Behind the scenes of Amazing Applications

Behind the scenes of Amazing Applications

108. If you're considering starting a Dynamics 365 or Power Platform podcast in 2022, or just wonder what's involved in producing a podcast episode, join me for a behind the scenes look at my four step episode production process.

If you have any questions about starting a business apps podcast, I'd love to do my best to help. Email me at amazingapps@customery.com.

Resources
Some of these resources include affiliate links that could result in a commission paid to me so that I can blow off my consulting engagements and just podcast all day.

Preparation

Amazing Apps Ideas - my crowd-sourced content calendar for podcasts and videos

 Calendly - the scheduling service I use to schedule guest interviews

Amazing Apps Guest - my resource page for potential guests on the Amazing Apps podcast

GlideGear telepromter - I upgraded from a Parrot teleprompter to GlideGear to hold a tablet

PromptSmart Pro - voice-activated teleprompter software for iOS and Android


Recording

Squadcast - for recording high-quality, lossless audio and video with remote guests

Audacity - free audio recording, editing and mastering software for Mac and Windows

RØDE Procaster - studio and broadcast quality, dynamic XLR microphone

RØDE PSA1 - study microphone boom arm that I also used for a video camera

RØDECaster Pro - audio production studio for remote and local podcast recording and mixing

RØDE Lav+ - lavalier/lapel mic that I use when recording audio for video 

RØDE Wireless Go - wireless microphone system I use when recording audio for video


Production

Descript - all-in-one transcription, audio and video editing, mixing and mastering software

Auphonic - automatic audio mastering service

Buzzsprout - amazing podcast host for Amazing Applications

Podpage - amazing website host for Amazing Applications


Recommended resources for learning more about podcasting

How to start a podcast in 2022 - Pat Flynn on YouTube

Power Up Podcasting - online course by Pat Flynn at SmartPassiveIncome

Best free podcast courses for 2022 - blog post by Buzzsprout

Best podcast set ups for every budget - blog post by Buzzsprout

Support the show (https://buymeacoffee.com/amazingapps)

Transcript

[00:00:00] If you're considering starting a podcast in 2022, I think my process is one that you could copy and use for yourself. Here's a behind the scenes description of my podcast production process. 

 Happy new year. It's the summer holidays here in Australia, and a lot of businesses closed down and people take time off on holiday while their kids are on holiday from school too. 

I took my kids to the beach for a week and then started a little project to build a bike shed at the side of our house. The shed needed a base. So I decided to pave a new base about, I dunno, maybe three square meters. I got a bit carried away and ended up paving about four times that area and spent all 10 days of the project, and there's no sign of the bike shed. Uh, it hasn't even got started, but I've got some very nice paving in my backyard, I'm really proud of. And today we're back to work and who knows when that bike shed is going to get started.

Last year, I published 38 podcast episodes, which is slightly more than one every 10 days. And I get asked occasionally about my podcast production process. I don't claim to be a world expert on podcasting or even claim to be an expert compared to others within our business applications community.

But if you're considering starting a podcast in 2022, I think my process is one that you could copy and use for yourself. Here's a behind the scenes description of my podcast production process. I'm going to include links to all the resources I mention in the show notes, if you want to check them out. 

My process has four steps: preparation, recording, production, and [00:02:00] promotion. 

I have two styles of episode in the Amazing Applications show: interview episodes and solo episodes. They have slightly different preparation and recording steps, but the production and promotion steps are the same. 

To prepare for an interview episode, I use my content calendar, which you'll find https://AmazingApps.Show/Ideas to keep a note of topics and potential interview guests.

I usually send them a LinkedIn message with a link to my guest page on my website, where I describe how to join me on the show. There's a button on that page for my Calendly scheduler, which is the scheduling service guests can use to book a convenient time for our chat. Calendly displays times available in my Office 365 calendar that I have reserved for online meetings with podcast guests, or potential clients, or Customery Academy students. 

Calendly has a free plan, but I use a paid plan for a couple of extra features. Acuity, TidyCal, and SavvyCal, are other scheduling alternatives you could use. 

I love Guy Raz's show "How I Built This". His team will spend weeks producing a detailed brief on their guest for Guy, and he'll read it before the interview. I prefer to let my guest interviews flow more naturally, and I want to ask the questions that I'd want to ask if I were a listener and I didn't know my guests at all. So I usually outline a couple of questions that I can use with my guests, but I'm aiming for a natural conversation rather than asking a set of pre-canned questions that the guest has been sent in advance. 

For preparing for solo episodes, I script my episodes pretty tightly. You can probably tell. Even this one is scripted. When I don't script them, I tend to lose track of my thoughts and that use a lot of filler words. Scripting helps me get across everything I want to share about a topic and it makes editing a lot easier [00:04:00] later. 

