How to build a profitable podcast.
In most cases, starting your podcast starts with you pretty much thinking;
"Hey! I want to do that" to say –"Welcome to the many things podcast."
You know, one of those attractive podcast names that will make people want to click on your show and listen to you.
Speaking about podcast title and description, we recently wrote an article on that. You should definitely check it out if you are just getting started with podcasting and wondering what you should name your podcast. There's usually a conviction before deciding to watch tutorials on YouTube about podcasting, doing a little research, and, most importantly, spending a little money from your wallet.
For starters, this estimated cost we will be providing is not a yardstick to how successful your podcast will be in the long run. However, we will provide you with what we believe to be the minimum startup podcast cost that they may incur in the hope that we can help beginner podcasters or people with no knowledge in the field carve out something unique for themselves.
Although this isn't the perfect budget to start a podcast if there is anything of such. This information is ideal for people who are just getting started and do not want to cut a hole in their savings doing what they love. Still, if you wish to create something that you are convinced will make a huge success, go ahead and build it.
Starting a podcast in 2021 is easy, and you can start on a cheap if you want. You can do your editing even if you don't own a pop filter, for starters. You can buy a license to intro music that you can use on the podcast to welcome listeners, but if you don't want intro music, you can skip that and move on to something you feel is relevant to spend money on. Suppose you don't want to buy a microphone that's above your budget. In that case, you can undoubtedly record it straight into Zencastr or any other audio recording with the in-build microphone of your laptop.
Honestly, investing more into your equipment will help in the long run than spending less. It's advisable that you buy more and better tools, or even pay a professional for post-production, create a better soundproof space for recording to remove outside noise from interfering with your podcast. So starting a podcast isn't simply about starting a podcast; it is much more than just that. You need to be creative with your space as you hope to be creative with your voice; get your voice out there; gain from all of the shortcomings and experiences, and then perfect it all.
Like Tim Paige once said, "A podcast is a great way to develop relationships with hard-to-reach people."
So, you asked, how much does it cost to start a podcast?
For the record, the best thing about podcasting is that you don't have to spend all of your life saving trying to start as it doesn't cost a fortune. You can record a high-quality podcast on a tight budget, bond with your listeners, and make an impact without stress from the comfort of your home.
There are many tools out there, so how do you get what you really need without spending more than you ought to?
Most people already have a computer at home, so we are guessing you do too. As long as you have that, you can get everything you need for less than a hundred dollars (all this boils down to what you need and can afford) and create high-quality content. We will break that down to the ABCs of what you need to start podcasting, so you focus on sending your show out into the world.
Please note that you shouldn't try to go overboard initially; the truth about the matter is that you may be tempted to purchase premium equipment and software. We know that you will want to keep up with professional producers or build a professional studio in your home. Yet, if you are not disciplined about this, you may end up purchasing things you don't actually need.
You will be surprised that even the best podcasts opt for the most essential podcast equipment; a microphone, a laptop or desktop computer, editing and recording software that are not so expensive. Some even invested extra on marketing and improved hosting. Be that as it may, buying better value podcasting tools to enhance your sound and distribution process has its own advantage. Here's what you should expect from the bCast guide on the question "how much does it cost to start a podcast in 2021."
Let us start from the basics:
Podcasts have gained ground. The world is starting to enjoy every bit it has to offer, and this is because there is no better way to add value to and influence people than by getting to talk to them first thing in the morning, whilst on their daily walk or while they work out.
We won't want to go into much detail on this as we already have a comprehensive guide for you – which we divided into three different sections on how to start a podcast, launch a podcast and thirdly, how to promote your podcast. We also have audio content for you if you are too busy to read a bunch of text.
Still, we will provide you with a rundown of everything you need to start your podcast for free... from developing a plan to securing the right equipment and software to use. We will touch more on all of these steps as you continue to read. We made sure that we didn't leave any stone unturned.
1. Step 1 – Develop A Plan: The first step is to understand what you want to create and how. You must have a reason for starting your podcast, and this is where the "WHY" and "WHAT" questions come in. The answer to these questions will help you create a unique podcast and add massive value to anyone who subscribes.
