(By Johnny Peterson) Podcasting on a budget — one of my favorite topics! In the era of easily accessible, high-quality technology, you no longer need to pay a pretty penny to rent professional studios and pay a team of producers to get your message out to the world.
Let’s say you want to allocate $300 to your podcast, how should you use it to provide the best possible quality to your future listeners?
- Microphones: I really love the Samson Q2U microphone. They run for $60 on Amazon and offer the ability to plug directly into your laptop or computer via USB cable (provided in the package) or via XLR cable into your mix board for a more professional sound. I highly suggest buying two of these microphones, so that you have the ability to invite a co-host or guest to join you on the show.
- Mix Board: I find the Behringer Xenyx Q802USB ($89 on Amazon) to be user-friendly and should be all you need throughout your podcast career. These mix boards offer the ability to plug in two microphones and tweak the sound of your audio before you even start recording. You’ll plug this into your laptop or computer via USB and record into your DAW, which we will cover next
- DAW: Your DAW, or Digital Audio Workspace, is where you will do the actual recording of your podcast. Luckily there are a lot of free options, the best being Garageband (for you Mac users) or Audacity (if you are on PC, but it also works on Mac). No need to go buy a digital recorder when these options are free and offer the same services.
- Headphones and Splitter: A great buy is two pairs of the LyxPro Studio headphones, running for $35. You’ll also need a headphone splitter, since there is only one headphone plug-in on the Behringer Xenyx Q802USB. I found mine on Amazon for around $10.
- Hosting Platform: Anchor is a totally free podcast hosting platform that will push your podcast out to every available listening platform with the click of a button (yes, even Itunes!).
- Cover Art: For those who lack artistic ability, don’t fret! There are plenty of free logo creation tools on the Internet. I found that Canva has some great options for designs.
- Intro Music: If you are using Garageband, you can make use of the sound library offered in the platform to create your own custom intro music. If you’re looking for something pre-made, you can download free intro music here.
Total Spend: $288.94
There you have it. You now have everything you need to start a quality podcast for $300. The next step will be familiarizing yourself with how everything works and creating great content for your podcast. We wish you the best of luck on this journey, and can’t wait to hear what you have in store for your listeners.
Johnny Peterson is the CEO and founder of Straight Up Podcasts, providing professional podcast services and consulting. He is also the host of the Pod Logic podcast. You can reach Johnny at [email protected]
You never needed to “pay a pretty penny to rent professional studios and pay a team of producers to get your message out to the world.” The technology to create a high quality podcast on a home computer was available since podcasting began.
I started my first two podcasts in 2006 with a refurbished PC, an $89 Samson C01U microphone and Audacity and received great reviews from my listeners for the high production values of my shows. My total cost was about $150, less than half your minimum price point for entry. I was not the exception.
Part of the problem with the podcast industry today is the misconception among newcomers that you need a lot of gear to get started. That’s the beauty of it. You don’t. In fact, you don’t need a mixer if it’s a solo show, and you can even get away without one if there are two hosts or a host on each end of an Internet connection, if you know what you are doing.
And that’s the real investment. It’s not about all the tech gear, it’s about taking the time to learn how to use what you have, and knowing how to make the most of it. And most of this is stuff you can learn on your own, by utilizing the vast storehouse of information and resources already available on the web, and by networking with others who podcast and are willing to help you along the way.
Don’t just buy $300 of high tech stuff to start. Research thoroughly before you spend one pretty penny, especially your hosting options. Free hosting isn’t free, and you get what you pay for. Be sure you are comfortable with the trade-off before you sign up for any free hosting platform.
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