Episode Planning

When it comes to planning keeping track of all the elements of an episode is important. I am discussing using Airtable to do that and providing a link to a copy of the  Airtable base that I use.

Planning is more important than the tool. As long as you have a solid workflow in a procedure that covers the following, you’ll be ok.

  • Easily understandable

  • Easy to share and collaborate

  • Easy to see progress

  • Easy to see who has the next steps

Welcome to episode five I’d Podcast That. My name is Brian Colburn and I am your host. Today is episode five. Today is the day I get to submit this podcast to iheartRadio. You have to have a minimum of five episodes before you can submit to IheartRadio. So I’m kind of excited about that. It’s a little milestone. So on today’s episode, we’re going to discuss episode planning. I want you to stay tuned to the end of this because I’m going to share with you a link to a tool that I utilize. You’ll be able to access this and copy it to your own account. It’s completely free. There is a paid version, however, I’ve never needed to use it. And one disclaimer, if you click on the link and sign up, I will receive a $10 credit to the platform. However, I’ve got over $100 of credits and again, have never used them. I want it to be completely transparent there.

So, onto episode planning, um, I utilize this tool that I’m going to share with you. It’s called Airtable and I have the base for episode planning and it’s a little more than just episode planning. It’s a full checklist, if you will, the way I utilize it to ensure that ideas are together and my talking points are built out before I push that record button. But the great thing about it is there’s an app on your phone, so if you happen to be out and about and you think of, say a potential guest, you can open up this base, hit the guest tab and at least jot their name down. Maybe you meet somebody, you can open that tab up, put their name down, contact information and the whole nine yards. That way it’s in one place and you know exactly where to access that information at a later date.

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But the meat and potatoes of this app is the episodes tab and in that episode’s tab, I have everything outlined that I need to ensure that my episode is together. So, we’re just gonna run through the sections of the episodes tab and it’s kinda like an Excel spreadsheet on steroids. Excel spreadsheet meets database. It’s a pretty cool tool and again, it’s free, so on that episode’s tab, I have an episode’s title column and that’s actually the first column. Next to that is episode number, and then I have a season’s column. I’m not sure if I’m going to run seasons or just run continuous episodes yet, however, I included it there and then there’s a column for guests, so if an episode is going to have a guest on it, I can link their name there. Host and/or co-hosts column.

Stage, and inside the stages column. This is kind of just a quick reference for me so I know where an episode is at. So it starts off with an

  • Idea

  • Invited, meaning I invited a guest

  • Recording, I’m in the middle of recording it, maybe I didn’t get to it all in one sitting.

  • Recorded

  • Edited

  • Scheduled

  • and, Released

So, at a quick glance, I can see exactly where I’m at for an episode and then next to that column is a release date column.

Then there’s a column for image and I upload my cover art there. However,

I’m thinking about actually deleting that column. It’s really easy to edit these bases or tables, deleting columns, adding columns so you can totally customize this for your workflow. And then there’s a description column which I actually have set to a URL and when I click that URL it takes me to Dropbox where I house all my episode information.

And then next to that there’s a total record time column just so I can see the length of the episode. Show notes whether they are completed, started not started in the works. And then there is a show notes column so that can link to show notes as well. And then a transcripts column and then a blog post column. So the transcripts column also links to a transcriptions tab. I outsource my transcription so I can quickly go to this tab and see where I’m at with any given transcript and follow up with people if need be. And then the blog post column is more or less notes, um, because everything in here is searchable. So say for example, somebody requests an episode that is 15 minutes to 18 minutes long, I can go to that trt or total record time column and quickly find an episode that meets that parameter.

If I’m trying to remember what guest I had on episode four, I can quickly go to episode four and see the guest and on the guest tab there’s tons of information regarding that guest. So there’s room for bio, uh, contact information, phone number, email address. Um, I even have a column for a head shot. So if they provide an image to me for promoting their episode, I can archive that image and quickly have a visual recognition of that person.

Twitter handle Facebook, Instagram, all those links are there. Which is important because I can record them here. And then I have them for show notes or maybe promoting that episode on Facebook. I’ve got all the information in one place. That’s the important part. So next to the guest tab, there’s a show notes tab and this just kind of tracks the progression of the show notes and even includes a column where you can upload the show notes too for easy retrieval. Next to that is again the transcriptions column, which we talked about and it includes columns for who it was outsourced to any viable links to Dropbox for collaborating on that file, who the editor was, and a quick check mark of whether they are complete or not.

