Podcasting: Cost of Materials & ROI

How can you calculate an ROI, without knowing the cost of production? 

Content creators all around the world…successful content creators all around the world know one thing that consumers don’t: there’s a lot of sweat that goes into every post, podcast, or video. Just the challenge of being consistent is enough to stifle most newbs. Quality is the real killer here though. 


Instead of going on a rant – let’s just start calculating the sweat equity per episode and how we can improve our ROI. 

Preproduction Time: What did you do to prepare for this episode? Did you research your guest, book your guest, schedule a meeting, research a topic, write your script, write your outline, or at least write down a title? 

Production Time: How long did it take you to setup the microphone, setup the recording software, record your RAW tape, and prepare it for post-production?

Post-Production Time:  If your goal is a tight, well produced and edited podcast, you can plan on spending upwards of 8 hours per half hour show. This is to ensure that when you hit publish your show is well-paced, sounds perfect, and you’ll have no regrets about what you left in the episode.

To save time during PreProduction, create a template. Start by drawing a storyline – a literal line. No matter what the line looks like, it should end higher than it starts (with maybe one exception to that rule). This line is to represent how the show is to feel to the listener, be that more exciting, more informed, or whatever. A lot of great shows start with a bang, drop it down a touch, and climb to the end. A final conclusion might be a bit of a taper on the line. Create your script, or line of questioning to follow this line. It takes practice.

Saving time in Production, create a recording template. Record in the same place, with the same microphone, with the same settings, in a well-designed template, that gives you consistency. Following a recording a format saves a lot of time as well.

If you record in a linear format follow the rule of 3. Give yourself 3 takes per intro, or conclusion. If you don’t get what you want in those three takes, come back in a bit. This is much better than spending an hour trying to record one line. 

The quickest way to save time in Post-Production is to… have a template! If you are able to drag specific speaking elements into a session that has your music, soundFX, processing settings, and all of your other audio goodies in one place, you’re saving a ton of time. As well, consider what you could’ve done to better prepare a shorter recording of RAW. Why would I record 75 minutes of audio to produce a 15 minute episode?

On that last note, considering ROI…do NOT publish a 75 minute episode every week if your listeners are only listening to 15 minutes. You should check out your apple podcast connect stats to better understand your listener Play-Thru rate. This could save you sooooo much time (and money if you’re using an editor) if you are intentional….I hate that word, let’s tell it how it is…. if you’re NOT Lazy! 

There is no benefit to a longer show, if the last half is never heard. Consider getting paid $20/1000 impressions with a pre-roll advertisement. What’s a better ROI… A 1-minute podcast or a 3-hour podcast? If you’re “not doing this for the money” then ask yourself, “Can I put in 15-20 hours per episode on an epic interview for every show?” 

Podcasting is much harder than clicking a little red circle, and then pressing publish. Good podcasting is much more difficult. Great podcasting takes time, energy and attention to detail.