Do you have a plan?

I need to confess I'm not the best at sticking to plans. I'm more of a run with an idea, see how it goes, try something else if it doesn't work out kind of gal.

I'm also not very good with rules or doing things how you're meant to. But it works for me...most of the time! When I started The C Word: Kiwis Talk About Cancer I had an idea of how I wanted the show to sound, feel and the type of content it would have. Once I decided to stop thinking about it and start making it happen, I created a spreadsheet with all the people who could be potential guests, topics, themes and anything else that came to mind. From there I leapt straight in and started making and releasing weekly episodes. Was this the best strategy? Perhaps not! But if we don't make mistakes we miss out on valuable insights and growth.

I knew I could record an interview and turn it into an episode. What I didn't factor in was the amount of time needed to market the show. Looking back I can see I should have put more time into planning the nuts and bolts 'stuff'. I suffer from impatience and wanted to get right into recording episodes. But without a plan in place for content and promotion, even the best interview you make can go to waste if it just ends up in an abyss with no one listening.

Very quickly I realised I was missing a crucial element to my podcast and was able to start putting a better plan in place. I took a step back and started mapping out a few weeks in advance. From here I put time in my calendar for posting on social media, editing, research, interviews etc. Your content will depend on what your podcast is about, there are so many possibilities and putting it in a calendar will help shape your show, expose gaps or repetition of subjects. This is the exciting part! You will start seeing your podcast come together and all the different ways it can grow.

I have my episodes loosely planned about a month in advance and record a week in advance. This gives me time if an interview needs to reschedule and I'm not rushed with editing. One recommendation for a new podcast is to record several episodes before launching. I can see the benefit of doing this as it will give you time to create a content plan for each episode. I'm a lot better at making regular content for each episode and put a lot of time into researching different ways of engaging with my audience.

You do not need a huge budget to promote a podcast. It's free to set up Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other social media you feel confident with. If you are in New Zealand it's worth thinking about which platform you want to invest most of your time into. New Zealanders are still huge Facebook users, especially the over 35s, but not huge Twitter users. Instagram is a great platform if you have visuals you can use to promote your podcast, the use of hashtags can also help increase your exposure. A quick note about Instagram hashtags - you need lots of them to really benefit from getting good reach!

Younger audiences have gravitated to TikTok, the short video platform provides a huge amount of opportunity to engage with a younger audience if making quick, witty videos is your thing (I have never quite mastered this!). I put more time into Facebook because my audience are predominantly women between 35 and 65. What I like about Facebook is you can use the ad and post boost functions as a relatively low cost marketing tool but I'll get more into that in another post.

Planning is the foundation of your podcast. Learn from my impatience and put time in before you launch to map out episodes, social media and other promotional channels! It will make it a lot easier as you progress if you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and the steps you will take to get there.

Want to know more? Or need some help creating a plan for your podcast? Contact me and we'll talk about how I can help you.

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