April 17, 2023

Podcasting on Autopilot: A Guide for Busy Professionals

Podcasting on Autopilot: A Guide for Busy Professionals
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In this episode, we explore the world of automation and how it can help busy professionals save time and streamline their podcasting workflow. From scheduling social media posts to automating episode distribution, we discuss different tools and strategies that can help you produce high-quality content without sacrificing your other commitments. Whether you're a seasoned podcaster or just starting out, this episode offers valuable tips and insights for maximizing your time and productivity.

Automation and Podcasting Tools We Use

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Ryan Purvis 0:00
Hello, and welcome to the digital workspace works Podcast. I'm Ryan Purvis, your host supported by producer Heather Bicknell. In this series, you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in the field story from the frontlines, the problems they face, how they solve them. The areas they're focused on from technology, people and processes to the approaches they took that will help you to get to the scripts with a digital workspace inner workings.

Ryan Purvis 0:29
I didn't have anything prepared for today. So I don't know which one to tell about, to be honest.

Heather Bicknell 0:34
Yeah, I've been thinking we have sort of a backup topic. But just that we could talk about how we automate the podcast, and sort of news and you know how we sort of make it work. So you don't do any research for that we do this weekly. So

Ryan Purvis 0:51
yeah, happy to talk to that, because actually, I've done a lot with that recently. So where do you want to start?

Heather Bicknell 1:00
I guess we could just do an order of production. So I guess the first thing, first thing that happens in terms of automation, is that Hazel, that used to pick up the recording? Well, yeah,

Ryan Purvis 1:15
we could probably start even sooner than that. So I guess it depends on whether there's a guest or not. So there's a guest. And depending on how that guest has come through to us. So either A, when you call them a recommendation from like a sourcing agency or something like that, or it's a person that I know, you know, typically that either one of those will start off with an email. Well, that's like used to start it would be an email conversation, and then get them on board. Now that's got a form on the website, which that form goes into HubSpot, which is here and that we use, and then that kicks off a workflow using Zapier, that puts them into notion as well. And then when they go into notion, as part of that Zapier workflow, can Michigan open second talk to this character, specifically, the only thing we that that's important for us when we do that guest form is to have the LinkedIn profile address. And the reason why that's important is we use that and another product called Let me find it, I can't find it. Now. Here we go. This application goes and takes that URL, and goes and collects all the information out of LinkedIn. So that we have like the link to the picture, we have their bio, there's a couple other things, we look at our camera exactly what I what I put in there. Because that was one of the things it was very manual, like we'd have the email, and then we'd go and ask him for information, they would go look on LinkedIn, do all that stuff manually. So that's all now running automated. And then as part of that process, they will get a phantom. Phantom Buster is the name of the product. And that was quite a tricky thing to get working. So I'll explain the trickiness to that as well. And then we put them on our mailing list, which is in MailChimp. And then if there's an agent involved, we ask them to fill out a different form. And then they have to put the email address of the guests into their form, and then that are linked them together. And then when they go into the mailing list, there's actually another mailing list that's just for a guest. So they get sent a, an email, with the record a dropbox folder for them to put this stuff into. We also put there as information to notion but then we also send an email with that all in the email saying, This is what's happening. These are the steps this is this is your link to Dropbox, this is your link to your your profile page and notion.

This is that links to book a slot, and then they get a DocuSign document as well, which is for them to sign the contract might be a contract, but a release that we can use their voice and all that sort of stuff. And then at the end of that process, we also create a whole lot of tasks in motion that get assigned to to cath and me to make sure that we're filling out the page, which is what our websites built on speak information and all that good stuff. So all of their stuff has been put into the sort of backbone process. It also creates the entry in notion for the actual episodes. So when sorry, doesn't do that a lot. That's another process. So once that Once that process is finished, and then we actually book in the recording, we do the recording, then the recording is always done in teams. And the reason why I use teams is that you can save the recording to a certain folder with a cert with the name of the meeting. And based on that name of the meeting. That's where Hazel comes in and automatically moves it from OneDrive to Dropbox I can't remember why I did that. But it's important. So we do it there. And in that process that renames the file, and then also creates the notion episode entry, which has all the metadata in that we have. Because of some of the limitations, I conjure a lot of things I'd like to do, like automatically tagged the speaker that the guest in the episode, but it taught, you know, musical stuff across and then you get the task for doing the episode recording. And you then upload it into transistor, which is our platform. And then when we publish pod page will automatically post to social media posts. And then that also kicks off exactly a workflow to take the podcast information, and post to LinkedIn post to my LinkedIn, send out a tweet, update all the all the information in notion to settle down, send me with the episode through the stages, and then send out the email to MailChimp as a campaign to notify people that it's been released. So that's the whole thing.

