It's a new year, and a new opportunity to grow your podcast. That's why we've put together this podcasting year plan for you. We're going to guide you through the next 12 months.
This plan will help you take stock of how your show's doing so far, and to put a plan in place for the year ahead. What can you achieve with podcasting in 2021? How might things look 12 months from now?
This plan is designed to help grow and improve every aspect of your show, from your audio quality, to your audience size.
And if you're joining us after January, don't worry about it. You can work through these 12 months starting at any point, from the minute you've launched your show.
How to Use This Plan
Everyone works in their own ways. But the default guide to using this plan is to mark out a date near the start of each month to read over that particular month's section. Plan out your reading list for the next 4 weeks, trying to space things out as much as possible.
Set yourself tasks from all the advice that's relevant to you. Taking action is the most important thing here. Don't just read through everything in one go, and then do nothing with it. That won't help you move forward. You'll probably end up tweaking a few things and establishing your own workflow though, and that's great. Always do what works best for you!
With that in mind, let's get started with our first month.
January/Month 1 – Mindset
The biggest barriers are usually the ones you've built up in your own head. The key to committing to any sort of 12 month plan is to actually believe you can grow and improve your work in the first place. That's why we're focusing on the mindset stuff right out of the gate.
Struggling to Choose & Use Your Podcast Equipment?
Pick the right gear, and learn how it works: from USB mics to mixers.
And what better place to begin than your New Year's Resolutions? Even if you're joining us in late August, you can consider this the start of your podcasting year. What resolutions will you be making for the next 12 months?
On another note, “Impostor syndrome” has crippled many a podcaster to the point of paralysis. If you've ever asked the question “who am I to be talking about this subject?” then see our guide to dealing with negative thoughts towards your work.
Finally, set aside some time to work through our ‘Hang up Your Hangups' series on becoming a confident podcaster. Here, we'll cover things like worrying you're boring, that nobody will listen to you, and how to deal with bad reviews.
Podcasting Year Plan: Month 1 Resources
- New Year's Resolutions for Podcasters
- How Can Podcasts Cope With Impostor Syndrome?
- Becoming a Confident Podcast Presenter: Series
February/Month 2 – Content & Audience Review
Alright, this one's absolutely vital too, so it's important to tackle it early. Have you really nailed down who you're podcasting for, and what exactly what you're podcasting about?
You might be thinking “well, obviously”. But, have a look over our guide to making your podcast unique, as well as our intro to demographics and psychographics. See if you can hone in some more, to further galvanise your audience.
We'll help you find content ideas, and get the most from every one. This will be useful if you ever get stuck on what to talk about on your next episode.
If you're on the treadmill of delivering new episodes every single week, you might want to consider podcasting in seasons, which can help to revitalise and better organise your content.
And the key to any type of engaging content, is of course, storytelling. We'll show you why characters and story aren't just for fiction podcasts. On top of that, we've a podcast storytelling masterclass series for you to work through!
Podcasting Year Plan: Month 2 Resources
- What's Your USP? How to Make Your Podcast Unique
- Demographics Vs Psychographics: Your Ideal Podcast Listener
- Finding Content Ideas & Getting The Most From Every One
- Podcasting in Seasons: Revitalise Your Content & Help Your Listeners
- Why Characters & Story Aren't Just For Fiction Podcasts
- Why is Storytelling Important for Podcasters? Series
March/Month 3 – Planning & Productivity
Now that you're hopefully a lot clearer on what kind of content to create, let's focus on how you might go about getting things done.
Lack of time is a common barrier for anyone running a creative project. Check out ‘how do I find time to podcast?' for some great hints, tips, and suggestions on this front.
Keeping a journal can help you stay focused and on-track. We'll show you why it's a good idea to try out Bullet Journaling, and how it can positively impact your content.
You'll also find out how embracing the philosophy of Digital Minimalism can free up more time and mental energy to pour into your projects.
And, we run through the options available to you when it comes to getting help with your podcast. This one's for you if you're considering outsourcing stuff that takes too much time, or that you simply don't enjoy!
Podcasting Year Plan: Month 3 Resources
- How Do I Find Time To Podcast?
- Bullet Journals for Podcasters
- Digital Minimalism & Podcasting
- How to Get Help With Your Podcast
April/Month 4 – Presentation
So, you know what you're going to talk about, you've got a sustainable plan in place for recording your episodes, now it's time to take a look at your presentation skills.
