Getting there from here – putting your podcast to work

​”Any day is a good day to do better”

Karen Given

I grew up in the North East of England, where New Year is a big deal. Not quite Hogmanay standard but close.

Most of the celebrations did not start until midnight, with the first-foot rituals. I thought they were fixed and things had to be done in a particular way. As I got older, I discovered there were family and regional variations on how the change of year is marked. There is no one right way.

New-Year reflections and those dreaded resolutions can leave us focussed on failures and hoping to do better next time. I think a better option is to be clear where we want to get to and acknowledge there is a journey involved – possibly a long one.

Podcasting involves a collection of nested processes, where small changes and improvements benefit the whole. We don’t have to do it like everybody else, yet certain things feel fixed. But maybe, like New Year rituals, they are not.

As growing podcasters I want to help us turn aspiration into achievement, and will be exploring three themes:

  • Better
  • Easier
  • More

My initial ideas are better recording, easier noise removal and more engaged listeners. What would you like me to add to the list? Let me know – leave a message here.

For today, let’s consider Better Episode Planning

Better Episode Planning

I have talked before about limiting the number of decisions we make by deciding in advance. This will streamline your episode planning process. It could include things like whether the podcast is solo, co-hosted, interview-style or narrated. If you settle on your structure – start, middle, call to action and end – you don’t have as many decisions to make. Being clear will mean you have a better plan to guide you and to limit you but in a positive way. Let’s consider some specifics.


  • Website SEO likes them slightly longer; podcast apps on phones display short ones better.
  • Does it tell you what the episode is about or is it a tease to get you to listen?
  • What will the episode deliver?

Subject area

  • The podcast is about X, does the episode fit the subject area?
  • Add to the collective knowledge/wisdom of your podcast. You are making a body of work people will come back to

Focus sentence or interesting question

  • “Someone does something because, but…” storytelling at work (with a HT to Rob Rosenthal of HowSound)
  • “The point of the episode is…”
  • Push beyond interesting guests to a purpose.

Beginning with a hook – and an open loop

  • Strong and engaging
  • Familiar but different
  • “Leave them wanting more”

Open loops need closing

  • If you promise something, you need to deliver
  • “I will come back to that later…”
  • “On today’s episode we are going to…” then you do

Finish strongly too

  • Think about what you want listeners to know
  • Think about what you want them to feel
  • Think about what you want them to do (CTA)

We can do better – and will!

Something to see

Wider than podcasting but a valuable reminder about listening and asking questions about what people actually want. Ernesto Sirolli TEDtalk – What the pandemic taught me about communities of intent 

Something to hear

Someone does something because, but… the episode of HowSound referred to above – “Wrangling stories with a focus sentence”. Hear it at work and think about what you might do with it. 

Something to read

Karen Given’s 2022 Audio Almost-Resolutions – “Any day is a good day to do better.” That sounds like it could be for us! ​

My 2022 Audio Almost-Resolutions

My 2022 Audio Almost-Resolutions

What are your audio resolutions for the new year?

And finally

  • Not all subscribers are listeners. Who are we going after?
  • Creating content is one thing; creating community another