I read about 150 words per minute. A 25 minute episode is about 20 minutes of scripted content, which is about 3000 words or six pages in Microsoft Word. 

Some podcasters never need to script their solo episodes and good on them, I say. Scripted podcasts wouldn't work and a lot of podcast genres, but I think news and education podcasts are better when they're scripted. At least I know mine are. Your experience may vary. 

I also use a script when I'm shooting video. I have a glide gear teleprompter with a Google tab, tablet and PromptSmart voice-activated scripting app that automatically advances my script as I read it. 

So that's my preparation phase. 

 For interview shows, it's about choosing a topic and finding a guest, then scheduling and preparing a couple of questions. For solo shows, it's about choosing the topic and then turning my notes into a script. 

Recording. I use Squadcast for recording with remote guests. It records high quality, lossless audio locally on your PC, and then continuously uploads it to their servers. I preferred their pay as you go plan where you bought hours for dollars, but now they have a monthly subscription or an annual subscription, like everyone else. I like it a lot, but there are months when I'm not using it, and some months wouldn't do lots of interviews and I go over my entitlement. Squadcast does video recording too, but I'm not ready for video podcasting yet. 

Alternatives that do high quality lossless audio, and have a video option, include Riverside and Zencastr. If you're just getting started, you could try using Zoom with the separate audio files option enabled. Microsoft Teams doesn't have this option and both Zoom and Teams are heavily compressed. You can tell a zoom interview pretty easily, if you've been listening to podcasts for a while. 

I use Audacity for recording solo episodes, like this one. [00:06:00] I love my editing software, Descript, and it does have a recording feature. But Audacity still rocks, and I prefer it for recording. Audacity is free and runs on Mac and Windows. And I can recommend it to anyone starting to record a local audio podcast. There are heaps of free plugins to help you produce your audio and lots of YouTube videos to help you learn it's recording, editing, and mastering features. 

I have a RØDE Procaster dynamic microphone with a wind shield to help reduce plosives. It's mounted on a RØDE boom that attaches to my desk. And I'm using a RØDECaster Pro audio mixing desk as my audio interface. I love RØDE equipment, and I also use a RØDE Lav+ with a RØDE Wireless Go for capturing audio when I'm shooting video. RØDE gear is amazing quality that I prefer over Shure equipment, but maybe I'm biased because RØDE is manufactured here in Australia. 

RØDE makes some great, entry-level USB mics, like they RØDE Podcaster or NT USB. Or there are other dynamic USB mics for around about $150. Like the Samson Q2U, or the Audio Technica ATR2100X that both have USB and XLR connections, so you can use that with an XLR USB audio interface if you want to upgrade later. 

Production. There are a couple of parts to my production process: editing and mastering. 

I've completely changed how I achieve both of these steps since I started using Descript last year for all of my audio and video production. Audacity, TechSmith Camtasia, Adobe Audition, Hindenburg Pro, and almost all other audio editors require you to learn how to read and edit audio wave forms. For example, if you want to edit 'ums' out of your audio track, you need to lean to learn how to find and remove the shape of [00:08:00] an 'um' from your audio wave form. After editing my audio wave form in Audacity, I used to send the audio file to Sonix.ai for transcription so that I can include a transcript in the show notes.

Descript works completely differently. When I upload the audio file, it immediately converts it into a transcript. Usually with about 95% accuracy. If there was one thing I could improve about Descript, it would be their transcription accuracy. I've got a transcription glossary to include lots of Scrum and business apps jargon that has improved the accuracy of its transcription, but it's still not perfect. It takes a couple of minutes for Descript to upload my audio and convert it into a transcript. 

Now, if I want to remove filler words, I can simply find and delete all the ums using a control and delete feature. In fact, Descript pro, which is the paid plan I use can automatically find and delete dozens of common filler words and phrases that saves me hours, especially on interview episodes. 

Some podcasters think that removing filler words makes conversations sound unnatural, but all the podcasts, and every TV and movie that I love, are all edited to remove filler words. I want to present the best possible version of my guests. While I'm editing, I remove repetitive content or sometimes change the sequence of parts of the conversation to help it flow better. 

Another Descript editing feature I love is overdub. Which I use when I've misspoken a word or phrase and need to fix it in the audio. I don't know how best to describe overdub without it sounding equally amazing and terrifying. So here goes. I use Descript overdub to generate natural sounding audio of my voice saying something I didn't actually say, using an AI wvoice that I have trained to sound just like me. 

And if you think that last sentence didn't sound quite like me, congratulations. You've just completed a Turing test and been able to [00:10:00] differentiate between a human and a machine. 

The last step in my editing process is to add the intro and outro, and we're done. Ready for mastering.