It's uncommon to hear any podcaster declare that they think of themselves as an accomplished presenter. You certainly don't need to be like Oprah to run a great podcast. But, there are a few things you can work on to make sure you sound your best when you get behind the mic.
This month, you'll be working through our Podcast Presentation Skills series. This covers things like preparation, delivery, and tone.
We also want to focus on how you introduce and end your episodes. You want to optimise those vital first and last few minutes, and we're going to help you do just that.
Many podcasters run interviews on their show, so you'll also be looking at how to prepare for a podcast interview, as well as some great questions you can add to your arsenal.
Podcasting Year Plan: Month 4 Resources
- Podcast Presentation Skills Series
- How to Prepare for a Podcast Interview
- Great Podcasting Interview Questions
- Good Podcast Intros & Outros
May/Month 5 – Equipment & Sound Quality Review
Podcast gear is far from the be-all and end-all. But you can plan the best content in the world, present it in an engaging and accomplished manner, and if the audio quality is bad, your growth is going to suffer.
Fortunately the barrier to entry for good sound quality is pretty low these days. You can pick up premium equipment without breaking the bank. Besides, a lot of the environment stuff can be optimised with a bit of guidance and a few tweaks.
Firstly, there's every chance you already have gear that's more than capable of giving you a good sound quality. Even a simple USB mic, when used in the right way, can do the job just nicely.
But it's not exclusively about the equipment. Your environment and mic technique come into it, too. As do the recording tools you use, if you're recording online interviews for your show.
So, review what you're using, and how you're using it. Ask yourself, is there any room for improvement?
Podcasting Year Plan: Month 5 Resources
- Podcast Equipment: The Ultimate Guide to Podcast Gear
- Best USB Microphones
- Best Podcasting Microphones
- Tips for Setting Up Your Mic
- Best Tools for Recording a Podcast Online
- Acoustic Treatment for Podcasters: Controlling Reverb
- Should You Shield Your Sound?
- How to Create a Silent Home Studio
- Troubleshooting Audio Issues
June/Month 6 – Editing & Production
You can't record terrible source material, and produce it to sound good. But you can record good source material, and produce it to sound great. We got the source material part nailed down last month, so let's now move on to focus on the polishing up.
There are many different ways to edit and produce a podcast. Some cater to the absolute beginner with no interest in learning the in-depth theory. Others are complex, heavily customisable, and provide an almost infinite number of tools and features. In our ‘podcast editing' and ‘editing software' guides you'll find the right fit for you.
We also need to talk about how much editing is necessary. The ability to edit our content is great, but should never be used as a crutch. You should also avoid getting so bogged down in editing that you don't have time for any other aspect of podcast creation. We'll answer the question of “how much?”, as well as give you some valuable advice on this front going forward.
Podcasting Year Plan: Month 6 Resources
- Podcast Editing: The Ultimate Guide
- Best Podcast Editing Software for Podcasters of All Levels
- The MEE Podcasting Method (Minimum Effective Editing)
- How Much Editing Should I Do?
- Alitu: The Podcast Maker App
July/Month 7 – Training & Development
Time for a bit of growth stuff, then. Podcasting can feel pretty solitary at times. Most people record alone (physically, at least), and other tasks like planning, scripting, and production tend to be done alone too. We even learn alone, using guides like this and other online tutorials.
So this month, it's time to consider getting out there into the real world. Is there a local podcast community you could join? Could you maybe even create one? Are there any major podcasting events taking place that you can attend? Could you even consider running a booth at one?
Of course, not everything this month involves having to leave the house. You might want to consider hiring a mentor to help grow your show. Or, take one of the many great podcasting courses out there right now.
Podcasting Year Plan: Month 7 Resources
- Podcast Events: A Handy Guide
- Should I Pay for a Podcast Mentor?
- Best Podcasting Courses on the Market
- Creating a ‘Real Life' Podcast Community
- How to Run a Podcast Booth for Events
August/Month 8 – Audience Engagement
It's one of the biggest struggles faced by podcasters, especially with shows less than 2 years old. Sure, you might see the download numbers slowly creeping up. But that seems to be the only proof you have that anyone is listening.
If your requests for feedback, answers to questions, or any other form of engagement is met by silence, then this month will be useful.
