20 Tips to Immediately Speed Up Your Podcast Production No Matter the Budget

If you are looking to speed up your podcast production, then this episode is for you. I have compiled 20 tips that will help you take the stress out of producing a quality audio file in a timely manner. From planning to editing, here are some quick tricks that will make your podcast shine!

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Time Management For Podcasters

We all get 24 hours. Some of us realize the opportunity that those hours represent, and others watch them go by content. After all, more hours are on the way. In two weeks we are going to talk about how long it takes to create an episode. If you have submitted your answer, please go to schoolofpodcasting.com/question before November 26

Here are some ways you can speed up your podcast production. 

What Is Your Time Worth?

I recently spent $250 on a slightly used dishwasher for my house. I was spending 10-15 minutes a day washing the dishes at the end of the day. I now run the dishwasher three times a week giving me back 30-45 minutes of time. That is 2-3 hours of extra time a month. Add that up over a year, and the time I get back is well worth the money.

Tools I Use

You need a tool to capture your ideas, insights, and more when they appear. For me, that is Evernote, but there are tools like Microsoft OneNote, Trello, and more.

For staying up to date on deadlines, and helping me prioritize my tasks I use Todoist. 

For keeping track of income and expenses I use the newly rebranded Fiverr Workspace (formerly And.co) which has a smaller feature set (and price tag) but if you need to track income and expense, I really love it. 

All of the above tools (Todoist, Evernote, and Fiverr Workspace) enable you to send email to their service and have it show up as a task, note, income/expense. 

As someone who is slightly A.D.D, I can’t imagine trying to do this without them. 

Quit Multitasking

You heard me say that I turned off anything that pops ups, notifies, or sucks me down a rabbit hole. We all know what it’s like when you’ve got your groove on, the creativity is flowing, you feel like a lightning rod for ideas only to have the phone ring. That feeling is not a light switch. Reports say multitasking can reduce productivity by 40%

Avoid Distractions

A study from the University of California Irvine stated that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task. I think we all have been there with the family member that doesn’t understand that even though I am at home, I am WORKING. 

Block of Time

When I was married, I needed to separate work and life so I put out the money for an office. I had a discussion with my wife and we decided that Tuesdays after work and Saturday mornings were going to be my official “podcast time.” During the week I would use my lunch hour to do research. Any kind of audio research was done in the car on the way to work. When Tuesday came, I knew what I was going to say. I had saved any notes in Evernote, and it was just a matter of organizing them into a flow of content. 

When I arrived at the office, I would fire up my email and check the subject lines for any emergencies (there weren’t any). I would close Gmail, Facebook, turn off all notifications on my phone and work on one thing at a time. I would record multiple episodes in five hours. I was laser-focused. There was a sense of urgency in my actions. I valued my time and took advantage of the distraction-free zone I had made. 

Fast forward 10 years and I’m now divorced. I still organize my thoughts in Evernote, but as I was writing out my thoughts I just got off the phone with my brother. 

The Importance of Planning

Picture a seesaw, or some people call them a teeter-totter. In a nutshell, it is a long, narrow board pivoted in the middle so that, as one end goes up, the other goes down. This is the same for podcasting. On one side you have planned, and on the other side, you have edited. The more you plan, the less you have to edit. The less you plan, the more time you will spend editing. 

For me, I write out my ideas in a blog post. This is my planning stage. This is where I figure out what I’m trying to say. It’s visual. I can see the flow of content from one idea to the next. It works for me. You might experiment with writing out the ideas vs going off of bullet points. I don’t know too many people who can just riff off their heads when they are talking about a new subject. 

We have heard all the cliches right? Measure twice, cut once. If I had four hours to cut down a tree, I’d spend three hours sharpening my ax. 

Do the Hardest Stuff First

Doing the hardest task first means you are more likely to complete it. After all, you have the most energy and excitement. Your willpower has a ceiling and there isn’t an endless supply. When you get the hardest task out of the way it creates a positive mood, which increases productivity. 

How to Prioritize?

In the book, First Things First by Steven Covey talks about Important VS Urgent

  • Important activities have an outcome that leads to us achieving our goals, whether these are professional or personal.
  • Urgent activities demand immediate attention and are usually associated with achieving someone else's goals. They are often the ones we concentrate on and they demand attention because the consequences of not dealing with them are immediate.

Something that is urgent and important is a crisis. It's pressing problems with deadlines. Something that is important but NOT urgent would be things such as exercise, relationship building, personal growth. If you ignore these important things, they later become important AND urgent.

Some things that are urgent but NOT important might be interruptions, phone calls (some of them), some email, some meetings

Some things that are not important and NOT urgent would be busy work, time wasters, some pleasant activities.

Speeding Up Researching

I never watch live television. I tape all my shows. I can fast forward through the commercials. If I watch them back on a computer, there are chrome extensions that enable you to speed up just about any video. 

Speeding Up Editing

Organize Your Content

Make a folder podcast and in that podcast make a folder for your episode. As you obtain content, store it in the episode folder. If you’re using a tool like Evernote, OneNote, Trello, etc set up a place to catch all the ideas and resources. I know in Evernote you can forward and send things via email and it will end up in your Evernote account. 

One of the things that inspired this whole “time management” theme this month is when I didn’t save a voicemail from a listener. I kept in the abyss that is my email. Had I saved it into the folder I had made for the episode, I would have saved myself 30 minutes of frustrating searches, and then even when you find it, you’re so upset at yourself that it again is going to take you LOTS of time to get back in the zone. 

Take Some Lessons

I’ve used Descript and kind of like it, and somewhat find it frustrating. I opened it, and somewhat dove into the software and kind of figured it out. Yet, I quit using it. Why? I took the hard road. I AM POSITIVE as someone who works in tech support and helped people in the corporate world for DECADES that the time you take in a class will benefit you by helping you avoid learning things the hard way. We don’t have time to learn the resource, but we have time to get frustrated and do it wrong multiple times. Does that make sense to you?

