How to start a podcast on the cheap


How to start a podcast for cheap.

If you’re on this page then it’s likely that you either listen to podcasts or at the very least are aware of them.

Now, you may be thinking that to start a podcast, you’ll need a whole load of expensive equipment, mics, mixing boards, special software, etc.

That’s not the case at all! When you’re just starting you can record your podcast directly to your phone and upload it to the web from there.

We’d recommend that you pick up a cheap lapel mic as this cuts down on background noise, this works best if you are recording a solo podcast and aren’t interviewing people.

If you’re going to be doing more interview-type podcasts then you’d need something like a Yeti mic although the sound would be clearer if you had individual mics for the podcast speakers.

Types of podcasts & mics to use

There are various types of podcasts and depending on which one you’ll be creating will affect your budget requirements

Solo

If you’re planning on doing your podcast in the style of Bill Burr or possibly even while you’re out and about walking around town then something like this would suit you.

You can pick up a cheap lapel mic on Amazon, maybe something between $10 to $20, they work well when connected to your cell / mobile phone.

They use a 3.5mm connection so with some brands this type of mic may not be available to you as the phone manufacturers have removed the “headphone” jack.

Something to note with this type of mic, and this has happened to me, if you are planning on using it with a laptop then there’s a good chance it won’t work.

Even though it uses the same physical size connection and will connect into the mic/earphone socket on the laptop, the mic’s jack has a different ring configuration on it.

This means the laptop won’t pick up the mic input signals. If you’re planning on recording super cheap via laptop then it may make more sense to pick up a cheap lapel mic that connects via USB.

Interview style

For this type of podcast, you would want something like a condenser microphone, possibly more than one.

One of the most popular types of condenser mics out there is the Yeti which you can find on Amazon, usually for about $100.

If you wanted to get a bit more professional you could opt to pick up a boom arm for the Yeti for around another $40.

Although you’ll often see package deals of both items together for a reduced price.

The Yeti is very popular although it can take a bit of tweaking to get the sound the way you like it, especially if you are using an open space.

There are other similar type mics available however Yeti is one of the most popular. You’ll often see them being used in YouTube vids and Twitch streams.

Webcam with mics

Something like one of the Logitech webcams would work well for this, but be advised that the sound quality on this won’t be as clear as with a lapel mic.

You’ll notice a lot more echos in the recorded audio and the mic will pick up a lot of background noise.

Of course, this option has the added advantage of being a webcam. This means you can record a live video stream of your podcast.

Also, nothing is stopping you using the webcam to record or stream the video and a USB lapel mic to pick up the audio.

Podcast kit from Amazon

This one may not be for everybody and can be a bit more expensive than the other starter offers.

You can buy kits on Amazon, among other places, that is a podcast starter set. The kit will sometimes come with multiple mics and headphones.

Often you will also get a small sound mixing board in the kit, although to be honest, if you’re just starting this may be overkill.

It likely makes more sense to go for one of the simpler solutions as you start into the world of podcasting and then as your knowledge and skills develop you could look into picking up something like this.

There’s quite a bit of free software available for both PC and Mac that will let you do the sound and video editing quite easily, the software will act as a mixing board.

Free Software

Audacity

Audacity is an excellent piece of free software that lets you tweak, modify and adjust recorded audio.

It will also let you snip out sections of the audio. This is extremely useful when you’re just starting in podcasting.

You will likely not notice the amount of “uhms”, “ehs” and “ahs” that you vocalize in your everyday speech.

Believe me, when I was making my first recordings I was honestly shocked at how often I did this, it’s just one of those things that you don’t notice when you’re doing it.

Audacity will let you clip out these sections of the audio, it takes a bit of practice at the start to get it just right but it becomes 2nd nature pretty quickly.

It will also let you boost the audio levels if the recording sounds a bit low.

You can get the Audacity software here.

Shotcut

This one is more for video really, but it allows you to add in the cleaned-up audio recording from Audacity as a track.

You could use this if, for example, you were intending to upload the podcast to YouTube with a static background (or a sequence of pictures if you like).

It will allow you to combine the audio and the image(s) then export this as a .MP4 file which you can upload to YouTube.

OBS – Open Broadcasting System

This software is brilliant, but there’s a bit of a learning curve involved with it.

It’s more suited to people who want to do live streams but also works extremely well for doing screen capture recordings on your computer.

For the streaming side of things, say for example you had a weekly live podcast that you wanted to stream on your YouTube channel, well you can do it with this.

With the screen capture, you can pretty easily record an “over the shoulder” style video.

This can be great if you were doing let’s say a technical type of podcast, you can easily show your audience what they need to do on the screen.

If you’ve ever seen any Twitch videos (very popular with gamers), many of them use this software to stream what’s currently showing on their screen.

Canva

This isn’t audio software, but it is relevant if you’re planning on uploading your podcasts to YouTube and other video platforms.

Canva is a free web-based software that will allow you to create various types of images. It comes with pre-defined image sizes and this is very useful to us.

It will allow you to create some very nice YouTube channel art and background images for your videos.

If you have a Facebook fan page for your podcast or an Instagram then Canva will also allow you to create images for these.

A couple of good websites to use to obtain free images from to help you use Canva are Pexels.com and Pixabay.com

Both of these are free, there are paid options for images out there and the quality is generally excellent, but when you’re just starting it may not make sense to sink big money into those.

Where to upload?

OK, so you now have some ideas about what equipment you’ll need and what software can come in handy.

But it’s not much good recording the podcast if you have nowhere to let people listen to it!

Below, I’ll give a brief breakdown of some platforms you can upload your podcasts to.

Anchor

This is a smartphone app that allows you to record directly to the phone and upload podcasts to their system. To be honest I’ve not used it a huge amount but it does look quite good.

They offer unlimited hosting for free, although I’m unsure if they will allow you to upload content to their system that hasn’t been recorded in their app.

Also, in the long run, it’s always a good idea for you to have a copy of your work stored locally.

YouTube

This may seem like a bit of an odd choice to deliver podcasts to, but it’s well worth using as an additional channel for you to help build your audience.

At the moment, YouTube is the 2nd biggest search engine on the web, and it’s owned by Google, so there’s an immense amount of people using the system every day.

This presents you with a huge opportunity to build your brand, especially if you have a niche podcast. If you do some research on effective keyword and tag use for your videos you can start gaining views.

Also, once you meet the minimum requirements you can start to monetize your channel, but at the start, I’d recommend focussing on putting out good content.

You can use some of the free software mentioned above to create .MP4 files of your podcasts and upload them to YouTube.

For the background images on the video (if you are going with that route) then you can use Canva to create the image and then combine with the audio in Shotcut to create the end product video which you’ll upload to YouTube.

Sound Cloud

Another popular platform that you can upload your podcasts to. The free version limits you to 3 hours of uploaded content however the paid version offers unlimited uploads.

The paid version is going to cost you about $12 and month and an additional $5 a month to go ad-free.

It may not be a cost you want to incur when starting but is a platform worth looking at once you’re more experienced.

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