Podcast content machine

Podcast content machine

Podcasting is still growing and I foresee it will continue for quite awhile and statistics are agreeing with me as I mention here: Business idea for matching advertisers and podcasters

Now if you plan to start a new show, you might be wondering how much it my cost you. I’ll try to break the costs down here based on my experience so far, but note that it my be different on the level of involvement you want to be in the process. To better understand where I’m coming from I’ll also share the workflow I had for producing the show.

When I started my podcast CastSource – The stories behind Podcasting I couldn’t keep consistent of doing episodes every week. To keep the schedule strict, I decided to partly outsource my podcasting publishing activities and make it kind of streamlined like a workflow. So, I have these kind of parts I want to share and go over a little bit.

podcast production workflow

  1. First one is finding a guest. It’s kind of difficult at first when you don’t have a show and people might not want to go on your show because they don’t know what it’s about. So to hack this, I used people first that to know in business community I was in. It’s called 7 Day Startup, so I had almost like four guests from there, and because it was a community, it wasn’t that hard to get people on the show, and it was a good way to network with people as well. Not that I tried batching the guest recordings which helped me streamline the show episodes later.
  2. Next was finding guests from outside my network. It was kind of involved, as you have to sometimes engage through Facebook and try to massage the guest or warm him up before bring him on board. Because it took me so much time, I thought about giving this task of finding guests to my assistant, who I’ve found her from Upwork. Even thought I wasn’t sure if it will work, in the end it was a pretty good choice because it might be better for a girl to invite a guest as, we are still naturally influenced if we get asked something from more attractive person.For scheduling and booking the interviews, I used schedule once service. Not too expensive and works pretty well for managing calendar and things at Google Calendar. You don’t have to worry about time zones, which is useful when you’re interviewing someone from Australia plus nine hours, or otherwise in the U.S., which is minus seven hours. You can get lost easily in time zones. Also it helps you organize the your availability time as well.
  3. After that is creating interview blueprints. So, initially, I was doing very detailed notes and document what I’m going to speak about, especially for the first episode with Tom Webster. I was very nervous, so what I did was I almost wrote down every question, almost some answers and notes that I talked about inside. It was a kind of strict script I had to follow. It came in handy at first just to get the feel of the format. Thought, after 10, or 11 episodes, I just got used to it, and I just had like general notes, and a format, and what I always did. I started adding these situational questions from Japan, which I find it entertaining for myself and for guests. Even thought, after 10 times, it’s  a bit hard to come up with something unique, but I find it worth the effort, so I was doing those every episode.
  4. Finally it’s the actual recording of interview. For that, you just schedule a time and just, basically, talk to your guest. We’ll take from half to one hour with all intro, outros, warm-ups. But, I find it quite easy to do, and I think probably the most fun part of all the podcasting process is to get to meet up with new people this way.
  5. Then, after it’s recorded, the was adding a personal touch with custom intro and outro for the episode. I would introduce the episode and just the practice of talking every time, and the outro would be just a teaser for the next episode, because usually I would have like batched episodes and would usually know what would be my next guest.
  6. After that, of course, comes the audio edit. I outsourced that as well. After three episodes, I knew that I couldn’t do it myself. I had to give it to someone else. Quite reasonable priced and pretty capable guy. I also recommend anyone who’s interested outsourcing your podcast to him as well. Again found on Upwork by reviewing 30 candidates or so. You can send me an email if your looking for a reliable quality  audio editor.
  7. Now the most important part is, episode publishing. I would publish it on the website, Libsyn or Buzzsprout, which I moved to after got dissapointed from libsyn cost and usability. I created a process for this as well and would give it to my assistant again. It was quite liberating. You don’t need to think about it every week and free’s up the mental space for better things.
  8. After publish is sending up follow-up emails, which I usually do myself, because it’s kind of standard format, and sometimes I could pitch my service to the guests.
  9. Next is doing the podlogs (yes I came up with this hybrid name myself, by marrying podcast with blog). Actually I started this a bit later. For first episodes, I just published transcripts, because I found that easy to do, but later I thought it’s not that useful and very interesting to read just plain text doc, then I got this podlog idea. Basically you would split up the podcast in correct sections, headlines, and do a new post of a couple images for every slice of a shows transcript.I find it kind of interesting to do. At least, I can do a post every day now and keep fresh content going. The other thing is that you can publish those automatically to other web parts like twitter, facebook, medium and do it automatically from your wordpress blog. Kind of podcast content machine! SEO wise its also useful as you can manage the link flow internally by linking back to your main pages from these short posts.
  10. So this is not a point but more an observation that you really need other things in place like website, podcast jingles (aka music) and other parts before you can follow it. Thought those are one off things and once you have it done its just a matter of automating as much as you can and I found the 9 process step here worked really well.


