In recent years “batching” has become a household term in the podcasting realm.
Batching is a productivity method. The concept is basically that it's more efficient to create multiple episodes in one session than it is to create individual episodes in multiple sessions.
It's hard to argue with that. If you're setting up and preparing to record just once, instead of five times, then that alone is going to save you a fair bit of time.
But there's always a danger of any one-size-fits-all approach in podcasting.
Because many of the medium's top (and most prolific) podcasters do it this way, doesn't necessarily mean you should too.
If you're weighing up whether or not to batch your podcast episode creation, then here are some things to take into account before you make a decision.
Why Batching Might Be a Bad Idea
So batching might not be for everyone. But who, and why?
If You Haven't Launched Your Podcast Yet
If this is you, then attempting to batch multiple episodes can lead you down a pearilous path.
There's lots of procrastination traps when you're planning a new podcast, and batching can be one of them.
If you're completely new to podcasting, then don't get too far ahead of yourself. Focus on making one episode at a time.
To pull off the batching approach effectively you need a certain degree of experience. Not just on the presentation side of things, but in knowing the ins and outs of your workflow, too.
It's a bit like learning to drive. When you pass your test you'll probably make multiple short local journeys initially, and not just immediately set out on an 800-mile road trip.
If You're an Inexperienced Podcaster
There's also the issue of sustainability when it comes to presenting multiple consecutive episodes.
If you're recording five episodes in one sitting, how will your energy levels in the first episode compare to the last one?
If there's a noticeable difference here then your audience are going to pick up on that, and your content may suffer.
More experienced presenters can maintain their energy and focus throughout multiple episodes because they're well-practiced.
But if you're new to podcasting, everything is going to take more thought, more energy, and more work.
Attempting multiple episodes at this stage is going to burn through your reserves pretty fast.
So again, you might want to try taking things one step at a time in the early days, until you find your feet with it all.
If It Doesn't Fit Your Schedule
Not everyone has half a day per week or month to work on their podcast.
For some, it might be more a case of having twenty minutes per day, or an hour per week.
Others might not even have guaranteed dedicated times to work on their show. It may just be a case of grabbing whatever time they can, whenever they can.
So unless you have a very regimented and reliable schedule, batching might not be for you.
If Your Content is Time Sensitive
If you're running a news, sports, or TV show podcast, then the times that you record your episodes are going to be quite important.
Recording a month's worth of news stories in one go, to be released over the next four weeks is going to be pretty pointless.
Batching is much more suited to ‘evergreen' content.
Ask yourself if your episodes will still be as relevant and valuable a month or year into the future before you decide to batch-create them.
If You Rely on Audience Participation
Some podcasters build their episodes around audience engagement.
This can be anything from reading out emails or social media comments to playing listener voicemail clips.
In any case, if you're batch-producing the next two month's worth of episodes in advance, you can see why this might not work.
Either you'll run out of content to spread over all these episodes, or listeners who've interacted with you might think you've ignored their feedback.
Neither of these are going to be good for your podcast, so I'd certainly avoid batching if you're in this situation.
Why Batching Might Be a Good Idea
Many podcasters can and do make batching work for them.
With the reasons ‘against', listed above, you can obviously turn these on their head from cons to pros. So if you're an experienced podcaster, creating evergreen content, with one big chunk of time per month, then batching is definitely going to be worth thinking about.
There are some other reasons why you might want to consider it too.
If You Have a Non-Permanent Setup
Not every podcaster has the luxury of having a “studio” or microphone constantly set up, just ready to hit record.
If part of your process is the unpacking and setting up of equipment (then tidying it all away afterwards) then the less amount of times you can do this the better.
Or maybe you don't have any kind of setup at all, and you hire or borrow instead.
These are both scenarios where it would be useful to batch your recordings.
If You Struggle With Co-Hosting Schedules
It's often not purely our own schedules we have to work around as podcasters.
If you run a co-hosted show maybe you find it difficult to arrange a suitable recording time together.
Perhaps this wasn't a problem when you started the show, but one of you has had a change of circumstance.
If both of you want to keep doing the podcast, but are finding it difficult to make time, then batching might be an ideal solution.
Getting together to record a month's worth of content in one sitting can save you from the weekly battle of trying to nail down a time that works for you both.
If You Podcast in Seasons
If you're not on the treadmill of an endless weekly release schedule, then you can batch an entire season of your episodes.
In this case, batching doesn't even mean creating everything in one single session. But you're still working to produce one self-contained block of content.
This approach is popular in the world of fiction podcasting, where an entire season will be written, recorded, and produced, before episodes start being released.
It works just as well in non-fiction podcasting too though. For our show Podcraft, we could create an entire “USB microphone shootout” season in one block, rather than recording one per week.
With this approach, you're giving yourself a big buffer in your content output, and taking away the battle of meeting constant deadlines.
If You Record on Location
If you find yourself attending a lot of networking gatherings, trade shows, or conferences, then these can be good places to gather your content.
At events in your niche, you can record content for multiple episodes or entire seasons in one go.
If there's ten people worth speaking to, then that's nine less times you've had to go through the process of setting up and recording an interview.
How Do You Create Your Podcast Episodes?
Ultimately these are my own thoughts based on my own experiences. I'd be interested to hear your own though.
Do you batch your podcast episodes, or do you create them individually as you go?
Productivity and workflow are also something we cover a lot with our clients inside The Podcast Host Academy.
In there, you’ll find all our courses on planning, launching, equipment, editing, interviewing, and more.
There’s a community forum, and regular live Q&A sessions too. So if you're looking for some help in launching or running your podcast, then it might be worth checking us out!