The truth is, no matter how long a habit takes you to form, the more complicated it is, the more easily broken it is.
So producing a podcast is likely not a habit you’re forming. It’s work you’re doing, as efficiently as possible, without sacrificing content. But listening to a podcast, that can be a habit.
It’s why I often tell my clients and students that you don’t need a weekly show, but a monthly show can be a tough sell if you want to be part of someone’s routine.
Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is producing a short, daily podcast. In fact, the podcast version of these articles will include daily podcast tips.
So as I work on the next deep dive, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about how to produce a daily podcast, and what I intend to do to produce one.
👉 In this issue
What is a Daily Podcast?
This might seem like a silly question, but the answers may vary. Ryan Holiday’s podcasts, The Daily Stoic and The Daily Dad are both “daily,” and while The Daily Stoic (TDS) is Sunday-Saturday, The Daily Dad (TDD) takes Sundays off. Given the subject, that makes sense.
Holiday also likely has more material for TDS.
Other shows, like History Daily and The Bulwark Podcast, are both Monday-Friday, taking weekends off (though History Daily does a podcast swap on Saturdays).
So, for all intents and purposes, I’m going to say that a daily podcast is one that runs at least Monday through Friday. Weekends are optional.
What Kind of Format Should Daily Podcasts Have?
As far as format goes, the sky’s the limit. Looking at the shows above:
TDS is short form (less than 8 minutes) most days, with a longer interview on Wednesdays…there’s actually 2 episodes that day.
TDD is also short form (less than 5 minutes) with a longer Saturday episode. Both of these shows offer tips or words of encouragement. Very “daily affirmations” style.
History Daily is also short form (15 minutes) and tells a story around something from “this day in history.” You can read my full breakdown of that here.
The Bulwark Podcast is a daily news podcast. Host Charlie Sykes has a rotating cast of cohosts he talks to about the news of the day. While the other shows can be batched, this is much closer to a daily radio show, reacting to current events in near real-time.
As you consider the format for a faily podcast, the real answer to this question depends on two things:
- The topic of the show
- Your schedule
In Sykes’ case, The Bulwark is his full-time job. He spends large portions of his day commenting on current events. So his show makes sense — this content is a large portion of his business’ income.
But the other daily podcasts — in fact, pretty much any that doesn’t real on current events — can be shorter, and batched.
These include daily tips, short stories (in fiction and non-fiction), and even coaching calls, listener questions in your niche, and more.
My recommendation: Select a short, solo format that allows you to record several episodes at a time.
How to Pick a Topic for a Daily Podcast
If you’re going to create a daily podcast, you need to be at least one of these things:
- Deeply passionate about the topic
- An expert in the topic
Ideally, it’s both. Looking at TDS, Ryan Holiday has dedicated a large portion of his life to studying and writing about the Stoics. He knows those stories well.
Lindsay Graham and his team are expert researchers, but are also deeply passionate about history, so they dedicate their time to creating a great daily podcast.
This goes the same for all the news-based shows. If you’re going to do a daily podcast about current events, you need to care.
So ask yourself: What do you care about? What are you an expert in?
If you want to do a daily news podcast, I’d say start slow. Pick one story from early in the day that you can cover. Or pick pieces that are not necessarily time stamped. Something where you’re not constantly learning new information after you record.
It makes sense that my daily podcast will be about podcasting. Not only am I an expert in the field, but I’m deeply passionate about it1. Plus, I’m often giving out the same advice. This show will be a resource for me.
My recommendation: Pick a topic you know deeply, are passionate about, and one that can be a resource for you and your business.
Coming Up with Episode Ideas
Once you have your topic, you need to come up with episodes ideas. This can be a pretty daunting task for a daily podcast. You need at least 5 separate ideas per week.
If we look at The Daily Stoic again, Ryan Holiday has a large resource pool to pull from. He even has a book of the same name — one tip or story every day2. He’s done the same thing with The Daily Dad.
He may have worked backwards, starting the podcast first3, but either way, he spent some time creating a list of timeless ideas.
With History Daily, Graham picks one thing that happened on this day in history —- and he reuses at least one episode per week. He’ll have content for a long time!
For my daily podcast, I’m pulling from a daily tips email I sent to my newsletter subscribers last year. Those tips came from questions I got via email, social media, blog comments, and at conferences.
This gives me a 50 episode head start on the show…10 weeks I can record in advance. Those episodes may spark other ideas or questions from the listeners, creating a content flywheel for the show.
My recommendation: When your topic is based on your expertise, or a passion you’re already writing about, you can come up with ideas quickly by reusing those writings, emails, or social media posts.
The Daily Podcast Recording Workflow
Once you have a format and a topic, it’s time to get the recordings done. I’m going to go out on a limb and say most of the podcasts mentioned here are scripted.
