How to use a podcast content calendar to stay on track

Only 24.454% of the active podcasts on ListenNotes (i.e., the RSS feed hasn’t been deleted) published an episode in 2022. This means that only 713,653 podcasts out of nearly 3 million have published an episode this year.

But why is podfade such a problem for podcasters? And why do companies who throw a lot of resources at podcasts experience the same issue?

From my experience, one of the major reasons companies suffer from podfade is due to a lack of planning. Marketing teams (the primary owner of a company’s podcast) get overwhelmed with managing topics/themes, guests, hosts, recording sessions, post-production workflows, and distribution.

When tasks pile up, marketing teams get behind and miss the most important deadline of all — a podcast release date. And once you miss a deadline it’s difficult to recover. Your company’s podcast is likely to get thrown into the podcast graveyard.

The key to avoiding podfade and keeping your podcast alive is to use a podcast content calendar. A content calendar is a tool that helps your team plan and track the release of your company’s podcast episodes.

In this article, I’ll cover:

  1. The difference between project management and a content calendar

  2. The key elements to manage in a podcast content calendar

  3. The different tools available for creating a podcast content calendar

  4. How a podcast content calendar helps with other content marketing projects

Podcasting is a great way to build a relationship with your ideal customers. At Motion, we view a company’s podcast as a “conversation flywheel.” And for many of the tech companies we work with, it fuels their company’s entire content marketing strategy. But not all companies are able to produce a podcast consistently. For a few key reasons, B2B organizations fail after the distribution of the first few episodes (a majority of podcasts don’t make it to the 7th episode). And they end up suffering from a term called “podfade.” What causes podfade and how can you prevent it from happening to your company?

What’s the difference between project management and a podcast content calendar?

Some people believe a content calendar is how you manage your company’s podcast.

I don’t believe in this at all.

From my point of view, there’s a big difference between managing the tasks involved with the development of a video podcast episode vs. managing the release of your podcast episodes.

But you do need both to be successful.

Podcast project management: the key to creating a podcast episode

When your company produces a video podcast (or even a traditional audio-only podcast), it requires the coordination of a lot of different resources. The core of podcast project management is the coordination of people and resources to complete a set of tasks that lead to the successful launch of your podcast episode.

This usually happens in the weeks prior to the release of your episode.

Ideally, you want to map out the tasks, assign them to team members, set deadlines, and then track progress in a project management tool like ClickUp, Asana, or Monday.

The project management aspect of your podcast ends when the episode is complete and all of your repurposed assets have been created.

Podcast content calendar: the key to managing the release of your podcast episode

Once a podcast episode is ready for distribution, this is where a podcast content calendar comes into the picture. Your calendar identifies all of the different ways you plan to share information contained within each episode.

Your company’s podcast content calendar involves a lot more than simply publishing to directories like Spotify, Apple podcasts, or Google podcasts.

Since a podcast is so much more than an audio channel (take a look at the different video podcast production services available), your team has quite a bit of assets to distribute. For example, here’s a list of creative assets we develop from each episode of Recorded Content:

  • Full video podcast episode

  • Full audio episode

  • 2 short podcast video trailers

  • 3 social media images

  • Show notes (and a podcast episode page on our website)

  • 2-3 short video podcast clips

Your company’s podcast content calendar helps map out the distribution of all the repurposed content you get from each podcast episode.

What types of attributes should you track in a podcast content calendar?

At a minimum, your company’s podcast content calendar should track the following elements:

Episode Publish Date: When will the episode be made available to your audience? This is also known as the go-live date and this is typically the date you formally publish the audio episode using Buzzsprout, Castos, Anchor, or another podcast hosting platform.

Episode Page Publish Date: When will the dedicated episode page be available on your company’s website? Your podcast episode page is a “home” for your episode and it includes your episode summary, guest profile, key quotes, images, resources, and more. Most importantly, your episode page gives you a place to route people when you share shorter video clips or other assets on social media.

Primary Social Post Publish Date: How do you plan to “launch” your podcast episode? For a majority of our customers, LinkedIn is the initial starting point. At Motion, we use one of the Co-Founders’ social profiles as the first place to share the episode. We usually share the podcast episode’s promotional video within a LinkedIn post. Whatever your strategy, identify a specific date (and the associated creative asset) used for sharing the podcast episode with your audience.

