Workflow for a Monolog Episode!

This episode is all about workflow. In particular I’m going to focus on the workflow for a monolog episode. The interview and group chat workflows are just variations on this theme.

Everything you need to get your monolog episodes up and running will need to be applied to the other types of shows. The order may vary a little but the framework remains pretty much the same.

Let’s get into it.

I’ll be using World Organic News as the example for this as it is the podcast I’ve being the longest.

  1. Decide on the Topic

I do this by reviewing the posts I’ve made on the blog World Organic News for the past week. I usually end up with about eight to ten posts. From these I cull down to two or three that I can link together or, for effect, are completely unrelated. Some weeks I’ll use a piece of news from the TV or Facebook or Twitter.

The reason I’m looking at these posts is to link them to the World Organic News theme: Decarbonise the Air, Recarbonise the Soil. The first part of that we all are aware of by now, electric cars, renewable energy etc. The recarbonise the soil part is less well known. It is probably the key to reversing carbon build up in the atmosphere and oceans. So I keep this focus in mind as I find a hook to hang the episode on.

2. Gather information

Having decided on the posts or news items I’m going to use, I read around the topics or draw upon my own small area farming/gardening experience.

3. Write Script

This is usually about 1200 to 1400 words. This takes me anywhere between 25 and 50 minutes to put together. Yes I write quickly, now. Originally I’d take up to two hours to complete this task. Practice leads to mastery. If you’re put off by this remember it does get easier.

4. Leave Script for ten minutes or so

This is important. It frees the mind. I usually go for a brisk walk and during this edits and additional info comes to me.

5. Re-read and edit the script

This is pretty self explanatory. If you’re happy to speak without a script, at least have some bullet points. Remember why you are doing your podcast and how to focus your arguments.

6. Record Audio in.wav

I use a digital audio recorder, the Zoom H2n. An additional step to add here, no matter whether you’re recording into a device or direct to your editor is to double check you have hit record. I’ve only missed it twice and it is frustrating. A checklist helps and I’ve been using one ever since I missed the record button the second time.

7. Transfer Audio file to Audio Editor (Garageband)

If you recorded direct to your editor, this step is not necessary.

8. Edit audio

This is a simple enough task. Don’t over complicate it. Most of the audio polishing I do later and I’ll talk about then. The key thing with editing is to remove the ums and ahhs and the coughs, etc. With the right equipment and recording space your file will be good enough in .wav to be more than acceptable when converted into .mp3 later

9. Export Audio to file manager

I then export the file to my file manager, in .wav so I can perform the next step.

10. Upload audio file to Auphonic (.wav)

Auphonic is an algorithm based audio processor. I heard an interview with the creator and he stated it works best with the highest quality input file you can provide. In this case .wav. In some cases you’ll only be able to provide an mp3 but do the best you can.

11. Process through Auphonic

Once uploaded I have the following presets in Auphonic: I want a mono file in 64 kilobits per second. To radio and musicians this seems barbarous. I am not producing for radio nor any music. That bit rate means people anywhere in the world and there are many still on dialup levels of service, they can download the file relatively quickly. I chose mono because often listeners only use one earbud and I don’t want them to lose half the show. This is especially the case if you are doing an interview episode but is good practice to ensure uniformity across your episodes.

I used to set volume to -16LUFFS but as Amazon and Spotify request -14LUFFS, that’s what I use now.

I also check the noise and hum reduction button.

I then hit start production, twice as Auphonic asks a second time.

12. Download (.mp3)

Auphonic does its stuff and outputs an mp3 file. I download that to my file manager.

13. Upload to host (Libsyn, Soundcloud)

Here you get to make a choice about show notes. With a script written you can use that as your show notes or use a link to them as the show notes. I follow the latter course now. It points people to my blog. In the notes though I include links to the posts I referenced in the episode so people can check primary sources. Good practice anyway but especially so in the era of “fake news”.

14. Complete the other relevant sections on your Host

15. Schedule release time/publish immediately

16. Wait for episode to appear on your podcatcher feed and listen to the episode!!!

This way you can see if your feed is working and then listen to your episode for glaring glitches in editing that you can go back to step 7 and repeat.

17. Celebrate with a caffeine based beverage

18. Start thinking about the next episode

And that’s it. I listed 18 steps just to break the process right down.

This checklist has been added to the free checklist download on Jon Moore Podcasting Services

Next episode will be on the gentle art of the recording space.

Until then happy podcasting!