A quick online search reveals dozens of articles on how you can start a podcast for free. The truth of the matter is that any podcast needs some investment – from a laptop, software, and recording equipment to scriptwriters or hosts – depending on your vision. While you can technically record a podcast in your bedroom using your laptop microphone and free software, chances are high that your podcast will sound amateurish. Sound quality is critical while recording a podcast, especially since listeners check it out on a variety of devices in diverse environments.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can still make a professional-sounding podcast without having to spend oodles of money. Read on for your top tips on how you can start a professional sounding podcast without breaking the bank.
Work On Your Idea
Great ideas are free! However, it does take a little bit of work to turn an idea into a podcast. Do your research on the topics you want to present and listen to popular podcasts in the same genre to understand what works and what doesn’t. Perhaps you can spot a gap in the market? Choose a format that works for you. We’ve covered podcast formats in depth in this article. Run your ideas through your family and friends to get their opinions and feedback and tailor your scripts accordingly.
Pick a Free Hosting Platform
There are plenty of free podcast hosting platforms out there. Do some research and pick the one that works for you. While picking a hosting platform before you’ve recorded your first episode may seem like jumping the gun, some of them may have specific requirements in terms of audio like sample rates, bit rates and overall loudness (LUFS). Knowing what your hosting platform requires will let you record your audio correctly from the start and save you plenty of hassle during post-production.
Check out the hosting platform in question to ensure you will get the customer support you need as a first-time podcaster. Remember you can always move to a paid platform with more features later.
Get Some Editing Tips
You may be able to skip this step if you are comfortable using audio-editing software like Audacity or GarageBand. Luckily, it isn’t rocket science. It can be a good idea to hit up an audio engineer buddy for some tips on how to make your podcast sound great. Or check out some free videos online. You’ll be glad you did.
If you’re planning on adding video to your podcast, there are plenty of free software options for editing that too.
Find Sponsorships and Monetization Opportunities
This may get easier as your podcast grows, but it doesn’t hurt to put some feelers out even as a newbie. Reach out to local businesses that may be interested in your niche for sponsorships in return for shout-outs or features. Other options include looking at affiliate marketing, advertisements, and selling products.
Think About Your Extras
Sound effects and music are key parts of a podcast. They help engage your audience and make them sound professional. Reach out to aspiring music composers, or composing students who want to get some experience under their belts, to write a custom theme for your podcast. They will be cheaper than established professionals. Having a custom theme will also help you stand out from a crowd of podcasts with generic stock music. There are also several free or subscription-based sound effects libraries you can use, so you only pay for them when you need them.
You can also create your own cover art via free online tools like Canva.
Keep Your Episodes Short
Listeners have short attention spans these days. Make your episodes user-friendly by keeping them short. This also helps you record multiple episodes in a single sitting and keeps the time (and costs) related to producing them lower.
Hire a Studio and Equipment
There’s no need to build an expensive recording space or purchase related equipment to have a professional-sounding podcast. Renting a studio space is a much more affordable option, especially since they will also have the equipment necessary to get the high-quality sound you need.
A professional podcast studio will also offer video and lighting equipment to capture that high-quality video audiences expect these days.
The Westlund Building offers a state-of-the-art professional podcast studio to help bring your vision to life.