PCs (Windows or macOS) are powerful podcasting tools and ideal for automation. Here are 9 tools for automating many computer-based podcasting workflows.
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Please comment below with the best Linux alternatives!
The premise of “automation” (versus automatic actions)
Many tools can do things automatically. But all of the following tools are focused on automation, that is, automatically doing many things for you and not only a single task.
You've probably heard the phrase, “time is money.” Although that seems more applicable and measurable in business, think of time as if it's money. When you spend it on one thing, it means you don't have as much to spend on another thing.
The purpose of automation is to save you time and money! Yes, many of these automation tools cost (although many are free or have free options), but they will all save you time so that you have more time for the more important things. These automations could even help you make more money!
Think about it like this. You could save some money by learning how to hand-code your own RSS feed, but that costs a bunch of time. Instead, you invest a little money into powerful tools (like WordPress, PowerPress, Libsyn, and many others) to save you time, frustration, and prevent you from having to learn stuff you don't want.
Automation may have a learning curve, but the ultimate result will make up for it!
Hazel or Hygeia
Hazel (for macOS) and Hygeia (for Windows) automate tasks on files and folders. Here are some automation examples:
- Automatically move your recordings from your SD card into a new episode folder and prepare for editing.
- Automatically upload an ID3-tagged MP3 to your media host.
- Automatically copy your image template files into new episode folders.
- Automatically rename and move anything dropped into a particular folder.
- Automatically process files or folders with AppleScript or other apps when they match a criteria.
Thanks to Dr. Ryan Gray, from Medical School HQ, for showing me some Hazel workflows, and even inspiring this whole episode!
TextExpander or PhraseExpress
Text-expansion was one of the first PC productivity hacks I ever learned, and it's part of what convinced me to switch to Mac.
But tools like TextExpander (macOS and Windows) and PhraseExpress (Windows) aren't only about text-expansion shortcuts. They can also help with automation! For example:
- Insert an automatically shortened URL.
- Turn a regular link into an affiliate link.
- Automatically populate fields with processed data (such as pulling an image URL from a page when you have only the URL).
- Run other tasks and programs.
Both TextExpander and PhraseExpress offer nearly limitless possibilities with powerful scripting options.
Clear, consistent, and understandable audio is crucial for all podcasts (audio or video). Auphonic can automate the processing and more! Here's an example Workflow Auphonic could do in a single step:
- Reduce background noise and hum
- Reduce reverb
- Even out volume differences
- Raise or lower perceived loudness to a target industry level
- Add an intro and outro
- Mixdown to mono
- Encode to MP3
Auphonic is available as either a desktop app (macOS and Windows) or as a web service.
Quadro (formerly called Actions)
If you have an unused iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch, Quadro can turn it into a customizable action pad. This can trigger tasks on your PC, such as executing a command or launching a program. And it can also run an entire workflow of tasks with a single button!
For example, a single button in the Quadro app on your mobile device could launch and prepare nearly all the apps and files you need open for a particular stage in your podcasting process.
Automator or AutoHotkey
For more advanced automation, macOS comes with the free program Automator, and Windows users can install the free program AutoHotKey. These can make custom automations (sometimes called “macros”) to run tasks in a variety of programs, or give easy access to developer-level tools built into many apps.
AutoHotkey can even rerun mouse actions on your screen, so it can click all the right buttons for you!
Since your PC is probably the home for most (if not all) your irreplaceable digital data, keeping it backed up should be your top safety priority!
I recommend BackBlaze because it automatically backs up everything important on your computer. You don't have to add folders or drives. It simply grabs it all, even your external storage!
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I use TextExpander on my Mac and Breevy (http://www.16software.com/breevy/) on my Windows PC. It can use TextExpander snippets and can be run from a USB stick as well. I actually used that prior to learning Macs and migrated to TextExpander mainly because of the cross compatibility. Without a doubt though, all tools of that type (no pun intended) save crazy amounts of time. Great episode overall Daniel! I’m seriously considering Hazel now thanks to you. ツ
I am pretty good at recording on the fly and having good even sound, but being a novice I sometimes fall short. Trying Auphonic now. Great article.