I’m guessing, by the fact that you’re here reading this article, that you are already sold on the benefits of podcasting. But in case you’re still umming and ahhing about whether podcasts are worth exploring, let me share a few stats with you.
I’ve taken these from RAJAR, the official body tasked with measuring radio audiences in the UK and the organisation now delivering one of the industry’s most respected reports regarding digital audio services. In their most recent report (Spring 2020) the UK podcasting landscape looks a bit like this…
10.1m listeners over the age of 15
60,000,000 hours consumed each month (only eclipsed by on-demand music)
68% of listeners listen to mostly all of the episode they download
65% of listeners listen to the whole episode
It is one of only two internet-delivered audio services that are growing year on year (the other is on-demand music)
So now we’ve got the stats out the way, onto the nitty-gritty. How to start a podcast on a budget.
I think the first thing to do is define what I mean by ‘a budget’. Well, it is possible to start a podcast for FREE. Something which I cover as part of one of my workshops. But today, I’m going to say if you’ve got £50 - £75, we can get you up and running with a decent setup.
This is probably the first bit of kit that comes to mind when you think about starting a podcast. And rightly so. The problem is, there is so much choice out there!
If you’re new to podcasting, you will most likely be overwhelmed by the number of different options. I was. So, I took a punt and bought a pair of USB microphones to conduct interviews. Turns out, you can’t record directly into a laptop using multiple USB microphones. If you want to do this you need to spend a bit more money on extra equipment.
But don’t worry. The microphone I bought stood up to the test on its own. I tested the microphones in different scenarios and was happy that the quality would still be high enough for conducting interviews with just one microphone between me and the guest.
Now, it’s no Joe Rogan experience, but for my budget, I was happy.
If you’d like to hear how the microphone sounds in an interview situation, listen to the first-ever episode of the podcast with Drew Povey here.
It is worth noting that, when using a microphone of this quality, the environment is one of the biggest factors in your recording quality. You want a quiet room with little background noise and no echo to give yourself a fighting chance.
Even though I’ve changed the format of the podcast, I still use this microphone. To understand how it sounds in a solo situation, take a listen to the intro and outros for my podcast which I record in my bedroom.
So, here it is. The microphone I use for my podcast. The Fifine 669B which will set you back just short of £50.
You can buy the first part of your podcast setup on Amazon.
If you’re doing a podcast on your own, these are well worth the cost.
When the microphone is close to your mouth, you will find some sounds have an adverse effect on the audio quality. For example, the ‘p’ sound at the beginning of ‘pop’. This is because the air is thrown past the sensor more aggressively than other sounds. The pop filter softens these sounds.
I record all of my podcast audio using Audacity, a free audio editing software. There is so much you can do with this tool, most of which you will never use. Here are a few features I use regularly.
I clip out bits of audio I don’t want. Maybe we paused to discuss something irrelevant or there was an interruption. By simply highlighting parts of the audio and hitting delete, you can remove chunks of audio.
One of my favourite features is reducing background noise. If you highlight a section of audio where you’re not speaking, you can get the profile of this background noise. Then Audacity can reduce this noise across the whole recording.
Finally, it’s great for seamlessly editing in your theme music. Using the fade in and fade out function gives it a professional edge and you can also line it up so that you talk over the music or it stops before you come in.
Audacity is a fantastic piece of software which you can read more about on their website.
This is one of the best bits of FREE software I’ve found throughout my freelancing career.
Once you’ve recorded and edited your podcast, you can upload the file to Anchor who will then distribute it to all of the big podcast hosting platforms such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Be aware that your first episode may take a day or two to appear on these platforms, but once it’s up, all future episodes should appear almost instantly.
Anchor is also good for tracking the success of your podcast, as it brings all your basic analytics into one super helpful dashboard.
When it comes to sharing your podcast, I would recommend using the link to Anchor because people can listen on there or they can click through to their chosen platform, saving you the trouble of sharing several links every time.
So, for all your podcast distribution needs, check out Anchor.
Any remaining budget can be spent on advertising the podcast. The better a podcast does in the first week or two, the higher chance it has of being a success in the long-term.
I used Facebook ads for most of my episodes as it’s got a great targeting tool and you can spend as little or as much as you want.
My top tips for Facebook ads are to have great visual assets, good copy and a clear call to action.
Hopefully, this has shown that you can start a podcast on a budget and given you some useful pointers on how to go about it. If you use any of the products or services I have recommended in this blog, let me know how you get on. Or if you use something else in their place, I’m always keen to learn about alternative solutions.
And finally, don’t forget to check out The My Journey Podcast.