Design The Perfect Podcast In ⏰ 5 Minutes

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The 5 Minute Podcast Plan by @TeacherToolkit


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

Are you an educator who listens to podcasts, or someone who wants to start your own?

Remember school radio? Podcasts have been around for 15 years, and with increased access to technology, makes it faster and easier to host your own. Perhaps it’s time to get your voice heard and meet other educators online?

How To Organise A Good Podcast

I thought it would be interesting to share how I have reached my third podcast anniversary – 100 interviews! Here I share some of my highlights and those thought processes I go through when curating a podcast channel, identifying interesting people to have conversations with.

In this blog, learn my stage by stage thought process, with this embedded into the podcast template. Do click through on the image to download a blank copy, and scroll to the footer to find who features in my top-7 shows.

The Big Picture?

Before you start your own podcast, it is worth thinking about a name, a focus, whether it’s just you or with another co-host and why people should listen to your podcast? It is also important to think about how it will help others..

Technical Specifications?

This is quite important to consider before committing, because you need to have a good understanding of podcast recording software, how you will record, edit and upload the audio, and if you have time to do so. Think where your podcast will be hosted at the same time, what information you need to share with the people that you are interviewing so they know how to prepare.


Always keep the audience in mind. Teachers are busy people, so bite-size information that is pragmatic and well informed. Think about your journey to work and your ability to pay attention; I work hard to keep my podcasts to 20 minutes!

Star Of The Show?

Use the opportunity to connect with people that are outside your comfort zone. Seek to interview a range of voices who you can learn from, as well as others. I have found this the most rewarding aspect of hosting a podcast. You never know, you may get to talk with some celebrities!

Show Length?

Keep the overall length of your podcast in mind, consider jingles and keep an eye on the clock. Keep the conversation moving. A good interviewer not only keeps an eye on the time but also listens carefully and steers the conversation.

Podcast Questions?

Have these pre-planned. Five or so key questions you always ask in your podcast, perhaps something quirky or anything that may catch them off guard and offer new insight, and definitely share questions in advance with the person you are working with…

Winning Extras?

How can you enhance the audio recording? Could you also video it at the same time, maybe livestream?!

Social Capital?

Think about any long-term objectives. E.g. How you can work with others? Who would your guest recommend you podcast next? How you can share the published recording across social media?


Stickability (the yellow post-it note) features on all of my plans. What is the key message and what can the listener takeaway? Keep this as the main thing!


Finally, think about promotion. Is the person given the time they need to be heard? How can you return the favour and share your work together through regular promotion? Make sure that you promote them as best you can, and ask them for a professional photograph before publishing.

The 5 Minute Podcast Plan by @TeacherToolkit

Download this resource to access The 5 Minute Podcast Plan blank template.

My Podcast Story

In my life as a teacher blogger, I have been taking part in podcasts for the past five years. In January 2018, I published my first podcast on this site with the current Attorney General, Suella Braverman MP (former chair of governors for Michaela Community School).

My podcast focus always meets my needs first: education policy and its influence on teachers.

Favourite 7 Podcasts

I won’t list every single episode here, but let me just share some of my favourites.

Podcast 98: Teaching, Being A Muslim, Fashion and Television with Mehreen Baig. What I love about this conversation, is that Mehreen, a former teacher now working in television, explains the difficulties that pupils face as well as the challenges of being a Muslim woman. I loved her energy, contributions and she was great fun to talk with!

Podcast 94: Teaching Knowledge, Skills and Cultural Literacy with E. D. Hirsch.  This was a fascinating conversation with academic, Don Hirsch,  synonymous for cultural literacy and knowledge-rich aspects of the curriculum. I once was a sceptic, but with a deeper understanding of cognitive science and how we learn, coupled with a deeper understanding of how we acquire knowledge, this conversation will definitely influence you. I am particularly fond of the sentence Don shared with me: Make your classroom a speech community –  don’t leave it to chance –  because pupils may develop the wrong schema!

Podcast 87: What Can We Do To Improve Safety Online? with Dr Mary Aiken. Part of my doctoral research is allowing me to explore the deeper world of social media, digital cyberpsychology and the impact on social media across the world. This is a fascinating discussion and builds upon excellent research from Mary: The Cyber Effect.

Podcast 81: Working with Society’s Most Vulnerable Children with Prof Barry Carpenter CBE.  Barry is one of the few people I have had on my podcast twice. He has done incredible work to transform the education community across England, and some of his insights need to be heard.

Podcast 73: How Can Teachers Create A Cult of Pedagogy? with Jennifer Gonzalez. One of my all-time blogger crushes – to coin the phrase from Jenn who wants ‘teachers to crush it in the classroom‘ – Gonzalez’s blog is the American equivalent of mine, although her podcasts are enormously popular with over 35,000 downloads per month! Jenn’s passion is to make the classroom an easier place for teachers, and that gets my vote every time!

Podcast 58: Why Do We Ostracize Some Pupils? with Shaun Dellenty. Former headteacher, Shaun shares his amazing story and brings a tear to my eye! Enough said…

Podcast 44: Is Education Representative of Diversity? with Darren Chetty. Well, the answer quite frankly is no! Interviewing educators from Black, Asian and ethnic minorities have helped me to understand why we all need to be anti-racist, as well as seek to reform current systems in our establishments to help foster diversity.

There a lot more things that I can do, particularly from the technical side, as well as cross-sharing my own podcast on other platforms. I hope this will give a starting point to host your own.

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