Planning Your Podcast
Picking a Topic & Outlining Your Show
02.22.17 | Podcasting | By: Jacob Bozarth
Think of your favorite podcast. Got it? Now imagine the host knows very little about the topic they are talking about. Still your favorite podcast?
It goes without saying that if you are going to start a podcast, a great place to start is with a topic that you have some experience in and are passionate about. However, there might be one exception to this, and that is if you are a great host and are comfortable interviewing people. People love a great interview, because the people you bring on your show will be the best and most experienced in their topic or field. In this post we will dive into a few steps that may be helpful when it comes to planning your podcast, picking a topic, and outlining your show.
50,000 Feet – Picking a theme for your podcast
Step one for planning your podcast is to pick a topic or area of interest in which you have experience.
Once you have decided on your topic and confirmed you have the chops, then it is time to nail down the theme or thesis statement of your show. To determine this it might be helpful to ask yourself, “What is the purpose of my podcast or what problem am I trying to solve? What will be the recurring theme week in and week out?” This is the 50,000 foot view of your podcast. Once you nail down the topic of your podcast we suggest recording a preview episode. This will help the listener further understand the mission and purpose of your podcast. One way to do this is by inserting a few short clips from future episodes that will grab listeners attention, but we recommend that you spend the majority of this short 2-5 minute episode explaining what your podcast will be about in a creative and interesting way.
10,000 Feet – Picking a focus for each season
Once you have your theme, fly down to a 10,000 foot view of your podcast. As you plan your recordings for your first season, ask yourself what you want the overarching focus of your first season to be. As your podcast grows, it may take on a personality of its own that is somewhat different than you planned, and that’s ok; just embrace it and ride the wave of momentum. Having a focused theme for each season may help you as you plan your shows, but it is a good idea to hold your plan loosely realizing these themes may change.
Here is a sample Podcast outline:
TITLE: Undiscovered Success
THEME: The greatest entrepreneurs and leaders you’ve never heard of
SEASON 1 FOCUS: In the Beginning: Entrepreneurs & Leaders with 0-10 years of experience
SEASON 2 FOCUS: In the Middle: Entrepreneurs & Leaders with 10-25 years of experience
SEASON 3 FOCUS: Finishing Strong: Entrepreneurs & Leaders with 25+ years of experience
100 Feet – Outlining your episodes
Last, we recommend that you take time to prepare each episode by writing out a basic outline for your show. If your podcast format is an interview format, planning may look like writing down 5-10 questions that you hope to cover.
There is certainly no right or wrong way to prep for your show, and how you prepare will depend on the style of your podcast and how comfortable you are “off the cuff.” The main thing is to do what works best for you, whether that is writing out a word by word manuscript, creating a simple outline of your show, or working completely on the fly with no notes or outlines prepared. Just because one method works for one podcaster doesn’t mean that it will work for you. We recommend you start somewhere in the middle with a general outline, and then you can incorporate more or less in your outline depending on what works best. For further study, Daniel J. Lewis has a very helpful episode on this very topic.
Now that you have the theme for your podcast, focus for each season, and the tools needed to outline your episodes, it’s time to nail down your recording schedule and get it on the calendar. One key to growing a successful podcast is consistency. As you gain listeners you will better retain those listeners if they know when they can come back for your next episode. With that in mind, we suggest a recording schedule that will accommodate your ability to release your podcast on a weekly basis. The average season tends to be 10-12 episodes but there is freedom to do more or less. We recommend scheduling recording time for at least 12 episodes before you release your first episode.
You can find the next post in this series, Creating Your Cover Art and Intro here. You can also find the previous post, Selecting Your Podcast Recording Equipment here. If you have any questions or would like help starting your podcast, you can contact us here.
- 10 Essential Steps To Start Podcasting
- Podcast Editing: Part 1 – Tips & Tricks
- Podcast Editing: Part 2 – Tips & Tricks
- How to Record Your Podcast
By: Jacob Bozarth
As President & Co-Founder of Resonate Recordings, Jacob leads the team & oversees all sales & marketing initiatives. Jacob can be found recording, producing, & mixing podcasts when he is not spending time with his family in Louisville, KY.