Oct 31, 2019

How to start a professional sounding podcast from scratch for under £400

Step 1 - The Setup

This is assuming you have a laptop or macbook which is portable and has a USB port. Otherwise, you need to add this on. 

Ok so first off, before investing in the equipment, I spent hours and hours researching over the internet to find the best kit, how to bring it all together. 

As a disclaimer, the podcast I run has 2 hosts and a guest. We only do in person podcasting, no over skype etc. So it had to be good enough to be 3 microphones in person and mix it. If you want something more budget - Then just a simple Blue Yeti is fine and you are away. 

But if you want something that you can really make high quality, record and scale, then stay tuned. 

First off, you will need to get your equipment. This is definitely the most complex part of creating a podcast and by no means is my setup perfect, but it works for me. We’ve got the sound quality to a reasonable level and it is portable enough to take round in one small suitcase.

Extras I assume you have: 

  • Laptop or Apple Mac
  • A smartphone or iPhone

Kit to purchase

If you can afford it, here are a few extras that will increase the quality, but they are definitely not necessary. We completed our first 3 podcasts without these and they are just fine.

Once you have purchased the equipment, you will need to begin to test and set up your audio.

We're currently recording with GarageBand on Mac, so if you are a PC user, you may have to go elsewhere for to work out where to record. However, I hear Audition & Audacity work just fine. 

The beauty of this setup is you can do this in most rooms (less echo) rooms are better, but it doesn’t make too much of a difference. We’ve done it in a kitchen, lounge, private office and open office, they all work!

You’ll need a table, 3 chairs, a spare stand slightly higher for your iPhone to sit and some plug sockets nearby. Private and quiet room for best quality. 

The setup is easy once you get the hang of it. So the Amp is the connector, bringing all the microphones together. This then pushes all the audio into your laptop to record. 

Here’s how to set it up: 

  1. Attach boom arms to table
  2. Secure microphones onto boom arms 
  3. Put Amp nearby on the table 
  4. Attach the 3 XLR cables into the back of the microphone and into the Amp 
  5. Link the Amp to your laptop via the USB wire 

There you have it! That is a simple way to set up your podcast and you have the quality.

Step 2 - Finding Guests 

Now this may sound way too straight forward, but finding guests and interesting people you want on the show is as simple as… reaching out.  By this point you should know what the theme of your podcast is going to be, so you should be able to think of some guests. A few tips:

Have a catchy little pitch to go in with and make sure you hit them on all available platforms. We DM them on Instagram, Tweet them, Linkedin, Facebook & email until we get a first response.

Follow up with a voice or video note, it personalizes it and we just find we get a way higher response rate from this when trying to chase people who are reading our messages and not replying. 

When you get your guests in, be sure to ask them to recommend one or two people they know with similar stories and stature. This is a great way to grow the podcast and network without having to do outbound reach.

Step 3 - Recording

On the day, I’d allow 2 to 2.5 hours for the podcasting session from end to finish. Remember, this includes: Packing up and down, set up and testing, chatting and going through topics, then the actual podcast as well. You don’t want to be rushed, we’ve done that before and it’s not nice or enjoyable for anyone! 

Set up exactly as I did in Step 1. Make sure that all the microphones are connected. If you have one headset or wired headphones, plug them in and you can then hear the headphones and test (if you have got the full set and the extras, you won’t need to do this). 

Now, connect your laptop to the amp via the USB cable and open Garage band. Make sure you choose the output which is connected to the AMP, test and you are away. Hit Record and start podcasting! 

We also video each episode, using an iphone and the phone mount which you can find in the extras. Just flip the phone sideways and you are off, it's high enough quality for social media.

Step 4 - Post Production 

Once the podcast is complete, you will need to do 2 things: 

  • Remaster the audio to the podcast

The mics are good and if you have good soundproof room, then you shouldn’t really need to do too much work here. What we do is outsource this to a specialist on Fiverr for around £12-£15. They clean up the audio, take out the background noise and make it as podcast ready as it will be.

  • Create an intro and outro for this and all future podcasts 

Again, this is pretty straight forward. We used the Mic’s and just did a quick 20 second introduction. I then overlaid some licensed music we had underneath our audio and there we have an intro! 

Step 5 - Release & Distribution 

We decided to go with the easiest option when releasing the podcast. We used Anchor.FM. You set everything up in Anchor, post there and it will distribute it to every single other platform. Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts etc. This takes out the stress and time of distributing individually to every platform. 

What I would say is - If you have a release date, it can take a few days for it to reach apple podcast & spotify, so publish it to Anchor a little early.

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