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A question I get asked often is, “Podcast post-production takes too much time. Is it really worth it to write show notes and do detailed editing? How long does it take you to do your post-production?”

I wanted to share a few tips this week to change the way you think about podcast production and post-production.

Highlights, Takeaways & Quick Wins

  • Multi-tasking (while working on your podcast) is killing your productivity. Set a timer and focus on a single task at a time.
  • If you don’t have 45 minutes of content, don’t record a 45 minute episode. Make your show only as long as it needs to be.
  • Every minute of audio you record adds time to your post-production work, so don’t ramble. Stay focused on the point of your episode.
  • Be respectful of your audience’s time. Before you hit record, plan out what you are going to talk about.

Show Notes

  • 1:25 Here are the two biggest tricks that have helped me reduce the amount of time I spend on post-production:

1. Stop Multi-Tasking While Doing Post-Production Work

  • 1:41 When I’m doing post-production (editing, show notes, admin stuff), it’s really easy to work for 20-30 minutes and then switch over to check email or Twitter or get into what I call “procrasti-working” (doing work that is important but not the most important). I’m really good at procrasti-working. This morning–as I was preparing to record this episode–my brain kept coming up with sort-of important things that I could be doing instead of working on the episode. Even though I knew that the most important thing for me to do was record an episode, my brain kept trying to derail me with easier, less-important things.
  • 2:26 If you’re on a schedule and you need to publish an episode by a certain day, pick a day or two and block off a couple of hours to dedicate to post-production. Try this: put your phone in your bag or out of reach and turn off your wifi while you’re working on your podcast. Work for an hour, then take a 10 minute break to check Twitter or email or use the bathroom, then get back to work.

Multi-tasking (while working on your podcast) is killing your productivity. Set a timer and focus on a single task at a time.

  • 3:20 You’ll find that doing this will reduce the total number of hours you’re spending on post-production because you won’t be as tempted to go down rabbit trails.
  • 3:52 I like to set a timer for an hour and see how much I can get done before it goes off. You can use a common kitchen timer, or the stock timer app on your phone, or a Mac app like Simple Countdown.

2. Talk Less – Make Shorter Shows

  • 4:32 This topic came up twice in the past week. I was talking to Ben Toalson (co-host of the seanwes podcast), and he mentioned that he had a rough time with his last episode. I said, “You know, if you don’t have an hour’s worth of material, you don’t have to do an hour-long show.”

If you don’t have 45 minutes of content, don’t record a 45 minute episode. Make your show only as long as it needs to be.

  • 5:12 Community member Alex Kelerman recently started a podcast, and he wanted to do show notes the way we do them for the shows on the seanwes network. After a couple weeks, he realized that he was spending more than 5 hours every week writing show notes and he asked me if I thought it was worth it.
  • 5:59 I told him, “I think it is worth it, but I also think you should record shorter shows.” Alex has been doing 45-60 minute episodes with a co-host. If he did a 20 minute podcast instead and focused on making it super tight and valuable, it would cut his show note writing time by a third, at least.

Every minute of audio you record adds time to your post-production work, so don’t ramble. Stay focused on the point of your episode.

  • 6:11 You don’t have to make a long show. Your show should only be as long as it needs to be. That is, if you can make a really valuable point in 5 minutes, then you’ve made a great 5 minute show. If you need to spend 30 or 45 minutes to explain a concept or do a product review or whatever, that’s fine.

Be respectful of your audience’s time. Before you hit record, plan out what you are going to talk about.

  • 6:39  Don’t just wing it and ramble for 45 minutes because you think that’s what people want.