Podcasts are very simple to make. You don’t need to spend a lot of money and there are plenty of apps available to help you get up and running. It’s not all about the equipment though. There’s no use having all the gear and no idea. So let me break down exactly what you need to not just make a podcast, but a successful one.
There are many reasons why you should have a podcast but you need to have an idea of what it will be about and how it will work for you.
Be prepared for your initial idea to change frequently. As part of the planning process you’ll need to decide on the format, who will be on it and what you want your listener to do at the end of the episode.
Alongside these questions, you’ll also need to factor in how long it will take you to make each episode. Making a podcast isn’t just about the recording and editing. You also need to plan the episodes, find guests and make sure you tell people to listen to it. All of this takes time so make sure that you take that into consideration during your planning.
You don’t need a really expensive, gold plated microphone endorsed by Beyoncé to make your podcast. But you do need something that will pick up what you’re saying.
If your budget is really tight, your mobile phone will do a good job but you’ll soon want to upgrade to something that looks and feels like a proper microphone. To start with, a high quality USB microphone that can plug straight into your computer or laptop will work well. Something like the Samson Q2U or, if you can afford a bit extra, the Røde Podcaster. Many podcasters won’t ever feel the need to upgrade from either of these microphones and as they’re not too expensive, you might as well start off with one.
As well as the microphone I’d advise you to get a pop shield and/or filter. This will just help to reduce any popping noises, or plosives, that we make when saying hard ‘p’ or ‘b’ sounds.
The next thing you’ll need is something to record what you’re saying. Again, your phone is the budget option here with apps like Voice Recorder (Apple) and Hi-Q (Android) available for free.
If you’ve chosen to buy a microphone though you’ll need something that records on your computer. Here you’ve got two options:
- Web based software
- Desktop apps
If you’re recording multiple voices a web based, remote recording software is your best option. Zoom is probably the most obvious one to start with but there are better, more podcast specific sites available. I currently use Zencastr, which has a free option that records up to 2 people at a time.
Only recording yourself? Apps like QuickTime and Media Player will do the job well.
It isn’t enough to hit record, say what you’ve got to say and then release it as a podcast. You really must edit your recording first. No one wants to listen to all those mistakes and waffle about what you had for lunch that day. So get yourself some editing software that will let you cut out all the bits you don’t need.
My personal recommendation here goes to Adobe Audition. It’s a premium software that I first learned to use back in 2003 when it was called Cool Edit Pro. At £20 a month it is more than you really need but I love it and I can’t use anything else. I’m still not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing?
Don’t worry though, there are free alternatives.
First up is Audacity. If all you need is to remove your ummm’s and errrr’s, add some music and turn it all into one .mp3 file, Audacity is a podcaster’s dream. If you have a Mac, GarageBand is usually pre-installed and does exactly the same job.
For both programmes, if you find yourself needing more than just the audio version of cut and paste, you’ll need to buy plug-ins. There are always sales on for these additional pieces of software so you should never pay full price for them.
Top Tip: New to audio editing? Check out Mike Russell’s YouTube channel. I’ve been using Audition for over 15 years and I’m still learning lots from this man!
Once you’ve made your first episode you’ll need somewhere to put it. Much like websites, podcasts need hosting and while you can do this yourself with a bit of know-how, there are plenty of options out there that will take the pain of distributing your podcast to all the different players away. There are many different free and paid-for options available. The ones I use are Anchor, Audioboom and Captivate.
So there you have it. Everything that you need to make a podcast. From an idea, right the way through to publishing it.
Would you like some help making your podcast? Get in touch.