2. Step 2 – Set Up Your Equipment: The next step after planning is setting up your podcast equipment. You need to know the equipment you need to purchase and how to set it up. There is no particular way to set up your podcast, as it depends on what works for you. The goal is to get the best sound possible for your audience.
3. Step 3 - Recording Your First Episode: Now that you have developed a plan and you have all the necessary things you need for your podcast, you are ready to record your podcast. Recording your podcast requires you to follow specific steps.
4. Step 4 – Production And Editing: For new podcasters, this is often the most challenging part. The technicalities involved will require enough practice for you to get used to. It is likely the first time you will ever use the editing software, and you will need a helping hand to get it right.
5. Step 5 – Create An Artwork And Show Notes: The artwork is the first thing a listener will see when they discover your podcast; this is why you must make a great first impression with good artwork. Your listeners should immediately think of your show when they see your artwork.
6. Step 6 – Start Raising Awareness: it's time to start warming up groups of your target customers… And one of the BEST ways to do this is to have them vote on your podcast artwork options. As you get this design, ask your designer for some different options, 99designs is suitable.
This is why we are here…
In this section, we will be discussing the equipment you need to start your podcast journey and the prices of the tools. How much you want to spend on your equipment depends entirely on your budget. Beginning with the basics, you need to get a microphone to record your voice, a podcast hosting account on a great host like bCast to deliver your content to the world, and not so much fuss and minimalist cover art.
Now, these are simply the basics. You need more things than this. With the above, we can imagine you already have a laptop or maybe a phone you can use to record and access the podcast host website or applications. Your computer is essential and one that you will be glad that you have as you start your podcasting journey, and it ranges from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
In case you don't have one yet, you can always get a second-hand computer in the market to help you save money. And even if you don't have one but have people willing to lend you, you can ask a friend to use it as a starter.
Moreover, most libraries or café have a computer you can access. These places have computers available for public use. Some libraries also have podcasting studios that you can rent for free as long as you have your library card. Some examples are libraries in Massachusetts and Florida. With regards to price. Laptops and desktops can go for as low as $200 for second-hand and as high as $2000 for brand new depending on your budget.
Up next is the microphone - here's one of our posts on some of the best podcast microphones you can find on the web if you wish to buy quality, low-cost microphones. Basically, the price of microphones is as low as $50 and as high as $400, depending on your budget. Check out one of our recent posts on the Blue Yeti microphone and why we believe this to be the best podcast microphone in the market at the moment.
You can use your laptop microphone or phone to record for the free microphone option, but we will not recommend it if you really want to take this seriously. I don't think I have ever heard of any severe podcaster that uses any of these options. More so, using these will reduce your podcast sound's quality, especially if you are uploading an audio format. The poor sound quality can scare listeners away in a hurry – which means that investing in a quality microphone will pay you in the long run.
It's always great to start small with the basics and watch your progress with the first ten episodes. What this does is that it keeps complications that you might likely face on the low, so there is never an excuse to get content out regularly, carving out a niche for yourself as well as gaining ground in your niche. You get to likewise decide if you want to invest all of your savings in this or not.
Another thing you need to set your mind towards, which is essential, especially if you live in a noisy environment, is making your podcast recording space soundproof. However, it will do you good and help you save money if you live in a quiet environment, which means that you don't need soundproof recording space.
However, if you need one – there is soundproof equipment, like foam pads you can use to muffle noise from outside. You can also check out one of our posts on creating a podcast studio if you are on a shoestring budget and eight tips to achieve a superb podcast studio design if you are on a larger budget.
You may ask why headphones are essential. Well, you need something to monitor your audio while it records – that's where headphones come in. As much as you need it while recording, you also need it while editing your audio as it helps you edit out noises. So, be it remote recording or a solo session with your guest at home, this equipment will help you communicate your words better.
There are a couple of really great microphones in the market – one perfect one is the Sony ZX Series Wired On-Ear Headphones with Mic, Black MDR- ZX110AP,and one popular among podcasters. It currently costs $19.99 on Amazon, which can be on the low end for most people. Also, if you own a set of quality Beats headphones, they will work well enough for your purposes.
