How to build a profitable podcast.
When trying to create an awesome podcast, you really have two levers to pull:
Great content is a MUCH harder and more complex topic.
But getting your audio right?
All you need is a couple of hundred dollars and the "know how".
This post gives you the "know how"...
Before we jump in... let me know give some context on where this post will fit into your overall podcasting process...
First develop a plan: you need a plan before you head into the world of podcasting. Yes, I know you are loaded and ready to give it all out – but calm down Tom Cruise, don’t go in blind.
You first need to define which topic you are best to "cast on". You need to identify your audience/ listeners and find out where they hang out online:
Answer all these with conviction, and you are on your way to starting your podcast.
Get the equipment: I am sure you know that you need some equipment to start a podcast. The equipment that you need is not just microphones and headphones and a pop filter, although they are inevitable.
There is also the software, which is also very important, as you not only need it for recording, you also need it for editing your sound. It would be best if you had a laptop or desktop to record and edit the audio. In the case of remote guests, you need remote recording software like Zoom, Squadcast and Skype.
Prepare to record: yeah, this might sound so regular to you, but you need to prepare to record. Preparing to record a podcast involves writing your podcast script, setting up the place to record, and setting up your recording tools.
As a newbie in the world of the podcast, you are prone to lose your way at the start; this is why you need a script to guide you on how you want your podcast to be. A script helps you avoid all the ramblings that happen to podcast newbies.
You also need to set up your recording area. Block off every available echo outlet and avoid a noisy room. The next step is setting your recording tools, like the laptop, software, microphones. Might involve some technicalities, but it isn’t something you cannot do.
Post-produce: I am going to touch more on things you need to do to have an excellent product for your podcast. Sound production is what makes your podcast appealing to listeners before the message. Post-production acts like proper artwork, show notes, and publishing plans are also essential to know when starting a podcast.
Let's now dig into the equipment side of this equation...
Let’s talk about the equipment that you need for a podcast. Without this essential equipment, you might as well forget about starting a professional podcast. Instead, you could just become a public speaker?
Before I give a list, I would like to point out that the first thing you need before investing in any equipment is a brilliant podcast idea. Without the idea, your equipment is useless. You must have researched the topic you want to talk about and be sure that you have a full understanding of it.
You must answer the question: What is the topic/theme for your podcast?
Once you answer these questions, you will know the topic/theme to use. To decide on your podcast name, check out this post...
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, here is the non-abstract equipment you will need for your podcast.
This is vital, as you will need it to record the podcast audio, as well as other post-production actions. It would be best if you got a reliable PC, I will advise that you get one with at least five hours of battery life after a full charge – this is for the times you have to record outdoors in locations or run an interview on the move.
As a beginner, you probably have a PC already, or you don’t have a budget for the best PCs. That could do for now, as you do not have to kill yourself to get a Mac.
But if you decide to buy one… here is a list of good computers you can buy on Amazon:
Perhaps the most significant determinant of your sound quality. A dependable and great microphone could determine how well your listeners enjoy your show.
You could be thinking, “My in-built laptop microphone is enough” – I am here to tell you that it is not good enough. It leaves you sounding like a transistor radio from previous centuries.
The easiest type of microphone to use, especially as a beginner, is the USB microphone. It is easy to connect and set up. However, there are better microphone types, specifically the XLR microphone. It requires an interface to connect it, but it's worth the extra stress because it produces better output.
There is also the dynamic microphone and the condenser microphone. The dynamic mic works better at group recording.
I wrote extensively about microphones in this podcast series, find the post here. I recommended the best microphones you can get in each category of quality and budget.
In one of our posts, we talked comprehensively about the best microphone for podcasting. However, check this list below for some great podcasting microphones. You can check the list above for some other podcast microphones:
You could record with a USB microphone and not need a mixer.
However, if you want to take your audio quality to the next level and you are tired of sounding poorly, you must get a mixer. There is the audio interface and the mixer, and they primarily do the same job, but the mixer allows you to control sound levels, outputs, inputs, and many other elements.
The mixer is also essential if you want guests to call into your show.
There are different levels and quality of audio interface and mixers depending on your budget.
Using a headphone will help you a lot in avoiding several mistakes that could affect editing and post-production. Some newbie podcasters do not find it comfortable at first when they hear themselves speaking live, but it becomes a part of you with time.
It would help if you got comfortable with hearing yourself, as that is a better option than having to record for over thirty minutes before realizing that something is not right.
I will advise that you get a closed-back headphone when you want to start recording, as sound from open-back headphones tends to get picked up by the microphones.
Several microphones fall within a reasonable budget and are suitable for podcast newbies.
Depending on your show format, you will need a headphone amplifier or not. If you are running a show with a co-host, you will need a headphone amplifier. It allows the both of you, or whatever number of hosts you have, to have a headphone pair to work with.
There are budget-friendly headphone amplifiers that are available for newbie podcasters.
You must adequately place your microphone during recording.
You want to avoid unnecessary movement of the microphone so it would not pick up distracting sounds. You also want to put the microphone in a position that is comfortable for you and desires that will produce quality sound.
A microphone stand also helps you create enough space for other equipment on your desk.
There will be different types of connections that you set up your microphones. There is the microphone to the audio interface connection. It would help if you also had a cable to connect your mic to a mixer. These cables are most important when using XLR microphones, but it results in better sound.
You will need software to record and edit your audio for your podcast.
There are several ones that you can use, but there are a few that I can recommend...
Here are three editing software that I recommend for you, especially as a newbie.
GarageBand: this editing tool is only for Apple users. It is pre-installed in Apple’s Macbook Air laptop and Macbook Pro. If you own a Mac, you should check out this editing tool.
It is free to use and download; it also helps you to record and edit on-the-go. You could be in any event and place and use this editing software.
Audacity: this editing tool is another good option for podcasters. Seasoned podcasters use this tool to edit their podcast as it does a great job. It might not have all the features you can find in some other editing tools, but it does the job well, and it is free.
Descript: Descript works differently from other types of editing tools. This editing tool works for both audio and video. It edits your audio as you edit written documents. It allows you to cut, paste, and delete written transcripts that will modify the recorded audio.
If your podcast requires you to record on the move, then it is essential that an excellent mobile digital recorder. It allows for an adequate level of flexibility, and you are always ready to record wherever you are.
This is not equipment per se, but it is essential to have a great podcast. You can indeed record a podcast anywhere, but it also depends on the type of podcast you are putting out.
You need a small room, with great WiFi and padded walls:
Another essential part of the podcast equipment; although it is abstract, it is as vital as you need a platform to place your podcast.
Not a human host... that is probably you ;)
A podcast host will store your audio files, will distribute them to all directories, and then will show all analytics in a single dashboard.
Of course... we have to recommend bCast here. Check out all our growth focussed features here ;)
The most important thing to do now is: get started.
Your audio quality and improve over time... for example you don't need to start with an XLR microphone now. You can start with a USB microphone and then upgrade at a later date.
Instead of risking that you never start: start now and improve your audio quality incrementally.
You have to get your message across... and without awesome audio quality, this will be twice as hard.