Launch a Podcast on a $0 Budget

You have a great idea for a podcast but no money to buy equipment? How do you start on a $0 budget?

When I launched my podcast a couple of years ago, I invested about $350. I paid my podcast host Podbean $150 (this is an annual payment) and I purchased the Blue Yeti USB Mic for about $200. Depending on your circumstances, this might seem like a lot or a little amount of money. Honestly, it was a lot for me at the time. Thankfully, now you can launch a podcast with a $0 budget (as long as you have access to a smartphone with an internet connection).

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Recording Your First Episode

 

You will need access to either a smartphone or a computer and you’ll want to record in a quiet space. If you are lucky enough to live in a city with a library that offers free access to recording studios then take advantage of that!

The central branch of the Vancouver Public Library has recording studios that you can book with your library card. The soundproof studios come with a computer that is loaded up with recording + editing software. They have microphones with stands and pop-filters. As long as you have a memory stick to save your file – you don’t need any other equipment! If you don’t live in Vancouver, BC, then reach out to your local library.

There are a few good free recording apps that you can download straight to your phone:

I would recommend using your phone headset if it has a microphone. If you record without a microphone, you will pick up background noise that might be hard to edit out and will affect the quality of your audio.

How to Launch a Podcast on a $0 Budget

If you prefer to use a computer, you can recording using the following free software/desktop apps:

  • Anchor.fm – free (phone app and desktop) and includes podcast hosting (more about that later)
  • Audacity – free open source software
  • Garageband – comes with Mac Computers

If you are recording a virtual interview, you can record using one of these video conferencing tools:

The softwares/apps on your desktop will connect to the default microphone on your computer. Again, I would recommend using an external microphone if you have access to one – that could simply be your phone headset (as long as it connects to your computer).

If your library doesn’t have a recording studio that you can use, then test out the sound in your closet (if you have space). Many podcasters record in their closet. I’ve heard of others that get good sound in their bathroom. Another option is to record under your duvet – this is my preferred method if I’m not interviewing someone.

If none of the above options work and you need to record in your living room, then get acquainted with the “noise reduction” tool on editing software such as Audacity. This will help remove any consistent background noise like air conditioning, refrigerator humming or just general white noise.

Editing Your Episode

Using a phone app:

Anchor.fm – offers basic editing on their phone app and desktop app. You can cut/trim your audio. It also gives you the option of adding intro and outro music from music that it has available in it’s library. It can be difficult to find music that you have the rights to use, so this is a huge bonus! Other than cutting your audio and adding music, you won’t be able to do any other edits. 

Rode Reporter – only records and exports your audio. No editing capabilities.

Podcast Studio by Spreaker – like Anchor.fm, Podcast Studio allows you to cut/trim your audio. It also has some fun effects like clapping and canned laughter. You can add music using this app but you have to upload your own music – so make sure that you own the rights to using it. 

Twisted Wave Recorder – has more slightly advanced features. You can cut/trim, amplify and normalize sound, fade in and fade out, and add in different filters. 

Using your desktop:

Audacity and Garageband allow you to record and edit your audio on a desktop. Both offer a lot of editing tools. Not only can you cut your audio and add music (make sure you own the rights to the music!), you can fade in, fade out, adjust the levels, remove background noise, equalize the audio and much more. Both come with a bit of a learning curve but there are lots of free tutorials YouTube.

Launch a Podcast on a $0 Budget

Podcast Hosting

 

If you want your podcast to be on all of the big podcast players such as Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, etc. then you need to sign up for a Podcast Host. Your podcast host will generate a specific RSS feed for your podcast. This is what you submit to all of the big podcast players. There are many different podcast hosts out there that offer different perks however you have to pay for hosting. As I mentioned above, I pay about $150CAD/year for hosting through Podbean. They do offer a free account that limits you to 5 hours of storage space.  Most podcast hosts are similar to Podbean. They have a free account with very limited storage then you have to pay. The only free host currently out there is Anchor.fm.

 

Click Here for my blog post on Choosing the Right Podcast Hosting Site for more info on other hosting companies out there.

I’ve already mentioned above that you can record and do some basic editing using Anchor.fm. The even greater thing about Anchor.fm is that it is also a podcast host. It’s almost like a one-stop-shop for podcasts. You can record, edit and distribute your podcast and it’s completely free. So if you have a $0 budget, then start with Anchor.fm.

Now, there are many reasons why podcasters choose to pay for hosting. Other podcast hosting sites offer better statistics, live podcasting, crowdfunding and various other perks. It really depends on what your needs are. If you have sponsorship then you might need access to really good statistics so that you can report back to your sponsor. I would suggest that you take some time researching podcast hosts before deciding on one. It’s great that Anchor.fm is free but make sure that it does everything that you need. 

Podcast Artwork

 

Before you can distribute your podcast to all of the big podcast players, you must create your artwork.

Apple Podcasts requires that your artwork be a minimum of 1400 x 1400 and a maximum of 3000 x 3000 pixels, 72 dpi and in jpeg or png format.

If, like me, you are not a graphic designer, use your free Canva account to help create your artwork. Canva offers lots of great free templates, fonts, icons and stock photos.

Podcast Marketing

 

Once your podcast has been recorded, edited, uploaded to your host and distributed you will have to do a little bit of marketing. Here are some $0 ways you can market your podcast:

Share it with your family + friends

Send an email to all of your family and friends telling them about your podcast and asking them to listen. Provide a link to your podcast in the email so that it’s easy for them to access the episode. Ask them to subscribe!

Post it on your social channels

Share the link on your social media profiles + accounts. Again, you can use the free version of Canva to create any social media images that you need. You can create little sound bites of your episode using the free version of Headliner that you can post to places like Instagram. 

Create an email list

Creating an email list is a great tool if you want to have more direct contact with your followers.  Start with free email marketing options such as Mailchimp or Zoho. They allow you to have a certain number of subscribers before you have to pay. You can set up an opt-in form and share the link to the opt-in form on your social media. Then you can create a newsletter each time an episode is released – that way your subscribers know to go listen! 

Cross-promote with other podcasters

If it aligns with your podcast, invite other podcast hosts to come on and talk about their podcast. They will likely share the interview with their followers who might even start listening to your podcast on a regular basis. 

Click here to read more on how to reach your ideal podcast listener.

You might be able to launch a podcast on a $0 budget but you will be investing a lot of your own time and energy. Starting a podcast is a big commitment and if you don’t have the funds to pay an editor, run paid advertising, hire a social media expert then you will be doing EVERYTHING yourself. Make sure to be prepared for that. Once you get a few episodes under your belt, you’ll start to get into the swing of it. Check out my blog post on how to keep your podcast consistent so that you can keep your listeners engaged.

I’ve created an easy to use How to launch a Podcast checklist that you can go through when you are launching. Click here to sign up for my mailing list to receive your free download.

If the process of launching seems too overwhelming for you then click here to sign up for a free 30-minute consultation to find out how I can help you launch a podcast!