Cheat sheet – Start a Professional and Engaging Media Show With 7 Decisions

Boomer Elmsdale

Congratulations on making it through the media production planning module of Contentz’ courses!

You should have a fantastic vision, documented in a treatment document. You may have even added a competitive analysis section and target audience profile.

The next step is to create the show.  We have boiled this process down to 7 steps. Save this page so you can revisit the process and / or order services from Contentz vetted partners on Fiverr.

Define the theme of your media production.

The theme is similar if not identical to the summary section within your treatment document.  It should speak to the tone of the show and help a reader understand what to expect in terms of who, what, when, where and why.  Using a framing device to help people get the concept quickly is always great.  Here is an example: it is like Good Will Hunting meets the Daily Show. The theme is extremely important because it will help prepare guests, hosts and continue to define the way that you show is presented publicly in terms of messaging.

Who Will Host – self service or hire it out?

Who is going to host your show?  Obviously, this is a big part of things.  Think about this in detail, from both the obvious and less obvious ends of things.  For example, it is easy to think that you will host your own show. However, we recommend that you revisit this thinking and how many episodes you are planning to produce.  If you are the host, you must be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses.  Can you legitimately hold the attention of your target audience? If yes, great! If not, consider hosting with a professional host that can sit in and hold a conversation.  While you may be the subject expert on the matter, sometimes it results in more engaging content to have a host that doesn’t know tons about the topic, but where the host is great at engaging guests and helping them explain their position on things. Contentz maintains  a network of hosts that can jump in and host media productions on various topics.

Topics – series or topics, chicken or egg, guests or objectives

Plan 10 topics before you start production.  But note that one distracting aspect to Contentz media planning is that we have attached a process to a creative process. And, any creator knows that process doesn’t necessarily come before an idea.  Please note that topics work this way perhaps more than any other aspect of the show development process.  A great topic can attract a fantastic guest. Or, a fantastic guest can create the topic.  A series concept, where you plan a group of topics based on the idea of a series objective, could trump them all because it gives you the momentum to attract multiple guests versus one off.  Anyway, try to plan 10 topics before you launch.  This will help with momentum and you may see a pattern surfacing certain guests or even a series that appeals to engagement from partners.


Make a list of 5-10 potential guests before you launch. This process, coupled with the topic task above, will help you massage out the reality of the show. You may need to seek out different guest types if you can’t get engagement on your topics. Or vice versa – you may need to re-write topics. Another recommendation is to try random guests, who you have no connection with personally. While it is always good to seed initial guests with personal contacts whom we can trust, it is also invaluable to reach out anonymously and get real world feedback about what you are trying to do.  Leverage your treatment and summary data to help improve engagement. Once you have episodes up and running, then the episodes can speak for themselves, but that awkward time when you don’t have any content to point to can be less awkward if you present a professional treatment document for review.

Look / Feel

Create a logo for your show. You can visit fiverr and get a professional example for about $50. Add this to your treatment and now you look uber professional.  Take the logo, log onto Canva and create some social graphics as well. You can toy around with Canva to establish a social media kit, or different graphics that can be used to promote on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and more.  Canva is an awesome tool that is super inexpensive and makes you look professional. Have the look and feel ironed out before you release your first episodes. You will need these assets to promote the show before and after release.  Also, just in case you were wondering, sure – you can wing it and have a show that deliberately looks low budget.  Yeah – sometimes you see that, like on Borat or whatever, but it is limiting. Not everybody gets the joke and nobody is going to shame you for looking professional.


Take the data from your target audience worksheet earlier in this process.  Edit the summary and traits. Decide how you will engage potential viewers prior to release. Decide how you will engage potential viewers after launch. Write out a couple of bullets in the treatment plan and develop any assets (look/feel) above.  Free examples are email or publishing to your social profiles, or partner outreach to promote your show. Paid examples are Instagram advertising or pushing out a paid LinkedIn message.


Captain obvious here but you are going to want to establish an ongoing production schedule.


  • Monday: promo, editing
  • Tuesday: release, weekly production meeting
  • Wednesday: post show promo, interview for next episode
  • Thursday/Friday: guest outreach, pre production