Using Cloud based tools for podcast production
Update: September 2021
Nearly five years since I had published this post, much has changed in the tools and systems we use. Thought it was time to update this post with the more recent information!
I have written about the hardware setup that I have for my podcast ‘recording studio’ in the past. Today, I thought of writing about the programs or software that I use for managing the entire podcast workflow. By workflow, I mean the entire process right from identifying a potential guest to scheduling time with them, recording the interview, editing, release of an episode, and marketing.
You might have guessed by now that releasing a podcast episode is not as simple as it seems. But by no means it is intimidating. In fact, once you set up the Standard Operating Procedure or SOP, it becomes quite easy to follow. Let us see how.
I use Google Spreadsheet to manage the interview schedule. I’ve written about it in detail in this blog post, but I will summarize it here: I have several columns in the spreadsheet, right from the name and contact information of the potential guest, when I first approached them, their response (yes/no/no response), date of follow up, all the way upto whether I sent them a Thank You mail after the interview or not.
I use another spreadsheet to maintain the release schedule of interviews. Some podcasters recommend using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool. I’ve tried using Zoho CRM in the past, and while it is quite useful, I loved the speed and simplicity of a spreadsheet.
In June 2021, we began using Nimbus Notes.
Recording the Interview
I’ve written in the past about the 7 different ways of recording podcasts: I have used Skype, Cleanfeed, Zencastr the most (in that order), and found them to be very useful tools. Each comes with its own quirks and requirements: For Skype, you will need to install a call recorder in order to record the calls. The choice of recorder varies from Pamela (Windows) to eCamm (Mac), to Skype Call Recorder (Linux). I use eCamm for my Mac.
In 2021, we use a mix of Garageband, OcenAudio, and Zoom (H1N- the hardware device, not the meeting app) for offline recording. And Zencastr + Zoho meeting for online recording. In a future post, I will write about these tools.
I use Audacity for basic editing, and I’m learning how to use Garageband to do that task. My audio editor is travelling at this time, so I am doing the editing by myself till the time I find his replacement. We also use Ocenaudio, Bouncecast and
We used Libsyn for the first three months,
but since April this year, we use Audioboom.
Update: In August 2020, we moved over to Spreaker once AUdioboom decided to exit India. Kamakshi Media is registered as a channel with Spreaker. We have separate channels for all our shows, including MyKitaab and Baalgatha.
Releasing An Episode
MyKitaab and Baalgatha Podcasts are available on iTunes (Apple Podcasts), Stitcher, and Facebook. The episodes can also be heard on the websites for the respective shows. For NRI:Now, Returned to India, we use iTunes and the Kamakshi Media website. All shows can also be heard on
Audioboom Spreaker, where Kamakshi Media’s (gaathastory) podcasts are hosted. I also use Clammr to release 20 second snippets of the podcasts every time a new episode is released.
the social media promotions take place on Facebook, @gaathastory on Instagram, @gaathastory on twitter and in some cases, LinkedIn. I also use Quora to write about the podcast interviews, and (subtly) promote the shows. The social media promotions are managed through Hootsuite.Update 2021: We have moved to a mix of Missinglettr and Promo Republic to handle our social media promotions.
I am not a big fan of Project Management or Task Management tools. When I was a program manager for Amazon, I relied on Spreadsheets to get these tasks done, because of the short learning curve, ease of use, and they do not depend on “Ever-on” Internet. This was very important because I would spend a lot of time on Construction sites that had very poor phone connectivity, let alone Internet access. That is no longer the case, but I have come to love spreadsheets. Some podcasters like < ahref="https://mykitaab.in/tim/">Tim Lewis of Begin Self Publishing Podcast use Trello for task management, and I am beginning to use it slowly and (un)steadily.
Technologies change, and so do tools. This list may look significantly different as new sites and services keep coming up, I will keep experimenting, learning, and un-learning these tools. Hope you find this list useful for your podcasting (or blogging) needs.
Cloud storage for storing, sharing and archiving podcast episodes
Most of us use some form of “free” cloud storage or another, be it Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or a similar service. So do I. But over the years, the choice and use of online storage services became a problem. Here’s how I overcame it.
The problem of plenty
Over the years, I have accumulated
Two Five gmail accounts, one Windows Live! account, Dropbox, Cloudme (no longer used). After getting a Mac, I also have an iCloud account. The good part is, I had a total of 50 GB of ‘free’ online storage. Add to that an additional 20 GB through My wife, 100 GB from my web host, and my alma mater’s google Apps (now Google Suite) account theoretically offers ‘unlimited’ storage Storage is now limited to 5 TB- still packs a punch in 2021). For sake of simplicity, let us say we have a total of 5 TB plus an additional 170 to 180 GB of ‘free’ online storage, which is awesome.
I began storing the backups of documents into different accounts, and over a period of time, it became a nightmare. I began storing my writing samples, personal documents, academic transcripts, and other important documents on one of the two Google Drive accounts, with a copy on One Drive. Documents related to my business, gaathastory.com were stored on the Google Drive.
All edited audio files for MyKitaab and Baalgatha Podcasts were originally stored on Dropbox. I would also use Dropbox for sending the raw audio files to my editor and get back the edited files into Dropbox, and with a 7 GB storage, I quickly began to run out of space. So I ended up transferring the completed audio files onto my second gmail account, and Dropbox was used for storing screenshots, images to be used in Social media, and sharing files with the editor. iCloud began to be used for storing all expense reports, receipts, and invoices.
Last week, I had to search for a couple of documents related to my wife’s work, and it took me over an hour to locate them. They were not on any of the online drives, but I could find them on the external 300 GB Seagate drive that I use for backing up data locally. That got me thinking, “Finding a document take me so long to find, what will happen if I had to search for images?” With thousands of photographs, it is not practical to name each image. That means opening up (or previewing) each image to find the photograph was had taken during our last vacation, for example.
There HAS to be a better way
The above line is a hat tip to Kevin O’Leary from Sharktank, and I took this line seriously. I wanted only two storage accounts, one for day to day use, and the other for a periodic backup. I signed up for Mega, the site which offers 50 GB storage in their free account. Using Multcloud, I moved all the scattered files to Mega,Next, cleared out the One Drive and one of the Google Drive accounts. Storage in Dropbox was brought down to 1 GB of files that I had shared with editors, customers and some other folks. One of my Google accounts became a shared account across all the Google accounts between my wife and I. This includes the mp3 files (final version of the files for MyKitaab Podcast), total storage space = 11 GB and counting. Once the 15 GB space is consumed, I will start storing the files on my Wife’s Google Drive storage space, and share the files back with me. All my writing will be in Dropbox, with a backup on Mega.Update Sept 2019: we No longer use Mega.
All the documents related to Kamakshi Media were moved to iCloud. Mega will be the ‘data dump’ for all documents, organised into relevant folders.