No. 066 5 Steps for Conducting a Useful Podcast Archive Audit (in 30 Minutes or Less)

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By Rainmaker Digital LLC, Rainmaker.FM: The Digital Marketing, and Sales Network. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
No. 066 5 Steps for Conducting a Useful Podcast Archive Audit (in 30 Minutes or Less)

There are myriad good reasons why you might want to conduct an audit of your podcast archive. But content audits can be messy, complicated, even intimidating. They don’t have to be though — not if you follow these five steps to a useful podcast archive audit. (You should even get done in 30 minutes or less … )

Why would you want to conduct an audit of your podcast archive?

  • Maybe you’re looking to pay for Facebook or Twitter ads for your best episodes.
  • Maybe you’re looking to put together a “Top 10” episodes list.
  • Maybe you’re looking for content that can be repurposed into blog posts of lead magnets.
  • Or, maybe you just want to take inventory of what you have.
  • Whatever your purpose, if you follow the five steps outlined in this episode, you’ll create an audit asset that can pay big dividends … without the headaches usually associated with a content audit.

    Here are links to the slides and spreadsheet Jerod refers to during the episode:

    Listen, learn, enjoy …

    Listen to The Showrunner below ...

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    The Show Notes

    The Transcript

    No. 066 5 Steps for Conducting a Useful Podcast Archive Audit (in 30 Minutes or Less)

    Jerod Morris: This is Rainmaker.FM, the digital marketing podcast network. It’s built on the Rainmaker Platform, which empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales platform. Start your free 14-day trial at RainmakerPlatform.com.

    Welcome to The Showrunner, where we have one goal: teach you how to develop, launch, and run a remarkable show. Ready?

    Welcome back to The Showrunner. This is episode No. 66 of The Showrunner. I am your host Jerod Morris, VP of marketing for Rainmaker Digital. I am very, very excited to be welcoming back to the program this week my co-host–the host of Hack the Entrepreneur, bestselling author, connoisseur of coffee, eater of sandwiches, and so many other things, Jonny Nastor, who is back from his European vacation ready to impart some more podcasting and showrunning wisdom on all of us.

    Jonny, welcome back.

    Jonny Nastor: Thanks, man. That was a nice introduction back into the country.

    Jerod Morris: Dude, it was so weird last week. We obviously recorded several episodes ahead of time to plan ahead for this time that you were going to be gone, but we didn’t have one for last week. We reran an episode, and I had to come on here and do the intro by myself. It was very lonely without you here doing it.

    Jonny Nastor: I forgot you actually did that because it hasn’t come out yet. It comes out tomorrow. That’s why I was like, “You’re welcoming me back, but did you do any by yourself?” But you did. You did an intro by yourself.

    Jerod Morris: I did.

    Jonny Nastor: Cool.

    Jerod Morris: It’s good to have you back. I want to know–I’m sure that you had many experiences while you were gone–but what experience, anecdote, or moment stood out above all the others that you’re willing to share with us from your trip across the pond?

    Jonny Nastor: A lot of experiences. I went to a conference with 150 really smart, cool people, all entrepreneurs. I’m going to say half of them are fully digitally nomadic at this point, so they just travel the world endlessly. Crazy businesses and doing really crazy things. I was shocked by how many people admire podcasters who have shows that have even a few people listening to them.

    No matter what else people have going on, like literally just jet-setting around the world, working from a laptop at the beach, making lots of money, and just like, “I would really like to be able to do something meaningful and be able to help people through a podcast or something. How do I do that?” It was like, “Really?”

    It was weird. It was weird the first time I heard it, but then I heard it, I’m going to say, 15 more times over the weekend.

    Jerod Morris: Wow.

    Jonny Nastor: Yeah. At first I was just like, “Ah, you’re just saying that,” but it was like, “Wow. Lots of you are saying this.” It’s something that, obviously, hanging around people like you, hanging around with showrunners, I think we take it for granted what we have built for ourselves, what we get to do throughout our days, and the connection we get to have with our audience–no matter what size that audience is, as long as it’s more than, I’m going to say, 100 people.

    It’s a meaningful, really impressive thing that I think sometimes I know myself, I lose sight of. It really put a lot of things into perspective for me. It really is going to make me a lot better of a showrunner because I’ve stepped back and given it an outsider’s look at what I’ve built. And rather than trying to maybe build it into something bigger or different than it is, just try and make what it is right now better and become better, basically, just as a showrunner.

