Starting an interview podcast is a headache: you have to think about finding and booking guests, recording the interviews (and making sure you hit Record), taking notes then publishing them on a website

Starting an interview podcast is enough of a headache: you have to think about finding and booking guests, recording the interviews (and making sure you hit Record), taking notes then publishing them on a website…

I went through this a few months ago when I started my podcast, The Creator Maker Life Podcast. I had enough experience creating content. I had a network of folks I could interview. I knew I wanted to bank episodes.

But I also knew that I needed as little points of failure as possible and as low a barrier as possible to getting started.

The problem was, I had no experience with audio.

I didn’t know what a mixer was (still don’t). I didn’t know what “levelling audio” meant and why I had to do it.

All I knew was that I wanted was to get on a Skype call, hit record, have the computer record from my USB mic and my guest’s mic, then export it as a high quality MP3 file.

No Zoom recorder. No XLR cables. No audio interfaces.

It took a lot of digging and a bit of experimenting. But I found my dream setup.

Here are the main software I use:

I’ll be mentioning a few more apps in this post, but these are the main ones I use.

Here’s how I use them:

Calendly + Google Calendar: Scheduling and Managing Guests

I use Calendly to send a link to my guests so they can schedule a time. My Calendly account is linked to my Google Calendar so meetings don’t overlap. Calendly lets me make different event types that have their own settings and time periods. This way I can use one Calendly account for both my business meetings and podcast interviews.

Here are a few more details about my Calendly setup

  • I ask my guests to allot 90 minutes for the interview, which covers the initial pre-interview banter and any post-interview talk before we get off the call.
  • I batch my interviews into Tuesday or Thursday afternoons so I have the rest of the week for deep work.
  • I have a setting on my Calendly that sends my guests a reminder of our interview 24 hours before it happens.
  • My Appear.in video chat link (more on that later) is already saved in the every Calendly invite so the link appears in my guest’s calendar invite — no more hunting around for the meeting link!

Bonus App: Alfred

I use Alfred as a text expander, among other things. So if I type in “podcast90”, for example, Alfred will automatically change that text to my podcast-specific Calendly link that lets a guest schedule a 90-minute podcast interview

Bonus App: MailButler

I use MailButler for…

  • Writing emails now and scheduling them to send later (even when I’m not online — an important feature)
  • Saving and using specific email templates for following up, outreach, etc.

I batch my emails in one afternoon then schedule them to go out on different days.

I’m also testing out another email automation app called Gmelius that lets me fully automate my outreach with email marketing-like campaigns and sequences in Gmail.

Appear.in: The Best App for Online Interviews

I use Appear.in for all my business meetings, not just for podcast interviews.

Unlike Skype and Zoom, my guests don’t need to log in with their own username to use it. They just have to go to my specific Appear.in room (appear.in/roxinekee, for example) and I’ll be waiting on the other side.

One cool feature is that I can “lock” a room so that folks don’t accidentally “walk in” on the link when I’m on a different meeting. They’ll need to knock and I’ll have to let them in before they can join the meeting.

Audio Hijack: The Best App to Record In-Person and Online Interviews

Thanks to Audio Hijack, I don’t need XLR cables, a Zoom recorder, or a mixer to record both Skype and in-person interviews.

  • For Skype interviews, all I need are my ATR2100-USB mic, a dongle (cuz Macbook y’know), my voice chat software, and Audio Hijack
  • For in-person interviews, I just need 1 more ATR2100-USB mic and I’m in business

Audio Hijack splits my guest’s and my side of the conversation into two separate WAV files so I can edit them separately. I even get it to record both our sides into one extra MP3 file as a backup.

Notion: The Best App for Storing Research, Notes, and Post-Production

Sneak peek of future podcast guests!
Sneak peek of future podcast guests!

I use Notion as an all-in-one repository for podcast notes, to track episode progress as I’m editing it, even my outreach and follow-up for guests.

  • I use Notion’s templates feature to automatically create checklists for each interview I do
  • I use its database feature and Kanban views to keep track of episodes I’ve done
  • I use each database entry as a page to store my research before an interview

I’m excited for when Notion builds a Zapier integration so I can link it up with Calendly and automate even more of my process!

Simple Post-Production for Your Podcast: Garageband + Auphonic

I learned how to use macOS’s built-in Garageband via this video from Pat Flynn:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhesskgmIsQ

I follow his process to the T. Afterwards I export the episode as a WAV-16 audio file, and rename it “<episode #> - <guest name>_RAW”.

Finally I upload it to Auphonic to even the sound levels, and rename the finished product to “<episode #> - <guest name>_FINAL”.

Here are some details on how I use Garageband + Auphonic

  • I use a master template in Garageband that I just duplicate for each new episode
  • I record my intro and outro for each guest/episode (“Hey friends, welcome to another episode of The Creator Maker Life Podcast…”) in Garageband
  • I also have a preset in Auphonic that already contains all my podcast settings

Publishing Your Podcast: BuzzSprout

I use BuzzSprout to store my podcast files online and create a feed that iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Alexa use.

Why BuzzSprout? BuzzSprout is cheap and easy to use, and has a nice-looking audio player I can embed on my website. It also lets me create video snippets of each episode that I can share on social.

Other similarly-awesome and well-designed podcast hosts are Transistor.FM and SimpleCast (which even lets you have a custom website for your podcast).

I might move my show over to either of them in the future, but for now, BuzzSprout does the trick.

Update on The Creator Maker Life Podcast

As of this writing, I’m working on episode #9 of my podcast. I’m still figuring out the ropes to make things as efficient as possible, but I’m starting to find my groove. I still struggle with consistency and even with all of the right software, I still find it hard to sit in front of my computer and listen to my voice.

But these apps, systems, and checklists have definitely made it easier to do so. And remember:

Don’t get fancy because fancy gets broken. — Morgan Spurlock

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