For many people, podcasting is unfamiliar terrain and can feel overwhelming to get going. Even more so, it’s cost that’s at the forefront of uncertainty.
So let’s just be upfront and say that you can start podcasting for absolutely free — that is, as long as you have a computer device and an internet connection. There are ways to podcast without even laying out a cent.
But your costs are going to depend on what it is you wish to achieve with podcasting…
If you simply wish to talk regularly about a particular topic without hosting guests, you can easily find online software to use for free.
But if your goal is to attract and grow your podcast, you need to know that it’s similar to setting up a whole new business, because that’s how complex it can become.
More than likely though, you already know this, which is why you’re doing your homework in order to find out what you need and how much you’ll need to budget for.
This is a comprehensive guide which covers:
A rough idea of how much podcasting will cost depending on your goals.
What podcasting style you plan to use, and how that influences price.
What equipment you’ll need, which also depends on your goals.
Finally, if you plan to go full-out, what resources and skills you’ll need and how much these will cost.
How Much Does Podcasting Cost?
The good news is that podcasting has free options and, besides a computer and internet connection, you won’t need to buy any equipment. However, it depends on your goals — if you’re podcasting as a small starter, the free option is great, but if you plan on using podcasting professionally as a marketing mechanism, you’ll need to spend some money.
Having said that, it’s a good idea to enter into podcasting low-key and get some episodes under your belt before you go into it full-on, even if cost is not a factor. This is because it’s only once you’ve experienced it first-hand that you’ll know what you are looking for to achieve your objectives.
Armed with your newfound knowledge, you can then go out and buy all that you’ll need, or alternatively, hire others to perform certain tasks for you.
Generally speaking, this is what has costs attached to podcasting (although you don’t necessarily need all, or indeed any to start off with, and there are variations):
Equipment setup (mics, headphones, boom arm, shock mount, pop filter)
Software (recording, editing, hosting)
A production team or specific resources such as a graphic designer for cover art for the launch of the podcast and all design for all podcast episodes (to promote them),as well as a writer
Sound quality and music (mixer, software for sound effects)
Your costs will vary depending on whether you go into podcasting as:
Small starter: you are a solopreneur, you have a message, and your goal is to feel out podcasting to see if it will work for you.
DIY high quality: you have a small business and you want to run your own podcast using high quality equipment.
High quality presenter: you have a stable small company or mid-sized business and you want to present your own podcast but you’re not interested in the technicalities.
Enterprise: the large company you work for wants to start podcasting.
Small Starter Podcasting Costs
You can start podcasting without spending any money and using a free platform like Spotify’s Anchor.fm to host your episodes, although you may not get everything you need. And while using a freebie platform, expect ads as a necessary evil to endure until you grow. There are also free audio editing tools like Audacity which are great for zero-cost audio editing.
Free is a good way to start though, or consider the DIY high quality podcasting option (see next section). As a podcasting small starter, you can host guests on Zoom or Skype and upload the recording to a free podcasting platform host. You can also use a free editing tool like GarageBand for Mac computers.
To get started, it’s not absolutely critical to use headphones or a microphone if you have a quiet enough place to speak, although the sound would be a lot more professional with these two pieces of equipment.
Create your own artwork from a free host platform and you’re good to go.
Be aware that the freebie option is not likely to grow your show much because it’s not an easy way to promote your podcast. And if no one knows about it, no one will listen to it.
Small starter basic essentials:
DIY High Quality Podcasting Costs
The more pro you go, the higher the costs. For professional audio quality, you’ll need a quiet space in which to record, recording software, plus headphones and a microphone.
You’ll need to record the show, and then use editing software to eliminate unwanted noises of your voice and that of your guests, and add sound like intro and outro music — although you don’t necessarily have to add sound effects.
You may want to consider hiring a freelance writer for your show notes, and outsource the promotion of your episodes and podcast (see the production team section below to get an idea of cost).
DIY high quality basic essentials:
High Quality Presenter Podcasting Costs
You’re prepared to spend whatever it takes to grow your show, but you would still like to keep costs down where possible.
We will assume you have the right space from which to record, and that you will upload and publish episodes yourself, as well as do the audio editing and sound effects.
High quality presenter basic essentials:
Recorder – $200
Podcast recording software – $10 per month, optional
Podcast hosting – $15 per month
Podcast cover art design – $195
Writer for show notes – $50 per episode
Designer to create episode visuals and social media graphics for promotion – $50 per episode
Enterprise Podcasting Costs
There are various options here: either you have your own presenter and podcasting team, which will cost about the same as the high quality presenter option above, or you can outsource many of the tasks, in which case you’ll need to read through the factors to consider below.
