Brian Casel is the Founder of Audience Ops, a content marketing service that powers blogs from creation to publication, and host of Productize Podcast. In today’s episode, we dive deep into the nitty-gritty details surrounding task breakdown and the level of detail it takes to create a systemized process that saves you time.
Although Audience Ops has only been around for three years, Brian has built a streamlined process by which his writers and editors can take their clients from start to finish. This has freed Brian up from the day-to-day tasks, so that he can focus on his other products like his personal site Productize & Scale, Productize Course, and podcasts, while offering big picture guidance to his team.
While Brian appreciates automation and the way it integrates the today’s constantly evolving software landscape, he still highly values the human element.
8:30 “When I think about automation, I think about it even more in terms of people automation. There are still plenty of manually done processes.”
He believes anything that seems messy can start to be automated so that it follows a more predictable process. Once you do that, you are able to start hiring people who can fill out those roles in the process (if that is your goal), so that you can step back and focus on new projects or more big picture goals.
The Productized Podcast Process
Brian shares how he worked with his audio editor in Brazil to build out a detailed podcast production process so that he is only involved where he wants or needs to be.
Their process is as follows:
- Prospecting Guests: because his editor has listened to all of the podcasts, he knows what kind of guest Brian is looking for. Brian also gave him a list of guidelines to reference when identifying potential guests. On the Productize Podcast website, they used Gravity Forms to create a form to which anyone can submit a guest suggestion. Once a suggestion is submitted, this form hooks up to Zapier and is dropped into Trello.
- Booking Interviews: once Brian approves the guest on Trello, his editor sends a template email invite to the guest with a link to Brian’s Calendly. Once the guest books their interview, his editor moves them along in Trello until the date of the interview.
- Interview: Brian does the interview and drops the call recording into Dropbox.
- Audio Editing: From there, his editor takes the file, drops in the intro, and optimizes the MP3 file.
- Show Notes: his editor transcribes the intro, picks out quotes that are interesting, links to important mentions, then sets up the post on the WordPress blog.
- Feature Image: his editor designs and uploads the featured image.
- Schedules: his editor schedules the broadcast to be sent out to Brian’s list of subscribers through Drip on the day the episode publishes.
- Workflow and Due Dates: the whole workflow is in the Ops Calendar, so that every time Brian approves a new podcast guest, it follows the checklist template and automatically sets the due dates for the tasks.
- Social: His editor will also use the Ops Calendar to cue up tweets.
- Follow Up Email: his editor sends an email to the guest letting them know when the episode goes live.
Brian says that while there is a time investment up front, it will save you time in the long run, and from there you can fine tune things as needed.
19:04 “It will actually take you longer to do it the first few times because you’re going to take that extra time to document the process, but once you get through that and you delegate it to somebody, you’re shaving hours and days off of your calendar.”
For Brian, the biggest automation mistake he’s made is building too much of a process around something that he hasn’t done enough times yet to figure out what really needs to be streamlined. His advice is to first focus on the broad strokes, then eventually layer in the details, and don’t rely entirely on software – the human element is important for double checking and support.
Brian also shares the detailed processes behind his favorite Zapier applications that support when an Audience Ops client signs up, and the Audience Ops sales process. Some of the tools he relies on within these processes are Stripe, Slack, Google Sheets, Geckoboard, and Pipedrive.
Personal Website: Productize & Scale
Business: Audience Ops