Imagine publishing podcast episodes faster! These simple hacks will improve your podcasting workflow in the little details. Each of these may take only a few minutes to setup and may not seem to save much time. But even saving 30 seconds per day adds up to more than two hours per year.
1. Change file associations
What program opens when you double-click your files? That is set by the file association. For example, double-clicking an MP3 often opens it in iTunes. But is that really what program you want to handle that file?
For example, I changed the following defaults on my system.
- .mp3 opens in ID3 Editor
- .wav and .aif open in Adobe Audition
- .php, .css, and .xml open in Sublime Text
- .mp4 opens in VLC
- .mov (my camera’s video format) opens in Adobe Premiere Pro
Change your file associations with these steps:
- For OS X, right-click a file and click Get Info. Change “Open with:” to your preferred program. Click “Change All…”
- For Windows 7/8, open Control Panel > Control Panel Home > Default Programs > Set Associations (or type “Default Programs” into the Start search). Select the file type you want to change and click “Change program.” Or, you can right-click the file type you want to change and click Properties. Go to General tab > Type Of File > Change > Choose a program.
- For some Linux distributions, follow these steps.
2. Use an FTP client for uploading podcast media
Depending on the media host you use, it may be much faster to upload through an FTP client instead of through their website. LibSyn works this way and is even better.
Popular free FTP clients are CyberDuck and FileZilla.
If you upload to LibSyn, I recommend uploading a fully tagged MP3 file to the “quickcast” folder. This will read the title, description, and other meta information from the ID3 tags; set the file as a post (not as “for download only,” which you shouldn’t use); and publish the file immediately. You won’t even have to login to the LibSyn website!
3. Use templates
I’ve talked before about using Simple Content Templates (formerly Simple Post Templates) for creating templates in WordPress. Also consider templates for your other processes.
- Preparation template in your favorite note-taker (for example, Evernote, Workflowy, Google Drive)
- Production template with intro, outro, bumpers, and even track effects in editors (for example, Audacity, Adobe Audition, Premiere Pro)—the simplicity of doing this with Adobe Audition is part of why I left Audacity
- Design templates for images with fonts, colors, and layout
- Email templates for interview requests, feedback responses, and business opportunities
- Effect presets for tracks, clips, and recordings
4. Make macros and “droplets”
Many programs will let you record a set of actions to save as a macro. These are called Chains in Audacity, Favorites in Adobe Audition, Actions in Adobe Photoshop, and other names in other programs.
You can also create a miniature program, commonly called a droplet, on which you can drag and drop one or many files for quick processing. For example, converting stereo to mono, encoding WAV as MP3, converting PNG to JPEG, sequentially renaming, uploading to FTP, applying a template, and more.
5. Work in mono
I’ve already talked about the many benefits of podcasting in mono instead of stereo. In your workflow, this can often cut your processing time in half. An effect only has to process a single track in mono instead of two tracks (left and right) in stereo.
6. Use text-expansion: TextExpander or PhraseExpress
Text-expansion is a huge time-saver for me in the little ways. Here are some example uses.
- Make typing hard-to-spell words or titles easier—John Lee Dumas uses “eee” to write “Entrepreneur on Fire” since spelling “entrepreneur” causes even the best to stumble
- Simplify complicated text—I type “tap.url” to get “http://TheAudacitytoPodcast.com/” with the option to add to the end of the URL
- Make easy hyperlinks—I type “paypal.pay” to get a full payment URL with a custom description and payment amount
- Insert a complete template—For consulting requests and followups, RSS help, CES booking requests, and more, I have different “email.____” shortcuts that insert a full message with the recipient’s name and custom inclusions
Text expansion’s power goes far beyond just replacing text with other plain text. You can make dynamic fields that populate the output, shortcuts that process your clipboard, and much more.
Get TextExpander for Mac, or PhraseExpress for Windows.
7. Paste without formatting
When you copy and paste text, font sizes, colors, and other formatting are usually captured and pasted with it. This can make text-editing very annoying. Many applications offer a “paste as plain text” or “paste without formatting” option. This is commonly Ctrl-Shift-V on Windows and Linux, and Cmd-Shift-V on OS X.
The text you paste will inherit the formatting of your target (such as a heading or color) instead of carrying over the previous formatting.
8. Write show notes directly in WordPress
Instead of going through a lot of hassle to paste without formatting from a separate app into WordPress, why not write your show notes directly into WordPress?
You won’t struggle with formatting transitions and invalid characters. And it also means you can seamlessly insert your hyperlinks, formatting, and multimedia while you write your text.
9. Create bookmarks, favorites, and shortcuts
If you regularly use the same tool, website, or folder, make simple shortcuts to each of these in relevant places.
- In your web browser, use the Bookmarks toolbar to place your most commonly visited pages (like WordPress’s “new post” page) and bookmarklets (like social-sharing or bookmarking services).
- In your file browser, add shortcuts to your common folders in the sidebar or favorites for easy access from the file browser or save/open dialog boxes.
- In project folders, make shortcuts/aliases to other commonly accessed folders.
- In programs, add your favorite effects to a favorites menu or palette, if supported.
10. Learn or customize keyboard shortcuts
I probably use several hundred keyboard shortcuts in a single day. This is way more than simple cut/copy/paste. Cmd/Ctrl-I will italicize text in WordPress and most apps, Cmd/Ctrl-K will usually hyperlink text (it’s Alt-Shift-A in WordPress), Cmd/Ctrl-S will save.
But there may also be shortcuts for your other common operations. If there aren’t, you can probably assign them in your app. For example, I setup Cmd-Shift-L to run the Normalize effect in Audacity, or Cmd-Shift-M to convert stereo to mono in Audition.
Maybe you don’t like your app’s keyboard shortcuts because you’re used to a different app. For example, most apps use Cmd/Ctrl-E for exporting, but Audition and Premiere Pro both use Cmd/Ctrl-M.
Critically review your workflow steps
Don’t stop with my list! Watch for any repetitive tasks and find ways to do them a little quicker. When you combine all of these things together, you may find yourself saving 5–15 minutes per day, which adds up to 21–65 hours per year!
What little tasks have your been able to hack to save time? What are some of your favorite text-expansion snippets? Share in the comments!
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