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Let's Talk Business: How one podcast thrives on automation

By Elena Alston · April 28, 2021
Podcast host Meny Hoffman ready for an interview

Let's Talk Business, hosted by Meny Hoffman, is a 30-to 60-minute podcast focused on sharing business insights. Since its launch in 2019, the podcast has already amassed 75 episodes, featuring interviews with business owners and thought leaders from all over the world.

From company culture to hiring, leadership, sales, marketing, mindset, and beyond, the podcast offers no-nonsense advice to help listeners learn, grow, and lead. 

But it's not the only project on Hoffman's plate. By day, he is the CEO of Ptex Group, a marketing agency based in Brooklyn. He's also a father of eight. 

It's a lot to manage. 

That's why he turned to automation to help him streamline the onboarding process for the more than 70 guests featured on the podcast. Without having that automation in place, he says, launching the podcast in the first place would have been impossible. 

When we were first thinking about launching the Let's Talk Business Podcast, I knew that we couldn't undertake the project without automating the most time-consuming tasks. Thanks to Zapier, the majority of the guest onboarding process and project management is now automated.

Streamlining email communication with guests

Of course, having dozens of apps can quickly get overwhelming if the apps don't all talk to each other. And that's where Zapier comes in. Whenever a guest is invited to speak on the podcast, there are five or six things that need to happen across the podcast's onboarding process. 

First, after the guest books an interview slot via Keap, they need to be sent an email with a request to submit a short bio and a headshot. This is sent one week before the interview, but if the guest hasn't responded within that time slot, they then receive reminder emails along the way. If, on the other hand, the guest sends back the information within the slotted time, the reminder emails are canceled using conditional logic. 

Then, as another reminder the day before the interview, the guest receives another email with the date and time of the interview—with a personalized message. Once the interview is completed, the guest is sent a thank you email. 

Preparing interview assets and interview questions

Email communication isn't the only thing that's automated. There are plenty of other steps involved—like creating a Google Drive folder, uploading interview questions, and checking boxes in Smartsheet. That process would have cost the podcast an extra two hours per episode. 

They now use a 22-step Zap that does the heavy lifting for them, completing tasks across a ton of apps, including Smartsheet, Keap, AppointmentCore, Google Drive, Google Docs, and Dropbox. 

This Zap creates and keeps track of important interview documents by adding new folders in Google Drive and Dropbox for each interview, generating new Google Doc drafts for interview questions, and storing headshots and bios in the appropriate folders.

It also keeps records complete in Smartsheet by adding rows when an interview is scheduled, and checking the appropriate boxes when a guest schedules, submits a headshot and bio, and the interview is complete.

The same Zap even sends emails, such as reminders to employees if the interview question doc isn't complete four days before the interview and instructions to upload the podcast after it's been recorded to Dropbox. 

Turning to an Expert for an off-the-shelf solution

Before becoming a podcast, Hoffman ran the Let's Talk Business email series, a business advice column with tens of thousands of subscribers. The idea of expanding this into a podcast had been on the CEO's mind for a while, but time constraints were an initial deal-breaker.  

This was until Meny learned of the Zapier Experts program, where businesses like his can hire certified consultants to help teams succeed with automation.  

We chose to work with a Zapier Expert on this project because of the complexity of the tasks involved. The setup we have now involves a lot of conditional logic and we wanted to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by automation to the fullest extent. That meant hiring a Zapier Expert to help.

Flow Digital, the Zapier Expert he chose, helped Meny identify which tools best suited the project, built the Zaps for them, and then trained the team member responsible for maintaining the manual tasks that remained. Which, in Meny's words, were very few. 

In short, Flow Digital set up a level of automation that would have been impossible for his team to develop on their own, given time constraints and broader priorities.

Automation that puts the podcast to work

With automation running behind the scenes, the Let's Talk Business team saves on average two hours per episode. 

This gives them time to focus on the work that matters most.

The biggest asset in business is time. By having Zapier automate this process, we were able to launch the podcast and continue maintaining it as it grows more popular. As a result, I get more time back in my week to focus on providing more content to our audience.

As the podcast grows, Meny can continue to share business insights and new strategies with his audience—which corresponds with his firm belief that everyone should be given the opportunity to succeed in life. 

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A Zap with the trigger 'When I get a new lead from Facebook,' and the action 'Notify my team in Slack'