Podcasting is a time consuming effort, which is why many podcasts fall victim to the dreaded podfade1. It can sometimes feel like you need a herculean effort to get it all done. Come up with topics, find and book guests, coordinate schedules, do the tech checks, record, post production, then publishing and promoting. That’s why putting a process in place and moving things off of your plate is a must. Here are 4 tasks you can take off your plate thanks to automation.
Using a Scheduling Link
I’m going to mention this right off the bat because I think it’s underrated and underused. Sure, perhaps mine is a little more complicated than is necessary, but there are lots of things you can do with something like Calendly besides picking a time that works for both of you.
In fact, you can manage all of the communication, including:
- Scheduling a time.
- Setting up a call link with Zoom or one of several other services.
- Sending all the info the guest needs to know (how it will work, how to be prepared, questions, and tips).
- Reminder emails.
- Follow-up post-interview emails thanking them / wrapping up.
This process has helped me keep my guests informed without me needing to remember to email them at specific times. Calendly’s redirect function allows me to send them to a guest notes page, as well as auto-create Zoom links and more. Plus, the Zapier integration is fantastic.
Use a Service like SquadCast or Zencaster to Record and Combine Audio
The biggest hiccup in my process is I have each guest record their audio locally. While I do send instructions (and it work most of the time), I still need to remind guests to hit record. I also need to make sure I have backups in place.
I did improve the process a bit by using Calendly to send them a follow up email with a Dropbox upload link, but still – there’s a better way for most people.
With something like SquadCast or Zencaster, you can easily send guests a link and the service takes care of the rest. You’ll have two locally recorded audio files that they can even combine for you. And during the pandemic, Zencaster has taken limits off of their Hobbyist plan, so now’s the perfect time to try it.
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The benefit of this is you have a higher quality recording (uncompressed, unaffected by potential blips in internet connection), that you can either just release, or hand over to your editor.
Use Publer or Social Web Suite to Handle Social Media Posts
One post-production task that’s time consuming is sharing everything on social media. If you can automate that process, it can be a big time saver. Here are two methods I use.
The first is using a CSV and Publer to schedule a week’s worth of posts all at once. I have a template I use (3 posts about the episode, 1-2 questions, sponsor posts, CTA for newsletter), and I reword / rework them each week to fit in with the latest episode. One auxiliary benefit of using episode number redirects is it’s easy to increment the links from week to week as well.
Publer can also watch RSS feeds and schedule shares based on when a new post comes in.
The second is using the WordPress plugin Social Web Suite to to schedule multiple tweets when I publish the post. This is a nifty way to mix up the tweets but not have to worry about going somewhere else to share on social. You do it all right through the WordPress dashboard.
Using both tools also allows me to use one to share to the podcast’s Twitter account, and the other to share to my personal account — you know, if that’s something you’d want to do.
Use Zapier and a Spreadsheet for Outreach
OK this one is my favorite because I use it a lot, for a lot of different things. It’s probably worth doing a separate video or post on, but here’s the idea.
I have a spreadsheet of potential guests for my podcast. It includes their first name, their email address, and the topic I’d want to discuss with them. There’s also a field for an additional “personal note.” There’s one more field: “Ready to send.” The magic happens when that’s set to “Yes”
Using Zapier, I periodically check the spreadsheet to see if “Ready to Send” is set to “Yes” for each row. If it is, I have Zapier build an email that’s mostly pre-build. The fill-ins are:
- Topic I want to discuss
- Personal Note
The email is short enough the that stuff I want to repeat is there but it’s still mostly a personal outreach email to each guest. The only difference is I don’t have to open a new “Compose Email” every time.
This automation saves me hours of work. I can reach out to 20 or so people in seconds, and start conversations. I usually have a full stack of interviews within a few days.
The key here is that the email is still pretty much personal. The “personalization” fields in the spreadsheet mean I’m still thinking about each guest. I’m just not composing dozens of separate emails.
Couple that with the fact that both my assistant and I add rows to the spreadsheet and my outreach process is a pretty well-oiled machine.
Bonus: Use Castos or Repurpose.io to Send Your Podcast to YouTube
Now, if you really want your podcast to be everywhere (which I strongly recommend), that means you’ll want it over on YouTube too. You could use the great Mac App FusionCast to convert your audio into a video with just a few clicks, then upload it. Or you can automate the process.
Some hosts, like Castos, offer this in their higher tier plans. It works very cleanly – you upload an image, decide which playlist to have the videos added to. The only thing I’d like to see there is more control over the description.
If you don’t use Castos, you can look at Repurpose.io. Their interface is not as clean, but it’s very powerful. In-fact, Audio host to YouTube isn’t the only automation they offer. It’s worth checking out for the suite of tools they have.
Hopefully You Have Some Good Ideas Now!
Now your process might be different. Maybe you don’t have guests or you don’t want to be on YouTube. But I hope this post has at least given you ideas for how to take time consuming parts of your podcast and automate them.
What is the most time consuming task for you and your podcast? Let me know in the comments below!
- The idea that a podcast only lasts a small number of episodes then fades away. On average, that number is 7.