We can all appreciate a good tool.
Tools make tasks simpler, and lives better.
Like in math class, when you learned a long, complicated formula, and then later discovered you can do it on your TI-89 calculator. Jackpot.
It’s true that producing a podcast takes a village, but there are tools to save time in the process.
At Sweet Fish, we’re tool junkies.
As a remote team, we need systems that make working and communicating simple and efficient.
As a result, our podcast production toolbelt is stacked. Here are 21 tools that make podcast production a whole lot easier.
First up — prospecting (a.k.a. finding your guests).
The B2B Growth Show is a daily podcast, so we are regularly reaching out to potential guests.
To simplify the search, we use Hunter.
Email Hunter is a Chrome extension that scours a prospective guest’s website and pulls up all the email addresses associated with that particular site in seconds.
This tool can also be used on LinkedIn to find the specific email address tied to the person’s profile you’re looking at.
Once you download the Email Hunter extension, go to a prospective guest’s LinkedIn profile and see the ‘Hunter’ button in the top headline box. Click the button and it will offer an email and an accuracy percentage.
Another solid time-saving prospecting tool is LeadFuze.
LeadFuze helps you find contact information and automate personal outreach. This tool is unique because you can prospect, find emails, and send emails.
If you’re a fan of all-in-one tools, then LeadFuze is definitely a must-try.
LinkedIn is the best social network for prospecting, especially when you loop in plugins like Hunter (mentioned above).
There are 450 million users on LinkedIn with 172,800 new users every day (that’s 2 per second). If you want impressive and some quirky stats about LinkedIn, check out this article: By The Numbers, 133 Amazing LinkedIn Statistics.
LinkedIn is great for prospecting, but it’s also great for nurturing relationships. It’s great for soft touch points with your guests (such as ‘liking’ updates and commenting on posts).
Don’t let the relationship die once your guest’s episode has gone live. Connect with each of your guests on LinkedIn, and nurture that relationship for years to come.
Alright, let’s set something straight before we dive in here.
None of the tools I’m about to list are ‘mass blast’ email tools.
The last thing you want to do is send a prospective guest an email that has an “unsubscribe” link in the footer.
Your potential guest will know that you’re mass emailing a slew of people.
If there’s an option to unsubscribe from a “personalized” email, you can kiss a response goodbye. You want to make your guests feel special, not expendable.
Instead of using mass-email tools, use one of these:
When you produce a podcast, you have lots of content tied to each episode: audio, visual, and written content.
You need a way to organize and search for this content.
9) Google Drive
Google Drive is our go-to storage tool.
We store everything in the cloud — podcast audio, ad spots, show notes, blog posts, and episode graphics.
We use tools that give universal access to our files, because on any given episode 7-9 people are interacting with that content. Storing our written content in Google Drive also allows our writers and editors to collaborate in real-time.
You can use tools like Dropbox, but you’ll lose the collaboration feature that Google Docs provides.
Either way, you’ll want to have some sort of cloud storage because there are going to be a lot of cooks in the kitchen to produce a podcast.
Sweet Fish should throw a party on the anniversary of Trello being founded.
We use Trello more than any other tool. Period.
It allows us to easily manage our workflow and communicate with our entire team.
Every episode of our podcast and our clients’ podcasts get individual cards on Trello.
An episode card includes:
- Due date: so everyone on your team knows when it’s set to go live.
- Checklist(s): to know what still needs to be done
- Files: audio, ad spots, written content, guest info, etc
- People assigned to work on the episode
- Promotion plan
Trello gives you the ability to make lists, assign people to cards, tag people in comments, attach files, and so much more.
The way Trello works is simple.
You can create Boards, Lists, and Cards.
Let’s bring it back old school for a minute and reminisce on the good ‘ol filing cabinet.
If Trello is the cabinet, then Boards are your drawers, Lists are your folders, and Cards are your individual files.
Boards are the overarching umbrellas for your work, Lists allow you to manage workflow and organize, and Cards allow you to keep track of each individual piece of content and assign things to different employees.
Here are the specific Trello lists that we create for each podcast that we produce:
- Interview Scheduled
- Ready for Audio
- Ready for Copywriting
- Ready for Images
- Ready to Publish
- Scheduled to Publish
Once an episode card has completed one of the stages, we drag it to the next list. This breakdown gives us a clear view of what’s completed and what still needs to be done for each episode in the workflow.
We record most of our calls through Skype. It’s a universal tool that most people already have an account for. It also aids for the best audio quality since most of our guests don’t have podcast mics.
12) eCamm Call Recorder
To get that quality sound, we use eCamm Call Recorder. It’s an easy record/stop button to record the call, and then it automatically saves it to your computer.
If we can’t meet on Skype, we will use TapeACall to record a phone call. It’s not as clear of audio in our experience.
