Everything You Need to Start a High Quality Interview-Style Podcast on a Budget
The world of podcasting is experiencing a resurgence and continues to gain popularity as the buzz reaches the masses. In fact, Convince & Convert says that over 42million Americans listen to podcasts weekly. The same report states that 85% of of listeners listen to an entire podcast!
Podcasting is a great way to start or add to your personal brand. I personally believe podcasting is the most intimate form of content creation and a great way to showcase your personality to your audience. Additionally, interview-style podcasts can be an excellent networking tool and a unique way to get to know your colleagues.
If you’re reading this (and I know you are) you’ve probably listened and subscribed to a few podcasts yourself. The idea of starting your own podcast may seem daunting, but I can assure you it’s not that hard or expensive. In fact, I recently started my own podcast with almost 40 interviews in just 5 months. Trust me — if I can do it you can, too.
For those of us who are a bit snobby about audio and production quality, here’s my 2¢ on starting your high quality interview podcast on a budget.*
I apologize — I wrote this article without taking into consideration that you may not have a computer to work off of. Here’s a link to a refurbished MacBook Airs(what I use) if you don’t have one.
Get a great (and affordable) microphone — $89
It’s generally accepted that audiences are not very forgiving of audio quality, so you want to be sure to invest in a professional microphone. I’m personally a fan of Blue Microphones. They’re easy to use and an audio interface is not required as it plugs directly into your USB.
Here is the one I have, but there are even cheaper and easier to use options that showcase incredible audio from Blue. The Blue Yeti comes complete with a headphone input for monitoring, multiple pattern selection so you can interview multiple people and a mute button. In my opinion, probably the only microphone you’ll need for a long time.
Create a Radio-Quality Intro — $150
When you finally tell people to tune into your show, you want to make sure to grab their attention. Micme.com creates customized, high quality intros with ease. All you have to do is select your music, your voice style and submit a script. That’s literally all you have to do. Hands down one of the best services I’ve ever come across.
The best part is, their turnaround time is about 3 days and the customer service is excellent. Tell Nick I said hello if you end up using the service.
Download a Virtual Meeting Program — $36/mo
If you plan on interviewing remotely, you’ll need some sort of interface to record your guest. I’m personally using GoToMeeting which allows you to record the audio of your meetings, even when using the video function. It’s one click to record and very easy to use.
Additionally, a mobile app is offered so your guests on the run don’t have to be in front of a computer to use it.
Download a Free Audio Editing Tool — Free
Luckily my MacBook Air came with Garage Band preloaded, which makes it incredibly easy to upload and edit your tracks. What I love about Garage Band is that it’s essentially just drag and drop from your Finder and point and click to splice and edit. Here’s an excellent introduction to Garage Band to get you started.
If you don’t have Garage Band, you can use the free program Audacity to help edit your podcast.
Monitoring Headphones — Free(ish)
When you’re recording your podcast with GoToMeeting you’ll want to use headphones to make sure that your guests audio isn’t record back into the microphone. I just use the headphones that came with my iPhone for monitoring.
I’ve also found that monitoring headphones help even when recording in person, so you can make adjustments to how you or your guest sounds along the way.
Now that you have all your equipment ready, it’s time to start recording! Here’s my 11 step (and incredibly simplified)* guide to recording your first podcast using the equipment I mentioned earlier.
*Take a few moments to read the instructions and guides on how to use each piece of equipment. They aren’t incredibly hard to use, but sometimes some Googling is involved.
- Plug in your Blue Microphone using the USB port on your computer.
- Plug in your monitoring headphones.
- Start your GoToMeeting and be sure you can hear your guest and your guest can hear you.
- Click ‘record’ on your GoToMeeting dashboard.
- Once your interview is completed, click ‘record’ again to stop the recording, then end your GoToMeeting.
- You’ll be promoted to convert your recording into a .MP4. Do that.
- Open Garage Band and select a new project.
- Open your Finder, and find your newly recorded podcast.
- Drag and drop the audio file (along with your new MicMe intro) into the new Garage band project.
- Complete any editing necessary.
- Click ‘Share’ > ‘Export Song to Disk’ > Select MP3 > Select Quality > Click ‘Export’
I have the MP3 file, now what?
An easy way to start sharing your podcast is by using SoundCloud. It’s free to start (I got about 20 episodes in before I had to upgrade) and very easy to use. Once you create your free account, you can start uploading your tracks.
SoundCloud offers some basic stats so you can see how many people are listening, allows you to allow downloading and select which information you want displayed with each track.
Now, I know what you’re thinking — you probably want your podcast on iTunes. Understandable. All you have to do is:
- Go to podcastconnect.apple.com,
- Sign in with your Apple ID
- Click the “+” in the top-right corner
- Input your SoundCloud RSS feed
That’s it! Be sure to ‘unhide’ your podcast on iTunes otherwise you’ll never see it on the store. I’ve seen podcasts go live on iTunes in as little as 12 hours so be sure to refresh!
A Few Final Tips
Just like anything else, it’ll take a little time to get in the rhythm of creating a great sounding podcast. Some things I like to keep in mind to get the best audio the first time is:
- Record in a room with carpet instead of hardwood or tile to reduce reverb or echo.
- It’s generally accepted that the guests of the podcast can sound like they’re ‘calling in’ but the host should sound good, but try and have your guests use a mic even if they are recording remotely.
- Prep your guests with some guidelines and questions before hand, it’ll help the conversation and reduce the amount of editing later on.
- Have a structure to your podcast, like a time limit. The last thing you want is to talk in circles.
- Don’t be afraid to interrupt your guest, if they talk for too long. This will help break up the audio and keep your listener engaged.