When people first want to start podcasting they think a 15 minute podcast takes 15 minutes. It does take 15 minutes to record it. What they didn't count was the 15 minutes it took to find that content, the 15 minutes it took to type up a quick blog post, and the 15 minutes of editing, setting up, waiting for the computer to boot up, getting the kids to be quiet, etc.

I always say for an audio podcast use the 4 to 1 rule. For every one minute of podcast, multiply it by four. Do you want to do a one minute podcast? It's going to take you four minutes. If you want to do a 15-minute podcast, plan on spending an hour.

What can you do to find time to podcast? How can you shorten this?

1. Turn off the TV

One thing (and I would recommend this even if you're not a podcaster) is to turn off the TV. According to a USA Today article the average person watches four hours and 35 minutes of television PER DAY. No wonder obesity is up. It's interesting when you examine what you watch (Snooky, Kardashians, Brett Michaels, the “News”) most of that you can live without. I canceled my cable over two years ago.

If your podcast is about a television show or the TV is a source of information, record it. NEVER watch live TV. This allows you to fast forward through anything that doesn't pertain to you. This will allow you to watch an hour-long television show in about 40 minutes.

2. Target Your Media Consumption

Instead of watching whatever is on TV, I get most of my ideas for podcasts from my life experiences, and from getting news off of blogs. For example, I am subscribed to about 25 different blogs about podcasting. I am subscribed to about 12 different blogs about WordPress. When I see a headline I like, I click on it. While I'm at the blogger's site I keep my eyes peeled for any list of blogs they read. I read the article. If this is something I think my audience would enjoy, I go back to google reader and edit the “Tags.” I have a tag (think label) set up for each of my podcasts. When it comes time to do a podcast, I click on the tag for that podcast and see the articles that might make up today's episode.

3. Any Job is Easy With The Right Tool

As I mentioned before, I use Google Reader as my preferred blog reader. I use Beyond Pod on the android to listen to podcasts with the plugin to play things at a much faster pace. This allows me to listen to two additional hours of podcasts a day.

I use Google alerts to do daily searches for topics I'm interested in and have them emailed to me. Here again, I would go through email, read the article, and then flag the email. Then I would have to check my email and my RSS reader. Well, one day I noticed that you can have your alerts delivered as an RSS feed. Now I set up an alert, and add it to my Google reader.

Now you've targeted your media consumption, and instead of you going to the news, the news is coming to you. When you find a good one, you tag it and move on.

Even with targeted media, there will be some articles that don't fit. Your reader notices that you've read them, and no longer shows it as new.

If your show might be talking about music, when you dig around Amazon.com under new releases in music at the bottom of the page there is an RSS feed for new releases.

While there are other RSS readers, I love that I can look at my Google reader on my phone. This way no matter where I'm at, I can be working on the next episode. If I'm in a long line at the grocery store, I can be working on my podcast. The bottom line here again is to get the news coming to you, and not have you searching and searching. With that in mind, let's move on to the next topic.

4. Have a “Notepad” with you at all times

While an actual notepad is handy, they are easily lost, ruined by water, etc. My point here is to have a system in place that you have access to 24/7 so if you are somewhere and see/hear something you can jot it down. I use an app on my phone called “Note Everything” so if I hear something in the podcast while I'm driving I can create a new note and record a quick voice message to myself (or type a note which I would not do while driving).

I had mentioned the “Tagging” feature in Google Reader. I have a label called “Listener Feedback” that I flag emails that come into my email. I tag and note things immediately upon receiving/hearing it.

While we are talking about content, the best content is “evergreen” (for example this topic is not time-sensitive, where talking about a NEW product may become dated as newer products follow it in time).

5. Create An Empty Show

If you are using something where you podcast Live like Pod Producer then put in your intro and outro and any sounds you normally use and put them on your play deck and save that configuration. Likewise, if you are using something like Audacity, you can create a project with your intro and outro music already saved in the project. You open the project and insert your new content and export. Don't go through the hassle of setting up a new intro for every podcast. Anything you repeat in each episode try to record ahead of time. The more you record live, the more of a chance of botching it and needing to re-record it (which takes time).

6. Keep it Simple

The more you add to the episode, the more time it takes. This is the reason I don't “Podcast Live” where I stream my audio while I record it. If you are spending 45 minutes obsessing on something getting “Just right” chances are its fine. I once created a music loop to run under a “Special” episode of my building a better Dave podcast. It took me 45 minutes to get it “just right.” This music lasted for a less than a minute in the podcast. Perfectionism is the enemy of easy podcasting. So I say this in all honesty. It's fine. Move on. Let it go.