Heather Bicknell 6:03
Yeah, description of the end. And I think this is sort of the magic behind the scenes, I guess that makes it all doable. I think without all of these tools. I mean, it's already hard enough, I think, to do this consistently. And I'm sort of amazed that we've managed to do it as consistently as we have for so long, because a lot of people start podcast and they drop off, or they're super inconsistent about when they post like keeping up a weekly show is sort of, not really, you know, it's not a small commitment. But if you can use tools like this to automate as many of the routine processes as you can, like, you have to figure out ways to do it. And actually, on the editing side, there are a couple tools I use as well that I'll shout out. So I use Audacity for just editing the recording, in terms of taking out like I'm just saying now, and even any verbal tics or you know, as many as two can keep me sane, and things like you know, if I'm actually doing any edits to the content of the recording, and then I will upload it into a tool called off phonic, which is sort of a, it's an AI, auto leveller. So some of the magic that would happen if you were actually a audio engineer, which I am not in terms of making sure that all the the levels are the same, and editing out some additional background noise or things like that the tool does a really good job does a better job of that. And, you know, I would do if I was just playing around manually in the editing tool. And it saves me a whole bunch of time. So I love that. And then recently, I have been using chat GPT to help come up with suggestions for things like episode titles, descriptions, you know, usually it's like, just a first pass right before deciding sort of what to go with. But it's nice to have like, different ideas for how to structure titles, or just to quickly generate topics like that.

Ryan Purvis 8:15
Yeah, it's actually interesting that you mentioned that because I was actually thinking about that the other day that we could actually add ChaCha up into this process to do something. Well, yeah, I mean, I suppose that we'd have to probably talk about that I understand. If it could be could be, because the thing for me, and the reason why the automation, and you made that comment about keeping it going. I was actually talking to someone last week about their podcast. And he was saying, well, he actually just stopped doing it because it was taking up too much time. And I think he bought mine actually doesn't take up that much time. I mean, we have we have two half an hour meetings a week. And yes, there's maybe a couple times his emails back and forth with people to get them on. But it's never it never feels, I say never feel onerous. You know, sometimes you get a lot to do does feel onerous. But you know, besides the stuff you have to do, which is the sort of production work that you could trust a an AI to do some of it, but there's not, you still want to do it, because you have to do it. You know, it's pretty automated, and even the past where we were doing the transcripts. And I know we haven't mentioned Katherine and Katherine will go and do the transcripts before we publish. We will do that automatically as well. The only pain point there was that as much as I could. So use auto for that. So we put the we put the the that's why we use Dropbox. So you put the episode into Dropbox in a certain folder otter reads that that episode. It does the transcripts that Katherine goes and checks the transcripts. And then she does the publishing. And our limitation here is actually the tools we're using. Black transistor doesn't have a great way to integrate with it. Pod page doesn't have a great way to integrate that so we can't do some of the stuff completely seamlessly. But we've done quite a lot to make it seamless and that's that's helped us. I think keep it Even when we miss a week or two, it's usually because we just didn't have time to talk not because of our process being complicated. Yeah. What was that one

Heather Bicknell 10:08
tool? You were mentioning? That kind of a funny name that was a bit more complicated on the guest side? I don't think I've heard you mentioned that one. Oh,

Ryan Purvis 10:18
Phantom buster.

Heather Bicknell 10:20
Yeah. What does that do?

