Podcast Workflow Checklist [with Downloadable PDF]

Podcast Workflow Checklist [with Downloadable PDF]

Once you’ve settled on a name and concept for your podcast, it’s time to establish a workflow that sets you up for success with your publishing efforts. The workload is considerable, and you need a system you can rely on week after week.

Here I cover the key items every podcaster should be aware of to ensure each, and every episode of their show comes out sounding smooth and polished every single time.

Podcast Workflow Checklist

Prepare your notes. What is the episode going to be about? If it’s going to be a solo episode, you’ll either want to prepare point-form notes, or type out a full transcript (blog post) before hitting that record button. If you’re going to have a guest on your show, research them thoroughly. Look at their website and social profiles, search for articles and press releases, listen to other interviews they’ve done, and so on. If you want to go the extra mile, prepare questions they’ve never been asked before.

Prepare your equipment. The minimum viable setup should include a USB mic (like the Rode Podcaster), and earbuds or headphones. If you’re going to be recording with a co-host, guest, or anyone else, encourage them to use earbuds or headphones as well. This eliminates unwanted “bleed” – delay, feedback, and other audio artifacts that are harder to edit out. You’ll want to prepare and familiarize yourself with recording software as well, whether Zencastr, Zoom, or otherwise. If you’re going to be recording solo, you can take advantage of Audacity or Waveform Free as well.

Schedule a time to record. If you’re recording a solo episode, you might be able to fly by the seat of your pants. But if you have a co-host, guest, or other participants, you’ll need to coordinate with them. Take advantage of a tool like Calendly to cut down on back-and-forth emails and let your participant pick a time in your schedule that works for them. If you have multiple participants, you may need to coordinate via email though.

Check your levels. So, you (and your co-host and / or guest) are all online, and you’re ready to start recording. Before you hit that “record” button, though, you’ll want to check your microphone levels. Can you be heard (are you too quiet or too loud)? Can you hear your co-host or guests? Are they distorting? Is their audio quality good enough for the recording? If not, though it might be the “long way around,” you should encourage your participants to pick up a USB mic (even an affordable one like the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB – we have experience with it and it’s quite good for the price) and to wear earbuds or headphones during the recording. If you need to reschedule to accommodate, reschedule.

Hit record. If you are adequately prepared, you should now be ready to hit “record” and start your show. Intros, themes, bumpers, midrolls, call to actions, sound effects and other flourishes are typically added in post-production (editing), but if you have a mixer (like the Rode RODECaster Pro Integrated), some or most of this can be done on the fly.

Last call. Before you conclude recording, ensure that you’ve captured everything you need for the episode. If your guest is online with you, ensure you’ve asked all questions you were planning to ask them. If you plan to record any kind of bonus content with your guest, do it now. You can also record intros and outros now and drag them into place during the editing phase.

Edit. Editing usually happens in multiple phases. The first phase is to cut out “uh,” “um,” dead air, and anything else that might be bothersome or unusable. The second phase is to sweeten the audio. We recommend using The Levelator (no longer supported by the developer, but it still works) or Auphonic to do most of the heavy lifting. Generally, these solutions should only be applied to the talking portions of your podcast, and not the music. The third and final phase of editing is adding introductions, themes, bumpers, call to actions, and so forth. Load them into your DAW and drag them into position, along with all other elements.

Create a header graphic. Regardless of where you’re publishing your episode(s), a header graphic is a great tool for drawing attention to your content and letting users know what it’s about. These can be designed in Canva or Adobe Photoshop.

Create your show notes. Show notes can take many forms. We create four items per episode – 1) an introduction (usually two to three paragraphs to draw the user into the episode), 2) media highlights (also known as timestamps), 3) links to resources mentioned in the show, and 4) a summary or full transcript of the episode. If YouTube is your publishing platform, you would put all this in the video description (normally, you would not add a full transcript to a video description though).

Upload. Before you can publish your episode, you’ll need to upload it. Depending on the hosting solution you’re using, you’ll be able to use the same platform to upload and publish. We upload our episodes to Amazon S3, which is very cost efficient (you only pay for what you use). Podcast files should not be uploaded to your webhost, as the server load will be too heavy, especially as your listenership grows.

Format. Now we take the assets we’ve created (graphical header, show notes, etc.) and add them to a new post inside WordPress. We also add the podcast to the appropriate category and add five relevant tags. This process will vary based on where you’re ultimately publishing. It never hurts to add additional media – graphics, pictures, and images, videos, tweetables, and so forth to your show notes, as it gives your visitors a reason to stay on your website for longer and explore the content.

Schedule. Schedule the podcast episode for publishing. Programmatic publishing is recommended (e.g., every Sunday at 6:00 PM).

Distribute. Share your new podcast episode on social media. We use the Jetpack plugin, which automatically distributes new WordPress posts to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google Photos, Mailchimp, and Instagram. This isn’t to suggest you should rely on automation alone to grow your listenership, but it is helpful.

Promote. The exact steps you take to promote your podcast will probably vary based on niche, budget, and resources available. Creating video and / or audio clips, setting up retargeting ads, and guesting on other people’s podcasts are all common ways to spread the word.

Download the PDF Checklist

Additional Resources

Several years ago, I published an episode on how to be an awesome podcast host with Using Your Power co-host, Maveen Kaura. What we covered there is still relevant today. Have a listen!

Final Thoughts

From preparing your notes to promoting your podcast, the sheer amount of time and effort that can go into producing and publishing one episode can be significant (10 hours or more).