Here are useful ways both to measure engagement, and, to encourage it. On top of that, one of the best things you can do for your podcast is to run an audience survey. If you've been running your show for at least 6 months, then you'll find the full details on how to get cracking with that, below.
Podcasting Year Plan: Month 8 Resources
- Growing Your Podcast With an Audience Survey
- Encouraging Audience Engagement
- 8 Ways to Measure Your Podcast Audience Engagement
September/Month 9 – Podcast Housekeeping Review
Sometimes we can get bogged down in the esoteric and in-depth stuff. But, now and then, it's useful to take a step back and view your podcast as a whole.
There are some low-hanging fruit towards making your podcast sound and look more professional. On top of that, there are ways to optimise it for growth.
This month, we want you to review everything from your website and hosting, to your artwork and music. These tend to be things we set up right at the beginning. That's great, because you should never procrastinate over-perfectionism there, which means you end up never actually launching. But, looking at your show now, is there anything here that can be upgraded?
Of course, you could well be nailing this stuff, and are completely happy with all of it. In that case, well done to you. You can take the month off and drink some beer 🙂
Podcasting Year Plan: Month 9 Resources
- Free Podcast Website Course
- Best Podcast Plugins for WordPress
- Best Podcast Players for your Website
- Best Podcast Hosting Services
- How to Find the Best Podcast Music
- Designing Great Podcast Artwork
- Directories to List Your Podcast
- Creating a Promo Trailer for Your Podcast
October/Month 10 – Advertising Your Podcast
You've done a tonne of work on your show these past 9 months. Now it's really looking and sounding great, and is certainly optimised for growth. You just desperately want to find some new listeners now, so where are they?
Audience growth will be our focus this month and next. There's a lot of slower but very steady methods we'll cover in month 11. Here, we want to see about getting a quick burst in subscribers. That's why we'll focus on podcast advertising.
First up though, give yourself a bit of grounding here with the first two articles. These are data-proven answers to very common questions.
Then, you'll have a crash course in the many different places and ways you can advertise your podcast, before we hone in on two of the best: Overcast and Facebook.
Podcasting Year Plan: Month 10 Resources
- What's a Good Number of Downloads for a Podcast?
- Podcast Discoverability: How Do Listeners Actually Discover Their Favourite Shows?
- Advertising Your Podcast on Overcast
- Advertising Your Podcast on Facebook
- Podcast Advertising: The Ultimate Guide
November/Month 11 – Promoting Your Podcast
Advertising can be quick, effective, but temporary. Hopefully you got a boost in your numbers last month, but now we want to focus on the things that can make your audience grow in the long run.
If last month was like lighting up a bunch of brown paper, this month is the steady log fire. Here are the many things you can do to keep new listeners discovering you or a regular basis. The beauty of many of them is that they don't require ongoing work (or money) to keep them effective.
Podcasting Year Plan: Month 11 Resources
- Celebrate Milestones & Grow Your Audience with a Montage Episode
- A Beginners Guide to Audiograms
- Podcast Promotion: The Ultimate Guide
- Building a Podcast Network
- How to Do Podcast Merch: A Fun Way to Build Community & Grow Your Show
December/Month 12 – Monetising Your Podcast
You've potentially dipped your toe into the world of monetisation already, as we covered podcast merch last month.
There are many different ways to monetise a podcast; we run through them in our ‘how to' article, below.
Two of the most common routes though, are sponsorship, and Patreon. We've got in-depth advice on both so you can review which one (if any) is a good fit for your show.
And, it never hurts to have a media kit – especially if you're seeking out partnerships with businesses. We're going to help you create one of those, too!
Podcasting Year Plan: Month 12 Resources
- How to Make a Podcast Media Kit
- How to Make Money With Your Podcast
- How to Do Podcast Sponsorship
- Patreon for Podcasters: Best Practices
Not Started Your Podcast Yet?
If you're thinking to yourself “well, this podcasting year plan stuff looks great, but I've not even launched yet!”, then fear not. We can help you with that too 🙂
The first option is our step-by-step guide to starting a podcast. We'll run through everything you need to do in order to get that show live and out into the world.
The second option is to take our comprehensive Podcast Launch Course. This is a bit more in-depth and let's you learn along with video, audio, and regular task and goal setting.
And, once you've launched your show, be sure to come back here and start from month 1!