How to Plan a Podcast: Structure Your Episodes (6 Steps)

Emily Kingland
August 31, 2021
How to Plan a Podcast: Structure Your Episodes (6 Steps)

Sure, you could drive cross-country without a plan. But wouldn't you agree that it's better to know things like how far you're driving and if the random motel you found has had any recent homicides? 💀

It's nice to know the direction you're going, particularly if you have a goal in mind.

Your podcast should be part of a larger marketing plan. But it should also have a structure of its own.

Here's the big question we're addressing today:

How do I plan a podcast structure? To plan a podcast structure, follow these 6 steps:

  1. Identify Your Goal
  2. Decide on a Format
  3. Identify Your Primary Themes
  4. Write Your Intro
  5. Outline the Main Content
  6. Write Your Outro

Before we get into it, there are a few more reasons why you should plan out your podcast before you start.

Why You Should Plan Out Your Podcast

When it comes to B2B podcasts, the more planning you can do beforehand, the better.

[READ/LISTEN: You need to know these 4 things before starting a B2B podcast.]

It's true that a lot of marketing campaigns look like a plane being built as it's already in flight. We're creatives after all. However, a podcast is one thing that you want a precise premise for before it's launched (ideally, before you begin recording).

Planning out the structure of your podcast will make your show stronger and save you a ton of time in the end.

How to Structure Your Podcast Episodes in 6 Steps

Fortunately, you only need to take six steps to create a strong podcast structure. Your overarching podcast structure will inform the format for your episodes.

Let's dive into step #1.

1. Identify Your Goal

Why are you starting a B2B podcast in the first place?

We've found that there are five main strategies that most businesses take with their podcasts:

  1. Demand Gen: The main goal of your podcast is to grow your audience.
  2. Industry Influence: You want to break into a new industry and meet key players with your podcast
  3. ABM: The goal with your podcast is to meet potential customers.
  4. Customer Success: You want to reduce your churn rate with your podcast.
  5. Internal Podcast: Your goal is to communicate organizational information to your team.

Take a look at each strategy and its primary goal side-by-side:

Keep in mind that your podcast can have more than one goal. Some companies want to create demand as well as build relationships with potential customers.

However, it's important that you prioritize one goal and stick to it. Otherwise, your show's premise will be weakened and you won't achieve either goal.

Once you've identified what your primary goal is, you'll be able to see the type of content you should record -- thought leadership, interviews, or both.

2. Decide on a Format

There are eight episode formats you can ultimately choose from. But, if you're starting a B2B podcast, we suggest going with one of the following formats:

  • Solo episodes (Thought Leadership)
  • One-on-one interviews (Interviews)
  • Panel interviews (Interviews)
  • Co-host conversational (Thought Leadership)

If your goal is to create demand for your brand or to pass on organizational information, try either solo or co-host conversational episodes. If you want to build relationships or reduce churn, it's best to focus on interviews.

[READ: Use our failproof method for booking podcast guests.]

You can, of course, mix and match these podcast formats. But, if you're serious about reaching your primary goal, best to stick to one format. Especially if you're aiming to build relationships through your podcast -- you should be interviewing people.

3. Identify Your Primary Themes

The main themes -- or talking points -- of your podcast will depend on your primary goal.

If you're...

  • Driving Demand: Your show's main themes should be focused on your ideal customer's challenges and interests.
  • Building Relationships w/ Industry Influencers: You should focus on the needs and challenges of your ideal customer.
  • Building Relationships w/ Potential Customers: Your podcast's main themes should be focused on your ideal customer's expertise and challenges.
  • Reducing Churn: Focus on customer success stories.
  • Passing On Organizational Information: Focus on what's important to your employees -- daily challenges, onboarding, the state of the company, their coworkers.

The only times you should consider talking about your company are when you're attempting to reduce churn or have an internal podcast for your team. In the other scenarios, your show's primary themes should be centered around your ideal customer's expertise and professional challenges.

Because, if your podcast only focuses on your company, why would any industry influencers or potential customers care to be on it? They'd rather speak to what they do best.

Finding out which specific topics to build episodes around takes some keyword research. You likely already have an idea of what people in your industry are discussing. However, it's helpful to build a list of topics before you begin recording.

You can build a topic list by...

  • Googling common phrases and looking at the People also ask section
  • Researching hashtags on LinkedIn
  • Looking at which blog posts have performed well
  • Using FAQs from current customers
  • Looking at what similar podcasts have covered

Zero in on what your target audience cares about. Don't make it about you or your company (unless it's supposed to be).

4. Write Your Intro

The entire introduction shouldn't last more than 30 seconds.

When you're just starting out with a B2B podcast, it's a good idea to write out your intro. It's especially helpful when you're introducing a guest.

Introducing the Guest

We always recommend that the host introduce the guest. Otherwise, guests tend to get long-winded and delay the actual interview (what listeners care about).

So, read the introduction to the guest before you record to make sure they're good with it.

Introducing the Topic

You should have landed on the main topic (ideally from your topics list) with your guest. That and your biggest talking points should be determined in a pre-interview.

To grab the listener's attention right away, introduce the main topic in quick succession to the guest. Also, go through the list of talking points that you plan to cover in the interview. This way, listeners will know immediately if they want to keep listening.

If you're doing a solo episode, briefly introduce yourself and jump right to introducing the topic.

5. Outline the Main Content

Now for the meat of the episode. 🥩

Your episode outline could look different depending on if you're interviewing someone or not.

[READ: Nervous about doing your first podcast interview? Here are some best practices from the pros.]

Outline w/ a Guest

Your guest should be clear on what the main talking points are going to be. In fact, you should have established a simple outline together before you hit Record.

You want your guest to feel prepared, so make sure they know what questions you'll be asking.

The main content outline can be as simple as this:

  • Talking point #1
  • Talking point #2
  • Talking point #3

The thing with podcast interviews is that you don't want you or your guest to sound scripted. Podcasts perform better when they sound natural and authentic -- not like a sales pitch.

That being said, it's better to keep the episode outline simple. You can always edit out mistakes.

Solo Episode Outline

Outlining for a solo episode takes as many or as few details as you need.

You could have a simple outline that only includes the main points. Or, you could write out an entire script. It really depends on your style and preferences.

Keep in mind, though, your B2B podcast shouldn't sound too scripted. If you need to use a script, try to make it sound more conversational.

6. Write Your Outro

Time to wrap it up.

In the outro, you should summarize the main points of the interview (or solo episode). Tell the audience the things they can walk away with and apply to their own work.

The outro is also where you tell your audience where they can connect with you or your guest. It's good to write this out so you don't forget to mention any resources or social media handles.

Lastly, make sure to thank your guest for being on and tell listeners where they can hear more episodes.

A Podcast w/ a Plan...

... is a beautiful thing. 🌺

No, the planning of your podcast shouldn't hold you up so much that it doesn't even get launched. But, if you're going to spend time and money doing something, shouldn't it be a little calculated?

Giving your B2B podcast a structure based on your larger business goals makes the whole show's premise 1000x stronger. People will look forward to you releasing new episodes because they know they can count on meaningful content.

Don't discount your podcast's plan.

Need a podcast agency? Check out the 7 essential services every agency should offer.

For more B2B podcasting plays, subscribe to B2B Growth on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.