We don’t recommend doing everything yourself. At the very least, editing and writing transcripts should be left to the capable hands of freelancers. Take advantage of solutions like Fiverr to find your perfect candidate.

And if you’re looking for more help with podcasting, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Do You Need to Make it to Sell it in Your Music Career?

Do You Need to Make it to Sell it in Your Music Career?

You may have heard experts say you don’t need to make something to sell it. Meaning – you can set up pre-orders and test demand before you put all your time, energy, and money into developing a product no one will buy.

Does this work? And if so, how?

The Cost of Releasing an Album & What We Can Learn from it

Chances are you already know everything that goes into making an album.

I have a friend who recently completed his, and at the end of the day, it cost him $40,000 to record his music and put all his marketing materials together.

And I have no doubt he will work hard and find an audience. His music is kind of like the meeting place of modern-day pop mixed with 80s sensibilities, and we all know there’s a market for that.

But there’s no denying that the $40,000 financial outlay was significant, and the oft repeated phrase, “there are no guarantees” applies to him as much as any other artist vying for the consumer’s fragmented attention.

What’s funny about this is that the only cost to record and release my three-time award-winning, one-time nominated short film score The Nobody Prayer (Original Soundtrack) was my own time and energy recording it (which for argument’s sake I will value at $720), and $49 for distribution.

If at some point over the course of my lifetime that release makes me $769, I will be free and clear and into gravy. As for my friend who spent $40,000, I’m not sure when he’ll break even and make a return on that investment.

Is this fair? No. But it also comes from a fundamental difference in perspective and experience.

Selling it Before You Make it

So, is there any merit to this idea of selling it before you make it, of validating a market first, of taking pre-orders on something you haven’t even put any time into creating?


And at the risk of bringing up a sticking point, I want to raise the example of Flashes of Elation, a book I have been developing since 2016.

Now, the project was well underway when I set up pre-orders for it. But I did not have a complete work on my hands. It still caught the attention of my audience, and several people were kind enough to pre-order it on good faith (thank you!).

What I need to tell you, though, is that there are some nuances to setting up pre-orders.

To an extent, yes, you can just say, “I’m making XYZ” and ask people to PayPal you. And if that works for you, go with it.

But usually, it takes a little more than that. Here’s what I learned about setting up pre-orders:

Make the Offer as Attractive as Possible

There are a few key things to consider here. And I know it might be a lot to take in but stick with me and you will see how it works.

We need the following for a successful pre-order:

And we’ll look at each of these elements in detail.

Killer Copy

You need to sell your product. And that’s what copy does for you. It acts as a 24/7 salesperson while you’re busy doing other things.

As applied to Flashes of Elation, it was a matter of putting together a blog post teasing the release and talking about the benefits the book would offer.

Now for a bit of secret sauce.

When I put together my pre-order page, marketer Neil Patel just happened to be taking pre-orders for his book, Hustle. His pre-order post caught my attention, so I decided to model it. Apparently, that turned out to be a winning formula, because several people pre-ordered my book too.

Delicious Design

My first mockup draft of the Flashes of Elation book cover was honestly terrible, and the book sold despite that. So, I don’t want to put too fine a point on design. But there’s no denying that, psychologically, we tend to put more value on great design.

It’s fundamentally illogical, as author and expert marketer Dan Kennedy emphasizes form over function. And I tend to agree with him. What sells isn’t necessarily what looks the best.

It’s at first brush that we tend to put more value on design. I’ve seen it firsthand as people were bidding on internet businesses. They automatically assumed a website with a better design was a better business. And it often turned out that wasn’t the case. The business that focused on design was the one that was earning less.

The point here would be to 1) have a design, and 2) test it. If it doesn’t work, iterate.

You can put a design together relatively quickly using a tool like Canva, and that’s the same method I advocate for in The Code Breaker Course.

Bodacious Bonuses

Even if people say they just want the album, or they just want the book, there’s something about a value stack that makes the offer more attractive, and ultimately irresistible.

I learned the term “value stack” from ClickFunnels co-founder Russell Brunson. And it basically means to layer complementary products on top of your main offer.

A CD or a book might be worth $20 to $25. But if you threw in a digital version of the product, some merch, a personal call with the creator (i.e., you), access to a private Facebook group, and so on, it would elevate the value of the product in the eyes of your audience. And even with all these bonuses, if for a limited time, the buyer could get it all for $20? That would wow them, wouldn’t it?

In the Flashes of Elation example, I offered my audience the opportunity to get these pre-order bonuses:

  • A signed paperback
  • eBook version of the book
  • Audio version of the book
  • Two appendixes – My Top 10 Tips for Creatives, and interview with Sean Harley [Tucker]
  • Audio version of the interview with Sean Harley [Tucker]

Looks quite generous, even to me!

If I wanted to be more aggressive, I could have listed off the value of each of these products and then reinforced the fact that buyers would get all of it for just $25. Kind of like I did on the sales page for Members Only Audios. Not going to lie – it can start to feel pushy after a point, but you can experiment for yourself and see what works.

So, Do You Need to Make it to Sell it?

No, you don’t!

And the advantage here is that if no one buys, you can chalk it all up to experience, go back to the drawing board, and come up with something else. Although I’ve known this for a long time, it feels like I’m learning the lesson at a deeper level now.

Either way, if you do sell pre-orders, be sure to deliver on the product you promised. That’s key!