    Jerod Morris: Wow. That’s cool, man. That’s a good perspective, an essential perspective to get as you get further along as a showrunner to appreciate what you have. Like you said, really to understand that and then to help use that to drive you forward, double down on what’s worked, and make it even better. That’s very cool, man. Very, very cool.

    Are you ready to dive into a new episode and impart some new wisdom on our loyal, wonderful, motivated Showrunner listeners?

    Jonny Nastor: Absolutely.

    How to Take Your Showrunning to the Next Level

    Jerod Morris: All right. Let’s do it, but first before we do that real quick I do want to remind folks to go to Showrunner.FM because we want you to get on our email list. It’s not just that we want you to get on our email list. We want you to get all the value that you get when you join our email list. We know that you’re listening to The Showrunner so that you can build a remarkable podcast, which will then help you build a remarkable podcast audience.

    There are so many things that you can do with a remarkable podcast audience. To do that, you need to deliver a remarkable experience. That’s what we try and teach you to do here on The Showrunner podcast. It’s what we take to the next level when you join the email list.

    When you get on the email list, you actually start receiving our free content series, The Four Essential Elements of a Remarkable Podcast. Plus, you’re going to get useful information about the course when we reopen it, about our mini courses when they come out, and our weekly newsletter that doesn’t just include a link to our latest episode, but also includes announcements of events that we have.

    We have public Q&As where you can come and get your questions answered. We have a ‘we highly recommend’ section that includes articles, tips, and techniques that will help make you a better showrunner. All of this just in exchange for an email address because we want to stay in touch with you. We want to be able to continue to give you additional information and insight on how to deliver a remarkable podcast experience.

    To get all that, go to Showrunner.FM, just add your email list, click the button that says ‘join now,’ and you will have declared yourself a showrunner and a part of our community. We appreciate that, and we take it seriously. We will give you value every week. How does that sound?

    Jonny Nastor: That sounds great to me. I’m going right now to join.

    Jerod Morris: Are you in?

    Jonny Nastor: I’m in. You’ve got me.

    Jerod Morris: Join the list, Jonny. Join the list. All right. Let’s hop into today’s main topic.

    Jonny Nastor: Let’s do it.

    Audio Gaffes in Action (and How to Handle Them with Guests)

    Jerod Morris: Hey. By the way, quick aside, you’re coming in a little hot.

    Jonny Nastor: So are you.

    Jerod Morris: Oh really?

    Jonny Nastor: Weird. I was going to say that, but I was like, “Maybe it’s my headphones are a bit weird,” because all of a sudden you sound slightly distorted during your call to action.

    Jerod Morris: Really? That’s strange.

    Jonny Nastor: Yeah. That is. You still do, but I don’t know if it’s my headphones. I don’t know. You didn’t sound like it before.

    Jerod Morris: Oh. Yeah, you kind of came in hot during the whole thing. I didn’t want to interrupt you.

    Jonny Nastor: Yeah, I didn’t want to interrupt you either, but I am showing red. I’m showing red on my mixer now.

    Jerod Morris: Are you? Test, test. Jerod Morris.

    Jonny Nastor: Oh, probably because we switched over from Zencastr. Hey, hey, hey, hey, so I’m not red on Call Recorder anymore. This should be decent.

    Jerod Morris: Okay. And I sound okay?

    Jonny Nastor: You’re peaking out my output on Call Recorder.

    Jerod Morris: Am I? See on mine, it’s just green on my input.

    Jonny Nastor: Now you went super yellow. You missed the red that time.

    Jerod Morris: What in the world is going on here?

    Jonny Nastor: Yeah, you’re red, but that’s cool. It could be my headphones, too. They’re really kind of

    Jerod Morris: Test, test, one, two, three. How’s that? Is that any better?

    Jonny Nastor: You sound great now, yep.

    Jerod Morris: All right. Toby, we apologize in advance if what we just recorded is not usable.

    Jonny Nastor: I’m not even going to say “cut it out” because every time I say, “Cut this out please, Toby,” you never do.

    Jerod Morris: Yeah.

    Jonny Nastor: So please leave it in for me.

