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How To Start a Podcast Completely Free

- Updated May 19, 2020

start a podcastHow Popular Are Podcasts?

44% of the U.S. population have listened to a podcast. 80% of listeners listen to all or most of an episode. Listeners are tuning into 7 shows per week on average. – Source

In 2018, there are 6 million more listeners than in 2017. 49% of podcast listening is done at home compared to 23% while in the car. 69% are listening via a mobile device. – Source

These stats don’t touch YouTube, but that’s a whole other show altogether. What it really comes down to is what fits your personality, budget, and business model the best.

Obviously, I chose podcasts. While I have a YouTube channel, I just find video production laborious, and the equipment is crazy expensive. Podcasts were the path of least resistance for me while remaining viable in the growing tech world.

Are you ready for the quick and dirty podcast tutorial that will show you how you can become a podcaster free? Let’s do this!

What Kind of Equipment is Needed to Start a Podcast

You can make this as simple or as complicated as you want. If you’ve been following me for any length of time, then you know I like to keep things stupid simple. This quick and dirty podcast tutorial will be no different. Action steps will be in the show notes.

When I’m considering a new project and someone is giving me their laundry list of equipment, I’m often skeptical. In my experience, there’s always a way to accomplish results without breaking the bank.

If your content is good enough, people are going to consume it regardless of if you have the most expensive camera, best microphone, nicest editing software or whatever.

Don’t ever give up on an idea because you can’t afford all of the fancy accoutrements some hack on the Internet said you must have. If you have a decent smartphone, you probably have what you need to get started.

The idea of starting a podcast for free assumes that you have some basic equipment that most people possess on average such as:

  • A computer with an Internet connection
  • A smartphone
  • A quiet place to record

In addition to this, you may want to consider a dedicated and higher-end microphone at the very least. However, if you can’t invest right now, your smartphone’s mic will suffice. There is no extra equipment needed to start a podcast.

This is the cheap condenser mic I use – https://amzn.to/2LFzA4T

Software and Services You Will Need for Podcasting

The good news is you can get set up to begin publishing your podcast for absolutely free with this quick and dirty podcast tutorial. You will need a host for your audio files. Even if you have your own website, you can’t really host your own audio because it will eat up your filespace and bandwidth.

Fortunately, Anchor.fm is a very viable and free option for hosting your audio. I didn’t know about Anchor when I started my show back in December of 2017 or I probably would have gone with the free option.

If you’re just curious, I host my audio with Libsyn, and that costs me $15 per month. I would suggest choosing the host right for you and staying with that host for the long-haul. Moving everything after you’re established will be difficult.

Anchor.fm has a lot of great tools for recording and presenting an awesome podcast. They also recently released a method to monetize your podcast by having your audience pay for subscriptions.

I’m unsure how well that model would work for someone like me who started from scratch. The Candid Cashflow Podcast has actually generated very little revenue from affiliate offers.

I suggest you research to find what monetization methods would fit best with the goals of your show.

In addition to your audio host, you need a way to edit your files. Depending upon your operating system and experience, you may already have a free option available for this task. If you don’t, I highly recommend Audacity. Audacity is an open-source audio recorder and editor.

I record my podcast in Audacity and edit it on my desktop computer. I apply two simple effects: the Noise Reduction and Compressor. Grab the show notes at HeyYoAva.com/Episode41, and I’ll include a link to a video of me editing.

It is certainly not a requirement to provide show notes for your audience, but I strongly suggest that you do so. When your show begins to gain traction, your audience will come looking for you on social media and around the web to see what else you have to offer.

I greatly enjoy preparing the show notes for each episode for my listeners. I include bonus content whenever possible which can include ebooks, checklists, videos, and just whatever I think will help y’all out.

My show notes are simple. The content is an exact copy/paste of each episode’s corresponding blog post. The notes are in PDF format for easy readability and portability. Every mobile device can open PDFs.

I use Google Docs to create them. I then download the document as a PDF, and upload it to my Google Drive. Then I take the shareable link, create a user-friendly link, and share that with you all several times throughout each episode.

You could essentially upload your show to Anchor, use this method for your show notes, and forego any need for a website at all. Free. It just depends on how you want to be presented.

I almost forgot, you’re probably going to want some kind of theme music and you need a couple graphics. The song I use is by an artist named Forty33, and I found it via YouTube. The piece was labeled as royalty-free as long as I link back to the artist.

I covered how to find royalty-free music in this manner just recently in Episode 39 of The Candid Cashflow Podcast, so be sure to check that out! I’ll include a link to the show notes for that episode in this week’s show notes, so be sure to grab those at HeyYoAva.com/Episode41.

You need a logo for your podcast. This can be as simple or as detailed as you like. I threw my logo together in Canva which is a free drag and drop graphic design platform I’ve talked about many times.