Now the interesting part which I never saw anyone doing yet, that’s why I’m doing myself now, is production costs of podcast episodes. The cost breakdown is 2 part, either you make it “free” and do it on your own time or you hire someone to do it for you which of course doesn’t come for free usually unless you are a podcasting superstar.

First one is finding and putting guests. I had some good guests myself, so that was free. But, I find it useful also to book using my assistants. I paid her like $20 per booking, which you could say it’s a reasonable price. I guess, depends on what kind of guest you can book. But, I find this approach worked for me. Might be a bit more expensive, but it depends how much time and effort it takes. I find it very cumbersome to do, so I wouldn’t mind paying maybe a bit higher price for the perceived value.

Next one is audio edit per episode. It costs me, right now, $17, which is a very competitive price compared to what other people are charging. Furthermore is publishing an episode. It costs me $5, because it takes around an hour and if  you can hire someone reasonably good for that price than you’re lucky. That’s the benefit of outsourcing. Hosting costs, quite good. It’s $15 per month. So, if you do five episodes, that costs like $3 per month for Libsyn or Buzzsprout.

The other major part: if you decide to do these transcripts and podlogs. First you have to transcribe episode, which if you take my service, it costs from $.80 per minute, which is a better rate than most of competitors for  good quality (at least 20% more costly). For half an hour, it costs like $24, and then for each post, I pay like $3 per post publishing with images because it takes a while to do all the steps, and it’s a bit involved finding images and formatting other things in WordPress. So, if you do like 10 posts per episode, it costs you $30 in total, which is still quite a good price because it has new content per episode for your podcast, and plus the content relevant to your website.

Now the time, I think it would take one hour for recording for myself and doing the extras and blueprint. Getting all the ideas ready for the episode, 1-2 hours or so. Usually, per week, would take me 2-3 to do everything. Now if we run down the final cost in total per episode would amount to $90 if you had included the transcripts and all.

Sure, you can do everything by yourself, but be ready to spend 20 hours a week, if you including transcriptions and other bits. I think it’s better, as entrepreneurs, to spend more time on creating things than doing the manual labor. Just by creating the processes that can be repeatable, and maybe the costs, it’s better to maybe spend your time trying to figure out how to get more income than building a job for yourself, as someone I listen to would say. If you want to have a lower bar for costs but still outsource some things like audio edit and publishing then the price could be $25 per podcast. If you look at companies companies that do production for you, which I never used myself you know where those costs go. Thought they tend to be more expensive overall: more like $500 per month for weekly podcast without any extras like transcripts.

So that’s it for my process and costs leading to mini podcast machine. Note that I’m not running the show, but still wanted to put out these thought maybe for my future myself if I start another podcast at some point? As they say never say never. Thank you for reading, and to get in touch just ping me at evaldas@castsource.net

Note that this was a rehash of the last episode I did on my show, check it out if you want to hear some extra rants also. Cheers!

About Evaldas Miliauskas

Evaldas Miliauskas is the founder of CastSource - a startup that provides transcriptions designed for podcasts. He is a passionate podcaster listener, host, and a entrepreneur.

Entries by Evaldas Miliauskas