Have you wanted to start a podcast to expand your brand and get the word out about your product or service?
If you enjoy communicating with people. Even if you are an introvert. Podcasting is a great way to get this done!
However, I won’t lie to you. A regular podcast is hard work. And a regular podcast is how it has to be. So if you can’t devote time to a weekly or at the very least a bi-weekly show then you shouldn’t do it. Why? Because you need to build a following and to do that takes consistency. Put simply a 1 hour podcast will take you a total of 3 hours to get edited and uploaded.
It’s also not free. Not really. You have to host your show somewhere, more on that at the end. All I can do is share the tricks and tech tips that can get you started. And where you take it is up to you.
This article IS NOT about how to:
- Have an idea for a podcast that is interesting.
- How to structure your podcast.
- How to market your podcast
This is about my journey and what equipment I use to make it easier.
I’ve been doing a weekly political podcast for over a year. I have uploaded 54 episodes since I got started and have made only a few changes in my process or my equipment. I am not an introvert, far from it, I really enjoy speaking to others and love public speaking. So talking on the mic isn’t hard. What is hard for me, unlike some that I know is doing the show in one take.
There are two ways you can do a podcast: Live and Edited. Mine is edited. It’s not so much that I demand perfection. But It doesn’t do the podcast or your growth any good to output garbage full of ummmm and uhhhhh. Since my show is edited I have a larger time crunch when it comes to editing. For every hour I have recorded I will spend up to 3 editing. Typically my show is around an hour. I’ve done shorter and longer episodes.
You do not need a studio to produce a podcast. However, you will need a place that is quiet and a time of the day where kids won’t be screaming at the video games or an AC unit in the basement that isn’t going to kick on when you are in the middle of recording. (my “studio” is in the basement)
You will need:
- A Boom Arm and Mic Shock Mount $25-$100
- Pop filter $20.00
- Quality Mic (USB or XLR) $50-$500
- Audio interface if using a XLR mic $75-$145
- Studio Headphones $25-$200
- Cables $20
- Software FREE
I will talk about a few of the things above that are important. As you can see the prices vary greatly. Cry once. Get quality stuff. You can always sell it if you change your mind, and almost all of it can be used regularly on zoom calls.
A boom arm and shock mount lets you move the mic out of the way when you are not using it. Also helps keep some of the vibrations from your desk out of your recording. It didn’t take me long to add these to my recording setup. And as mentioned above I now have the best sounds on Zoom and go-to meeting calls.
A quality microphone is critical. I’ve tried some of the kits that come in a bundle. The Mics are tolerable. But I’d plan to invest your money here. I’m partial to the XLR mics as I came from the video production world and had several already.
I’ve used the microphones by:
All three are XLR Condenser microphones and as such require 48v phantom power. With an XLR connection, you will need an audio interface. I use the Scarlett 2i2 which has two microphone inputs. This is handy if you want to do interviews. But not a requirement.
If you want to save money there are many USB microphones that provide great quality and eliminate the need for the interface. Of the three mics I used for my Podcast I think my favorite is the AT2020. It’s got a crisp sound and I was able to internally modify it to allow me to talk into the top instead of the side of it. The MXL is more affordable and has a great bassy sound. The Scarlett is very similar to the AT2020 in sound. I can easily recommend it and often you can find them on Ebay, bundled with the interface.
A Pop Filter of some sort is critical. Nothing drives me crazier than an interesting podcast with bad audio. A Pop filter reduces “plosives”. it can also help you keep a consistent distance from the microphone.
Good studio headphones are important because you will be spending a great deal of time every week with them on your head. Over-the-ear studio-quality headphones keep you from getting fatigued while working. I use the HPH-MT5 by Yamaha. Which I found online for around $100.00.
Software for recording and editing is important and can be the hardest part of the learning curve. The 2 that come to mind are Adobe Audition and Audacity. The former is 20.99/mo and the latter is free. I’ve used Audacity exclusively for the entire podcast. I also used it to produce an online course for Ham Radio License Study called www.HamRadioMastery.com It’s fairly intuitive and with my programmable mouse I have added a button that cuts out selected bits of audio from the timeline and speeds up my editing time.
Don’t forget storage. What I didn’t mention above is where to store your podcast media. I use PODBEAN to host my podcast media. It’s a very easy system to use and edit your shows and they create a website that you can use if you want another site just for your podcasts. Podbean costs me $108.00/yr. Another option I was looking into when I started was Buzzsprout. But since a friend was using podbean for his podcasts I went with it.
So should you start a podcast?
One way to get into podcasting without all of the above stuff is to reach out to hosts that have shows in your wheelhouse and offer to be a guest on their show. I’m always open to guests as it frees me up from coming up with another idea, and it’s fun to interview people, and often you get 2-3 shows worth of content from an interview. You can use this method to see what kind of response their show gets and see what kind of demand there is for your content. That is what it’s all about after all – content. One added benefit of being a guest on a show is it drives content to your website. And it costs you nothing but time. You will need a good microphone for the interview if doing it over zoom.
Eventually, you can get sponsors and or self sponsor with your products or services. In my case, I’m making enough to keep doing it. And to pay for the equipment I use.
So get moving!