Ultimately, listening to yourself talk will help your microphone technique. Headphones also help pick up room noise that will assist you with aligning your setup in a manner that will eliminate external noises.
As a new podcaster, you don't want to have all of the "p," "s," and "t" sounds in the background. A pop filter can help you cancel out all of these sounds. It is placed right in front of the microphone, looking like a metal screen. A pop filter is very cheap; it's so cheap that you can do one yourself, yet you can find some options online if you would instead get a professional pop filter.
A GOMILE pop filter cost about $6.99 on Amazon. Depending on the pop filter size and brand, you can get some for as high as $50.
Recording and editing software is vital to edit out pauses and unwanted background noises from your audio. That's not all; it likewise allows you to seam the content into audio snippets and add music and other effects to your podcast.
The majority of editing and recording software in the space isn't expensive, and there are free options like Audacity and GarageBand. Audacity, on the one hand, is an open-source software like some popular software online, and it's the go-to program for most podcasters (both professionals and amateurs alike). Audacity is available on both Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems (OS). It has many perks like allowing you to layer several tracks, edit recordings, file export into several extensions, and direct recording from your microphone. You can learn how to use Audacity for podcasting here.
If you own a Mac computer, you can use the GarageBand program, which is pre-installed – it allows you to layer several tracks, add intro music, and outro music to every episode. You get to also add audio files and export these files into a .wav or .mp3 extension that you can play on major audio players. GarageBand also allows you to record directly from your mic into the application, giving you a smooth ride to create more episodes.
If you choose to interview your guests remotely via phone calls, you can opt for Mac' OS Callnote or Windows' Call Graph – both are free tools. Even though they won't give you flawless audio, they still do a tremendous job when it comes to removing unwanted noises as well as recording Skype interviews.
Absolutely optional expense, in our opinion. Yet most podcasts we know don't start off with their content without a piece of intro music. The intro music is more like a theme song that gets listeners in the mood before welcoming them to the show.
While you can also create intro music yourself by recording yourself and adding some homemade jingles or effects from Audacity or GarageBand. This option is actually good because listeners will appreciate hearing your voice instead of a voiceover from someone someplace around the world.
If you don't want to do that yourself, you can opt to employ someone on Fiverr or Upwork to help with your voiceover intro and outro music or sound. For as low as $15, you will definitely find someone willing to do this for you.
After recording your content, you will need a thumbnail as an identifier for your podcast. In most cases, it's this artwork that catches the listeners' eye. There are few options you can use for this, like Canva and Adobe Photoshop, but this is for people that already know how to design – you will definitely save a lot of money if you make your artwork yourself.
If you don't want to design it yourself, you can hire a professional on freelance websites like Upwork and Fiverr. You will find people willing to help you with cover art for as low as $5. Nevertheless, if you choose to employ someone for this, you may need to read their reviews thoroughly before placing an order to ensure you are buying from someone who knows what they are doing. Also, check out one of our recent posts on the ultimate guide for podcast cover art if you desire to learn more on this.
A podcast hosting platform is an exceptional assistance that stores media files and conveys them to your audience. Their services include podcast analytics, web hosting, and embeddable media players you can share with third-party websites. An exceptional podcast hosting service is a crucial decision.
It's crucial because a low-quality hosting service can hamper your growth. But excellent hosting service can do wonders on your show by assisting you with dealing with your large audio or video files, episode promotions, and increasing your audience.
So, in case you are wondering, what are the best podcast hosting options? There are numerous platforms offering podcast hosting services. If you are looking for the best podcast hosting platforms, you will find the right choice as we have it all covered in this section. With that in mind, we will be searching for the most effortless ones to utilise, offer unique tools and podcast support, and obviously adaptability in file sizes.
At bCast, we pride ourselves as the only brand that's designed "for marketers by marketers." With notable features like audio inserts, we give you the autonomy to insert a Call To Actions (CTAs) to allow listeners to sign up for your mailing list, webinars, and more.
After starting your 14-day trial, you can access advanced show analytics regarding your listeners, such as their geographical location, how they found your show, as well as the type of device they use to listen.
