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Mindjet Dashboard Series: Plan, Produce, and Track Your Podcasts with MindManager (PART II)

Project planning of any kind can be a struggle filled with changing deadlines, multiple versions of outlines, and plenty of questions that get buried instead of answered. Our MindManager mind mapping software takes the pain out of project management, whether you’re planning something more traditional like a blog schedule, or something a little more challenging, like a live Q&A. In part 2 of his latest post, mind mapping expert Roger C. Parker shares more tips on using Mindjet MindManager to plan podcast interviews.

If you haven’t had the opportunity, click here to read Part 1 of this article. You can also download the full MindManager Podcast Planner template here.

Universal Podcast Planning Template

In case you’re not using interviews as the basis of your podcasts, I’ve extracted the key ideas from my universal podcasting template based on a simple 3-act structure. I got the idea for the Marketing Map Template that Carmine Gallo described in his bestselling Talk Like Ted: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds.

The 3-act structure process, which Steve Jobs popularized, has strong historical precedents, including Shakespeare’s plays.

You can learn more about Carmine’s structure in my previous article, Mindjet Dashboard Series: Power of Three Presentation Planner.

Sharing Interview Questions with Your Guests

When using my Podcast Planner template for preparing interview questions, I encourage you to personalize the mind map containing the interview questions by inserting the guest’s photograph, and/or their book cover, in the center topic of the mind map before sending them a PDF of the questions. This increases their engagement with your interview, and projects a favorable impression.

The short amount of time it takes to create a personalized graphic for the center topic can also be justified by using the graphic to promote the upcoming interview. You can also reuse the graphic later, when you post the recording.

Lists vs. Mind Maps

If you’re currently using a word processor to prepare questions, or topics, for podcasts, you’ll find the ability of a mind map to display a “big picture” view of each podcast much more useful.

Knowing that I have to leave time at the end for questions and a closing segment, for example, helps me avoid placing too much emphasis on one topic.

Producing Your Podcasts

I present directly from my Podcast Planner MindManager file during my podcasts. The ability to collapse all but the segment I’m addressing focuses my attention where it needs to be focused – on the current topic.

During the call, I carefully keep track of time as each segment processes. I don’t feel compelled to ask every question I’ve prepared.

More important, I use the MindManager mind map to add notes during the interview. These notes don’t have to be elaborate, just a keyword or two to remind me to pay specific attention to the recording (or transcription) later. I can also refer to these notes or brief quotes after the call when I use social media to immediately thank the guest after the call.

As a precaution, however, I always print out the questions associated with each mind map, in case of a last-minute computer problem or power outage.

Podcast Planner Ideas and Tips

Here are some additional ideas and tips for using your Mindjet Podcast planner:

  • Floating topic. Enter the event details in the floating topic, including any usernames, event IDs, or passwords your guest needs in order to enter the conference. Often, login information sent in an email gets separated from the mind map. Reminding guests to log-in using the correct password and username is very important. It permits you to temporarily mute other callers while you and your guest continue talking. Otherwise, your call may be ruined by inconsiderate callers talking to co-workers, dealing with barking dogs or crying babies, or vacuuming during your call.
  • Center topic. Start by replacing the “Podcast Planner Template” with the date and topic of the podcast, or the name of the guest. I find it helpful to create separate subfolders for each podcast within my Podcasts folder. This allows me to keep track of the questions mind map, the press release, and promotional copy, as well as the audio file produced during the podcast.
  • Experiment. Consider sharing the questions you’ve prepared for your podcast interviews with attendees, perhaps using the questions as a registration incentive. You can also post the Podcast Planner mind map online at sites like or Maps for That, where they can be viewed or downloaded for others to take notes while listening to the recording.
  • Attendee questions. During the interview, you can use the Podcast Planner to keep track of questions asked by attendees (and, if possible, who asked the questions). Their questions might alert you to future topics to blog about, as well as help you identify your most engaged attendees.
  • Keeping track of podcast topics and files. For ideas and a MindManager template you can adapt for keeping track of your podcasts, see my Content Marketing Institute article, How to Organize Your Blog Contents with a 3-Step Tracker.

Podcast Preparation is Everything!

Using my MindManager Podcast Planner template pays off in more than just time saved and consistent podcasts.

Once, for example, my scheduled guest failed to show up because of unavoidable air travel delays. There were a lot of people attending the call, and I didn’t want to cancel the podcast. Having already prepared the questions, however, I was able to continue the podcast and address the various points I had researched while creating the questions.

I’ve found that even if I don’t ask every question on the Podcast Planner, having a lot of prepared questions allows me to select the best, depending on how the call has gone so far, and how much time remains.

How do you plan and track your podcasts? Do you think my Podcast Planner template can make an important contribution to your podcasting success? Share your questions and concerns in the comments section, below.

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