FYB 188 | Batch Recording

 

Maintaining a regular posting schedule for your podcast is essential in attracting a dedicated following of loyal fans. How do you ensure that you’re going to regularly show up for your listeners without imposing too much on your personal schedule? For most podcasts, batch recording is this critical piece. In this episode of Feed Your Brand, Tom Hazzard explains the massive benefits of recording your podcast episodes ahead and in batches in terms of maintaining posting consistency without making your schedule too hectic. Tom also gives some advice on how to prepare for batch recording, how to schedule posting, how to set up interview schedules with your podcast guests, and more. Tune in and learn this strategy that’s been one of the keys to our success here at Podetize!

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How Effective Batch Recording Improves Podcast Consistency And Efficiency

In this episode, I want to share with you some thoughts about batch recording. This is something that a lot of podcasters do, but not all podcasters. In fact, in this episode, I am not batch recording. I often do batch record, and I started my podcasting journey many years ago. The batch recording was essential and critical to me, making it practical to show up for my audience every week. In fact, my first podcast was several times a week or five days a week. Even if you’re not trying to put out that much content and just want to show up weekly, it’s very important. Batch recording is critical to doing it.

The Benefits Of Batch Recording

I want to talk a little bit about some best practices for batch recording and talk about some of the critical benefits. It is maintaining a regular posting schedule for your podcast. Publishing your episodes is essential to attract a dedicated following of loyal fans. They want to know you’re going to show up for them every week at minimum. That’s what podcast listeners are looking for even nowadays. It’s been different. It has changed over the years, but podcast listeners, when they find a show, they’re not only going to make sure you’re still publishing, like you’ve published something in the last week, but that you’ve been doing it consistently even before they click to listen and give it a try.

If it’s a show that’s old that faded months ago, a year ago, or more, they may have second thoughts about listening to and investing in it, “Is the content still relevant? Is there enough of it that I’m going to get enough value that I’m going to invest my time in it? Did it stop abruptly? Did it come to some conclusion?”

They’re looking at these things, deciding, and looking through your last ten episodes and seeing, “Every Thursday, they’re publishing. I can see those dates. Those are only all seven days off. They’re showing up weekly. If I invest my time and subscribe to this podcast, they’re going to keep showing up for me weekly.” That is the impression it makes. It’s important. If you show up regularly, they will faithfully keep tuning into you every week. They will be there.

 

FYB 188 | Batch Recording

 

That’s the importance from a listener growth perspective, attracting those listeners who are looking for that regular content. How do you stay regular? I have some people say, “I can’t do it every week. I only want to do it every other week.” If your podcast publishes every other week, it looks very inconsistent to people, and they’re less likely to subscribe and invest in listening to you. You don’t have to do it every week. Batch recording is essential. The most common amongst serious and experienced podcasters is that you’re going to take time off Thanksgiving week.

You’re probably not going to record anything if you’re in the United States and during the holidays, whether you’re celebrating Hanukkah or Christmas and have New Year’s and all that. You’ve got a few weeks where you probably would have trouble booking a guest during those times, and you may not want to be doing it yourself. Does that mean you still can’t publish one every week?

We, in our experience in podcasting from the earliest days, decided, “Nope, we’re going to show up on our schedule regardless if it’s a holiday and if we’re working or not.” Podcasts are a wonderful medium that you can schedule something months ahead. In fact, we already have customers for whom we produced episodes well into 2023 who get way ahead in their production.

We do the work, and it’s scheduled. It’s locked and loaded, and it’s going to publish regardless of what that podcast host is doing, like traveling to an event, heads down doing work, or meeting on-site with clients or customers. Why do you not have to publish a show just because you’re not recording for a few weeks? If, in your mind, these things are connected, I want to help you disconnect those things now.

One has nothing to do with the other. Your podcast can show up for your guest weekly. There may be something that comes up that’s timely and newsworthy in your industry, and even though you’ve got things scheduled out for a couple of months, you want to record an episode and get it published within a week or two and break into your schedule. You can do that if you want to, but batch recording and scheduling ahead is the key to consistency.

You want to avoid leaving your listeners hanging if you have to skip a week. Let’s say you put out one show a week. Admittedly, this is harder to do as a brand-new show. If you’re recording those first 6, 10, or 12 episodes early on, you may want to adjust your schedule to work around if you’re interviewing your guest’s schedule because you’re just starting out.

Once you have this show launched, my recommendation is to take one day a month. It could even be one afternoon a month. Set that aside for recording episodes. If you’re well prepared, in one afternoon a month, you could record 4 to 6 episodes. If you’re doing a whole day, you could record 8 to 10. I’ve done it. I know from experience. I’m not just suggesting this and it’s something I haven’t done.

Our first show was five days a week. We would take two days a month and record twenty episodes, and it would be scheduled out. Every weekday of every week, we were showing up. It didn’t matter if it was the 4th of July, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, or whatever. The episodes were there for our listeners. They did listen. They binged through them all.

