Using Trello To Plan Your Podcast

This is Part 2 in my Trello series. Read Part 1 here.

What Is Planning?

Planning is goal setting. You define the goals and tasks you need to achieve them. When it comes to podcasting, this is crucial. Of course, I must say that there are certain podcasts where there is little to no planning involved. Outside of deciding when to record, the podcast topics could be whatever is on the host’s mind. They record, add intro music, and they’re done! These types of podcasts don’t end up grabbing an audience the way the hosts intend and don’t necessarily grow.

For everything else, planning is crucial. Show hosts and producers must decide:

  • when will the show be recorded?
  • how long will the show be?
  • how long should we run each segment?
  • what will we discuss?
  • how often will we release an episode?

At each point of creating and or running a podcast, you are relying on your planning for the creation and promotion of each episode.

How Do I Plan?

Coming from a project heavy work background — I was not a project manager, I just lead projects as my day-to-day — I use the S.M.A.R.T. methodology.

  • S: specific, small
  • M: measurable, meaningful
  • A: attainable
  • R: relevant
  • T: time-bound

In short, SMART goals are meant to be small goals that you can actually achieve and where you can easily identify the success of the goal. The goals contribute to completing the larger initiative and have a deadline. For example, previously I would add a task that said,

Release a new podcast episode Tuesday

That was it. Outside of knowing that I would release a podcast episode Tuesday, I don’t know what Tuesday, when I’m recording, when I will script it, or when I expect editing to be completed. Now, when I create a task, I add more information to that will help me better complete my task. Now my task will read,

Release a new podcast episode Tuesday on x/x/xx. The episode will be scripted by Thursday, recorded on Saturday at 2 pm, and edited on Sunday at 3 pm. The episode will be uploaded to the host and scheduled for publication Tuesday at 5 am.

Now I have dates involved and defined for the different parts of my podcast episode planning. The generic has been made a little more specific.

Planning In Trello

Episodes

Each episode stems from a topic that I am interested in or a topic that is in the community. When creating a card in Trello, I input the main idea and then add a description of that idea.

Example 1

Topic — Writing

Description — My struggle in writing. From songs and poems to short stories and technical writing. Back to short stories, copywriting attempts, speech writing and more.

For Example 1 — This is all I have for a quick idea takedown of a potential podcast episode as a season 2 release. There is a separate process to determine if the episode is worth it to move forward, but that is only done when I begin pre-production for that season.

Example 2

Topic — Upgrade Best Practices

Description — Cover tips and best practices for performing upgrades. Complete outline by Nov 5. Book guests by Nov 10. Record Dec 6. Edit Dec 9. Release Dec 13.

For Example 2 — This is from a series where episodes are released every two weeks. When I choose the next episode, I target the release date and then work backward on my schedule (and others) noting the big items and when they need to be completed.

If you read Part 1 of this Trello series, you would know that I typically work heavily from checklists on a Trello card. That continues when it comes to planning and managing a podcast. The description of each card contains a summary of the episode, all milestone dates, and a production checklist. In the comments, I add small little notes for things to consider as well as links to show notes and more.

A good thing to mention here is that while I may dislike having a lot of columns, I work solo on podcasts I produce and therefore, those that work with other participants may introduce columns to represent the pre-production, production, and post-production phases of their show. A benefit is that you can add automation and notification to this behavior. For example:

Users can watch an entire board or card for notification. They can also watch a column such as “post-production” where the editing and mixing is done. In this case, the person that only cares about post-production can watch that column and receive notifications when a card is dragged there. Using the Butler power-up, you can set to add a post-production checklist to the card when it is moved to that column. Your editor is notified and has a checklist of items that they will need to complete before moving on.

Automation

While there are a lot of power-ups available, I keep automation to a minimum since I am the only person working on my podcast. Even so, I do continue to use the power-up, Butler, to assist me in my work.

Due Date

Not everyone is perfect, I admit there are times where I may not come back to my Trello board to see what tasks I have, and this is where automation helps. Being that I work off a single card, I have multiple milestone dates that I must meet. The Butler power-up allows the creation of custom fields. Unfortunately, you get one free use of each of their features. And since I use the custom field for a “Done” button, I cannot create multiple date fields.

For each card, I manually set the Due date to the first milestone. Once that is matched, I manually change the due date to the next milestone. When the due date is 2 days out from being due, I set automation to move the issue to the top of my “Doing” column and send an email notification.

The Done Button

As I work the issue, I tick off the checkboxes when a task is complete. Some of the final tasks are done in one fell swoop. This is where the Done button comes into play. Using Butler, when I click the Done button on the card, the following takes place:

“set due now, mark the due date as complete, check all the items in all the checklists on the card, post comment “All done!!!”, and move the card to the top of the list “Done”

Final Thoughts

Over the course of working on an episode, the Trello card becomes the home for all my notes about the episode and the home for where I build my show notes. My workflow is kept simple as I continue to dig into the card to complete the task. But, my way doesn’t have to be your way.

If you already use Trello for your podcast, I’d love to hear how you use it to execute on tasks for your podcasts, or how you use it to manage things overall.

Read Part 1 of this series — How I Use Trello To Organize Austin Podcasters

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A writer of sorts. Co-host of The Productivity Lab podcast.

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Mark A

Mark A

A writer of sorts. Co-host of The Productivity Lab podcast.

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