Secondary Social Posts Publish Dates: After your episode is formally launched on your company’s website and you’ve done the first wave of promotion, identify secondary social posts. Your next wave of social posts can be scheduled out over a week, two weeks, or even longer. This part of your podcast content calendar helps ensure you get the most out of all the creative assets produced from the podcast episode. Create social posts with an accompanying asset on your company’s most engaged social platforms.

Newsletter Publish Date: Not all companies bundle up content and share it within a newsletter. But if you do, identify a date when you plan to release your podcast episode.

Internal linking & embedding: This part of your podcast content calendar is slightly different than scheduling a social post. This task involves a process where a marketing team member analyzes the content within your podcast episode and determines if it can enrich other content on your company’s website. Can you embed a promo video inside an existing blog post? Is there a social image you can embed on a product page? Did you capture a testimonial quote that can be used in sections of your website? Once your episode is “live” it can level up other content you already have in place.

Want to see how other B2B marketers get the most from their podcasts?

Recorded Content is a show for small, scrappy marketing teams who are looking to launch & grow a successful B2B podcast. In each episode, we provide stories on how to overcome the challenges of launching, running and growing a show. We tackle issues with technology, content marketing, distribution and more. We help you become a B2B podcasting hero with an amazing show.

The different tools available for creating a podcast content calendar

There are dozens of tools you can use to manage the distribution of your company’s podcast. Here are some notable tools to consider:

Google Sheets: Google Sheets is a great tool to use if you’re just getting started with a podcast content calendar. It’s very simple to use, you can share access with your team, and track the most important things for your company.

Airtable: I view Airtable as a more advanced version of Google Sheets. And since some companies use Airtable to manage projects, this can be a good option for managing your distribution calendar, too.

CoSchedule: CoSchedule is a popular WordPress plugin that gives you the ability to plan, publish, optimize, and measure all of your blog posts and social media updates in one place. You can also use CoSchedule to create a purely editorial calendar that includes your podcast content.

Trello: Trello is a task management tool that’s very popular with marketers and creative teams. You can easily create a content calendar within Trello using one of their pre-built templates.

Asana, ClickUp, or Monday: I lumped these three tools together because they’re more robust project management platforms. And, more often than not, marketing teams are using one of these three to manage a variety of marketing projects. Even though these tools have a lot of functionality, they’re great options to manage a podcast content calendar. By using your PM tool, you can see the progress of episodes and the distribution — side-by-side in one place.

Buffer, Hootsuite, or Publer: If you’re just looking for a simple way to schedule and publish your social posts, you can use one of these tools. These social media distribution platforms help you manage the most important piece of a podcast content calendar: scheduling content and promoting it on social media. The downside here is that you can’t really track when your podcast goes “live” on podcast directories and your company’s website.

How a podcast content calendar helps with other content marketing projects

You can use your podcast content calendar to jumpstart other projects, too. After your podcast episode page is launched and you have a few social posts in the queue, you can start working on repurposing longer-form content. For example, you can use a transcript to create blog posts, eBooks, guides, and more.

One of the best examples we have is with our Start a Podcast page on Motion’s website. In this longer-form blog post, we referenced at least seven different podcast episodes of Recorded Content. The social images and video clips help make the blog post more dynamic and provide concrete examples for the reader.

Also, use your podcast content calendar to kick off additional video projects. Once you have your episode distributed on your company’s primary social channels, you can take the content a step further.

For example, you can use a video editing tool like Descript to quickly create multiple video clips from your full-length video podcast episode. These clips can be used for your website, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social platforms.

Building a podcast content calendar is easy. But like anything else in marketing, it takes a little time and discipline to get it done. By creating one, you’ll not only speed up the process of sharing your company’s stories, but you’ll also hold yourself accountable for repurposing the best material.

Written by Tristan Pelligrino

Tristan Pelligrino is the Co-Founder of Motion. He’s a serial entrepreneur who started his career as a consultant with large IT companies such as PwC, IBM and Oracle. After getting his MBA, he started and grew one of the fastest video production companies in the country – which was listed on the Inc. 5000. Tristan now enjoys leading the content marketing strategies of some of the most innovative B2B technology companies in the country. You can find him on LinkedIn and Facebook.