Record it right the first time

Take some time to play with your gear. Turn some knobs, and see what happens. You avoid car crashes by knowing how the break, gas, and steering wheel work. You should do the same with your podcast gear. ALWAYS record with headphones on so any plosives with P’s and B’s can be heard and you can stop and fix it. 

If your guest has bad sound, take 15 minutes to get it as good as you can. I once interviewed someone with a headset and every P, B, F, and H made a horrible sound. I asked her and she repositioned her microphone three times. Yet as we continued, the feelings of this person being a guest got the better of me. This guest inadvertently was making a mess that would take me three hours to clean up. I should have said the magic phrase, “I want to make you sound great.” Who is going to argue with that? 

You don’t want the first time you use a new tool, software, recorder, etc for a real episode.

Listen Back Faster

I mentioned that I can speed up videos on my computer, you can do this in most audio editing software. Go to Google.com and search for “speed up playback in (name of your software). This brings me to a key point. 

Check out Keyboard Shortcuts

Maybe you’re like me thinking, Does using the keyboard instead of a mouse really boost productivity? According to a blog on Zapier.com you can save the equivalent of 8 days in the span of a year (get more than a WHOLE WEEK OF TIME) using keyboard shortcuts. 

If Only There Was Some Place to Search!

If you have a question that starts with “where, how, who, what, when” then you might try Google if you’re beating your head into the computer monitor. Don’t do that. Google it. When do this, go looking for the answer to ONE question, and when you find it close it down. 

The Better You Know Your Audience The Easier it Is To Edit

When I was in a country band, we had strict criteria of what we would and wouldn’t play. There are times when knowing what You WON’T talk about on your show makes it easier to identify what you WILL. For me, when I edit an interview I listen to the question and:

  1. See if the guest answered the question.
  2. Evaluate if the answer brought value to my audience. 

If the answer is no, I edit out the question and answer and repeat for every question

Know WHO You are Bringing Someone on the Show and WHY. 

This helps you come up with better questions and eliminates you talking about things that are going to be edited out (again, more planning, less editing). 

Outsource Your Editing

I have a team at audioeditingservice.com who can edit (up to ) a 60-minute episode for $50. If this is currently taking you 10-15 hours to do yourself. That means you are ($50/15 hours) paying yourself $3.33/hour (and isn’t your time more valuable than that)? 

If you need the Ums removed, it’s $81.25 per episode which means you are paying yourself $5.42 an hour. 

For more information go to www.schoolofpodcasting.com/edit 

Other Tools

Automate what you can. Zapier is a great tool I use. Zapier is simple. You program it, “If this happens, then do THIS.” For example when someone signs up for the School of Podcasting on Teachable, add them to my email list on Mailerlite. 

Freedom

If you have a hard time staying focused, check out Freedom software. You can set it up to block websites when you have it turned on. I am using this and I am amazed at how many times I decide to check things on Amazon, YouTube, Facebook and more. Freedom just blocks me when I have it turned on. 

Whether you use Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, or Chrome, Freedom can sync blocks across all of your devices. Sit down to work knowing you're completely in control of distractions. You can get started for free, and cover all your devices for less than $2.50 a month.

Really need to get focused. You can turn on “locked mode.” This means that once you start your session (and you can pick how long it lasts) you can’t turn it off. 

Text Expander

Some media hosts like Libsyn and Captivate have “Snippets” where you can type something once, and use it over and over. Buzzsprout has something similar to sponsor information. You can have this type of information everywhere using Text Expander

I LOVE TEXT EXPANDER

This again is an “If I do this you do this” tool. For example, if I type # sig I set text expander to type my signature. Do I need the link to a Samson Q2u? Text expander. Does someone need the link to my media kit? Text expander. Anything you type on a regular basis can be done in text example. I type it once, and later I use a keyboard shortcut I assigned to recall those keystrokes.

Now granted I work in tech support, but even without it, I use it all the time. According to a report they sent me about last month, I used it 1171 times in 30 days saving me 4 hours and 49 minutes. Would you spend $4/month to get four hours more a month? Try text expander free for 30 days. 

Mentioned In This Episode

School of Podcasting Quick Start

School of Podcasting Membership

Audio Editing Service

Freedom Software

Todoist

Evernote

Fiverr Workspace Accounting Software

Text Expander

Otter.ai transcription Service

Zapier Automation

Will Smith Book

First Things First Book

(Free book on Audible)

Descript Software

Libsyn.com Media Host (sopfree promo code)

Captivate.fm

This podcast was 51 minutes and took 3:12

About the Author
Owner of the School of Podcasting. Also produces the "Ask the Podcast Coach." He is also the author of the book "More Podcast Money" and is a regular speaker at podcasting and media conventions.
3 comments on “20 Tips to Immediately Speed Up Your Podcast Production No Matter the Budget
  1. Good morning Dave,
    I’m not sure if I’m leaving this comment in the right place, or if you prefer a voice note ( and I don’t know where to leave that anyhow) but here you go. I spend from 1 to 2 hours doing research for each episode. Episode recording takes about 30 to 60 minutes. Then depending on the length of the episode I spend from 1 to 4 hours editing. That also depends on the guest and the way they speak – quirky things I have to remove, talking at the same time during the interview, blah blah…
    And then the big time suck for me is the blog post that goes with the episode. I would say I spend from 3 to 6 hours on this. I don’t have the money to pay someone to do this although I’d like help with the blog post part of each episode. I don’t want help ever with editing because I have a very clear vision on how I want each episode to sound and what should, or should not, be in the final version of the episode.

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