Another example I noticed is if I record first thing Saturday morning my voice is deeper. Say it with me, “It's OK, really its fine.”

Here is another example. People do interviews over skype. I've heard of man podcasters buying large mixers so they can do a “mix minus” setup. In many cases, you are calling from skype to a phone line. Instead of going through all this mix minus stuff, why not just plug the phone into your mixer. When you talk, talking both the phone and your microphone (and split the phone hard right, and your microphone hard left, then later after editing save the file as mono). I have a video on YouTube that shows how you can record phone calls very easy (if you're going to be calling a phone anyway…keep it simple)

7. Enjoy The Harvest and Store for the Winter

Great content seems to be feast or famine. You will find one day has three articles that would be great episodes. You have some life experiences that will tie in easily with your podcast. Your thought might be, “Well this week's podcast is going to be long.” To this I remind you that for every day there is a ton of articles, there will be days when there are zero.

Great content is the staple of great podcasts. Don't blow it all at once. If you do you will find yourself back at “Square One” wishing you hadn't released all that content at once.

8. Avoid Writing it More Than Once

I know some people that store links in one place, then have a separate sheet for their co-host, and then use a spreadsheet for archiving, etc. If your notes are going to eventually end up as “Show Notes” (the blog post that includes their media, and a description of the episode along with any links mentioned) why not enter them into WordPress and save them as a draft. Continue to work on the draft as you shape your content. Then after your record your audio or video you simply attach the media file and publish.

Rob, Paul, Gary and I are going to be resurrecting Today in Podcasting. We created additional logins for our website, and when someone finds a topic we put a link to it in our show notes and save it as a draft. We will talk about these on the show, and when we are done we just add the mp3 file. If there is something in the show notes that we didn't mention, we move it to a new post that we save as a draft and repeat the process. If it's going to end up in WordPress, why not start it there?

9. Be Ready to Pull The Trigger

Set up your studio and leave it. If this isn't an option, document (take pictures, write down the settings) of your mixer so that you don't have to “dial in” your sound.

You have accumulated all this content, and when you get the opportunity to record it all you need to do is pull up your Google Reader, or Your Notes in WordPress (saved as a draft) and go to town. By taking the time to plan it out, the recording process is much easier. The less prepared you are the more time it will take to record, and the less prepared you will sound (insert um, -pause – um, like, um…).

10 Create A Stockpile

If your bored and your spouse had to go on a business trip and you find yourself with extra time remember that podcasting is a time-shifted conversation with your community. If you have “evergreen” content, you can record a bunch of episodes at one time and then time release these automatically. Marcus Couch moved from Chicago to California. He knew he was going to be packing, driving, unpacking for a long period of time. He does “The Scene Zine” Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Podcast. He records a boatload of shows in advance and while he as driving to California his show continued to be released without missing a beat.

The only downside of this is if your audience leaves a voicemail, etc you won't be able to address this on your show until the next live show. However, this does not stop you from emailing (or in some cases calling back) your audience and staying in touch that way.


Take the time to focus on your topic and set up RSS feeds to get the content coming to you. Be sure to have a voicemail line like Google Voice or Podcastvoicemail.com to accept content from your community. Its much more efficient to surf through a pile of relevant blog posts, than the Google your topic.

Have your studio ready to go, and build your show notes as you shape the content for the episode.Have anything that can be prerecorded (intros, outros) set and ready to go

If you have extra time, record extra episodes. Remember content comes in giant piles, and one minute you have too much and the next minute you have none. Pace yourself.

The Final Comment

If after doing this, you still don't have time to podcast one might consider making shorter episodes. When I got married and took on the responsibilities of being a husband and step-father I shaved about 10 minutes off most of my podcasts. While I've had people mention that episodes are too long. I've NEVER had someone state they were too short. By keeping them short I am able to consistently put out episodes which is vital to building your audience.

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I hope you enjoyed episode 265

Daily Podcast Tips

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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.
1 comment on “Finding Time To Podcast
  1. Melitsa says:

    This was the show I needed to hear! Dinner was very late as I kept stopping to redo things. Just altered alerts to an RSS feed in GReader. Also, tagging in GReader. Genius!

    I have Podproducer but never worked it out. Will make more of an effort to do so again this summer.

    Thanks for these tips. It’ll really tighten things up.

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