I sometimes think there are ghosts that inhabit the space between receiving an email and entering that data in a Google Spreadsheet: there are so many errors and missing info. Not a week goes by without a mistake.
One of the popular features of Sleep Tight Stories is the weekly shoutouts and birthday wishes to kids from all over the world. Kids love hearing their names on the show, and many more find it interesting to hear where other kids are listening from. We do this once a week, and often, there will be 20 or more messages to go through. You must be a supporter to get mentioned, but we seldom turn anyone down. A few other podcasts put a $50 US price tag on these, but that seems too aggressive for our tastes.
The process is entirely manual. Parents sign up for premium or send a donation, then reach out via email, and I reply telling them when the shoutout will appear. The data is then entered into a Google spreadsheet. It’s laborious, and I have struggled with all the emails this summer as my focus has been spending as much of my mornings outdoors as possible.
I should automate, but setting up a secure form is a pain, and then we lose this opportunity to ask questions and hear feedback. If we continue to grow, this will be unsustainable, so I hope a solution will present itself in the coming months.