Don’t get worried during an interview if you start to stutter or your guest is taking some long pauses to think. That’s what audio editing is for.
Use software to remove the “ums” and awkward pauses, and to add the intro/outro and ad spots.
If you don’t have an audio engineer on staff or contracted, you’ll need to use an audio editing software like GarageBand.
Next up, publishing your podcast.
Libsyn pretty much dominates the podcast hosting market.
Podcast hosting allows you to put an audio file from your computer, publish it online, and distribute it to podcasting platforms like iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and others. Once the audio file has been uploaded to a hosting provider, people can start listening.
Libsyn launched in 2004, and has grown to the largest leading podcast network with over 25,000 podcasts hosted and 44 million monthly audience members.
Just to give you an idea of the magnitude of that audience, their podcast network had 2.6 billion downloads in 2014. So needless to say, they’re kind of a big deal.
16) Smart Podcast Player
If you want to publish episodes on your website, you’ll want to use a tool like Smart Podcast Player. This tool has a ton of great features to give your audience the best listening experience.
One of our favorite features being the option to include a full library or single episode player on our website (see below).
We like Smart Podcast Player because it allows us to maintain our shows’ branding. We want our listeners to experience the same look and feel across any listening platform, and this tool allows for that.
When it comes to promoting your podcast, you need to get friendly with scheduling tools.
Setting up email campaigns and social media posts are things you need to automate if you’re going to get the heavier tasks completed.
Some of the top promotion tools are Buffer, Socialoomph, Edgar, and Click to Tweet.
We use Buffer at Sweet Fish. It allows companies to schedule content, collaborate with their teams, and identify insights on all social networks.
It has saved our team ridiculous amounts of time, and gives us peace of mind knowing when and where our content is being published.
Socialoomph offers free and professional versions, but once you take a look at the long list of features available, it’d be hard to settle for the free version.
One of its best features is the ability to recycle posts and publish them again and again.
Let’s say you write 3-5 tweets for an episode; you can set the queue to publish one of those tweets every 3 days…from now until Jesus comes back. You’ll never have to worry about refilling the queue again. All the posts get recycled.
Edgar is a tool that allows you to categorize your content and then set a schedule so it can publish from each category.
Once all of your new content is published, Edgar will start recycling old content that people may have missed the first time around.
This tool is similar to Socialoomph. It’s a bit more expensive than Socialoomph, but it’s much easier to use.
20) Click to Tweet
Click To Tweet is a free and simple tool to make your written content more shareable.
It generates a linked text image that people can tweet out with two clicks of the mouse. Click To Tweets give your readers bite size chunks of content they can easily share on Twitter.
The goal with Click To Tweets should be to wet readers’ palates enough, so that when they see it on Twitter, they are enticed to click through to the full post.
Last, but not least, a CRM.
You want to make sure that you’re using a CRM to categorize and track your guest prospecting. Create categories and tags for each stage of your process.
Catalogue everyone you’re contacting, then tag who said yes, no, or didn’t respond.
If you reach out to a potential guest and you don’t get a response, that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t want to be on your show; you may have just caught them during a busy season.
Tag them accordingly, so you can refer back and hopefully secure them on your show at a later date.
Here are some of the CRM fields that we use:
- Podcast Guest
- Didn’t Respond
- Podcast Sponsor
- Waiting for Response
- At Sweet Fish, we host mastermind events. This category is for people we’ve invited)
- Can’t Come
- Not Interested In Attending
- At Sweet Fish, we host mastermind events. This category is for people we’ve invited)
- Nurture Activities:
- Nurturing the relationships with your guests is important, especially if you think you could do future business with them.
- We track the nurture phases to know what efforts have been put into that relationship.
- If you want a deeper understanding of how to nurture your guest relationships, check out our post: 23 Ways to Nurture a Relationship with a Podcast Guest.
At Sweet Fish, our CRM is Hubspot. It’s easy to use, and the version we use is totally free.
A world without tools is a world we don’t want to live in.
We’ve spent years refining our podcasting workflow and process, and the list of tools above are the reason our process is so streamlined and efficient.
If you’ve read this entire post, and you’re exhausted just thinking about all the work that goes into producing a podcast…we hear ya.
We spend our days helping B2B brands launch and maintain their podcast.
So if you’re ready to launch a show, or you just have some questions about podcasting…let’s chat.
James Carbary is the founder of Sweet Fish Media, a podcast agency for B2B brands. He’s a contributor for the Huffington Post & Business Insider, and he also co-hosts a top-ranked podcast according to Forbes: B2B Growth. When James isn’t interviewing the smartest minds in B2B marketing, he’s drinking Cherry Coke Zero, eating Swedish Fish, and hanging out with the most incredible woman on the planet (who he somehow talked into marrying him).