    Jerod Morris: But take this part out, this little aside, take this out after that call to action. We don’t want this in there.

    Jonny Nastor: Actually, now that we’re here, that’s a great time when you left my ‘oh crap in’ and then put that record scratch, that was pretty awesome, I have to say.

    Jerod Morris: Okay. Let me ask you this. Again, what do you do if you have a guest? It’s easy for us to interrupt each other when we have an issue like this that happens, and we feel like we’re coming in hot or something happens. What do you do with a guest? How long will you let that go on? Should I have interrupted you right away?

    Jonny Nastor: No, I don’t think so. There’s a lot that can be done in post unless it’s a complete mess. You know what I mean? You can bring the level down a bit. Unless it’s like (static sounds), then it’s like, “Well, dude. I can’t hear you,” but to me, I don’t think it’s necessary because lots can be done after. To me, it’s more important to not make the person try and repeat what they just said.

    Jerod Morris: Yeah, I agree. Okay, good, because that’s why I didn’t interrupt you.

    Jonny Nastor: That’s why I didn’t interrupt you.

    Jerod Morris: I figured we’d just do it in the break. Here we are. All right, fine, Toby, if you want to leave this in, whatever.

    Jonny Nastor: This is a whole other episode at this point.

    Jerod Morris: Whatever, just leave it in as a little aside. Maybe with some music introing and outroing. Anyway, if Toby did leave this in, now we’re heading into the main topic. Are you ready?

    Jonny Nastor: Ready.

    Jerod Morris: Let’s do this.

    How Today’s Episode Came About

    Jerod Morris: All right. Jonny, one of the projects I’ve been working on over at Digital Commerce Academy is a course teaching folks about paid advertising. It’s called Savvy Social Advertising. The big idea is to try and teach people the 20 percent about paid advertising that you need to know to get to 80 percent of the results.

    There’s so much minutia and so many details to learn. It can get really complicated, but as showrunners, we don’t always want to deal with every single little detail. We want to be able to do a few things that will get us big results. That’s my goal for that course.

    One of the lessons that I decided to do was about a content audit. Anybody who has a big archive, whenever you’re thinking about repurposing, when you’re thinking about bringing content out that you can advertise to, pay for traffic to, or even just if you’re thinking about creating a mini course or creating an ebook, whatever, you want to go back, look at all the content you have, pick out the best stuff, and then use that again.

    So this idea of a content audit comes up, and it can seem very intimidating. It can seem very time consuming. It’s one of those things that I think sometimes we push off, we push off, and we procrastinate doing. But once we do it and once we get organized with the content we have, there’s so many benefits that come from it.

    My goal with this lesson that I was doing is I wanted to teach folks a really simple process that would allow you to go through your content, do a content audit in 30 minutes or less. That was my goal. As I sat down to do it, I was trying to figure out, “Okay, which project that I’m currently working on could I use as an example for my slides?”

    I thought, “Oh, The Showrunner. We’ve got 60 something episodes already, a bunch of bonus episodes. We’ve got a lot of content. We have over a year’s worth of data when it comes to traffic, downloads, and all of that. Let me do The Showrunner. I’ll do a content audit for us because eventually we’re going to start running some paid ads to episodes.” We may want to turn an episode that worked really well into a lead magnet. There’s a lot of different things that we can do. So I decided to do this.

    When you and I talked early this morning about what topic we should do for our episode, I thought, “Well, let’s talk about this,” because whether or not you listening–you the showrunner right now–whether or not you are thinking about doing paid advertising for your podcast, there’s still a lot of different reasons why you would do a content audit, kind of like all of the reasons that I already talked about.

    Jonny, you’ve gone through this recently because you put out your top 10 episodes of Hack the Entrepreneur. My guess is that you had to do something similar when you did this. We’re going to walk through some of these steps right now, but I’m guessing you had to go through, audit your content, figure out which episodes were the most deserving of being in that top 10 list.

    I figured with the steps that I outlined, with the experience that you have doing this in a real-life example that showrunners will be able to relate with, we can provide some good insight that folks can walk away with and hopefully do a content audit of their own.

    Jonny Nastor: I like it. It’s going to be fun.

