Tools and Systems for Planning and Automating Your Podcast Schedule

Tools and ideas for creating a podcast editorial schedule

Podcast Editorial Calendar and Planning

What makes a good podcast? Quality audio, interesting content and guests, and ways to entertain and engage with listeners are all part of producing a good podcast. A good podcast becomes a successful podcast when promotion and audience building are added to the already engaging content of the show. And, finally, there's consistency and planning. 

Consistency

Robert B. Cialdini talked about consistency in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion and marketers have been using tactics based on this principle ever since.

The premise is if you get someone to say yes to something small, they will be more likely to say yes to something bigger. This principle is used and applied for getting email sign-ups to up selling expensive information products. The reason the consistency principle works is that people have a desire to be consistent in all walks of life; inconsistency breeds tension. 

In podcasting, consistency can be a powerful tool to not only get your listeners to listen on a regular basis, but also for getting the podcaster to have a consistent schedule and do what it takes to publish their show on a regular basis. Business Consultant Shelia Butler says that the most important advice that she can give is to have a plan and system for success. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel for every show you do. Create a system to make the administrative tasks easy, so you can focus on the content and delivery.

Checklists and Templates

Have a workflow checklist, repeatable email templates, and all of your information in one organized place. I am a huge fan of spreadsheets—whether you are using Excel, Google Sheets, or another software, having a spreadsheet with all of your important information is a great way to organize, add, and access information.

I usually use Excel, and create a big workbook with different tabs on the bottom for different sheets.

For podcast production or a web project, you can use sheets for passwords and login information, contacts, future ideas, reference materials, and anything else that might be worth saving. It’s also a good idea to have a show template that outlines the basic flow of your show. Then, you can easily plug the new content or the guest interview into the already established flow or script of your show.

Podcast Editorial Calendar

Successful podcasters and bloggers usually have an editorial calendar. This takes the guesswork out of the day and lets you know exactly what you need to research, or who you need to contact. The more organized you are, the more time you will have to focus on the good stuff. This is especially true when you are scheduling guests in advance. It is essential to have an editorial calendar to make your schedules work together. A free and powerful option that builds on the spreadsheet option is to integrate a Google Calendar with a Google Sheet.

Google Sheets and Calendar Integration with Zapier

To integrate a Google Sheet with a Google Calendar, you can use Zapier. They also have several other integrations that you can do using Zaps.

They also have a lot of great information and articles on automating workflows and becoming a Google Sheets power user. The information is worth checking out. To connect a Google Sheet and a Google Calendar do the following.

  • Click on the Google Calendar events from new Google Sheets Zap

  • Create your spreadsheet and give it a name

  • In the first row add titles for your columns

  • In the second row, type sample columns

  • (Mine is the Guest Editorial Calendar)

  • (The Rows are Date, Topic, Guest, Contact Info)

  • Then click on Connect for the Google Sheet

  • Choose the account you are connecting

  • Give Zapier permission to view and manage files in your account

  • Then click on Connect for the Google Calendar

  • Choose the account you are using

  • Give Zapier permission to Manage your calendars

For the most success, make sure that you log into Zapier with the same Google Account that you are using to create the sheets and calendar.

Multiple accounts can add some confusion when it comes to connecting and viewing the correct accounts and adding permissions.

Google Docs is an excellent free tool and it is worth taking the time to learn how to use the tools. The Google forms work well for creating questionnaires and sending them out to potential guests or surveys for research. The answers are even automatically compiled in a nice searchable and sortable spreadsheet.

Trello

Another fun and useful tool for planning and creating your podcast workflow and calendar is Trello. Trello can be used for planning, scheduling, and seeing everything in advance in calendar view. There can be a board for guests. There could be a row of potential topics. When that topic is assigned a guest, it can be moved into the guest row, after the show is finished it could be moved into a post-production or social promotion row.

It’s also easy to click back and forth from the board view to the calendar view. That way you can see each month at a glance, but then zoom in and edit individual information with the board and cards. You can also create checklists in Trello and make them a template and then add them to each show. If you have never used Trello before, you will  wonder what took you so long to try it once you understand the power and simplicity of the system.

CoSchedule

If you want an editorial calendar that also integrates with a content marketing plan and don’t mind paying for the extra organization CoSchedule is an option. CoSchedule is designed for content marketing, blog planning, and social media marketing. They have really organized and polished the idea of an editorial calendar along with a complete social media marketing strategy. It is also collaborative, making it a great tool for teams. CoSchedule offers integrations with Google Docs, Evernote, WordPress, Google Analytics, and more. Their blog also has a lot of useful content on workflow and social media promotion.

The more organized and well planned your podcast production process is the easier it will be to focus on the content and not get bogged down in all of the details.

Have a well thought out and consistent publishing schedule and constantly improve your content and delivery, and your show will gain the traction it needs to move up to the next level.