Script vs. Outline
History Daily definitely is, and Holiday’s, while he knows the subject well, benefits greatly from a script that allows him to deliver his short, punchy points with maximum impact.
The Bulwark Podcast undoubtedly isn’t, but as we discussed, it’s a bit of a different beast — more like a radio show — that has rotating guests, discussing the news of the day.
They absolutely do prep work, though; Sykes decides what topics they’re going to discuss, and usually preps the guest ahead of time.
But for a short, daily podcast that focuses on your expertise, you should likely script (or at least outline) each episode. Depending on how you want to deliver each episode, you’ll need to answer this question:
Do you want to deliver the information efficiently and quickly, or do you want to tell a story around it?
More and more, I believe that telling stories is the way to go. It doesn’t need to be long and drawn out, but it should relate to, illustrate, and help drive home the point of your episode.
A good sequence of events would be:
- Story in the cold open
- Call to Action
- Deliver the meat of the episode
- Tie it back to the story if you need to
- Outro with CTA
This is going to take some work on the front end4, but you could also experiment with scripted vs. non-scripted. The important ingredients are a story, the tip, and a clear CTA.
No matter what you choose, you should absolutely batch episodes. Recording and producing an episode per day can zap your productivity to work on anything else.
With a daily podcast, you’ll want to record several episodes in one sitting. The workflow for my daily podcast will be:
- Review the content in my Airtable base5 for short, punchy tips to make the core of the episode
- Script a cold open with a story
- Record 7–10 episodes in a row
- Have my VA upload and schedule all of them using the podcast planner/content calendar we share6
The trick here is that pre-launch, I intend to record and schedule 40–45 episodes, so I’m always at least one month ahead — two months at launch, then recording 10 episodes ever 3–4 weeks.
Recording and Editing
Once you have scripts and schedules, it’s time for the recording and editing. Every podcast we’ve looked at here has at least one audio editor on their team.
And while that’s true for me too, with my short, solo podcasts I take a different approach.
I like to record in Descript and make content edits as I’m recording. So I’ll stop recording, delete the part where I messed up, and then start the recording again.
This is another instance where a script is your friend. This will cut down on the number of edits you need to make.
Descript also has some nice, simple sound editing tools…though if you want to do heavy audio engineering, a tool like Hindenburg or Adobe Audition would probably be better.
Also keep in mind this process is iterative. I may decided I want more audio engineering than I can handle, and pass the show off to my editor. But I need to know a little about the process and art direction first.
My recommendation: Write short scripts for your episodes that include a story, and pick a day to record a bunch to schedule ahead of time.
Monetizing Your Daily Podcast
I’m not going to spend too much time here because podcast monetization is different for everyone, and there are several ways to do it. But there are a few points worth addressing.
First, it’s never too early to start thinking about monetization. Some people will tell you launch first, think about making money later.
However, just as that’s terrible business advice, it’s terrible advice for a podcast that’s more than just a hobby to you. Consider your options because how you run the show early will ultimately affect how you make money.
Next, some feel that sponsorship depends on the length of the show. If you look at The Daily Dad, you’ll see that’s not true. There are some instances where half of the episode is a sponsor spot.
This doesn’t stop Holiday from selling those spots. Obviously, he has a much bigger audience than most people, but I wouldn’t let length determine if you sell ad spots…especially if what you’re doing is valuable.
That said, a daily podcast is a great opportunity for you to elevate your authority and expertise. You’re creating consumable content that you can send to potential clients, customers, or partners.
With that in mind, a better path might be to grow your newsletter, and as a result, your own business.
My approach will be just that. I’ve decided not to take sponsors (at this point, at least), and instead reserve one mid-roll ad for my own podcasting services.
My recommendation: Have a plan in place for monetization at the beginning, even if you don’t start right away. Knowing will help you shape the scope and direction of your daily podcast.
What to do Next
Daily Podcasting isn’t for everyone, but it could be an incredible asset that not only creates more podcast content for you, but social posts, short form video, long form blog posts, and topics for your newsletter.
It’s also proof that you show up and do the work. So my recommendations if you’re considering this:
- Consider if a daily podcast is for you, and if it fits into your content strategy.
- Pick a format and topic that lend themselves to your schedule and expertise.
- Script out a few episodes to see how it feels creating a daily podcast
- Record and batch the first month’s worth of content.
- There’s no way I’d be able to write 5,000+ words per week on the topic if I weren’t. ↩
- There are 366 stories, so it includes leap years! ↩
- His shows are on my list to cover on this site ↩
- Long time readers will know I’ve gone back and forth on scripts vs. outlines, and I think there is a place for both. ↩
- All of my podcast related content lives in a single Airtable base. ↩
- Also in Airtable ↩