Should you start a podcast? Listen - I believe that podcasting can be a powerful way to grow your business. It can be enjoyable too, and then it really becomes a win-win situation. However, many podcasters struggle to achieve their business growth goals because they lack effective marketing strategies and systems. The reality of podcasting may not live up to their initial expectations, with content and production and all the steps it can quickly become overwhelming. Podcasting requires a lot of work and time, but with the right podcast systems in place, it CAN be done well. And that’s what I’m here to talk about today!
The reality is that while podcasting does have a lot of moving pieces, it's also my #1 lead generation source for my business. Podcasting and SEO are the top two ways people find me. And guess what? The great SEO on my website is primarily due to podcasting and all the blog posts I put out based on past episodes (like this one!). On top of that, even four years later, it truly is the joy of my business. If I were to drop something, it would never be this. So today, I want to talk about podcast systems that will save you time and energy while you start and grow your show. The truth is that if you're going to stick with podcasting, you need passion for it, but you also need systems in place. So let’s get into it!
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The Need for Podcast Systems
I think the main reason people quit their show is because they struggle to keep up with everything. Managing your business and your podcast can be challenging, but it's definitely manageable with the right systems in place. You don't have to be the biggest podcast in the world to make your show a top lead source for you. Personally, I love creating and implementing strong systems and processes in my own business (which you’ve likely noticed if you are a longtime Breakthrough Brand listener.
Even if systems are not your strong suit, I’m going to share three specific systems that I have in my business, to help me run this show behind the scenes! These systems allow me to focus on other aspects of my business without working a full 40 hours a week. Just to give you an idea, I work about 20-25 hours a week in my business, and it has been like that for the past two years. Even before that, I wasn't working a full 40 hours, but I have still managed to create and release this show every week and do so many other business things on the side. I run a multiple six-figure business and earn a multiple six-figure salary. So, what I’m saying is: it’s all possible.
Sign Up for the Waitlist for my New Podcast Course
Now, before we move on to the content, I want to mention that I'm currently working on a course just for podcasters. It’s going to cover topics like scaling, monetizing, and growing your show to align with your business goals. I’m also going to include topics like podcast organization, recording skills, outlining skills, creating great content, and optimizing your launch. If you want to dive deeper into what this course is and who it's for, head here. On that page, you can sign up for the waitlist (I'll be doing a beta launch in mid-October with limited spots), and you can fill out the survey to let me know what you want from me in the course. It’s going to be amazing!
#1 I'm Always Generating Podcast Ideas (And Yes - This is a System)
Give me a second and I'll explain how it's a system, not just a statement. Basically, I keep ideas everywhere and constantly think of new episode ideas. It may sound overwhelming, but I promise it's not. Life experiences and random moments in your day spark ideas, which I then jot down in ClickUp. We even have an Ideas Bank area for the podcast, where they're organized into categories.
For example, "Hey, I have an idea to do a podcast about this." Then, sometimes, there's a little description section where we write, “here are the points we'd make”. So that’s in ClickUp, but the truth is that most ideas start as notes on my phone's notes app. You have to do what works best for you, but it works well for me because inspiration strikes at all hours. My best solo episode ideas or interview ideas often come when I'm not working. They come to me during a walk, in the shower, or in a meaningful conversation with a friend. They even come during my quiet time, while reading a random book, playing with Colin, running errands, or just driving in the car. Ideas rarely come to me when I'm sitting at my computer working. So, I recommend having a spot that is always with you to jot down ideas. It could be an idea for a solo episode, someone you want to interview, or a topic you want someone to interview you about on your own podcast.
I'll be honest: my note system isn't super organized. The other systems I'll mention are, but this one isn't. And you know what? I actually kinda like it that way. It feels more creative to me. It's all very searchable, and I have a separate note for every idea. That's why I say it's not very organized, but it works great for me. But seriously, I cannot stress enough the importance of having a dedicated place on your phone for your ideas. And yes, I would choose a phone over a notebook or a project management system because your phone is always with you. Your notes app is right there.
Honestly, even after 230 podcast episodes (or whatever number I'm at now), there are never moments where I need to record something and have zero inspiration for what to talk about next. And this podcast is mainly solo episodes so I think that says a lot! I don't think that's because I'm super, super special with content. I think it's a combination of the fact that I cover a lot of topics on the show, so I could talk about a variety of things that fall under the realm of business and it will all work, but also that I'm seeking inspiration in every corner in my life and then jotting ideas down. So anytime it's time for me to record something and don’t have a topic in mind, I just look at my phone.
#2 I Have a Very Robust Podcast System in my Project Management Tool
Unlike the notes app on my phone, this one is VERY organized. We have a very built out podcast system in ClickUp, and this is where the meat of the systems lie for me. It doesn’t need to be ClickUp either, before that I was on Basecamp and before that I was on Trello. It all works.
If you run a podcast, I highly recommend using a project management tool to keep your show organized. Podcasting involves a lot of moving parts, which can be overwhelming and like I said at the beginning - I think this is why most podcasters actually quit.
In our podcasting area within ClickUp, we create a main task for every episode with the episode number and title. If the episode number is not known yet, we use 0X. as a placeholder. These tasks move through different stages and areas depending on their progress. For example, is it on deck to be recorded, in progress, or in editing mode? We track if it's scheduled for release, already published, or in any other relevant stage.
In ClickUp, we also have a clear calendar view to see our podcast schedule holistically. This view helps us plan and make strategic decisions. For instance, if we notice we're talking about website design too frequently, we can switch it up by airing an interview about content creation instead. We also align our episodes with other activities we're doing, like product sales or promotions, to create a cohesive multi-platform strategy. It’s not just based on inspiration.
