Podcasting has become a great medium for entrepreneurs, influencers, and anyone who has something to say. Starting a podcast can help establish a brand or can expose that brand to more people. One of the best things about podcasts is that they can be on just about any topic.
The most common podcasting format is the interview format. This is when a podcast host brings in guests and interviews them. But a podcast episode can just be you sharing and expressing your thoughts.
Starting a podcast can seem like a complex and costly endeavor. In reality,, it is actually pretty straightforward to get a podcast up and running. But to make a podcast great, there are a few things you will need. Here are 5 things you need to start a dynamic and professionally sounding podcast.
A good microphone
One thing that can make or break your podcast is sound quality. Listeners may be very interested in what you have to say but many will not stick around long enough due to bad sound quality. That’s why a good quality microphone is so important.
If you’re looking for quality and affordability, Blue Yeti USB Microphone is one of the most popular and for good reason ($89). It has many attractive features and is optimized for podcasting, music recording, webinar recording and live streaming. Other nice features include a built-in mute button, volume control, and headphone jack. A built-in headphone jack is great because it gives you sound in real-time and minimizes delays. It also gives you the option for four different capsule modes such as stereo, cardioid, bidirectiona or omnidirectional. This is an amazing microphone, especially for the price.
For an entry-level option, the Samson Q2U Handheld Dynamic USB Microphone should do the trick. This handheld microphone costs around $49 and includes features such as a Desktop Stand, Mic Clip, USB Cable, and XLR Cable. The quality of the mic is not as great as the Blue Yeti but it is still good. Being handheld does make it ideal for on-stage use as well.
To make sure you are coming across to your audience the way you want, you’ll need a decent set of headphones. Headphones are especially important if you are interviewing guests or have a co-host. Being able to hear other people well will make sure the flow of the show is smooth and natural.
You may be tempted to purchase headphone and mic combo but I would advise against this. The sound quality is usually sub-par. Instead, consider the great sounding Skullcandy Grind Bluetooth Wireless On-Ear Headphones with Built-In Mic and Remote ($52).
For a professional caliber set of phones consider Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones ($79). These phones offer premium sound quality. They are not wireless but they do have a 9.8-foot cord for a little mobility if you need it.
The right platform
Another important decision you must make is where you are going to host your podcast. SoundCloud has been a popular choice for years. It still offers free plans so that you can get started on your podcast right away. Even though there have been rumors of SoundCloud experiencing some financial troubles, it still remains one of the better platforms for hosting a podcast.
Libsyn is another popular option. Libsyn’s plan starts at $5 a month but has higher price options for more monthly storage and advanced features such as statistics and media transcoding. Podbean was the site that I hosted my first podcast and it is still one of the best platforms for podcasting. Podbean offers plans starting at $3/month (billed annually or $5 billed monthly). The plans offer more storage space and features similar to Libsyn but for a lower price. Anchor is becoming a very popular option, especially for beginners. You can start podcasting on Anchor for free.
A pop filter
A pop filter is a noise protection filter for microphones. It helps reduce or eliminate ‘popping’ sounds caused by the fast moving air on the microphone during the recording of your voice. This is a very important accessory to have when podcasting so that your listeners don’t hear the distorted sound that is created when you pronounce the “p” in the word “podcast”.
Even though a pop filter is essential to have, you don’t need to break the bank for a studio quality product. Earamble Studio Microphone Pop Filter Round Shape ($7.99) is an affordable option and does a great job of eliminating sound and preventing saliva from landing and collecting on the microphone.
Recording and editing Software
There are a lot of options available for recording and editing the audio for your podcast. Having great sounding and smooth flowing episodes has a lot to do with how your audio is recorded and quality editing. Fortunately for you, there are a lot of options in this area.
To start, I suggest Audacity. Audacity is a free open source digital audio editor and recording computer software application, available for Windows, macOS/OS X, Linux and other operating systems. It allows you to do a many of the things that other editing software charge for including important features such as noise reduction, audio file manipulation, and support for multi-channel mode. However, it does have some limitation including dynamic equalizer controls and real-time effects while recording.
For a completely professional audio workstation, I recommend Adobe Audition CC. Audition includes multitrack, waveform, and spectral display for creating, mixing, editing, and restoring audio content. This is great if you also want to do video editing as well but if you’re just podcasting, you may not need all of the features available.