    Jerod Morris: Yes. Just so you know, the slides that I use inside of Digital Commerce Academy, I’m going to put these in the show notes. As I walk through here, there are some slides attached with this. There’s some screenshots, and the actual Google Doc–which I haven’t even shown to you yet, by the way. I guess I should show you that since I actually did some work on this. The actual Google Doc will be there, and there are screen shots of it in the slides. You can kind of follow along.

    If you’re listening right now, go to Showrunner.FM. You’ll find our page, and just find this episode, episode 66. You’ll be able to get that. Okay. Let’s walk through these five steps. They’re really, really simple, but when you see them laid out like this and you realize how simple this process is, you’ll be more encouraged and more motivated to go do this. That’s the whole idea of this.

    Step 1: Prepare Data Sources

    Jerod Morris: Step number one is just get your data sources together, and keep it simple. Don’t over do it. The two data sources that I used when I was looking at The Showrunner were, number one, Google Analytics so that I could track actual traffic to the episode pages and then, of course, my podcast reports inside of Rainmaker.FM.

    Rainmaker.FM uses the Rainmaker Platform. The Rainmaker Platform provides really detailed and easy-to-organize podcast reports that show downloads, the number of on-page plays, how far into an episode people listen to on the page. I just got those two data sources together–had my windows open, chose some relevant data ranges, and I’m good to go.

    There’s a lot of other sources you could do if you want to track maybe social media engagement, if you want to do some different things. Again, the problem with these content audits is people get intimidated by the amount of data, the amount of time, so keep it simple. For me, just those two if you only want to use one, if you just want to use your downloads report, that would be okay, too.

    I wanted to use Google Analytics because we’ve had enough activity and traffic to these pages that I knew that it would be relevant. I got those two data sources together.

    Step 2: Look for Outliers

    Jerod Morris: Then what you want to do is start going through and look for outliers. Choose whatever time frame you think is relevant. As I was doing this, I just chose from January 1st of this year until now to begin my search for the best content that we should do more with.

    I started looking for, “Okay, which episodes have the most traffic? Which episodes have the most time on page?” Because you would think if an episode has a higher time on page, people are probably there engaging longer, listening longer. You can look at which ones have more engagement, which ones have more social shares, which ones have more comments, if you get enough activity on your episode pages to do that.

    Then, of course, you can look at which ones have more downloads and which ones have more listens. You’re looking, again, for the outliers. What is this going to tell you? It’s going to tell you the topics that resonate most with your audiences. It’s going to tell you the headlines that draw the most attention.

    That is what you’re looking for because, if you’re looking to repurpose content, you’re looking to get the most bang for the buck, the most return on the investment of time and doing this. Rather than trying to guess, go look at what’s already happened with this content.

    For example, I saw a lot of activity on some of the recent episodes that we had done on interviews. Jonny and I, we did Jonny’s three-episode mini course on interviews–how to book, how to plan, how to execute engaging podcast interviews. These all had a lot of traffic. They all had a lot of downloads and listens. When you look at the Google Doc where I’m planning this out, those are right up there at the top. They were the easiest ones to do.

    You may say, “Well, that’s because those are the most recent.” Well, it’s not just because those are the most recent because there are other ones from four months ago, five months ago that also popped up, had a lot of traffic, had a lot of downloads and listens. Those went on there as well. One of those was How to Choose What to Podcast About.

    When you see a lot of activity on that, you know that’s a topic that resonates with your audience. “Okay. Let me make note of that, put that in my document.” As you go through this, whether it’s a Google Doc, whether it’s an Excel spreadsheet, an Evernote document, whatever it is, make note. Make note of the title. Add the URL so that you have it for quick access. Then have some notes on why.

    Put, “Well, it has the most traffic since January 1st,” or, “This one has the most downloads and listens.” Whatever it is, start keeping track. Step one is get your data sources together. Step two is to look for outliers, and you’re keeping track as you go.

    How Jonny Got Started with His Top 10 Hacks Proejct

    Jerod Morris: Jonny, I want to give you a chance here to hop in. When you went through and started looking at episodes that you were going to do for your top 10, how did you start? Again, that was just another archive auditing project–how did you get started with that project?

    Jonny Nastor: Right. I was going to mention this, but then the way you’ve explained now the first two steps is different in the fact that I knew what I was trying to create. I like the way you’re doing it. Get two data sources, and now look for outliers. The way you’re doing it is you don’t have to necessarily even know what it is you’re looking for.

