Podcasting isn’t exactly a new form of media. But, it has recently experienced a resurgence for brands and marketers – just like the success that NPR has been enjoying with podcasts lately.
According to Edison Research, approximately 39 million Americans, or 15 percent of the over 12 population, listened to a podcast in 2014. Many experts are predicting that 2015 will be even a better year for podcasts thanks to the increase in mobile device usage and the fact that people can listen to a podcast whenever they want to. Also, there is a lot less competition with podcasts than with blogs – there are somewhere around a quarter-million podcasts compared to almost a half billion English language blogs.
There’s also another great benefit of starting a podcast. It doesn’t really cost a whole lot to get started. As Glenn Leibowitz, who lead McKinsey’s external communications, publishing and digital marketing in China, stated on LinkedIn:
“Like the blogging and video revolutions that have enabled millions of people to become content publishers, podcasting has similarly low barriers to entry. Anyone with a laptop, microphone, and free audio editing software can record and publish a podcast that can reach thousands of listeners around the world.”
That’s welcoming news if you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner who has access to a limited budget.
But, how much will it actually take to get your podcast up and running? In reality, you can begin podcasting for under a hundred bucks. Want to know how?
Here is everything you need to get your podcast started for under $100.
When it comes to the gear you’ll need for your podcast, you could end up spending thousands of dollars. But, that’s not required. While you could get really cheap and use the built-in mic in your computer, you just won’t get the same sound quality. So, you’ll want to invest in a decent microphone.
A while back I discussed the best mics to use for podcasts. Included in the list was the Audio Technica ATR2100, which Steve Stewart from Yes You Can Podcast Too! calls “the darling of all podcasters.” For under $60 on Amazon you can purchase this Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone, which means you can plug directly into your computer. You can add a foam windscreen for $2 and a tabletop mic stand for $12 if you want.
Dan Benjamin from The Podcast Method also suggests you purchase a pair of headphones. You can grab a pair of Sennheiser HD 202 II Professional Headphones for under $30 on Amazon.
Because you can edit and record your podcast through your computer, you don’t really have to worry about investing in hardware. You will, however, need some editing and recording software.
One of the most popular editing and recording programs is Audacity. This easy-to-use program is open source (meaning you can tinker around with the program’s code if you’re into that) and is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, or GNU/Linux systems. It also includes your basic editing features (rewind, fast forward, etc.), sound effects and the ability to open multiple files at once and splice them together, which will come in handy if you want to create your own intro.
While Audacity is an effective editor and recorder, there are a couple of other free options. If you’re a Mac user, then you have access to GarageBand. Window users have Sound Recorder. And there’s a free Acoustica version if you want to check that software out.
So far, you’ve managed to spend under $100 for your podcast – and you already have your hardware and software taken care of! Now it’s time for you to find a place to host your podcast on the cheap. If you have a website, you may be able to use that as your host for your podcast. Just keep in mind, however, that if you go this route it may slow down your website.
Instead, you may want to consider finding another host for your podcast. There are free hosting options from Podbean and Buzzsprout, but you may want to spend a couple of bucks on a service that provides you with a ton of space.
Amazon S3, for example, is an inexpensive choice, but it can get a little complicated. If you want to roll with one of the most recommended services, then you have to go with Libsyn. Libsyn offer a variety of plans depending on your needs, but since you’re just starting out, you can select the $5 a month plan. This should have more than enough space to host your podcast. And, if you do need more space, you can bump up to the $15 a month plan.
But, what about iTunes?
You still have to find your own host. To get listed into iTunes, however, you can install the PowerPress Plugin if you use WordPress, which is free.
Intro/Outro Music and Voice Over
One of the most important elements of your podcast will be the intro, outro and/or voice over. As Nick Loper from Side Hustle Nation states, “Think of it like the theme song and opening credits of your favorite TV show.” It’s here that you’ll tell listeners the name of the podcast, who you are and what they can expect to hear in the upcoming episode. But, what will this set you back?
You could do it yourself, if you really want to be frugal. After all, you have all the equipment to record a piece of audio, such as a voiceover, and there’s even some available music from Audacity and GarageBand for your intro and outro that are free. Another location to secure free, and legal, music would be at the Public Domain Information Project. Other than that, you’ll most likely have to pay for a license if you want to use a piece of music.
Another place to browse is Fiverr. For $5 you can hire someone to do an awesome voice over for your podcast. And, you may be able to have them accompany that voice over with some music for a small, additional fee.
If you want to submit your podcast to iTunes, then you’re going to need to have some cover artwork. Nick Loper said that he made his album cover in PowerPoint and made sure that the dimensions were 1400 x 1400 pixels. You could also find a royalty-free image online or even take your picture for your album cover design. Whatever you chose, just make sure that it matches your brand and you have permission to use the image.
You could also go back to Fiverr and hire someone to create your album cover if you’re not feeling all that creative.
Podcasting is a great way to reach your audience – that’s why we’re seeing more and more brands jump on board. What’s most interesting, however, is that you won’t have to break the bank in getting started. After purchasing a decent mic, and maybe a stand, headphones, etc., you can still get started for under a hundred dollars. Thanks to a number of free resources like editing software, you can keep your starting expenses under that hundred-dollar budget.
There’s one thing to keep in mind though. Just because you can start a podcast for under a hundred dollars doesn’t mean you can skimp on the quality of the podcast itself. Your audience may be able to forgive some audio issues, but if you’re not providing content they can get behind, then why bother? As with any content that you create, you want to make sure your audience it engaged, entertained, or leaving with some sort of valuable knowledge.
Once you build a strong following, and perhaps pick up a couple of bucks, you may have to upgrade your equipment and hosting plan. Until then, you can definitely start your podcast for under triple digits.
If you have a podcast, how much did it take for you to get started?
Featured Image by Guilherme Torelly via Flickr