they dread the social media promotion part of it. Others may strike out when putting the show notes together.
Ensure to incorporate extra time for yourself to perform tasks that generally take a long time for you.
Use this checklist to plan for the different stages of your production schedule:
Smart Strategies for Scheduling Your Podcast
Organizing your podcasting tasks is great. Using productivity hacks to produce episodes faster is better. Check out these smart strategies and deliver your episodes in record time!
1. Batch Your Recordings Together
Focusing on too many things at once is not as effective as you think. Research says that every time you switch tasks, you actually lose productivity.
Instead of multitasking, try batching your recordings together for one or two days. Your brain will find it easier to go from interview to interview as opposed to jumping between different types of tasks.
2. Segment Your Podcast Projects into Smaller Tasks
If you had one hour left of your workday, which one would you choose to work on:
- Create a social media strategy for your podcast
- Schedule a promo post for Monday
You’d probably go for option B in this scenario. But what if option A was broken down to smaller tasks, too?
This method is part of the work breakdown structure in project management and it’s a highly efficient approach.
Here’s a list of smaller task ideas for inspiration:
3. Schedule Your Operational Tasks in Advance
Administrative and operational tasks can be time-consuming. Don’t get lost in the sea of digital paperwork. This is why you have an editorial calendar! You know exactly what topic is going live and when and you should take advantage of that.
You can schedule your social media posts and newsletters in advance of the air date of a podcast. That’s a given. Here are some other ways to make your process flow better:
- Automate core tasks. Use Calendly for bookings, CoSchedule for recurring tasks, or Repurpose.io for distribution
- Outsource correspondence, and transcription to your team or other freelancers (think: UpWork, Freelancer.com)
- Send reminders to your guests with Captivate and Zapier
- Set up analytics reports to be sent to your inbox by Captivate, Zapier, and Gmail
4. Schedule the Live Dates and Inform Your Audience
It’s harder to skip an episode when you’ve made a public promise about it. Make a bold move and share your editorial calendar with your audience.
In some niches, releasing an episode once a week works best. In other circles, people might prefer to see multiple podcast episodes released at once so that they can binge them one after another. Run a survey among your listeners with a tool like SurveyAnyplace.
5. Integrate Automation Tools
Running a podcast requires about a million things to be in progress at all times. But don’t fret, because automation is here to save your sanity. Equip yourself with a smart tool or two to take the load off yourself.
Calendly can be your booking assistant when you can’t afford one (or even when you can). You can feed multiple calendars into Calendly and set up times and dates when you are available. Your guests can then use a single link to your Calendly to book an appointment themselves. It’s a 100% hands-off process!
As a podcaster, you need to keep your listeners engaged on social media. For a consistent social presence, try Buffer. This platform has a handy queue that you can fill with single or recurring posts.
CoSchedule also offers social scheduling, and more: thanks to its publishing, tasking, and project management features, CoSchedule can handle the entire marketing strategy for your podcast.
Pro-tip: look for handy automations in your podcast hosting. Many hosting packages offer automatic transcription features and some of them can even generate an entire podcast website for you.
Tips For Success: Planning A Podcast Schedule
Without a carefully planned podcast schedule, you’re creating a domino effect. You find yourself unable to manage your time effectively, distributing tasks becomes a hassle, and your overall preparedness goes down the drain. Without a plan, your podcast can’t succeed.
Remember You Are Human
At first glance, it may seem like you can pile on tasks or overlap deadlines and still stay above water, but spreading yourself too thin can end up working against you. Don’t slow yourself down and burn yourself out too quickly.
Keep goals in reach and realistic. Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. and success is right around the corner.
Know Your Audience
In order to plan your podcast accordingly, being in touch with your audience is key. On one hand, to be able to produce the content they love, you need to have an understanding of what they appreciate most about your podcast. On the other hand, to plan how often you publish episodes, it’s crucial to know when most of your audience is listening.
These insights about your audience will help you reach and connect with them on a deeper level.
Enjoy Your Process
As long as you enjoy the process for what it is, you’ll have the power to brush off roadblocks and appreciate the breakthroughs.
You’re overcoming learning curves, adapting to new situations, and taking risks; that’s more than enough to be proud of. Remember to look at everything you’ve accomplished and take everything with a grain of salt.