    I was looking for the top 10 episodes. I like this because things are going to jump out that you’re like, “Wow. I had no idea actually that how to choose a podcast topic was going to stand out.” That’s kind of like, “Wow. Maybe I should actually create more content around that,” which is also interesting. I knew definitely what I was looking for, but I also knew that I didn’t want just the most trafficked or most downloaded 10 episodes.

    I wanted the top five that were absolutely the top five, and then I wanted the top five most popular episodes for ‘unknown people’–people that weren’t the Seth Godins and the Brian Clarks. I didn’t want it to just be like, “Well, that’s obviously your top 10. It’s all those people. I’ve heard of every single one of them.” I like that people are like, “Oh, I haven’t heard of half these people,” but they’re super excellent.

    Some of them actually did make it into the full-on top 10, which is interesting, too, but I went in with a definite what I was looking for. I knew what the data was that I wanted to see. Social sort of played into it, but didn’t. It was really download numbers, and then from that full list of 10, I needed to get rid of four of them and then add four people. I just went further down. I typically just used Libsyn. I didn’t use Google Analytics or anything by it.

    I’ve had a few episodes where, socially, they’ve had a huge amount of shares, but actually not a lot of listens because the person might have had a massive following on LinkedIn or Facebook, or else they paid traffic. I’m not even sure what they did necessarily, but it was flooded with traffic at times. It was like, “Wow. That’s crazy!” but, “Wow, nobody listened!” It was not valuable traffic. I couldn’t let you into my top 10 because of that.

    I had to feel through and be like, “Okay, I know this is the data I want.” But I really like how, if you didn’t know you wanted a top 10, you could start with your data and then look for outliers. Then, you’d be like, “Oh, actually I should create more episodes about this,” or, “I should create a mini course about this.” It can give you ideas.

    Any listener out there, this is how to get started really, is to take these five steps rather than waiting for that first step that I had, which was, “I know what I want. Now where do I find it?”

    Jerod Morris: Yeah. I’m glad you brought that distinction out because, once I get to the conclusions, it did bring up a lot of ideas that I never really thought about. Sometimes you forget about episodes that you’ve had. You look it now, and you’re like, “Oh, well, now I know a new skill or technique that I can use that will help with this episode.” I’ll get to that here in just a second.

    But this idea of outliers, traffics, and downloads, it’s just the first step. It just gives you, “Okay. Here are the ones that really I don’t know if they connected with an audience, but people definitely saw them.” There is a reason for that, so you want to put that down. You’re not saying that you’re definitely going to do anything with these, but you’re putting it down. Then you continue. You’re looking for patterns. You’re looking for episodes that are going to show up in multiple areas that we’re looking at.

    Step 3: Look for Trends and Audiences

    Jerod Morris: Step three, you go a little bit more in-depth. You start looking for trends and audiences. Let’s deal with the first one first.

    Trends

    Jerod Morris: Looking at trends, you want to look for topics that attract attention. I mentioned how I kept seeing all of our episodes about podcast interviews. Those kept popping up. And, Jonny, it wasn’t just episodes 56, 58, and 60, the mini course episodes. As I looked back further into the archive, episode 6 that we did, Podcast Interview Best Practices From a Guy Who Publishes 3 Times a Week, that one had big numbers.

    Episode 12, Best Practices for Recording Interview Guests and Co-hosts, that one had big numbers. Consistently, episodes that we’ve done that have ‘interview’ in the title or something or about interviews, those get a lot of traffic–which means people are attracted to this. They’re searching for it. They’re clicking on it when it comes up in their feed. Clearly our audience wants more information on interviews.

    That’s great for us because we’re doing that mini course on interviews. That really helps, but now I have these five episodes listed out here on this spreadsheet so that we can use them moving forward. Maybe in a strategic way because there’s a lot of different ways that we can use them. That’s one topic that attracted attention.

    Another thing to look for is headline formats that seem to work. Again, if an episode is getting a lot of downloads, if an episode is getting a lot of traffic, obviously it’s driving a lot of attraction. If you’re seeing a lot of that and you’re seeing some headline patterns pop up, take note of those. For us, in addition to having ‘interviews’ in the headline that was one. The other one that was clear was numbers in headlines.