Ryan Purvis 10:22
Yeah, so phantom Buster, I'll tell you what was happening is I, I was getting very frustrated with what it'd be something we work in my mind for a very long time. You know, something, it was something I was doing at the time, I thought, let me solve this was more case of this whole thing of having. And this is this is really a OCD thing, in some respects. But it always bugged me that the speaker information was inside a notion. And there's a good reason why it's inside a notion because it's part of our database around running the show. But I wanted it also to be in HubSpot, because that's where the CRM is. And there's good reason for that, because there's some future stuff that's coming. So I want to have the CRM in place. And what was what was really frustrating me is that these issues, these two systems were not linked together in a nice way. But also, if we put a person if we used HubSpot to capture the CRM record, then we weren't capturing all the information that came with them from a LinkedIn point of view and, or Twitter or whatever it is. And one of those pain points was going to find their LinkedIn profile and get the the picture of is that a picture with a profile. So I initially had looked at the LinkedIn API to see what you could do. And basically ran into a brick wall. And then this was partly because people have abused it for so long. And all I really wanted to do is, you know, we don't do like, you know, 200 guests a month or anything silly like that. We have like maybe two a month, which is quite a nice cadence. So my request to the API would have been probably two months, maybe for the most, but it just seemed like there was just no way to do it. And it was one of those days where I just sort of one of those evenings rather, I was I want to solve these problems. I kind of stayed up all night trying to find solutions and actually did sort of the inverse in the end, which is I use a look at Zapier and basically search Zapier for connectors to see what they had, that that the stuff because if you Google, you can end up with a whole lot of products. But then you go to the root of the products. And a lot of these products have been discontinued because of this change in the API from LinkedIn, where it's basically blocked everyone from doing anything. So what this phantom Buster, which I found there, and then, as I say some of the tricks with it, so you can trigger phantom Buster zap, Zapier will trigger off the the creation of a new entity or a new page in notion. And that new page is created by HubSpot creating a new contact and interrogated correctly. So there's obviously a custom field that I put into HubSpot that says that this is the speaker that come from the speaker form. So when it sees that it triggers HubSpot, HubSpot triggers, notion, notion goes and takes that information and creates the the entity now, this is a one way process. So if I make changes to or any of us make changes to notion, it's not going back into HubSpot to update that speaker. But that's, that's okay. We don't really we don't really want that pot to happen necessarily. Not now at least. Then when when you've got the notion entry created this, this triggers the event that goes and tells phantom Buster to go and run a phantom to go collect information. And all of these is the LinkedIn thing. And it's got a lot of information that it collects. Let me let me bring it up quickly. And I'll tell you, now, some of the stuff is relevant, some stuff not relevant. But you know, when you think about, you know, the time it was taking us, it just wasn't worth the time. But from completeness point of view is with time, so it was always a challenge. But so phantom Buster will go and collect, obviously contact information, first name surname, and, and this was the other thing, there was little nuances in notion where like, I want the title of the page is the guests first name and surname. But then I also have first name as soon as two fields, because in order to do the email intro, you want to use their first name. So they do to twice that was already like a stupid thing. So you get the you get the contact number, if they put one on, you get the website, if they put one in, you get the Twitter account of that, if they put that into LinkedIn, you get the email address that you handle for Twitter, you get number of followers, which I thought was interesting. You get a link to their picture. And then you also get the buyer, which was also important because we're basically copying and pasting their bio and then asking them to edit it. So we're just cutting that piece down. And once you got all that stuff, you own the birthday party birthday, which was our thing. Then once I've done all that stuff, we can actually share that part with them and say, Well, you know you've done all this. Can we Can you come and check it? And then confirm is correct. So it's a good experience for them. And you know, as someone who's been a guest on the podcast, when, when they don't do that stuff with me, I kind of feel like, well, how do I know you're gonna write the right thing about how do you know you're going to present me that as the right kind of guests, some people just don't do it. So you just got accepted. But I want to ask to be a little bit more sophisticated than that. And yeah, it's, I'm impressed this phantom Buster, actually, I think my trials expired. So I need to pay for it. Now. Here we go. The thing I was explained. So now the tricky thing with phantom Buster, it's not a a synchronous activity. So I find send the request to go and get Ryan's LinkedIn profile, and then wait for the response because Zapier actually times out, and it's like 15 seconds difference. So what you have to do is you have to fire it off. And then you have to it's and this was a nice thing to find out in Zapier is you actually have to use a hook exactly to wait for the response, which kicks off another process. So you carry on doing all your other stuff in your flow. And then you wait basically for this thing to finish. And then when that thing finishes, you then get to the carrying your process, which is, you know what it is. So what I had, what we were doing in the very beginning was an instantaneous process. So like we had a guest, that would fire straight off. Once you notion that would find it funny as well as the minute you add the page, it triggers Zapier, so you actually have to delay it, then make it wait, because otherwise, you could type in the person's name. And it's already starting the process. So now what happens is you create the entry in notion on day one, and now wait 24 hours to carry on with the process. And the reason why waited 24 hours is actually only gives the fans some time to finish, not the notion because normally notion is, you know, three or four minutes for us to do it. But there's no rush, like, we're not trying to get a guest on in, you know, within a day, you know, as long as three weeks in advance, you know, so that works quite well. And then the other piece that I've always wanted to improve on is that when that when the the guest has done the episode and we publish it, obviously they get a notification, we all get notification that goes on to LinkedIn stuff. But in like three months time, I want to pull like the stats of that episode, and send it to them and say, you know, you guys did really well, like this Apple has gotten really well we've downloaded, you know, X number from release, here's the links, again to publish it now. That's where notion was going to come in and do that for us. But the challenge has been, and this is where we kind of get stuck is, you know, transistor doesn't give us access to information. So we can't go and just pull it from API yet. I'm hoping you will in the future. But we'll, we'll get there to get there.