Then in the blog post column, some of the pertinent columns there are when it was scheduled, the episode title, the status of that post. Is it posted, scheduled whole nine yards. Um, is it a featured blog post? Is there an embargo? Maybe it’s an interview with an author about an upcoming book release. And there’s actually an embargo on releasing that episode so I can record that information here. So as not to get confused. Um, there’s a column for exclusivity. If I’ve promised or somebody promised me exclusivity or not, I can make a note of that. And then again, editor and author.

And I just recently added a reference materials tab to this and the only reference material I have in there thus far is my brand new guest release form and a link to it. So, if I’m talking to somebody about being a guest, I can quickly download this either on my phone or attach it to an email and get it out to them so they can, uh, agree, sign and return to me.

So, that’s a rough breakdown of what this base in air table contains. Um, one really cool feature of it, I have a separate base which is much more streamlined than this one. And basically, it’s for I’d Podcast That Daily. If you haven’t heard of my daily show, you can find it on Amazon Alexa. It is a voice skill, when you wake up or when you want to hear your flash briefs, you can just say, Alexa, read me my flash briefs and you can hear daily tips and tricks from me, the host I’d Podcast That on the Amazon Alexa Platform, I’d Podcast that Daily. The great thing about this base is that I collaborate with my wife with this, so it’s really cool when it’s time to record a batch of daily’s, I can open this up and she might have dumped seven, eight ideas or show concepts into it so I can quickly review, formulate a 1 to 90 seconds daily spot, get those recorded out.

So it’s kind of Nice having that help coming up with concepts. She is not a podcaster. However, she loves listening to podcasts. Um, her insight is pretty cool to me. A lot goes on that she’s unaware of, so she has a lot of good questions for me and some of those questions, somebody like you who’s just starting out, coming up with an idea for a podcast or thinking about putting your own podcast together may have. So, it’s a cool, cool help.

So back to the episodes tab, I use the episodes title column on the Episodes Tab, kind of as a brain dump. So if somebody asks a question or I have a thought that I might want to formulate a show around, I can just, I call it vomiting. So excuse the term, I dump that information in there. If it’s more of a developed thought, I want to do a show about x, I can put x in that column and then in description I can just bang in some talking points.

I’ve noticed that I come up with ideas and when I input that information into Airtable, at any given time I can open it and I might have six or seven partially developed shows already in the works.

Not that I’m struggling for content right now…

A. Just having been started

B. Wanting to really do a solid foundations series for the new podcaster

But it’s great to have that information in there and its thoughts and organize thoughts and potential guests or guests that I’m chasing, in the guest tab. So it’s a really cool repository of information.

I’m not saying it’s the only system. I’m not saying it’s the best system. The best system is the system that works for you. If that’s a notebook and a pen or pencil, by all means utilize that tool. So your show is as big of a success as it can be.

If you prefer Excel, awesome. Word, great. Google docs, killer. But the important thing is to have a system. I have some customers who don’t like Airtable, so we use Freedcamp. I have some customers who don’t like Freedcamp. We actually use word and excel sheets inside of a Dropbox folder to collaborate and keep track of projects and progress.

I have other customers who prefer Trello. I mean you name the tool, I’m in it most likely with a customer or two. But I found Airtable to be the biggest help for me. So, I want to share this with you. There’ll be a link in the show notes below, or you can go to. I’d Podcast That.com and hit the link in the show notes there. And again, it’s a free tool that you can utilize and you’ll be able to duplicate this base into your own space and utilize it, modify it, however you see fit for your use.

If you have any questions about Airtable or Freedcamp or any of the other tools I referenced, please feel free to reach out. I’ve got a contact form on my website at I’d Podcast That.com. You can find me on Facebook or Twitter at I’d Podcast That and feel free to ask your questions and I will answer them to the best of my ability. And again, my way isn’t the only way or the right way, but it’s the way that I find works best for me. So, discover your own way. Get super organized, and the stress of producing a consistent show will be reduced greatly. Thanks again for listening to I’d Podcast That. This is Brian, till next week. Talk soon.

Links to Resources and Information

Airtable Podcast Planning Base https://bit.ly/2MgjIIN

Dropbox https://db.tt/sMkJ3ESg

Facebook https://business.facebook.com/idpodcastthat/

Twitter https://twitter.com/IdPodcastThat

Patreon https://www.patreon.com/IdPodcastThat

Web https://www.idpodcastthat.com/

The Airtable & Dropbox links are not an affiliate link, however, I will receive a $10 credit to the Airtable platform and a little free storage from Dropbox if you use this link and create an account.

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