For today's blog post, we decided to compile a round up of our favorite tools we use to run The Unmistakable Creative Podcast.
Slack - Team Communication and Shared Consciousness
A few years ago, I interviewed Chris Fussel. In our conversation, he mentioned that in taking down Al Qaeda, the US military encountered something they had never dealt with before: the speed at which information traveled within Al Qaeda. In the US Military, information was living in silos. Taking what I learned from that conversation, we immediately started using Slack as the shared consciousness of our team. Everybody from our podcast editor to people we hire for special projects are in Slack with us.
Despite the fact that it was created by Google, Gmail still looks like something that was invented 10 years ago. It's slow, clunky, and a pain in the ass to sift through. Superhuman lives up to its promise of being the "the fastest email experience ever made." It has snippets which are the same as canned responses, an ability to snooze emails until a date you choose, and allows you to see when your emails are opened. Even though it costs $29.99 a month, with the amount of time it saves you, it more than pays for itself. I've recommended it to everyone, and wouldn't be surprised if they get acquired by Google.
After trying several email service providers for our newsletter, we returned to Mailchimp because it's easy to use, integrates with everything and has led to higher open rates, click through rates, and is a much better experience for our readers.
**Reason8.ai for meeting notes**
These guys are a sponsor for the Unmistakable Creative. I love it because it allows us to be present in our meetings without having to focus on taking notes. It provides a recording of each meeting, a full transcript, a summary and action items. Because it's an AI based app, it's still going through puberty, but the more that people use it, the better it will get. Full disclosure: I'm a minor equity holder in this company.
Discord for running private groups, like our Writer's Workshop
Given how many other things are competing for people's attention on Facebook, we decided it would be a terrible forum for the people in our fearless writer's workshop. So we setup Discord, in which they have a dedicated forum for this one purpose. Even though it's positioned as an "all in one voice and text chat" platform for gamers, you can use it for managing any kind of community.
Ematic Solutions for automating management of the email list
Emmatic uses artificial intelligence to automate segmentation and clean up of our email list. This way, the people we communicate with most frequently are our most engaged subscribers. And thanks to their help, we've seen email open rates as high as 30%.
Design/Content Creation Tools
Notion for writing, task management, and blog editorial calendar**
Notion, the all-in-one workspace, has become such an integral part of my daily workflow that I'll need to write a separate article for it. It's the one tool that I can use for all of the following:
- Distraction free writing
- Editorial Calendar Management
- Task Management
- Project Management
It's replaced many of our tools and I use it more than I use Google docs. The post you're currently reading was written entirely in Notion. The primary feature it's lacking that I've requested is WordPress integration. Once that happens, I'll probably be spending most of my day in Notion.
Zencastr - Recording the Podcast
For some reason, despite being around for 20 years, even with an external microphone, the recording quality on Skype sucks. After one of our listeners tweeted, "Dude you're show is too good for the sound quality to be this bad", we knew that we had to do something. What Zencastr gives you is studio quality recording without the cost of a studio. Because it's browser based, every now and then you have issues with it. But for the most part, it's extremely reliable.
Beautiful.AI for presentations
Powerpoint is antiquated and just one of the many reasons that speakers at conferences have mind numbing and terrible slides. To prevent that, read Presentation Zen and use Beautiful.AI. It's an artificially intelligent slide design tool that allows you to design breathtaking presentations lightning fast. I use it for all of my workshops, keynotes, and I also designed our media kit with it.
Delesign for artwork, animation etc.
If you've spent any time on our web site, you know that visuals are an integral part of what we do. Between custom album covers for every guest and illustrating our blog posts, we needed a service that was consistent, reliable, and affordable. When I found out the Delesign offered unlimited design for $350 a month and they had animation capabilities, it was a no brainer. Based on the information you fill out, you're assigned a designer who handles your requests. I sent our assigned designer a sample of one of our album covers, and she nailed the design request on the first try.
Thrive Architect- easy drag & drop page builder for WordPress
Layout and formatting of blog posts can be a pain in the ass and take up a lot of time. But Thrive Architect makes all of that faster and easier. You can build reusable templates, and customize layouts to your heart's content.
Leadpages to create Landing pages
Leadpages makes it easy and fast to create landing pages for just about everything. You use it to create payment forms and have those forms integrate with Stripe. I thought it was a far fetched claim that one of their templates could lead to a 60% conversion rate, but I've included a screenshot below as proof that it is possible.
Zoom - Client Meetings and Course Delivery
To record the modules and host the in person sessions for our writers workshop, we use Zoom. We're not only able to share our screen, but have workshop participants on screen via video, leading to a highly interactive and engaging online course experience.
Adobe Spark is an amazing tool that allows you to design stunning visual content. You can use it to create social media graphics, amazing blog posts, and much more. With Adobe Spark, the only real limitation is your imagination.
Rescuetime - Block distractions and track time
The state of your attention is the state of your life, and attention is the currency of achievement. If you're serious about protecting yours and spending it on deep work and other things that matter, Rescuetime should be in your toolkit. I've included a video below on how I use it. You can get 30% off of Rescutime premium by clicking here.
Given that we record hundreds of interviews every year, conduct meetings with clients, and more, if we did that manually we'd be sending and replying to emails all day long. With Calendly, you can let people know what days and times you're available and even setup different meeting types. I've included a screenshot below.
Airtable to Organize a Podcast Calendar
My friend Gareth Pronovost runs a business that helps people use Airtable to streamline their business. Once he showed me what was possible with it, I was hooked.
- Right after somebody schedules an interview for the podcast, the date of the interview goes right into Airtable, and it gets tagged as scheduled.
- For each guest, their record has fields for a headshot, episode title, advertisers, interview audio, air date and album cover. And all of the back and forth communication for this can be completely automated. If you're interested in automation, be sure to check out my friend Gareth's site.
Airtable gives us visibility into our entire podcast calendar, tracks guests ideas, scheduled interviews, and notes for the ones we've already recorded.
After years of trying to chase down checks, we realized how stupid that was, and we got on board with Freshbooks, which allows us to send invoices and get paid immediately from our clients and advertisers. You can prepare a client invoice in less than five minutes, know when your client has viewed your invoice, and when they've paid it.
Behind the scenes of everything is Stripe. It allows us to process payments for online courses, integrates with Freshbooks and automatically transfers funds to our bank account. It's not a coincidence that just about everybody who sells something on the internet uses Stripe.
After looking at a dozen tools to give us an overview of our financials, PocketSmith was the winner. It allows you to see all of your expenses by category, and provides an easy to read breakdown of revenue and expenses.