Other cool features include:
Our plans start at $19 (starter pack) per month, and there are also $35 (Growth package) and $75 (legendary) monthly plans. You likewise have the option of paying yearly. All packages come with unlimited bandwidth, storage space, and episodes.
With a not-so-cliché tagline, 'the only growth-oriented podcast host – Captivate has its platform features designed to live up to that. The platform interface and dashboard provide an easy-to-use interface for brand new podcasters and those of us that are non-techy.
Once you get access to the platform dashboard, you can start playing with its growth & monetisation tools, such as the 'One-Click Sponsor' kit, podcast players' calls to action, and an exceptional one-stop-subscribe page.
Other cool features include:
As opposed to the previous platforms, Captivate is based on 'downloads per month.' No matter how many shows you host on one account, you get to pay based on the number of downloads accrued by all the shows together. You will be charged $19 per month for 12,000 downloads, $49 for 60,000 downloads monthly, $99 per month for downloads of about 150,000 downloads monthly.
BuzzSprout is another top podcast hosting platform. With an automatic scheduler, you can schedule your episode to publish on all the major podcast directories and embed an audio player on your website.
Besides, its straightforward and intuitive analytics dashboard gives invaluable insights to improve your show and marketing strategy. Another distinctive feature of BuzzSprout is adding episode chapters. By adding more chapters, your listeners get a better understanding of the episodes in order.
Other cool features include:
The platform offers free podcast hosting to upload episodes up to two hours per month, where you host your files for some 90 days before they're automatically deleted. Another downside to this plan is that it displays ads on your website and the podcast player. However, a premium paid plan starts from $12 with unlimited storage. Likewise, you get to have your files hosted indefinitely on this plan.
The second podcast hosting platform on our list is PodBean. The website gives you access to submitting your show directly to directories like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify, and more.
PodBean has exceptional analytics with an excellent user interface that is extremely easy to use and can help you share your episodes with potential partners or advertisers efficiently.
Other cool features include:
PodBean has one of the widest arrays of features you can find in the market, though several such features only come at higher-priced plans. With regards to pricing, PodBean offers a basic plan that goes for $9/month and an unlimited plus plan you can get for as little as $29/month. You can also get a free plan at no cost with 5 hours of content upload; however, the bandwidth is capped at 100GB.
Transistor has various features, including giving access to podcasters to distribute their podcasts to top directories and creating a branded website via a custom domain name.
Transistor also integrates effortlessly with marketing services such as ConvertKit, MailChimp, and Drip. While Transistor's embedded code permits you to effortlessly add every episode to your WordPress posts and pages.
Other cool features include:
Pricing starts from $19 monthly for about 10,000 downloads each month. With $19, you get access to 10,000 downloads for two users, $49 for 50,000 downloads and five user access, and $99 for 150,000 downloads and ten user access.
The options are endless, and these five are just some of the best podcast hosting platforms on the internet. If you want to learn more about other options, you can take a gander at a post we created recently on the 15 best podcast hosting platforms for 2021.
Podcast marketing and promotion is a tricky one and one you need to pay attention to if you want to get your content to the right people. There are a lot of processes and services you need to take advantage of. We will assume you are doing this yourself, for starters, so we will focus on the basics.
In one of our posts on podcast promotion, here's what 18 experts have to say on how they promote their podcast (How To Promote A Podcast: 18 Experts Share Their Secret Strategies). We would want to go into more details on this, but what's the fun in that if you can learn first-hand from people who were successful at it. You get everything you need from the link above, and you can implement that yourself. Most of them don't even dine on promoting their podcast, and that's the icing on the cake.
Like we mentioned earlier, you can definitely produce your podcast content yourself, which is somewhat free if you don't consider the time you spend on it. There are two things you need to consider. First is the time it takes to edit each episode and the cost of the software (if you decide to go for the paid software) you need.
Paid podcast production software like Audition and Pro Tools and Descript costs between $20 and $80. Descript has a free version, but you might want to subscribe to the paid version instead as the free option doesn't cover everything you will need.
If you want the free options of software to produce your content, we mentioned Audacity and GarageBand and a few call recorders on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems you can use. However, you can ask for it to be produced by a professional producer, which costs more money.
