If there’s anything to be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the value of time. Whether in the literal or metaphorical sense, we never seem to have enough of it, especially now that life in the U.S. is slowly returning to some sense of normalcy and our schedules now include things like traveling (or just about anything other than Zoom calls).
As schedules get busier, this can pose a challenge for your podcast. You care about your show and want to put the blood (hopefully not literally), sweat and tears into making it the best it can be, but you also have a life.
It’s true that working smarter, not harder, is the way to go, and that’s why you need podcast automation tools.
Here are seven ideas for automating your podcast workflow so you can spend more time doing the in-person activities you’ve missed.
7 podcast automation tips and tricks
1. Use Zapier to automate scheduling
Sometimes you need a third-party platform to help you automate your podcast — especially when you’re trying to do something that none of the default features on your editing platform can do.
Zapier connects your web apps so you can automate your workflow, and Yann describes his Zapier method in a guest article on The Podcast Host:
“Thanks to Zapier, every time a podcast guest books an interview, a task card is automatically added to my ClickUp dashboard (and it includes all the Book Like a Boss form questions and answers submitted by the guest).”
Editor’s Note: SquadCast is working on a future calendar integration via Zapier! Details to come.
⚡ Zapier helps connect a range of tools you might already be using for your podcast. Check out Captivate’s 12 Zapier templates for other ideas.
2. Take advantage of built-in tools such as Trello’s Butler
Trello is a disorganized podcaster’s best friend. Especially if your team is expanding and you have different people in charge of different tasks such as booking, editing and preparing interview questions, this platform helps you know when everything is getting done (and if they’re meeting the designated deadline).
Trello is a web-based, Kanban-style, list-making project management tool. Yann, in his article for The Podcast Host, recommends using the platform’s built-in no-code automation tool, Butler, to automate tasks and workflows on boards. It’s as simple as creating the command you want Butler to execute, and it will automatically react to changes on your boards for you.
Yann cites the example of working with an editor who you want to get notified whenever you have an audio file that needs editing.
“Instead of sending an email every time, you could set up a Butler automation in which the editor is going to be assigned a specific task card whenever the task card gets the color yellow. You can achieve that by setting up rules in Butler. First: ‘Whenever the label color yellow is added to a card by me…assign (podcast editor) to the card.’”
Once you’ve done that, the only thing left for you to do is to add the label color yellow to a task and see your editor get automatically assigned the task.
⚡Trello can help keep your team organized. There are a range of other project management tools out there that can help streamline your workflow. Asana is another option.
3. Keep your whole team on the same page with Notion
Pat Flynn highly recommends Notion to organize your content, and if he uses it, you know it’s good. Notion is an application that provides components such as notes, calendars and reminders to make your life easier, and it will absolutely save you time while working on your podcast.
Pat says that unless you know how to plan and organize the creation of all the content you’re creating, you’ll either get confused and start to feel overwhelmed, or slack off and fall behind. That’s where Notion comes in. He likes to use the app to create and assign tasks — such as the editing of a podcast episode or filming of a YouTube video — to different members of his team, as well as checking in on the status of those tasks.
He also adds categories to properly label tasks and adds properties such as a publication date to make sure everyone is on the same page/understands the specific details attached to that task.
⚡ Notion is another great organizational tool that can be a huge game changer when assigning and overseeing tasks. For more ideas, see marketing coach Jenna Redfield’s video about how she uses Notion in her podcast workflow.
4. Automate your audio post-production process
The last thing you want to do after recording a really great podcast interview is take days to edit it. So why not let the computer work its magic for you so you can get that conversation out into the world quicker?
On episode 297 of The Audacity to Podcast show, “24 Internet-Based Automation Tools for Podcasting,” host Daniel J. Lewis recommends the automatic audio post production web service Auphonic because it develops intelligent audio algorithms using a combination of AI and signal processing to make your life easier.
He calls Auphonic a desktop app that helps you create “clear, consistent and understandable audio.”
The automatic post-production web service, which offers a limited free plan, can do the following:
- Reduce background noise and hum
- Reduce reverb
- Even out volume differences
- Raise or lower perceived loudness to a target industry level
- Add an intro and outro
- Create a transcript
- Mixdown to mono
- Encode to MP3
- Upload to your media host
⚡ Auphonic can save you time with editing by using a combination of AI and signal processing to make your life easier.
5. Create audiograms for podcast promotion with Headliner
You could have the world’s most interesting podcast, but unless you’re promoting it properly, it won’t matter because nobody’s hearing it.
On episode 24 of Pod Sound School, “How to Maximize Your Podcast Workflow,” Veronica and Steve Davis discuss several tools they use to streamline their workflow when creating their podcast, and one of their favorite tools is Headliner.
Headliner allows creators to produce videos to promote their podcast, and gives users the ability to share to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin and anywhere else video lives. Steve says he uses it to create dynamic, engaging (often 15-second vertical) audiograms, which are audio-based animations that get eight times more engagement on social media than still images.
Headliner lets you make five audio grams a month for free, and it’s as simple as dropping in a link to your RSS feed and selecting a portion of your audio that you want in an audiogram (with the option to change the image that automatically pops up).
⚡Tools like Headliner allow you to easily and quickly create audiograms that can help promote more engagement on social media.
6. Design your own automated team meeting system
If meetings are a part of your podcast planning and production process, consider conducting them asynchronously.
You can use the Standuply add-on, which calls itself a project management assistant and provides a Q&A system, to ask questions that need to be addressed. Standuply is available for free for the first three users.
“Your collaborators will be able to answer using text, emoji, GIFs and video, as well as by uploading a graph or similar attachments,” Yann says. “No, you won’t have to physically attend the virtual meeting. You can go back to it at a later time and simply see the answers every attendee posted.”
⚡ Avoid unnecessary time sucks by creating a system for asynchronous meetings.
7. Use Process Street to create lifesaving checklists
Those of us who are Type A like to write all of our tasks down and check them off as we go. But wouldn’t it be easier if everyone on your team could see each other’s checklist and how they’re coming along?
That’s essentially what Process Street does, and it’s exactly why podcaster and career, business and productivity coach Ari Meisel used the product to create public checklist for automating podcast production.
Ari’s checklist includes the following:
- Create a Zapier account
- Consider if you’ve previously set up the required Zaps
- Have the interview scheduled via Calendly
- Ensure a Zap is set up for voicemail confirmation
- Set up a Toky text notification Zap
- Save the episode file on Dropbox
- Have your VA edit the podcast
- Have the VA service email the guest(s)
- Ask the VA service to upload a 15 second clip on Instagram
- Use Repurpose.io to publish the podcast on YouTube
- Transcribe the podcast via Temi
- Have your VA service promote the transcript
⚡ Process Street is one of several checklist platforms that can be used to help your team not only check on each other’s progress, but make important decisions along the way.
Bonus: Use SquadCast to Build Powerful Automations
Connect apps like never before with the new SquadCast API, Webhooks, and Zapier integrations. Empower new workflows like creating a new Recording Session when your Guest schedules with you on Calendly or save a copy of your recordings to Dropbox. SquadCast is proud to lead the Cloud Recording Studio category and is the first to launch a public API, Webhooks, and Zapier integrations. Get your API Key here. Learn how to connect and automate.
Have automation ideas? SquadCast wants to know how to better automate systems to make it easier for users. Please reach out with your ideas.
Niki Kottmann is a writer, editor and occasional photographer based in Cheyenne, WY. She received her Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri in 2016, where she emphasized in magazine writing. This content was produced collaboratively with PodReacher.