Heather Bicknell 17:49
Yeah, I we've maybe mentioned transistor a couple of times, that's the what you call that sort of that's where we actually upload our recordings. And that's what it's the distribution system that we use to get it out on all the different podcasting platforms of which there are many, but they do seem to add features, you know, relatively like they it's they seem to evolve it. So hopefully an API is I'm sure it's maybe something they've thought about at least

Ryan Purvis 18:16
that they are very good at. And to be fair, we haven't actually asked them. I've actually asked my pod page more often to say Look, can you guys just give us the Zapier integration, because that's that's the pain. That's that's so that's the other pain point. So like Katherine would now have to go and take the guest information on a notion and go and create it into pod page. Now, we did go through a phase where we're using pipe page to do the guest collection. So someone got registered to be a guest, and we get an email saying that they've registered, we're gonna look into page to get information. But that was actually worse, because that meant they weren't actually tied into HubSpot. And they weren't tied into notion. Yeah. So So we've removed that piece. And I'll be honest, you know, the way things are going with some of this AI stuff, and the ability to generate just a website in five seconds, because you just told GPT, that's July and we might just go that route and have the blown because, you know, AI does it really no.

Heather Bicknell 19:19
Yeah, I guess it's I have to like buy the domain and all that jazz but

Ryan Purvis 19:24
really sarcastic.

Heather Bicknell 19:26
Just do it ourselves. Just you know. And I think I love the the notion bits and the, you know, automation of that LinkedIn piece because I think it does really solve a super common guest pain point, which is that you want that completeness of information. You want to have a bio and you want to have a check. You want to have their image by getting people to send you that, especially a lot of our guests or, you know, C level executives, very busy people. It's great to automate it and then to give them a chance to look it over is also just super helpful.