This is where an audio engineer will fiddle with an audio file to make it sound incredible. I am not an audio engineer, but I want to help my guests sound incredible, if I can. Despite advising my guests not to use their laptops built in microphone, they still do sometimes. And they sound like they're in an empty apartment. Until I switched to Descript, I would have to run several Audacity, add-ins such as compression, normalization and EQ. Using Descript, all I have to do is turn on Studio Sound and it makes my guests sound like they were in a professional studio using professional recording equipment, even if they were actually using a dreadful Blue Yeti microphone and sitting in a cave with an air conditioner running and a neighbor mowing the lawn outside. All I have to do is enable the Studio Sound option on the audio file. Descript takes care of the rest. 

I have the export options enabled to normalize the file so that everyone's volumes sound the same. And I set the loudness to -14LUFS, which is a measure of loudness so that the sound is nice and punchy when you're listening to my podcast in your earphones. 

Before using Descript's Studio Sound feature, I was using Auphonic which uses a similar AI mastering process to produce a richer, cleaner audio sound. If you just getting started, I highly recommend Auphonic's free tier, which includes a couple of free hours of audio mastering every month. But today I prefer Descript cause it also takes care of background noise as well. 

I can export directly from Descript to my podcast host. I switched from Libsyn to Buzzsprout a couple of years ago, and I love Buzzsprout's service. 

No matter what podcast player you listen to your favorite podcasts on [00:12:00] all the audio tracks are downloaded or streamed from a podcast host. They're not directly hosted by Apple or Spotify or whatever player you're using. This is one of the things I love about podcasting compared to YouTube, where the same company hosts your videos and owns the player and has a stranglehold on the entire experience in order to provide the maximum value to their customers: the advertisers. 

Podcasting has a lot more competition than video, and I think this benefits podcast listeners more than Google's grip on video benefits their viewers.

Buzzsprout is integrated with Canva, which I use to generate the episode artwork. And I'm not sure if unique episode artwork actually gets displayed in Apple Podcasts, but it does everywhere else.

I write up a summary of the podcast and include links to helpful resources and check the format of the transcript, then set it to publish or schedule it for later. 

Lastly for promotion, I email everyone who has subscribed to the Amazing Apps mailing list, as well as all the current students of the Customery Academy, which is around 3000 people. A special hello, if you're listening and you get my emails. Thanks so much for subscribing. I also post episodes on the Amazing Apps Twitter channel and the Amazing Apps company page on LinkedIn. And then keep my fingers crossed for a few likes or comments. 

I've tried using audio grams for lots of episodes in the past. These are short audio teasers, usually with a wave form that bounces around over the top of the cover art. They're designed to hook you to an episode and encourage you to download it. But I haven't found that they work any better than a good title and a thumbnail. 

Sometimes I play around with different titles using Copy.ai to see if it's GPT3 artificial intelligence can generate a more enticing title than I can. And it's a lot of fun reading its suggestions. 

That's a wrap for this special behind the scenes episode of the [00:14:00] Amazing Apps podcast. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my process. 

If you're interested in getting started with a Dynamics 365 or Power Platform podcast, I'm here to cheer you on. Go and record three or four episodes and see if you like it.

If you do, I'd highly encourage you to take one of Pat Flynn's podcasting courses. I'll give you a link in the show notes to those and his YouTube channel. 

And look, if it's not for you, you can always delete those few episodes and pretend it never happened. But if you get it right, well then fame and fortune await.

Well, no, not really, but it's a lot of fun and it's an honor and a privilege to chat with thousands of you every month. And I'dencourage everyone to try it. In fact, I get more podcast listeners to any episode of my podcast than I've had at any conference I've ever spoken at since my first conference presentation at Convergence EMEA in Copenhagen in 2008. What a privilege podcasting really is. 

Another way to try out if podcasting is for you is to appear as a guest on a show like this one. Visit Customery.com/Guest and find out how easy it is to schedule yourself on the show. 

Thanks so much for listening. I really appreciate you. Have an amazing 2022.

 Thanks so much for listening to the Amazing Apps podcast. 

Amazing Applications is a Customery production. 

You can join the show's mailing list at https://AmazingApps.Show. You'll get a personalized welcome video from yours truly, and then notification when there's a new episode available. There are also shortcuts so you can follow the show on all major podcast players, leave a review, and you can send me a message or leave a voicemail if you'd like your question answered on a future episode and even support the show through BuyMeACoffee or by buying an Amazing Apps t-shirt.

Visit https://AmazingApps.Show. 

You can also follow the Amazing Apps show [00:16:00] on Twitter and LinkedIn, and subscribe to my YouTube channel at Youtube.com/CustomeryAcademy. 

Thanks again for listening. I really appreciate you. Until next time, take care and keep sprinting.