May 17, 2024

AI Automation for Creators: Shaving 75% Off My Podcast Prep and Promotion Time

Michel Gagnon
Michel Gagnon
CEO of Stun&Awe

Fifteen hours. That’s nearly two whole workdays, my friends, dedicated to the nitty-gritty of podcast prep and promotion — the logistics, the digging for info, the Tetris game of scheduling, the content creation and marketing — all while my creative spark was left cooling its heels.

Before you tell me that I’m slow, I did some digging and found that many other podcasters spend 10–20 hours prepping for each episode. This was my reality until I decided to find a better way. My goal wasn’t to take shortcuts; it was about automating my workflow and leveraging AI in the right places.

I’m a big advocate of using AI to build your brand, grow revenue, and innovate, but I believe in leveraging it to do better, not just faster.

I’ll walk you through how I use AI automation to improve various aspects of my podcast — from guest management to scheduling, interview preparation, and distribution. It is still a work in progress, but it has drastically changed the game.

By putting some basic workflows in place powered by AI, I’ve been able to reduce the time I spend on essential podcasting tasks like guest outreach, research, interview prep, and promotion by a staggering 75%.

Some of you may be wondering if these automation tactics will work for your podcast and your workflow. It’s a fair question. The key is that the AI supports you — you remain in control and get to focus on high-level creative direction. It helps streamline repetitive tasks but allows you to maintain a personalized approach.

My goal here is to share how you can strategically use AI and automation, so you spend time on the parts of podcasting that really require a human touch, not the busywork.

Finding Guests and Reaching Out

I find potential guests for my podcast using LinkedIn and a tool called Waalaxy. LinkedIn is great for identifying industry experts, authors, and thought leaders who would make compelling guests. I personally identify every single guest. I’m not aiming to have many guests. I want interesting and inspiring guests. So no robots are involved there.

Once I’ve identified interesting potential guests, I add them to a list in a tool called, Waalaxy. My list is called “podcast potential guests.” This makes it easy to keep track of and reach out to these prospects when I’m ready to start booking interviews.

Waalaxy allows me to automate the outreach on LinkedIn. It works like an email marketing software. You can create campaigns with a series of messages and follow-ups. If someone accepts my invitation to connect and respond to one of my messages, they are automatically removed from the automation.

My outreach is relatively simple. I explain I’d like to have them on the show, why they’d be a good fit, and share a list of past guests. I also include a Calendly link that they can use to book a day and time to record the episode. If they don’t respond initially, an automated follow-up message provides more information about my podcast, including sharing a longer list of previous guests.

This outreach process has yielded a great 68% response rate from potential guests.

If they accept and decide to book a slot in my calendar, it triggers a series of events.

  • Zapier creates a new page in Notion that I share with the guest. It includes a list of potential questions and any particular themes the guest wants to cover. When guests are booking the interview slot in Calendly, I have a question that asks: “Is there any specific topic you’d like us to cover?” I think it’s useful to know if there is something in particular the guest wants to discuss, like an upcoming book launch or new initiative at their company. This info is then added automatically to the shared Notion page.
  • Zapier creates a new recording session in Squadcast, the remote recording software I use.
  • Zapier creates a new database item in our Notion Content Calendar. This is where we centralized all content and tasks the team needs to complete for the release of the episode.

The combination of LinkedIn and Waalaxy removes a lot of the manual work I used to have to do searching for and compiling guest lists. With a few clicks, I can quickly get the ball rolling. The messages are the same as I used to send manually. I just removed the busy tasks off my plate.

Leveraging AI for Research, Interview Prep, and Generating Questions

One of the key steps I take to prepare for interviews is generating an initial set of questions tailored to each guest. To make your podcast unique, you need a unique angle as much as possible.

This used to be extremely tedious, as I had to find past interviews my guest had given and listen to each 30–60-minute interview myself to understand the guest’s viewpoints and come up with ideas.

This is where I decided to change the game.

Now, I’ve automated this process with AI. I created a Custom GPT that conducts research and finds past interviews and interesting takes. After I find 3 recent interviews my guest has given, I feed those into another automation, a workflow. The AI will listen to the full interviews, extract interesting viewpoints and ideas from the guest, and automatically generate a list of 10 unique questions based on those interviews.

Rather than spending hours of my own time listening and note-taking, the AI handles this heavy lifting in seconds. I’m then left with a robust initial list of questions tailored to that specific guest.

From there, I simply tweak the questions a bit and refine them further by discussing with my ChatGPT interview assistant. This allows me to finalize an excellent set of questions personalized to each guest, without having to do the manual busy work myself. The AI automation lifts this burden off my shoulders so I can focus on the preparation that really counts.

I simply review the questions, tweak as needed, and add to the Notion page to share with my guests. The automation does in seconds what used to take me hours of prep work.

Automating Promotion

Many podcasters’ troubles start once the interview is recorded. Editing the audio-video recording, writing the blog post and show notes, and creating clips to promote the episode on social media can take a lot of time.

I’ve been using an amazing software called Descript to edit my episodes. It allows me to add studio sound in one click and edit the show just like a Word document. They added AI features that make creating show notes, finding good clips, and even writing social media posts really easy.

I’ll need another post to cover properly how I automated my content promotion, but I wanted to give you a glimpse of what is possible.

I created a workflow in that takes my interview transcript and turns it into a blog post and shownotes. It took me hours of work on prompt engineering to get it right, but I’ve reached a point where the output text is a solid first draft.

I have another automation that uses the blog post as input to create a series of social media posts for different platforms.

Finally, I set up Zaps in Zapier to automatically schedule those social media posts in Metricool.

Things to Keep in Mind

With AI handling repetitive manual tasks, you gain back precious time to focus on the creative aspects of producing a high-quality show. However, I like giving myself some space to change and refine what I get from my AI tools. Keep in mind that using AI output as is will likely get you penalized by Google, Medium, and other platforms.

Even with AI automation, it’s important to maintain a personalized and human approach when reaching out to potential podcast guests. With over 4.1 million active podcasts today, it’s more crucial than ever to stand out from the crowd.

The key is flexibility — you stay completely in control when leveraging automation. The goal is to augment the process, not replace the human element. AI helps remove repetitive manual tasks, but the personal touch is what builds relationships and gets results.

What’s Next?

I hope walking through my AI automation process has healed you envision how you can improve your podcast and better manage guests, preparation, and promotion. The key is not to produce more, but to create higher-quality output. The automation serves you, not the other way around.

If you’d like help setting up similar workflows, please reach out. I’m happy to assist fellow podcasters in spending time on what really matters — conducting thoughtful interviews that provide value for listeners. The automation handles the busy work so you can focus on quality guest interactions and preparation.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I’m always open to connecting with podcasters and sharing what I’ve learned along the way.

If you need help automating your work so that you can scale and focus on what matters, let me know here.

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