    All of our episodes that have numbers and headlines did well–13 Steps to a Better Show in 2016, The 3 Elements You Must Have Ready at Launch, 9 Lessons Learned Publishing a Book from a Podcast–and there are others. Those all did really well, so I made note of all those. Not necessarily just because we might rerun them or we might repurpose it as a blog post, but those also will make great lead magnets if you think about it.

    Think about how compelling the call to action would be to say, “Hey, go to Showrunner.FM, sign up for our newsletter, and you will get our ebook or our PDF, The 3 Elements you Must Have Ready at Launch.” To create that, all we have to do is repurpose that content from that episode. Make not of those because those can all turn into really good lead magnet types.

    Audiences

    Jerod Morris: Okay. In this look for trends and audiences, we’ve got topics that attract attention, headline formats. Then this one is really important, especially if you are considering doing any type of paid advertising to your show–which anymore, I think folks should really consider–look for audiences that can be targeted, especially if the episode has come up in any of these previous steps.

    One for us is episode No. 46, 7 Mindset-Altering Lessons From a Recent Gary Vaynerchuk Keynote. Now that episode had a lot of traffic, a lot of downloads. It’s a headline format that we know works. It’s surfacing really high in all of these metrics, and when you get into doing paid ads, like on Facebook or on Twitter, you can actually target people who are interested in big names.

    Gary Vaynerchuk is a big enough name that there is a Facebook interest that you can target for people who are interested in Gary Vaynerchuk. Or you can target his followers on Twitter with your episode. Brian Clark did this. I think we’ve mentioned it on this show before, but if not, Brian Clark did this with an episode of Unemployable when he had Henry Rollins on.

    He targeted people interested in Henry Rollins who also were browsing Facebook on an iPhone, used the iTunes link to Unemployable, and advertised to it. It drove huge traffic, got him a ton of subscribers, bumped him up into the top 10. It was really, really smart and savvy. So you want to look in your archive and say, “Okay, have I done interviews with big names? Or on some kind of big topic where I can target people interested in this topic?” Make a note of it.

    I’m not saying you’re going to do the paid ad tomorrow. But when you want to go back and you’re looking, “Okay, what are my next steps?” that might be one that could give you a good return on the investment of time and money that you might do, so make note of it. Then don’t forget about the past.

    I’ve kind of started to mention here that I started to go further back into the archive. For example, our first episode, Why Right Now Is the Perfect Time to Start Your Podcast, that episode still has the most traffic that we’ve ever had–and had a lot of engagement on it. I want to make note of that.

    Don’t forget to look deep into your archive because well probably your better stuff is coming later as you’ve gotten better as a showrunner, there may be some gems back there early. Don’t overlook the importance of that.

    Step 4: Look for Excellence

    Jerod Morris: We’ve got get your data sources together. Look for outliers. Look for trends and audiences. The fourth step, which goes along with that last one, is look for excellence.

    It’s not always going to be evident what your best content is just from the traffic, just from the download numbers, just from patterns of headlines. You might have a brilliant episode that just doesn’t have a lot of traffic on it. It may not be obvious from the numbers. It may not be recent. It may even need to be repackaged, and that might be why it’s not showing up.

    For example, our episode No. 52, the current headline on it is How Jerod Grew Revenue By 1200% and Doubled Subscribers to The Assembly Call. We’ve gotten a lot of comments on this episode being really helpful and being a really good cast study, but it doesn’t have a lot to attention. Part of the reason for that is because the headline just isn’t that compelling or it could be better.

    That’s one of those when you look at it you say, “Man, that was a good episode. It had some really good stuff in it.” Make note that, “Hey, maybe it needs a new headline. Maybe it needs something new to get people to that episode who can really use it.”

    Again, you’re taking all these parts and pieces. You’re not judging anything right now. You’re putting them on a spreadsheet. You’re making your comments. You’re keeping track of the URLs. You’re whittling down your archive from whatever it is to maybe 20 to 25 percent of the episodes that you’ve put on the spreadsheet. The best of the best. They fit some of this criteria. Only then will you start actually looking, “Okay, what shall I do with this stuff next?”

    While you go through this process just put it on the spreadsheet. Get it there, so you have some clay to work with, something to mold. These steps of looking for outliers, looking for trends and audiences, looking for excellence, they will guide your decision-making as you go through this process to just put things on the spreadsheet and then you can go on to the next step, which is step five.