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Preparation For Batch Recording

We had quite a large audience because we were providing a lot of content. There were different kinds of episodes. Not every episode was an interview episode. Some of them were just us and were shorter format, like 15 to 20 minutes. For most of those daily episodes, one day a week was an interview. I want to share some things about preparation because the key to batch recording is preparation, not only in terms of topics. What are those topics going to be? Having some bullet points, if those topics have any reference articles or YouTube videos or things that you want to make sure that you have available to mention to the listener and provide in your blog post show notes for the episode, you want to have all that prepared. You may want to use an online calendar program.

In the early days of our WTFFF!? 3D Printing Podcast, we used a tool called Basecamp. I’m sure a lot of you know it. It has a calendar function. One of the primary things we used it for was to plan out our editorial calendar on what our topics are going to be for the next month. We would try to go a little farther than that because we would record in two days an entire month’s worth of content. Is it having those topics so you’re not sitting and wondering, “What am I going to record about for the next episode?” No, you need to have a topic and have 3 to 5 bullet points you want to cover within it. That’s if you don’t have a guest you’re interviewing.

If you have a guest, then you ought to plan out that guest. You have to plan schedules to record that guest. If you’re going to record multiple guests in a single day, which we recommend you do if you’re batch recording and you have a guest format podcast, you’re very prepared with the information about that guest, what you think some important topics might be to discuss and even preparing a few questions in there.

FYB 188 | Batch Recording

Batch Recording: Changing your shirt or blouse or somehow changing your appearance a little bit in between is recommended. It helps your audience feel like you’re just authentically doing this at different times every week, even though you’re not.

 

We would prepare for ourselves a document for every interview episode. We had an assistant doing this for us, doing a lot of the research and preparing that doc. We did it ourselves first, set up the format, and had an assistant do this where the assistant would go and get their bio, find any key points and recent news, look at their social media, and give us some key highlight points we might want to ask them about or reference to just talk about in the episode, and some suggestions from some key questions. Having a document prepared like that for every guest makes it much easier to do back to back recordings.

We recommend you take a fifteen-minute bathroom break in between interviews, and also, if you’re doing video, change your shirt or your blouse or throw a jacket on or something. If you’re doing back-to-back interviews when batch recording, you have to think about these things. I could be in my pajamas recording solo episodes late at night, and no one would know. If you’re doing a video, that’s very obvious. We always felt like you don’t want to make it look like you’ve just recorded back-to-back episodes.

Changing your shirt or blouse or somehow changing your appearance a little bit in between is recommended. Your audience feels like you’re authentically doing this at different times every week along the way, even though you’re not. It’s a little tip about the video there. Getting off track a little bit, I was talking about the document to prepare. That is really essential.

The only way you’re going to be able to go within an hour and a half from one guest interview that’s scheduled, conducting that, and being done with it to the next is if you’re prepared and have that very well organized. I would recommend having reviewed that even ahead of time a little bit before you sit down and make a little notes on that document, so you’re prepared for that recording day.

Maintaining a regular posting schedule for your podcast is essential in attracting a dedicated following of loyal fans. Click To Tweet

A little bit of preparation goes a long way, makes it more possible, and helps you be more present and mindful of who you’re talking to and what you’re talking about in that episode. I’m not going to lie. These can be pretty intense days of recording, whether it’s half a day or a whole day, or we used to do, two days. In a month, we would take Monday and Tuesday late in a month and record, for certain podcasts, 6 to 8 done. For our first podcast, we got 20 episodes, 4 interviews at least, if not 5, because we tried to get ahead, and then at least 16 individuals, shorter subjects, for the 2 of us to discuss and get them all scheduled out for the month.

It worked very well. We did that for multiple years. Eventually, we dialed it down to 3 a week, 2 a week, and eventually 1 a week. That podcast ended after about 650 episodes, although I have started recording a new special twelve-part series to resurrect that podcast. When I do that, I’m going to do an episode on that. Watch for that in the future. I’ve recorded a few of the episodes. The interesting part is going to report on what happens when you have a podcast that’s gone dormant yet still been out there, and then you come back out with a series of a dozen episodes. It’s about what I experienced and what we might expect when we do something like that. It’s a little preview for something coming up in the future on the show. Batch recording is essential, recommended, and critical.

Scheduling

We talked about the benefits for your listener to batch recording. We’ve talked about preparation with a document. Now I want to talk about another level of preparation, and that is scheduling. This is also the third critical element to batch recording. We highly recommend, and we’ve talked about this in past episodes, that you have a booking calendar link using a tool like Calendly or OnceHub, which used to be called ScheduleOnce. I don’t have a dog in the fight for booking calendar systems. I personally don’t even care at all which one we use as a company. I have somebody else figure that out because that’s something I don’t have time to figure out. I just need it to work. We use Calendly, and it works. Decide on one and choose it.

