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If you’re eager to get your own podcast up and running, read our guide for the tools you need to do it.
Podcasts are big businesses today, with the most popular getting millions of listeners for each episode. The best thing about podcasting is that anyone can get started with a minimum of special equipment or training. If you’re eager to get your own podcast up and running, read our guide for the tools you need to do it.
It goes without saying that you need to record content for your podcast. In general, a USB microphone is all you’ll need to record your high-quality audio content, but if you’re co-hosting with someone who doesn’t live nearby or interviewing a special guest who can’t travel to you, you’ll need a way to record your discussion in a single recording. Skype is one of the simplest solutions. It’s free to use, compatible with almost every operating system, and as a bonus produces great sound quality. The only downside is that you'll have to install a third-party plugin to record the conversation.
It's also a nice touch to save a signature intro and closing theme that identifies your podcast. If you don't happen to have a virtuoso musician at your beck and call, you could use GarageBand. The huge library of music loops and virtual instruments make it easy to create your own theme tune without any musical ability.
Once you have your podcast content recorded, you’ll need to edit it. This could involve removing material that can’t be shared online, cleaning out background noise, or adding special effects. Here is what you should look out for when you choose editing tools for your podcast.
If you’re new to audio editing, you’ll need a simpler program with more support. On the other hand, experienced producers could find beginner programs frustrating and prefer something more complex. Audacity is a very easy-to-use audio editor. The interface is bare and can be intimidating, but all the buttons and tools are clearly marked, and the help section will teach you all you need to know.
Once you’ve cut your teeth on Audacity, you might want to move on to Adobe Audition CC. The interface is still fairly user-friendly, and there are plenty of tutorials, but the features and tools can be more complex than Audacity. Experienced audio editors might enjoy the challenge of using GarageBand. Although it’s excellent for music production, it’s more difficult to use for podcasts and only available for Mac.
If you’re just setting up your podcasts, you’re probably looking to spend as little as possible on your equipment and tools. This is the advantage of free audio editing tools such as Audacity, which is both powerful and kind to the pocket. However, Adobe Audition CC only costs $19.99 per month with a free trial so that you can choose if you want to shell out for the program.
Even if you’re just recording a simple podcast, you’ll need an audio editor that has all of the features you need to share professional-sounding content. Built-in tools such, as special effects and support for a range of import and export file formats, are important, and included in Audacity’s powerful range. Audacity also provides a number of third-party plugins to increase the range of effects even further.
You’ll also want the ability to remove background noise and sweeten sound quality through Audacity, Adobe Audition CC, or GarageBand. Adobe Audition CC has particularly good noise reduction capabilities and, like Audacity, offers non-destructive editing so that you can return to the original track if you make a mistake.
Another important feature when preparing your podcast for publication is to edit and add ID3 tags. ID3 tags contain information about the title of your podcast and the episode title, the artist, date of publication and your podcast artwork as well. They are important for identifying your podcast to listeners and making it look appealing. Many audio editors, such as Audacity, include this in their features, but if not, you can use a standalone tag editor like ID3 Editor to edit your tags.
When you’re podcast is complete, it’s time to host it on the web. You can find both paid and free podcast hosting options so that you can test the waters before you commit too much money to the project.
The cost of hosting is always going to be important. Once you’re ready to move beyond free hosting plans, you can still keep the price down with basic plans like LibSyn’s lowest option, which begins at $5 a month. Soundcloud’s paid plans start at $10 monthly, while Blubrry and BuzzSprout both begin at $12 per month. If you want to upgrade to a premium plan, you’ll find that they range from $15 for LibSyn’s top tier plan to $24 for Buzzsprout’s premium option. BuzzSprout does offer a free hosting service for up to 90 days, for 2 hours of storage per month.
Before you sign up for a paid hosting plan, it's important to calculate how much storage you'll need. LibSyn’s low-cost basic plan only comes with 50MB of storage per month, which would be enough for just one hour-long episode. Blubrry’s lowest-price plan includes 100MB of storage, while BuzzSprout’s $12 plan gives you 3 hours per month. In contrast, you can get 3 hours podcasting per month for free with SoundCloud.
You can upgrade to far more storage with premium hosting plans, so if you'll need over 200MB per month, you'll need a plan like LibSyn’s premium plan for 250MB, or one of Blubrry’s or SoundCloud’s top-tier plans.
No matter what your subject matter, make sure that analytics are included in your hosting plan. Without analytics, you'll have no idea who's listening or what they like best about your podcast. LibSyn makes you pay an extra $2 for analytics tools if you use the basic plan, but you can access simple analytics even on the free SoundCloud plan.
If you're already an experienced podcaster, you won't be too concerned about this, but beginners will do best with an easy to use podcasting host. LibSyn and SoundCloud are both easy to use, reliable, and trustworthy podcast hosts that have been in business for a number of years. BuzzSprout markets itself as the simplest and easiest to use podcast host and user reviews back it up.
The final step is to share your podcast far and wide so that you get as many listeners as possible. Some podcast hosts help you with this, such as SoundCloud which instantly publishes your podcast to its podcast library. Hosting sites which make it easy to share your episodes on social media and via RSS such as SoundCloud and BuzzSprout also help you gather more listeners. Blubrry and BuzzSprout both offer simple WordPress plugins too, so that you can share your podcast on your website without any hassle.
When you promote your podcast, one of the most important locations is iTunes. If you use BuzzSprout, you can send it directly through the integrated plugin. If your artwork is attractive and appealing, you might be featured in iTunes’ ‘New and Noteworthy’ podcast section which is always a good way to attract listeners.
With so many free or low-cost and powerful podcasting tools available, there’s no reason not to indulge your desire for podcasting. You can get started straight away using one or some of the tools we’ve mentioned above to get the job done.