How to start a podcast
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Tyler Green |Publish date: September 17, 2020
I would be lying if I didn't say I was confused when I went to start a podcast.
But I did what I always do and made a bunch of mistakes buying crap that was worthless and I didn't use. Here I will try and save you from that pain.
If you already have a professional sounding podcast you can click here to jump to the article.
I give you the framework to take any niche and make money by producing free content!
How to start a podcast
I Remember my first google search trying to find out how to start a podcast... I was more worried about how I record the darn thing than how to publish it. I consider myself above average when it comes to technology but microphones, mixers, software, editing... I had never even seen any of that stuff, let alone try and make a professional sounding audio clip.
So one of the most asked questions I see is... what about this mic... or what about this mixer... or my sound doesn't sound good, what should I do.
And then my favorite question... How do you make money from a podcast
So in this article I'm going to lay out our exact Setup ... How much it cost.. and give you the exact steps to monetize it.
So here it goes...
Focus on solving a problem for your listeners. People will listen and gladly hand over their money when you can solve a problem they have.
I like to be thorough so instead of jumping into how to monetize the podcast I think it's only fair that I back up and go through some of my growing pains from hashing out the correct equipment. So if you already have a podcast and you are wanting to make money you should definitely scroll down a bit.
The biggest issue I see with other podcasts is just downright sound quality. Now I know people have budget limitations but if you even want to even think about making money than you have to treat this as a business.
We cant expect people to listen to us talk when it sounds like we are talking into a trash can. So first things first we need a good setup. Thankfully for you, I have done the research, bought some crappy stuff, and finally found some great podcast equipment for a reasonable price.
Starting a podcast from scratch
So after hours of research in forums, price comparing and overall ease of use in my opinion you can not beat the buzzsprout hosting platform.
Buzzsprout is known as #1
Here is why:
Tons of plans to choose from
12$ per month
18$ per month
24$ per month
- Advanced stats
Unlimited Team Member
This is huge. This is an automated editor. When you upload your episode it automatically fixes imbalances and imperfections in the audio.
Automatically publishes to all platforms
This makes things so easy, as soon as you hit publish your episode gets pushed to all major platforms.
Integrated options for paid sponsors
Options for transcribing your podcast
Beautiful podcast players for your website
The only other podcast platform I would consider as an option would be captivate. Its a very nice platform but they are very pricey in my opinion.
Now let's keep things simple. I will start with the a couple of microphone options and work my way through the other pieces needed to make an entire setup.
There are two types of microphones you need to know about a USB microphone and an XLR microphone. I strongly recommend XLR mics. Without being too nerdy the biggest difference between USB and XLR is you need to know that they actually send a different type of signal.
With that being said you are going to get better sound quality from an XLR mic. Now that also means you will need an audio interface (we will get to that later).
But If you are on a budget and want to keep it super simple Than I would go with the Blue Yeti.
You need to know that this microphone will pick up everything so you will need to make sure you will have a completely quiet room that has no echo.
If you have it in the budget then I would strongly recommend an MXL 770 mic pictured in silver. Now, this microphone is actually cheaper than the Blue Yeti but you will need an Audio interface which makes it overall more expensive.
But I will say this, I personally have both of these microphones and the sound is so much better on the MXL mic its not even a debate.
Dont get me wrong with perfect environmental settings the blue yeti can be good but the MXL only picks up our voices and completely eliminates background noise.
I have to give you multiple options for the microphone because the microphone and your environmental surroundings will be responsible for 90% of your audio quality.
I chose the mxl mic because it sounds amazing, looks good, and is budget-friendly . With that being said no "How to start a podcast" guide would be complete without mentioning the rode mics. They are much pricier but we all know " you get what you pay for."
And lastly the mother of all microphones. If you have ever watched music videos on Vevo or seen any musician record then you have seen this mic.
This is by far the most popular choice when budget is not an option. If money isnt an issue or if you are very picky about audio quality then you will need to hand over $399 for one mic.
I think its safe to say its worth it but the question is, is it worth it to you.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
Now I want to preface this recommendation with I look for the best value. So there are nicer audio interfaces out there, but again if you have two microphones or less this thing is amazing.
Its a number one seller for a reason and rightfully so.
You just plug your microphones into this interface, then the interface into your computer. Hit record and you are set. You are able to adjust gain settings and much more right on the interface.
At $159 this is a great deal
Now once you have choosen the hosting platform, microphones, and audio interface all the big stuff is out of the way.
All we need to do now is make sure we have the right accessories and you will be on your way to your first episode.
Although these accessories are small most of them serve a very important purpose in audio quality and ease of us.
I will keep this part short and sweet.
A pop filter, pop shield or pop screen is a noise protection filter for microphones.
These cheap little guys help the popping sounds when you enunciate a hard letter.
If you think you don't need one, I would strongly remind you that if you want to make money on your podcast then you need to have the best audio quality possible.
Dont skip this $12.99 piece after buying a nice microphone.
Table Mic Stands
So I have two options for you here. I personally use both depending on where Im recording at .
This first option is how Becca and I record our episodes when we are sitting in recording area. These are nice because they are sturdy, easy to move and cheap.
If you are recording on a table and sitting down then these are a must. It comes with an adapter so it will fit any microphone.
So if you are a solo podcaster or if your setup is able to be left up permanently than I would use a desk mount.
I keep one microphone on a desk mount in my office. This is what I use from remote interviews, its always setup and ready to go and I never have to touch it.
If you will need to setup and take down your microphone before and after each show then I would not go this route. Instead use the the stands above.
Dont Forget your XLR Cables. You will need one per microphone.
I went went the Amazon Basics Cable and have had zero issues.
You have done it!
If you are looking to just record audio then you will be all setup with the selections above.
All you need to do is record in Garage Band or Audacity . ( I do all my editing in Audacity)
Audacity is by far the most used software for podcast editing, and the best part is ...ITS FREE.
You can download it here.
Adding Video doesn't have to be expensive or hard
This is definitely not needed for a podcast setup but some shows do record their shows and upload them to social media, youtube, etc.
This can be a great way to create promo clips, advertisements, and to be honest some people would rather watch the video than listen to just audio. At the end of the day, it just depends on how much time and effort you want to put into it.
So in my opinion there are two approaches and anything other than these two is a waste a time.
The First one is the down and dirty version. Its cheap, seamless to edit, and to be honest really good quality.
This is how I do it
Step 1: Buy a Ring Light - This cheap one from Amazon will do.
Step 2: Buy a 1080p Webcam - This cheap one from amazon is what I use.
Step 3: Open A zoom meeting
Step 4: Make sure your fancy microphone is hooked up and selected in the zoom settings.
Step 5: Make sure your video zoom settings are set to the highest resolution possible
Step 6: Record a zoom call of yourself
Step 7: End Meeting for all- zoom will spit you out 3 files. One with your audio and video perfectly synced for youtube, and social media. The second file is your audio-only file which you will upload to Audacity for editing, then from their straight to buzzsprout.
The Second Option is a full-blown professional studio setup with a two-camera setup. I would be lying if I tried to give advice on how to set that up. All I know is it takes some money and more importantly some great video editing skills.
Here is a look at our video quality with a cheap ring light, cheap webcam and some good lighting
Here is a listen to our audio quality as well. We definitely have room for improvement but it definitely sounds professional.
This sound clip video is also a free feature of Buzzsprout. It will allow you to create sound clips like this to post on social media or your website
Overall starting a podcast is not the most complicated thing in the world but having a professionally produced show that can attract new listeners and eventually make money?
Thats a completely different story.
Stay tuned for our next post on how to monetize your podcast in more ways than one.