If you’ve been dreaming about starting a podcast but every time you think about it you become like a deer in the headlights, I can sympathize because my sister and I were in your position three years ago. We had the concept and the passion but had no idea where to start or what it would cost us. We did finally figure it out and the good news is that making a podcast is probably easier than you think and doesn’t require a huge upfront financial investment. In this post I’m going to help you put your podcast plan into action by demystifying the process and costs of starting a podcast.
1. Figure out what your podcast will be about and the reason why you want to create a podcast
I believe that great content beats great sound quality; or at the very least, listeners will be more forgiving of not-so-great sound if your content provides value. So the first step in making a podcast is figuring out your content and your podcast’s value proposition. It’s also essential for you to understand why you think your podcast needs to exist. Having a strong why will help you sustain the energy that you will need when it gets hard (and it will).
2. Get a microphone
Depending on the format of your show you may already have a mic that will meet your needs just fine–it’s in your mobile phone. If you don’t plan on having too many people speaking on your podcast then you could get away with just using your inbuilt voice recorder on your mobile. This episode of our podcast was recorded on a mobile. Not bad, right?
If you want to step it up a notch you can purchase a simple USB mic that plugs directly into your computer (this way there’s no need to buy additional equipment like an audio interface). When we first started out we used the Blue Snowball (US$69.99). I like this mic because it has multi-pattern recording capability which means that you can set the microphone to record sound from the front of the mic only (cardioid) or from all around (omni). You can use the omni setting to record a group although it will pick up more background noise on this setting. This episode was recorded using the Blue Snowball.
We eventually upgraded to the Blue Yeti Pro (US$249) which gives the added flexibility of plugging directly into professional audio equipment with XLR microphone inputs, as well as headphone monitoring. This episode was recorded using the Blue Yeti Pro.
There are cheaper alternatives in the market, but Blue seems to provide a good balance between price and quality. Do your own research to figure out what type of mic will work best for your podcast format. Also, remember that to get the best out of your mic you will want to get close enough to the mic when you speak; in general, the closer (but not too close) the sound source the better.
3. Get audio capturing and editing software
Audacity is free open-source software and it works great both on PC and Mac. There are plenty of tutorials online, including video tutorials on YouTube, that will teach you how to become an Audacity pro.
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