Podcasting – CREATING CONTENT CALENDARS FOR SUCCESS
I write for Podertainment – the podcasting for success emagazine available on iTunes. Here’s an article I write about a problem that many podcasters face, especially when they are just starting out and have the idea for a podcast and need to flesh it out further. I have worked with several content creators in developing their content calendars, also sometimes called an editorial calendar, and the difference it makes in their success and in the quality of their show is profound.
The microphone just sits there, staring at you, daring you to say something intelligent, and your mind is blank, which causes your mouth to go dry, your throat tightens and the voice of your inner critic starts yapping at you: “You’re wasting your time. No one wants to hear you, and you’ve nothing to say.”
I call it PodFreeze. Happened to me a lot at first. I knew I wanted my Men’s Family Law podcast to be a resource for fathers going through a custody battle, and men facing a divorce, but what to talk about? How do I do this thing?
Then I remembered how I landed my weekly column in the Santa Monica Daily Press. A salesman knocked on my door one day. He announced himself as representing a new paper in town and asked “Did you want to advertise with us?”
“No. But I’d like to write for you” I replied. “Oh” he said with a quizzical look on his face, you should talk to the editor. So I called her up and pitched my self. She asked for a writing sample, which I sent, along with 52 column ideas – one for each week of the year. I’ve been writing that column for 16 years now.
That memory brought me back to the basics of content creation. If you sit with a pot of coffee, a pad of paper or an open laptop, and let the ideas flow for 30 minutes about all the crazy, stupid, inane ideas you could talk about – you’ll end up with some great content and guests to share with the world.
Here’s how I did it at first: I took my basic topic area of Family Law, then broke it down into Divorce, Child Custody, Restraining Orders, and then broke those down into components. As I went through each topic, I thought about who I know that would make a good guest to talk about that subject. Before I knew it I had a years worth of ideas and people I wanted to talk to.
Building out a Content Calendar can be a really invigorating and exciting experience once you get into a flow and realize how much you actually know about your subject. If you take an outline approach to what you want to share with the world it will make your podcasting life so much easier. Remember there are many resources out there to start your calendar with. How To Guides, Practice Guides, Beginner’s Guides are all excellent places to start looking for topics, because they are answering the questions that most people have. I call this my Super Ninja Warrior planning tip since when i use their outline to build my calendar from, I know I most of the big topics are covered, and someone else has done the heavy lifting of organizing it.This works really well if you have an educational type podcast.
The most basic format of a calendar is a three column set up: Episode | Topic | Guest (if you have guests). But if your show is more complex, if you have Themes for each day of the week, or each week of the month, you just build that in with separate columns so
Monday – Topical News Stories | Tuesdays – Guests | Wednesday – Caller Questions
A food show might have the First Week of the month is vegetarian recipes, Second Week is Restaurant Review, Third Week is Tools
and Tips and Fourth week is Desserts
You can also have seasons if your topic lends itself to being broken up like that. For example a Mega Sports Show might have Baseball 2016 then Basketball 2016 to cover each game of a season.
If you have a pet related show you can break it out by breeds or species. First week is Dogs, Second week is Cats, Third week is Birds and Fourth week is Veterinarian tips and training tips.
The point is that by having a calendar with your topics already planned out, you will 1) avoid the PodFreeze, 2) be able to plan ahead and put a few ‘casts in the can’ when you want to go on vacation and 3) upgrade the quality of your show by having a roadmap of where you want to go and what you want to teach.
Feel free to reach out to me if you want to knock around some ideas, and check out my podcast at Men’s Family Law on iTunes and www.MensFamilyLaw.com