Have You Ever Wanted to Start Your Own Podcast?
Throughout the next few weeks, we will be running a series titled “Start Your Own Podcast: A How-To for Fashion Bloggers”. We’ll break down everything from what to consider before you begin, to what equipment you need to purchase before you start – and how to get your followers to tune into your podcast.
Our goal is to help fashion bloggers and influencers make the jump from blogging (and vlogging) to producing successful audio content. These posts can also be helpful to anyone interested in dabbling in the world of podcasting; they are not solely geared at individuals in the fashion industry. So, whether you’re a fashion blogger, or are just curious to learn more about producing podcasts check out “Start Your Own Podcast, Part II: What Your Need Before Your Begin” below.
It’s not possible to start a podcast without investing in some equipment. Even bloggers need a camera and a laptop at their disposal, before they can get started with blogging. Vloggers will need to invest in good lighting gear, before they can start filming (or rent an apartment with good, natural light). And anybody who plans on having their own website will need to pay web-hosting fees and purchase a domain name, before the site can exist. The point is, whether you're planning on podcasting casually or professionally, you will need to invest in some new equipment if you're looking to start your own podcast.
Here at IFB we've rounded up the essentials and the extras, when it comes to podcasting gear. In this post, you'll get a good idea of what you need in order to get your podcast off the ground. Don't have a huge budget? Don't worry. We'll let you know price points for things like microphones, where you can cut corners and much more below.
These are the three things you need to acquired, before you start out with podcasting.
On a budget? The good news is you probably already have one of the three items below kicking around at home – and another can be obtained for free. How much money you want to spend on your equipment is completely up to you.
A Computer (with a Connection to Wi-Fi)
This is pretty self-explanatory. You will need a computer if you want to start your own podcast. Either a desktop computer or laptop will work fine and allow you to record, edit and upload your podcast to the internet.
But what if you don't have a computer (or wanted to purchase a new one, specifically for podcasting)? Can you buy just any old computer? The short answer is no.
Your computer will need the right ports if you plan to use a USB microphone to record audio. Planning on using an analogy microphone, with a portable XLR recorder (or any other audio interface device)? Your computer will need a 3.5 mm audio-in jack, a USB port or, potentially, a Firewire port.
If you’re planning on investing money in a computer, specifically to be used for producing your podcast, you will need to make sure it can support all equipment and software needed for recording.
Audio Editing Software a.k.a. DAW
You will need to download a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) before getting started with your podcast. This will allow you to edit your audio recordings and, essentially, create your podcast. There are plenty of options out there, but the licenses for some DAW’s can be costly.
As Lifehacker breaks down in their post on podcasting “ . . . licenses for professional level DAWs like Reason or Pro Tools can cost anywhere between $300 and $900. Apps like Hindenburg offer simpler audio editing software for under $100, Reaper is a fully loaded audio production app for $60, and Adobe’s audio editing software Audition CC is available with a $19.99 monthly subscription, but you probably shouldn’t start dumping money into podcasting software if you’re just starting out.”
Yes, you ready that correctly: You shouldn’t be throwing loads of cash at editing software right off the bat.
Instead, download Audacity. It’s a free, and allows you to edit audio without having to commit to paying licensing fees.
You probably have quite a few questions, when it comes to purchasing a microphone. Does the quality of microphone matter? Can listeners tell the difference between audio recorded on a low quality vs high quality microphone? Should you be spending loads of money on mics from the get go?
Yes and no. Keep your budget in mind, but buy the best quality microphone you can afford. Generally speaking, listeners can tell the difference. Either way, you will need to decide whether you want to purchase a USB or analog (XLR) microphone.
What’s the difference? Check out the breakdown below…
- Less hassle – it converts analog sound directly into digital (i.e. you plug the microphone into your computer’s USB port, start recording and you're good to go!)
- Typically the less expensive option
- Can produce lower quality audio, in comparison to an analog microphone
- Typically more expensive (as you need to purchase an XLR connector, to upload the audio from the analog microphone to your computer)
- Higher audio quality
- Can be used with other audio and/or sound equipment, or for other purposes
Keep in mind that most gaming headsets or other basic microphones you may have lying around the house can also be used. So if you’re really tight for dosh, yet determined to start your own podcast, you can easily find a way to make it work.
Looking for a microphone? IFB recommends Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone. On a budget? Check out the Blue Snowball USB Microphone for a less expensive option.
… And The Extras
Portable XLR Recorder
This item is mandatory, if you're plan on using analog microphones for your podcast. Portable XLR recorders capture your analog audio and convert it to digital audio files (so you can then upload and edit your audio on your computer). The good news is it can also capture multiple microphone channels and allows you to do basic sound level adjusting (and muting) on the go.
As you record, your portable XLR recorder organizes audio content and stores it on a memory card. This memory card is then inserted into a card reader or slot in a computer. Audio files can then be accessed from that computer.
While portable XLR recorders are great tools, they can also be expensive. Prices range anywhere from $100 to $500 (depending on features, etc. each model offers). IFB recommends the Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder.
Looking to record directly to your computer with your analog microphone? Then you will need an audio interface.
An audio interface can allow you to plug multiple analog mics into your computer at once – but it also can be used with just one analog microphone. Generally speaking, if you want to have more than one microphone in use while recording audio (ex. You’re planning on interviewing someone or will have a co-host on your podcast) you will need to invest in one of these. Audio interface will connect to your computer via a USB or Firewall port and can set you back anywhere between $30 and $300.
Pop filters help to make your audio sound clear (i.e. your listeners will appreciate it if you use one). They aren’t a basic requirement on the equipment list, but they are fairly cheap. You can easily make them yourself as well, if you’re working to start your own podcast on a budget.
While there are plenty of accessories, add-on's and other devices that you can use, this is a round-up of the basic equipment needed to start your own podcast. Check back next week for the third installment of “Start Your Own Podcast: A How-To for Fashion Bloggers”.