You need two graphics:

  • A square logo maximum 3000×3000 pixels, minimum 1400×1400 pixels
  • A 300×300 pixel resized copy of the same image

Make sure you create your images to resize correctly. Ensure any text is easily readable at both sizes.

When you create your Anchor.fm account, you’ll be asked for your artwork. Having these prepared ahead of time will save you time, and also set you up to distribute your podcast to additional platforms later on.

That’s really it to start. You need something to record on, editing software, and an audio host. Boom goes the dynamite!

Planning for Episode 1

Are you ready to commit? When I was researching how to start The Candid Cashflow Podcast, I went by Pat Flynn’s tutorial. I’ll include that link in the show notes as well.

The piece of advice Pat gives is to commit to podcasting. Commit to set time frame and just go. I think he suggested 6 months, so that was my initial commitment.

At this point, you may want to decide where your podcast will call home on the web. For me, it’s on my website you hear 10 times every episode. I decided just to tack it on to my existing website because I wasn’t sure it would be something I’d do long-term so I didn’t go for a dedicated domain name.

You may choose to purchase a domain and build a website around your show. If you want to keep with our theme of things being free, you can choose a free website option like Wix, WordPress.com, or even Blogspot.

Believe me, I understand what it’s like to be doing big things online with little to no money, so go with whatever you can afford. However, I always recommend buying your own domain and hosting. Then install WordPress. It’s professional and you can customize it exponentially.

Not to mention, websites are CHEAP!

It’s just a good idea to have a place where your show lives online besides your audio host. That way you have a place to showcase your work and link to your show notes for your audience.

Once you’ve got all that figured out, what will the format of your show be like? Will you host guests? Will you work from a script? I actually write my blog post first so I don’t “um” my audience to death.

This also means I don’t have to transcribe my show later or pay someone else to do it for me.

I actually don’t do it this way anymore! I try to wing it more and be spontaneous and in the moment when I record now. It has actually improved my ratings.

All these things should be taken into consideration right from the beginning.

The next thing you want to decide is your schedule. What day of the week will your release new episodes? How often will you release them? For example, just like I say at the end of every show, I release a new episode each Wednesday. This way, my audience knows exactly when to expect new content from me.

You’ll find this type of structure is a strategy that works not only for podcasts, but video and blog posts as well! People like to know when you do what you do for some reason.

Recording Day

Happy, happy, joy, joy, recording day is finally here! Nothing special necessarily needs to happen other than being ready!

For me, recording day means having my blog post done, dodging the times the neighbor lets her 3 Dobermans outside, not recording before I’m fully awake, and hoping the cat doesn’t decide it’s mealtime on her DeliCat 5 feet from my mic.

Recording day means you’re fully prepared to present your full episode. I usually record and edit together in a few segments. Once I’m done, I edit the segments together with my theme music. I upload that mp3 to Libsyn, and boom, a new episode is released!

How To Get Your Podcast Everywhere

Once you have a few episodes under your belt, it’s time to think about distribution!

The number one place you want your show to be as a podcaster is iTunes, or formally Apple Podcasts. iTunes is kind of the unofficial founder of all things podcast. The word “podcast” actually comes from their iPod product.

Anchor.fm distributes to iTunes. In fact, they have one-click distribution to all of the following:

  • Apple Podcasts
  • Breaker
  • Castbox
  • Google Podcasts
  • Overcast
  • Pocket Casts
  • RadioPublic
  • Spotify
  • Stitcher
  • TuneIn

I would venture to say this is actually better than Libsyn’s distribution which I pay $15 a month for and it’s completely free. I had to manually add my podcast to several of these.

I have an eBook that I update periodically that tells you how to get your podcast on 30 platforms including, but not limited to, iHeartRadio, Amazon Alexa, Deezer, Luminary, Listen Notes, Medium.com, and Pandora. There’s no other product out there like it and just $7.99, you don’t even need to think about it.

Get Podcast Everywhere podcast everywhere


 

Once you have your show feeding out to all of the cool places online, you’re good to go. From that point on, you just have to release your episodes!

That’s a Wrap

Podcasting has been a fun and rewarding experience for me. Even though my show hasn’t earned me tons of revenue, and really kinda operates in the red because I pay for my audio hosting, it has rewarded me in other ways.

The most notable being that it has forced me to create content for my blog on a consistent basis. I’ve had many blogs over the years, but I’ve never had a consistent content creation schedule for any of them until now.

I’ve learned a lot of things, and it’s also allowed me to share my knowledge with the masses.

I can’t recommend the experience enough. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, absolutely do it! I was so surprised by how fun it is.

This content was originally published as an accompanying blog post when this episode of the podcast was released on September 12, 2018. It has been updated and moved to its new home here on CandidCashflow.com.