If you choose to produce it by a professional, you may have to fork out between $100 and $1000 per episode production for experts on freelance websites like Fiverr. However, if you are a business or someone who wants it produced without doing all the work. Some people will help you with everything ranging from concept to podcast branding, production, and promotion. For these experts and services outlined above, you may have to pay between $1,000 and $20,000 per episode depending on the podcast type they are producing (a narrative podcast, an interview-based podcast, a story-driven podcast, or a mixture of everything).
So, back to what actually brought you here… We are sure you already have a rough estimate of how much it costs to do a podcast based on the basics mentioned above. Let's rerun the list with the costs.
Following our guide and cost estimate, for the basics, you will be spending less than $100 on a microphone, headphone, pop filter, a logo or thumbnail, and podcast hosting. That's assuming you have a computer already. The podcast hosting is a recurring payment which means that you will have to fork out $19 monthly to cover for that – which we believe isn't that much of an investment if we are right.
Every other tool on the list is optional, which means you can decide to use them or not. That's entirely on you and what you need. We believe following the list and purchasing the equipment will give you a great start to your podcasting journey.
Now, to be honest, starting a podcast can cost more than $100, and that's if we are honest. That's not to say that you won't create successful content with this minimal investment, but a piece of better equipment has its perks, and one is that you are to make clear, crisp audio content that your listeners won't have a hard time with.
If you decide to buy the more expensive equipment, you will need to invest thousands of dollars on the best value equipment investment level. See below;
Total podcasting cost: $400 to $1,000+
This list budget right here is for people or businesses with a little more money to spend and the need to create better sound even though they end up buying equipment that is not really necessary to produce their podcast.
Here's a list of how much you may need to invest on the professional podcasting equipment investment level. This list right here is for people who are already established or looking to establish themselves as a force in the industry.
Total podcasting costs: $1,000+ to $6,000+
So depending on what you really want and can afford, this is how expensive it is to start a podcast. You can decide which package you wish to and get started.
Absolutely! You can use many apps to start podcasting with your smartphone using recording applications like Spreakers and PodBean. However, there are no guarantees that these applications will give you high sound quality like the professionally produced ones. But don't let that stop you if you don't have a computer yet. This is a good start. Besides, if you want better sound quality, you should get an external microphone.
You can set up standard virtual calls with your guest on Zoom and then record the calls. Zoom has a "record" option in its dashboard that lets you record conversations making it easier to host a podcast on the platform. Moreover, immediately after the meeting ends, Zoom creates an mp3 and mp4 file extension that you can export to wherever you want.
Many people start a podcast without a plan for how they intend to make money podcasting, and that is fine. The first step is to have an exact list of the topics you want to address. Once you have this in place, it will become easier to find out how to monetise your podcast. In one of our previous posts, we made a list of ways you can monetise your podcast. You should definitely check this comprehensive guide to podcast monetisation.
Again, we have a comprehensive guide on how to find sponsorship for your podcast. Sponsorship is one of the most significant ways podcasters earn money while still doing what they love. It is also the most lucrative and most straightforward way to make money from podcasting. To attract sponsors, you first need to create and produce great content that will attract listeners. Your podcast must have good production, and the audio quality must be high. Check out our podcast sponsorship guide.
Starting a podcast can be very difficult at first glance, and considering the cost of equipment can make it less feasible, except you set my mind to it. There are no rights or wrong prices to how much you can invest while creating your podcast. As such, we have tried to provide you with the estimated cost based on your budget, and we hope that this gives you a better idea of what to expect.
Understand that you can create your podcast on any budget. You will be surprised that you already have this equipment at your disposal beforehand, like a computer, headphones with an inbuilt microphone, and recording software on your computer, especially if you are using a Mac. Although equipment on a low budget can lack some sound quality, you can improve the sound as you establish yourself.
So don't let the cost of podcasting tools and equipment discourage you from achieving that dream career. Podcasting is a constant improvement process – you have to start somewhere. Why not start now?
If you have any questions about this process, feel free to reach out to our resident podcast experts: email@example.com... we would be more than happy to advise ;)