    The Scientific Approach (and Why It’s Beneficial) to Your Content Audit, According to Jonny

    Jerod Morris: Before we get there though, Jonny, do you have any other tips, advice, strategies, that as people comb through their data sources, comb through their archive and look, that they can use to pick out the really good episodes that they might want to do something with in the future?

    Jonny Nastor: You’re covering it really well. I like the idea of looking for excellence. That does happen a lot where a few people will listen to it–and you’ll get great feedback from it–but there’s something wrong with either the headline or the artwork, or something that is not allowing it to get to enough people. Obviously, you have to be weary of the fact that we’re not always the best judge of our best content because of the fact that we may think it was awesome but if we didn’t actually get that feedback.

    You do have to worry about that, but also the idea of keeping a spreadsheet, which is something I’m really bad at, as you’re going through, having the title, the URL, and why it’s on this sheet now, and maybe taking the scientific approach where all the data you’re trying to gather–all the trends, audiences, and excellence you’re looking for, all those things–you’re really trying to almost disprove whatever it is.

    As much as we want to go into this and not think we have an idea of what we’re looking for or what we’re going to find, we still do have these biases, obviously, heading into it. The more we can try and remove that and really look with an open mind … that was something I struggled with, with the top 10, obviously. It was just not wanting to just find the Seth Godins. It’s a fun interview and all that stuff, but I didn’t want to just do that.

    Those were my biases where I almost felt like, “I could just sit down right now, without even looking at anything, I could just write out the top 10, and then just run with it.” But I didn’t think that, that would do my audience justice. I like that you’re saying the data. I can’t remember what the exact term is how scientists approach it, but it is always trying to disprove the hypothesis you went into this process with.

    Rather than trying to reaffirm your bias towards what you think is your best, try and really put that data in. I think that using a spreadsheet, like you said–which is something I’m terrible at doing, but I need to get better at–is a great idea, just keep putting it in and not necessarily looking back at it yet. Just putting it in, putting it in, putting it in, and then, when we get to the step of, “Now let’s take a look,” it’s like, “Oh, wow.” There’s completely different things that you weren’t expecting.

    To me, that’s the one really big thing I’ve gotten out of this right now, which is cool–taking that and just trying to really be open to whatever it is you can find. Then from that, take a sort of positive or educated step into what you can promote next.

    Jerod Morris: Well good. That’s part of the mindset that I want people to walk away from this from. Again, this is not about executing the content archive that will change the future of your podcast forever. There’s a lot of pressure on that activity. This is just a five-step process for auditing your archive in 30 minutes or less. That’s it.

    You’re not going into it expecting some great change. You may not even be going into it expecting, “I’m going to come out with a top 10.” You’re not prejudging the outcome. You’re just saying, “Hey, let me go through, look at some data, get a spreadsheet together. Let’s just put some episodes out here. Hopefully some trends develop. Hopefully I can find some patterns. Once I get to the end of it, then I’ll look at it and see, ‘okay, what can be kind of a high-level strategy that I can use with this information now?'”

    Step 5: Prepare High-Level Strategy

    Jerod Morris: We’ve gone through our four steps. That’s the fifth step–simply prepare a high-level strategy. The key here is keep it simple. Don’t over complicate it. You can see, I have 16 episodes listed on this spreadsheet, and I could start getting real complicated with everything that I want to do with every episode. Pretty soon you can get overwhelmed.

    You think, “Man, this is a year’s worth of work, and I don’t have time.” Stop. As soon as those thoughts start to enter your head during this process, which they almost always do during any type of content audit, just stop. Take a step back. That’s not the goal here. Keep it simple. Make it actionable.

    As you start listing out your conclusions and what you want to do, make them actionable so that this spreadsheet doesn’t just sit here. There’s actually actions that you take from it. Then think about leveraging existing content. Again, make it as easy on yourself as possible.

    If there’s something that you’ve already created or that you’re in the process of creating and you find something in this content audit that will lead really nicely into that, well, then that’s probably one of the things that you want to go to first. I’ve got an example of that here in a second.

    Then, finally, there should be meat left on the bone. As you’re going to hear, I had three takeaways from this, three really simple actionable takeaways, Jonny, that we can start working on, that leverage stuff that we’ve already done. Then there’s a wh

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