“How do I start a podcast?” A Complete Guide

Guys + Gals. 

There are some 100% crap articles on the web about how to start a podcast. Most of the stuff I’ve read are people who do “passive income blogging” looking for hits and giving you generalities about podcasting with no specifics. In this post, I am going to spell it all out for you. Everything from equipment to software to hosts. This, however, is not going to be how to start a podcast comparable to Joe Rogan’s.

That would cost about $5,000.  

Rather, what I am going to do is give you the basics in each category and give you 100% free advice with no strings attached. It’s like the NSYNC album, but way better (#1990s). Then, at the end, I’ll give you my setup and how much $ it costs to do what I’m doing.

Equipment

Let’s start with the hardware. We are talking about the basics here and there are a few ways to structure your podcast. If you are flying solo, you probably don’t need an external soundboard or a digital recorder. If you have some friends in studio (less than 3) you can get away with a computer-based soundboard/input board as I will talk about under “Software”. 

But first things first, how many people are involved and what are you talking about?  

Microphones, External Soundboards, and Recorders

In my opinion, the best bang for your buck for a USB microphone is the Blue Yeti Microphone ( here on Amazon). When it’s on sale it costs around $90, new it’s $129. If you want to go a little more basic, Blue makes a smaller-scale microphone called the “Snowball” and it’s $39-$49, and it’s got a respectable sound. But what if you’re in the camp that is using an external soundboard? Then here are some equipment ideas for you:  

XLR Microphones (Non-USB) 

  1. Behringer XM8500 - $20.00

  2. Shure PGA48 - $39.00

  3. Audio-Technica AT2020 - $99.00

Soundboards (External)  

  1. Behringer 502 - $39

  2. Behringer 1202FX - $99

Digital Recorder 

  1. Zoom H1n - $120

  2. Tascam DR-40 - $180

  3. Zoom H4n - $250

I don’t mess around with external equipment because I do most of my stuff over the airwaves of the internet. But, that doesn’t mean external isn’t good, because it is. It just doesn’t serve a purpose for me. For $250 bucks and a cheap laptop you can have a decent set up and then build from there. It doesn’t have to be state-of-the-art when you’re starting out.

Speaking of laptops, this gets us to the last piece of hardware which is: Mac or Windows? This question is 100% up to you. Each have their strengths. I use Mac because of the software category, but PC has some good free options, too. So let’s take a look:

Software: Mac or PC?

I used Windows when I started my podcast. I had a $350 laptop and I was off and running. I used two primary applications which I still recommend:

  • Audacity - $0

  • VoiceMeeter - $0

These two apps are great. Once you learn the ins and outs (Hello, YouTube!), you’ll see that you can do everything from putting guests on a different input, mixing in sounds, and editing your podcast like a professional. Best part is, the apps are free. But VoiceMeeter only works on Windows. Audacity works on both Mac and Windows.

There are other windows software packages from third-party developers, but I am not impressed with many of them. These two, for their cost (freeeeee), and their function, are the best.

What about Mac?

As I started to do more and more podcasts, I was pretty limited with what I could do. So I started to look for different setups and applications to expand what I could within my podcast. After about 30 applications and 10 different laptop trials, I landed on a 2017 MacBook Pro coupled with the apps, Farrago and Audio Hijack.

The apps are rock-solid and can do everything you can think of for a podcast. Right now, I am piloting an ecosystem that would allow Apple users to record a show, upload to iCloud, and then you can cut/edit on the go with an iPad or iPhone using a simple tool. Then upload your finished product to your host, add show notes, and BAM, you have a podcast! — More to come on this in 2019.

Hosts

There are a lot of different podcast hosts out there. This is the service you pay that publishes your show to the web; it’s a cloud storage and sharing center for your podcast, if you will. This article from We Did It details 21 hosts and gives a rundown of each one. PodBean, LibSyn, SoundCloud, and Blubrry are the four most popular, IMO.

They are all similar in pricing: $100-200/year. For example, PodBean is $108/year for unlimited audio—which is a solid deal. Hosts are something you need to be comfortable with. Also all of them have an easy link to Apple Podcasts, Play Music (Google), and Spotify. You can sign up with Stitcher Radio and other third-party apps on your own (YouTube is recommended as well).

Make sure you check out reviews of the hosts you are considering and go from there. I recommend PodBean; it’s what we host all three shows on The Money and Power Network on and the statistics as well as the layout is user-friendly. Plus, it’s inexpensive for what you get.

Rob’s Setup

I host/co-host three podcasts that have over 100 episodes altogether; here is my setup for those shows. I’ll include the price I paid, as some of my stuff I bought used, which means you can too:

Hardware

2017 MacBook Pro (256GB) - $900

Microphone

Blue Yeti Silver - $90

Software

Audio Hijack (input board) - $59

Farrago (sound board) - $29

Audacity (editing tool) - $0

Host

PodBean - $108/annually

*****

Altogether, I have about $1,186 invested into my setup with $108 revolving annually. You can do it for a lot cheaper, but I know this setup will last years. Plus, the more you podcast and build your audience, the more your show will start paying for itself.

Most podcasts stop before 15 episodes, if you break that threshold, there’s a good chance you’ll gain a good following.

Final thoughts:

  • Use solid audio equipment

  • Have good content

  • Be consistent with recording/publishing times

  • Grow a community

  • Don’t oversell/sell too much