Ryan Purvis 19:58
I mean, I did it So last week with the guys from, I'm going to minify. I don't I think it's just gotten on my head as the right name. But it was great because they actually sent me a Google Docs link for what they wanted to discuss. And I was actually, like, sort of, obviously, there was there was two guys, and they were writing, I don't wanna give too much away, because the episodes coming so that they were they'd sent me I, you know, in our notion that we have a list of questions that are default, and then the person can go and add and change them, whatever. And that's all based on templates again, and they sent me the Google Docs link, because obviously, they wanted to have certain things I was actually watching. So I prepared for this interview. And then I had the Google doc open, like an hour before, the thing is, I think, Okay, well, I'll just gonna keep it there in case I need it. And while I was watching it, they were literally typing in more and more stuff. And I was thinking, wow, this is awesome. These guys are so prepared. It's crazy. So I was actually debating, you know, potentially bringing a Google Docs and somehow to the process. Because the you know, now that now that I've got this piece working, where I'm collecting the information on LinkedIn into notion, I can now put something else in front of it, there could be a lot a lot more accessible. Because the problem with using notion is you've got to now share the page with the user. And there's no way to do that API right now. And that's, that brings it back to a bottleneck in the process where if I'm not available, or you're not available, cash flow available, for whatever reason we forget, then you get that thing where the guest goes, Hey, I haven't heard from you guys, when you're gonna share this thing with me. And that's like, to me the worst feeling in the world because that means we've you know, feels like you've dropped the ball, when you when you kind of have budget, which also haven't, because this is not life and death, but it was experienced. So ideally, what you find is that, now that you've got the information in a, in a source database, like notion, you can now publish it in in a sort of a secure way, because it's going to be secured. But you can invite them to a Google Doc, for example, where you've put the stuff into the Google Doc, and they're just confirming what it is. Now, you could argue that if they changed the image, you're gonna have another problem. That's where the dropbox thing would come in. And you say, just upload the image to Dropbox, please. You know, until those other things give us the API access. There isn't much we could actually, until we know what they can give us, we can't really change it.

Heather Bicknell 22:23
Yeah. And I like that Google doc stadia, I think, prototype if you ever want to be on a podcast, and also make sure sort of what you want to get discussed gets discussed, the more you can come and make it easier for the podcast are in terms of saying here are the key topics I you know, I'm an expert in? Here's some questions you could ask like, that is gold. So definitely, if you're looking to get become a guest, I would recommend doing something like that.

Ryan Purvis 22:52
Yeah. And that's why we have the sort of standard questions. I mean, we don't we don't always stick to them. I mean, it all depends. I mean, there's a couple guys, again, I want to give them away now, but you know, some security guys coming on and an analyst or two, we're not going to cover the normal questions. They're much more diverse. But you know, that's fine. But at least if you if you're entering in knowing that these are kind of the basics we're going to talk about, then get a little bit more mentally prepared to go down the rabbit holes as they go.

So, so that's been fun. I mean, we were probably now what? I don't even know what our numbers are at the moment. But I think we've gotten the six figures now. In terms of downloads, yeah, yeah, I don't really keep track. I'm much more interested in, in full transparency, who comes along? Because they've heard about us, like, you know, we had Chris and his wife with the iworq task. That was because of, of the of the distribution. We've got a couple that are coming up now that have just reached out to us because they've made a fire was just reached out because they heard us, you know, we didn't we didn't know anybody in connection. And that's exciting, because then you know that you're actually reaching people outside your network.

Heather Bicknell 24:06
Totally agree. Well, yeah, I feel like we could talk more about our tips and tricks for making a podcast, but that'll have to be on a another episode, because I gotta

Ryan Purvis 24:15
go. Yeah. Just to finish up 99,604 That type total downloads so far.

Heather Bicknell 24:22
All right. So I'm quite almost there will be there. Another episode at least

Ryan Purvis 24:27
Yeah, we will cross cross over next week, no doubt. But it's been good. It's been it's been a very worthwhile experience. And according to this, this has been transistors quite nicely. It's a bit of gamification. We've had we've been around two years. We've got a 10 week publishing in a row streak. What else? These are these are old 2000 downloads, whatever first episode, first tweet. This is what I call a nice little achievement boards. Badges.

Heather Bicknell 24:51
Yeah. Oh, nice. Yeah,

Ryan Purvis 24:55
sure. Two years, listeners and 50 countries. That's cool. I like that. I didn't realise that actually the tweet button is so you can actually tweet. Not. That's quite nice. But the learner who listens to who looks at Twitter anymore

Heather Bicknell 25:10
that's a whole nother topic.

Ryan Purvis 25:12
Chat to you later

thank you for listening to today's episode. Hey, the big news app producer, editor. Thank you, Heather. For your hard work on this episode. Please subscribe to the series and rate us on iTunes or the Google Play Store. Follow us on Twitter at the DWW podcast. The show notes and transcripts will be available on the website https://www.digitalworkspace.works/. Please also visit our website https://www.digitalworkspace.works/ and subscribe to our newsletter. And lastly, if you found this episode useful, please share with your friends or colleagues.