Each episode has a main task, with eight subtasks for interviews or four subtasks for solo shows. These subtasks further break down into 36 sub-subtasks for interviews and 17 for solo episodes. It’s a lot!
And if you're thinking, “Elizabeth, your ClickUp system for your show sounds amazing”, I would say it is. I've been using a version of this system since the beginning of my podcast, and it's become so well-organized that I no longer have to manage my show frantically. It syncs with my Apple calendar too, so I can easily see what's happening there. Everything is right there for us to see, and we can always know what needs to be done and what's happening with the show.
If this sounds helpful to you, I have exciting news about the podcasting course I'm working on. In that course, you'll receive my exact podcast system as a ClickUp template (or Notion template - if you prefer) that you can simply download or use for your own show!
If you prefer using something other than these two options, that's perfectly fine. I will provide a tutorial where I walk you through the steps, explaining their meaning so you can adapt them to your own project manager. Additionally, if many people in the course are using a different tool than ClickUp or Notion, I may create another template version to ensure everyone has alternative options. I'm really excited about including this in the course because I genuinely believe it can be a game changer and business transformation for your show.
And course, you can edit and adapt it to fit your needs and the way you and your team work. We have been using this specific ClickUp podcast system for over a year now. It has truly been perfected. It even has tasks for putting your shows on Youtube because we put our interviews there as well!
#3 We Have a Strong Podcast System for Promotion to Maximize Our Efforts
Here's something not many people mention about podcasting, but it's a key focus of this course and should be for your show too. Many podcast courses neglect effective promotion beyond the basics like making graphics and writing blog posts. Let me tell you about my show, the Breakthrough Brand podcast. It serves as the content hub for our business.
Almost everything I do marketing wise stems from the episodes that air on this show. To explain what I mean by that, each episode has:
- A blog post
- A YouTube video of the interview (if it was an interview)
- YouTube shorts with clips from the interview
- A reel with either clips from the interview or me promoting the episode
- A TikTok video doing the same! This one I have not been that consistent with, but it is something I'm working on.
- A Facebook post for my page (usually twice)
- An engagement post in my podcast Facebook group
- A LinkedIn post about the episode
- Instagram stories about the episode (usually twice)
- Pinterest pins about the episode (about 10 to 15 pins per episode)
- An email to my list about the episode (this is something new we are trying!)
- Then, with guest interviews, we create promo material for them as well!
It’s a LOT. And that doesn’t even include the social media content that is inspired by a past episode but isn’t actively promoting an episode. So when I'm making a TikTok or a reel and I'm teaching something, I might literally go to my own blog and be like, “okay, I'm trying to teach something on this topic”, let me see what I've written about on this, and then I will pick one of the points and talk about it. So you can really use it for content in a lot of ways.
Now, all those things listed, I haven’t always done all of these. Some of these are things we added just this year, and then some of those things did not even exist when I first started my show. Some things have also been removed overtime (like IGTV).
The bottom line is though, one episode becomes MANY different things. In my case, it’s 12 different pieces of content! Which is pretty insane when you think about it. But we have great systems in place where I'm basically starting the chain of events by recording the episode and then everything happens from there on a great timeline until it's done and promoted everywhere. These are the ways that this podcast becomes the number one lead gen source for my business while still being something I super, super enjoy.
So just to recap, here are three strategies you can use to enhance your podcast systems. They're part of the larger course I'm developing, but you can start implementing them today.
- Idea Generation: Always be in the mindset of generating podcast ideas. If you're contemplating starting a podcast, begin by noting down any topic that strikes your interest in your notes app. As you accumulate these, you'll have a rich reservoir of ideas ready when you start your podcast. If your podcast will primarily feature interviews, these ideas can serve as potential discussion points with your guests.
- Organized Workflow: We employ a comprehensive system on ClickUp for managing our podcast. It's detailed and covers all the stages of our process and you’ll need it as your show grows.
- Promotion Strategy: We also have an effective promotion strategy to ensure we maximize the reach of each episode. Each episode goes on to be about 12 different things!
Lately, if this is interesting to you, I want to encourage you to join the waitlist for my upcoming podcast course. This course is designed for both new and seasoned podcasters. For beginners, we'll cover the basics such as distribution, defining your niche, creating captivating artwork, and selecting an engaging title. But the primary focus of the course is on advanced topics. I’ll share how to monetize your podcast and develop effective systems for creating high-quality content. You'll learn strategies for producing great solo episodes from outlining to recording, developing a unique podcast voice, keeping your voice fresh for your show, and honing your interview skills. I'll also discuss how to encourage your guests to share about their interview experience afterwards. On the marketing front, I'll share the strategies I use to maximize the impact of my own show. Additionally, we'll touch on team management, including hiring and working effectively with your podcasting team. So yeah - this course is going to be packed with valuable insights and practical tips, so if you're eager to elevate your podcasting game, make sure you join the waitlist!
Lastly, there are 2.5 million podcasts listed in Apple Podcasts, (and that's actually a slightly old stat, so it might be even more than that now), which is a ton of podcasts, but only around 450,000 podcasts are actually active. So despite the fact there's so many, only about 20% of podcasts are considered an active podcast. And again, I think that's what I want to address in my new course: I think the problem for people is not getting their podcasts live, it's not getting those first two or three episodes live, it's keeping it going and keeping it an active show so that you can actually see results from it.
I believe many podcasters tend to abandon their show due to the significant amount of work involved and the lack of immediate results. It can often feel like an uphill battle, with efforts not translating into increased sales or bookings. Furthermore, low-value sponsorship offers can make the endeavor seem unrewarding. My goal is to help you transform your podcasting journey into a profitable and enjoyable venture that significantly adds to your business revenue. If that all sounds good to you, make sure to jump on the waitlist now!
October 3, 2023