There seems to be a lot of focus on how to start a podcast with no time or money and it’s a huge misconception that needs to be cleared up. Your time has value. Good equipment is not cheap, and no, you cannot record a podcast from your phone.
Let’s start at the beginning. Why are you starting a podcast? What value will it bring? Is it a passion project or is it for your business or brand? You have to first define the goalpost before you start kicking the ball around. If you don’t know what you are aiming at, you will surely miss it. “I want to start a podcast” is not a goal.
Podcasts are not cheap. Nothing about creating a podcast is cheap. Your time has value and equipment costs are super real. You know that diagram online where you can pick 2 of the 3 options; good, fast or cheap. It’s the same with podcasting. If you are going to DIY this thing you are going to spend 4-5x longer to do the work that a professional could do. Everything will be a learning curve and those hours will add up, don’t fool yourself. If you have ever spent 6 hours editing a podcast only to realize it sounds worse than when you started, you will understand this math.
Let’s break this down:
- You will need to get the right equipment for your space and for the love of audio please stop buying the Yeti. Understanding your space is the first step in knowing what equipment to buy, there is no one size fits all.
- You will need to record the sessions with you and your guests. This means while hosting the show, asking good questions and trying to remain present you will also have to monitor the sound the entire time to make sure nothing is going wrong. Basically you will need to do two jobs at one time, no big deal.
- You will need someone who can edit the audio; EQ, compression, fades. They should be able to edit out long silences and really polish the sound quality. People go to school for this skill but if you think you can handle that too, go ahead superstar. Let me know how that goes.
- You will need to create branding for your podcast. Every graphic needs to be specific dimensions, it’s 2021 ain’t nobody got time for your bad graphics. You will need 8 templates for branding for your show, minimum.
- You will need to write a mountain of content. This includes the transcription editing, show notes, time stamps, key takeaways and host and guest links. If you aren’t doing all this I am not even sure why you have a podcast.
- You will need to market the show constantly. No seriously, constantly. Like every single day; guest graphics, quote graphics, social share videos.
- Audiograms…. not my jam, I prefer video but either way you need content that autoplays on the major platforms to bring them into your main podcast jumpoff spot, which if you are a business should be your website.
- You will need to distribute your content on a schedule and stick to it, that means having several in the can and accountability. Producing a podcast with consistency is far from easy. There is always a new episode to work on, to promote and to record.
All of these things are separate careers and job titles. Your sound engineer is not going to write your show notes. Your marketing person will not create the social share videos. Your video editor will not be touching the sound. All of these are skill sets that people go to school for. If you are a business and you are asking your marketing team to handle things related to production, you are out of pocket and a bit predatory. And if you think you can do all of this work yourself I wish you luck, you will need it. Are you picking up what I’m putting down? If you wouldn’t ask someone else to do things they aren’t comfortable or skilled at, why put that pressure on yourself?
None of this work is free, whether you are doing the work or not. There is an expense there. It’s either time or money, you decide. If you don’t think your time has any value you are welcome to volunteer some of those hours with Heartcast Media. Producing a podcast half assed will get you the same results, nothing to write home about. In the end you will have spent time and money getting a mediocre result, talk about a loss.
Now, let’s consider equipment. If you really want to look and sound great you are going to need to spend between $1000 and $1500, period. Or as they say in Costa Rica, punto! Yes you can buy a crap mic off amazon and yes it will work but it will sound like garbage. You can also buy a great USB mic for $79 but if you aren’t using it right then it doesn’t matter. If you don’t have a mic at all or are in the mindset of “I’ll start with my airpods and then buy when the podcast makes money”, I have news for you, get cozy with those airpods because it’s never going to happen. You could tell me where the free money is but if your audio is bad I’m not going to listen. Quality matters, you cannot pretend that it doesn’t. Do you listen to poorly recorded content or do you keep doomscrolling? And if you are creating this for your business, not having a microphone is downright offensive.
If your main goal with starting a podcast is saving money I have to really question where your motives are. I think people in the industry that are focusing on that aspect are doing people a great disservice. Does this tool need to be free or cheap to have value to you? A branded podcast is marketing. If your main goal with your marketing campaign is not to spend any money you will get the results you pay for, none. Or as they say in Costa Rica, nunca!
See where I am going with this? Look, we all want an affordable way to market our businesses. If you are starting a podcast to market yours and you are taking on all of the roles above, it will cost you and your business far more than you can imagine. Every minute you are not working on developing your business and getting sales are minutes you are losing. You will never get that time back. You work against yourself and your business when you don’t delegate.
Branded podcasts are an amazing tool but they are not cheap or free and quite frankly, they shouldn’t be. If you want to sound good, you are going to have to spend. There is no way around it. If you are one of these people out here telling people that you can record from your phone, I’m coming for you. Managing expectations is the hardest thing to do in life, we have to be honest with each other and those out there looking to jump into the water. The first rule of content creation is to create value and care about the people receiving your content, having a proper microphone is a big part of that.
The most important point here is that a solid investment in a quality podcast will give you a far greater return than anything you can do on your own, or without a budget. If you want results, hire people who do this for a living and focus on your business. Knowing when to hold em and when to fold em is the greatest quality in a leader. You have to make the choice; good, fast or cheap. Like Mom always said, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. What does your podcast say about you? More importantly, what does it say about your business?