Most of them have the ability for you not only to decide like, “For this kind of appointment, which is a podcast booking appointment, I am only going to open up my calendar on this one day of the month or these two days of the month for such interviews. I am not going to let people book any time they want to any way they can.” You want to pick the days you’re going to record and stick to it. Like I said earlier, the caveat might be when you’re first starting a show, you might not want to restrict the days. You may have legitimate reasons for doing that. Once you’re ongoing, you want to restrict those days. Anybody who’s going to be a guest when you invite more people, you’re going to record on that day or those days.

FYB 188 | Batch Recording

Batch Recording: Schedule your episodes to be recorded on the days you want them to be recorded so it doesn’t just interrupt your work schedule.

 

If there isn’t a slot available, that offers them the 1 or 2 days the next month that you’re available. Even if you have time available and they’re not available that month, they’ll book out for the next month. You want to get to the point where this is pretty self-service and hands-off for you, and you can set the calendar so it will only book one person every two hours if you want. That gives you time to record the episode with the guest, say goodbye to them, then maybe record a little introduction and your final thoughts that are at the different segments that you might put together into that one episode, so you do it while it’s fresh in your mind and still have time for a bathroom break, get a drink of water, bite to eat, whatever you might need to do.

You can see how if you set aside a whole day, that might be an eight-hour day. If you’re all doing all interview episodes, you might only get 4 or 5 in if you’re willing to go a little longer. In terms of scheduling, you want to think about the schedule and set these rules in your booking calendar. “I’m available these days for this kind of appointment.” The appointment is going to be set for an hour long, but you won’t let the calendar book back-to-back appointments for one hour and then the next hour. You can set a rule that it’s going to give you an hour break in between the end of a previous meeting before the next meeting is going to start.

All these things can be dialed in. Not only that, in your booking calendar, when they book the guests and fill out a form where you’re collecting their headshot, bio info, and all the different things, get them to agree to be recorded and acknowledge they’re going to be recorded and published, so you have that release covered. The booking calendar is very important. It does many things, but in this episode, we’re talking about just scheduling your episodes to be recorded on the days you want them to be recorded so it doesn’t interrupt your work schedule and you’re not in the headspace for recording a podcast.

Things happen. You get some surprising news, some good news, and some bad news. You have this guest you’ve booked to record a podcast, and you got to get your mind in that game. It can be hard to shift gears. It’s easier if you’re going to batch record, you’re in that mindset, you’re present, your phone is on airplane mode, your email alerts are off, not getting distracted by those things, and you can focus. A booking calendar link is critical for your schedule for batch recording. I highly recommend it.

Batch recording and scheduling ahead is the key to consistency. Click To Tweet

It’s a preparation both of the booking calendar link to collect information from the guest but also preparation where you or an assistant on your behalf can prepare a document for every interview that gives you a handy reference sheet to have at your desk or on the side of your monitor with those key things to refresh your memory and make sure there wasn’t a point you missed and didn’t want to cover. The most important thing is to get those episodes recorded and banked up. Have them locked and loaded, and you show up regularly for your listeners, and they will appreciate you more. They value you more because you’re showing up every week or twice every week or whatever it is.

Keep in mind they’ve opted in. They want to listen to you. They want to hear from you. If you show up for them consistently, they’re going to be loyal to you because you’re being loyal and showing up for them every week. That is a recipe for success with podcasting and is super critical to growing your audience. The only other thing I would say for the little last tidbit, for those of you that are just starting and launching a podcast, you might consider in the first two months increasing the frequency of publication more than the minimum once a week that we recommend. If you’re going to do one a week in general, you might do two a week in those first eight weeks or even three if you can swing creating the content.

I was talking with a practice doctor who’s launching a new podcast. There’s a new doctor in the practice who doesn’t have their appointment schedule filled up yet. Patients are booking with other doctors as this new doctor is getting to be known. They have a podcast they’re launching, and that doctor’s available and is recording a huge amount of content and episodes during these days when he has more time. They get not only a lot more content published sooner but a lot of locked and loaded batch recordings for the future. It’s a brilliant strategy.

All of you reading may have different reasons for why you may want to do that. If you’re recording where I’m live streaming this to my audience first, you can’t batch record. That’s okay too. Not every podcast is meant for batch recording, but the vast majority are. The vast majority of podcasts I have ever recorded and produced have been prerecorded and batch recorded. It’s been one of the keys to our success in those podcasts and at Podetize. I hope you got some good value out of this topic. Please let us know.

You can go to Podetize.com. There’s a page for Feed Your Brand. If you want to look at the video for this podcast, you’ll find it there, and with all the other content we have created. If you have questions about podcasting, go to that page. Go into one of the blogs. There’s a nice search bar, and you can type in what your needs are and what you want to find out about podcasting. I bet there’s an episode there for you that you can check out and would be providing you with some support. Thanks so much for reading, everybody. We’ll be back next episode with another great topic and great episode. Until next time.

 

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