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How to Start a Podcast without Spending Money

Hi Guys! I hope you enjoyed my first podcast episode with Danika Stone on Sunday! If you missed it, you can now just search ‘Beth’s Bookshelf’ in iTunes, or listen to it here. I’ve had a few questions from people on how you can start a podcast with a low budget, so I’ve listed all the information I can think of below! I believe you can get any creative project going without money, so you can definitely start a podcast! Why not today? This blog post includes everything from equipment, workstations, and getting your podcast on iTunes!

You will need:

Computer/laptop

Mic

Headphones

Quiet Space

Online tools for taking calls

Tools for recording audio from calls

Digital Audio Workstation

 

What mic should you use?

When you first start a podcast, I honestly think it doesn’t matter too much about the sound quality. That might sound silly because it’s an audio-based media but I think there’s something nice about podcasting where your audience understands that you may not have the resources for amazing equipment. As long as your content is good and people are able to comprehend the effort you’re putting in, listeners don’t seem to mind if the sound is a little ‘off’. I started off just using the mic that’s built in to my laptop. For the first six episodes, that’s what you can hear! I’ve now started to use a Snowball mic and they’re pretty affordable while still offering a great sound quality! It might be worth purchasing a pop filter to help muffle your sound and have your podcast audio sound a little more clear (though I haven’t done this yet). If you’re starting out and don’t have a huge budget, you can even just use your phone to record audio while you get started! ­I know a few podcasters who use their phones and it’s surprising how well it can actually turn out! As long as you’re content is worth listening to, your audience won’t mind your sound quality not being perfect while you’re getting started!

If you have a little more wiggle room with your budget, or as time goes on you find yourself in a position where you can now spend money on equipment, I’d suggest purchasing this mic. It’s pretty much top-of-the-range for podcasting and I know many podcast hosts who use them. They’re easy to use and create brilliant sound quality! I’ve used one a couple of times before (not on my podcast) and they are a dream!

Record in a quiet and confined space and use things like clothes, tapestries and blankets to muffle the sound in your space. Popular (as strange as they seem) recording spaces are wardrobes, cupboards, and underneath duvets. The more furniture, carpets and objects you have in your recording space, the better your sound quality will be. The aim is to prevent the sound waves from bouncing around everywhere and creating an echoing sound, and these things help stop that!

If you would like to reduce the echo in your recording room, you can do things like hang blankets on the walls and surround yourself with pillows. It helps to muffle the sound and create a less echoey audio! If it’s within your budget, you can also use acoustic panels. This is what professionals use to soundproof their recording spaces.

Digital Audio Workstation

A digital audio workstation (DAW) is just a fancy term for a programme that records your audio for you so that you can save it to your computer.

Audacity – free to use for anyone, anywhere! This is the workstation that I use to edit sound (or record into directly) and it’s fantastic! It works for me really well!

Audition – Adobe program (I only use this when I’m in university because I can use it for free! But off the top of my head, I think it’s about £17 per month.

Garageband – for Apple users

When saving your file from your DAW, make sure you save it to somewhere you’ll remember to find it later, such as your desktop, or create a folder specifically for podcast recordings.

Top Tip: It’s best to save your files at MP3 or WAV. If you use a third-party program like Zedcastr (more on that soon), the free version only allows MP3 file saves, but you can always convert it to WAV later.

You might be looking to record audio through other programmes rather than recording directly into your DAW. For instance, you might (like my own podcast) want to interview guests and use the audio from your interview. If you’re interviewing people from your studio or they live quite far, you’ll likely be using Skype or Google Hangouts to interview guests. To record content from Skype or Google Hangouts, you’ll need to download plugins which record the audio from your interview. Google ‘Skype mp3 recorder’ or ‘Google Hangouts recorder’ depending on which you want to use, and the plugin will be one of the first few search results.

Another great programme I’ve discovered and have started using for my podcast is;

Zencastr

Zencastr records audio content from free phone calls when you and another both sign on to the website. Like Skype and Google Hangouts, you can conduct a free audio call using Zecastr and it will record the content for you as an MP3 or WAV file. It gives you crystal clear audio, and you can keep a separate track per guest.

A simple interface where you can invite your interviewee to join you on the website and hit record. Once the recording is finished, Zencastr sends the MP3 file to your dropbox.

How to upload your podcast to iTunes

There’s only one way I know how to submit your podcast to iTunes, and that’s through self-hosted WordPress. Self-hosted WordPress is when you pay through a host to own a WordPress.ORG website. This information does not apply to blogs on WordPress.COM.

There are a few plugins for featuring a podcast on your WordPress blog. The plugin I use is Blubry PowerPress Podcasting Plugin, and I know it’s a favourite of many podcasters’. When on your WordPress Dashboard, hit the ‘plugins’ option and search for this plugin in the search bar. Install & Activate the plugin to have it appear in your options bar on your dashboard.

Once you’ve installed and activated this plugin, it will appear in your options bar when on your dashboard. Open up Blubrry PowerPress and it tells you what to do from there in terms of uploading to iTunes. It walks you through every step from naming your podcast & giving it a tagline, to uploading your podcast art and submitting your content to iTunes and Google Play. Make sure you have one episode of your podcast ready beforehand, as well as your art (check the BluBrry information for the correct dimensions)

Where to Find Royalty Free Music for your Podcast

Sometimes our content feels empty without a little music, especially if it’s a podcast episode or a YouTube video. But, don’t go using your favourite songs, or you’ll quickly have a copyright notice thrown your way. Most major artists and labels don’t like you using their content (just as you wouldn’t like anyone using yours!) without seeing a bit of money. But, don’t fret. Luckily, there are lots of resources for royalty-free music that you can use for free, some with no catch at all, and some just asking for a little credit where it’s due. I’ve created this list of some of the best places on the web to download royalty music free videos for your creative content.

YouTube Audio Library

Link: http://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music

It seems like an obvious choice and a lot of people complain about the music listed on here, but the YouTube official audio library sometimes has some hidden gems that are actually quite helpful! The songs listed in their library are a mixture of songs that are completely free, and tracks that require attribution. However, you can filter the results so that you can only see one or the other, if that’s preferred.

Sound Gator

Link: http://www.soundgator.com

Sound Gator isn’t necessarily brilliant for full tacks for your YouTube video, but it is a great search engine for finding sound effects. That can be great for small effects in YouTube videos, radio plays, and more.

Bensound

Link: http://www.bensound.com

Bensound displays a collection of tracks released under creative commons attribution licences. All you have to do is insert text credit to the creator where it’s due. You can filter the results you see by genre, and if you need a few extra usages, there is the option to get a pro licence (though I find the free version perfectly fine).

Sounds Crate

Link: http://www.soundscrate.com

This site requires for you to register an account with them, although it’s completely free to do so. You can download up to 5 songs per day using the free version of Sounds Crate. You have a choice to download WAV or MP3 files (pick WAV for higher quality) which is a great little feature.

Remember, you could also reach out to low-profile artists on SoundCloud, as they might appreciate the promotion! Again, all that may be needed is a little attribution. You could also, if you possess the creative talent, create your own music!

I hope this helped you learn a little more about how to create a podcast or helped you on your way to uploading yours! Feel free to tweet me or drop me a line on Instagram if you need any further help, and leave me a comment down below about what your show would be about if you had a podcast (or, if you have one, what’s it about?) Leave a comment down below!

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