Factors to Consider
There is not one way to do podcasting; instead there are many paths, and you need to choose the best way to meet your unique needs. Here’s what you’ll need to weigh up (we’ll get into the details a little later):
Costs of in-house vs. outsourced
Interview style or journalistic podcast style
Microphones and software options
Cost of a professional production team
In-House or Outsourced
Your choice as to whether to podcast in-house or outsource the bulk of the tasks is likely to depend on whether you already have a team in place or whether most of the tasks will need to be outsourced.
It’s important to understand that podcasting requires a number of dedicated skills that you may not find in the employees you already have. Refer to the production team costs further on to ascertain what skills are needed and what you’ll pay for them.
It may work out less expensive to utilise an outsource agency, or you could always start by outsourcing while you begin to build an in-house team.
In-house can work out to be less (sometimes) than outsourced, but you will need a full-time employee dedicated to project managing the podcast, including all the players that need to be involved. (See the production team section below).
An outsourced agency will likely cost between $2,000-$20,000 per month depending on the scope of the project. Agencies are able to fulfill all the pre and post-show tasks necessary for a successful podcast, such as:
Sourcing the best guests and guest coordination
Taking care of all the equipment and software requirements
Podcast directories submission
Show notes and social promotions
Find a list of the top podcasting agencies currently available, with a brief explanation of the services they provide.
Interview Style or Journalistic (NPR) Style
The podcast style you select is what’s going to be your biggest monthly cost. The three most popular styles include:
Monologue style, where one person does all the shows; there are no guests. This is the cheapest option.
Interview style can range from $200 per episode with a cheap provider because guests need to be sourced and coordinated.
Journalistic style costs around $5k – 25k per episode because of all the pre-planning, editing and production of sound.
The cost of microphones will depend on your podcasting style and goals. For example, if you’re a small starter, you may not even need a microphone, or if you want to use one for clearer sound, it will cost around $50.
To achieve a high quality sound, you’ll need a standard professional microphone which will set you back around $130 – 170 for a Blue Yeti or Rode NT-USB. Some pros will go to the extent of buying an audio interface, but for 95% of podcasters out there, USB microphones are much simpler, lower cost, and will provide essentially identical quality.
If you plan on having guests, you’ll need to consider them too.
You’ll need podcast software for recording, editing and hosting shows.
Podcast Software Recording
Software recording tools come in all shapes and forms, and you’ll need to select the right one to meet your objectives. Here’s a helpful podcast software recording resource to find the best of the tools. Each tool comes with a brief description of what it does, compatibility, ease of use as well as cost.
For the small starter, there is free software available, otherwise you’re looking at paying around $7.50 – $32 per month. For hardcore podcasters, expect to pay around $100 – $200 per month. There are also a couple of options that allow you to grow by setting you up for free, or with a small cost, and you eventually pay more as your podcast grows and you require additional features.
If you don’t hire an outsourced vendor to do this part for you, you will need to purchase professional editing software like Adobe Audition for $20.99 per month.
Podcast Hosting Platform
You’ll need to put your shows somewhere so listeners can download the audio files while they are on the go. Typically, a dedicated podcast hosting platform subscription will set you back from around $10 – $100 per month for most standard plans. These platforms will syndicate your show out to the major podcast apps such as iTunes (Apple Podcasts),Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, etc. Getting your show on these platforms is essential to building an RSS feed that converts listeners into subscribers.
What resources does an enterprise need to create professional podcasts? Here are the people and skills required:
You will need someone who can drive the whole process for each episode, and ensure that the podcast is moving forward to meet objectives. A Podcast Producer can cost anywhere from $200 – $5,000 per episode, depending on experience and the complexity of the show. Bear in mind that journalistic producers are much more expensive.
For an Audio Editor, costs can range from $40 – 1,500 per episode, depending on if you hire basic talent for a standard interview, or if you hire a producer / sound designer for a journalistic style show.
Creating show notes, using podcast shows to develop articles, and creating social content out of each episode means you’ll need a good writer. Article rates range from $100 per article to $1,000 per article, depending on the quality of the writer. Show notes can range from $25 per show notes to $100, which also depends on the quality of the writer.
You’ll need a graphic designer to create thumbnails and social graphics for each episode. You can hire this skill remotely from a freelancer from a place like Fiverr, with costs ranging from $5 per episode to $100 per episode, depending on what is created.
With so many pieces of content coming out from one podcast episode (pieces of content may include a blog post, show notes and social media copy),you may find it necessary to hire someone just to perform quality assurance, like spell checking everything that goes out the door. For this, you’re looking at about $18 – 50 per hour.
Getting the podcast on your website and all of the podcast directories is quite a task, especially when you add to that scheduling out and publishing all of the social content. Publishing to all formats and avenues will take approximately three or more hours per episode.
There are a few different approaches to editing your shows. Some podcasters leave the show raw and unedited, but for enterprises, it may be essential to edit shows by using an app, software, freelancer or production company. Costs can range from $40 per video to hundreds per video, depending on quality and scope.
An app will cost about $30 per month.
If you perform this task in-house, you’ll need to allocate it to a resource and provide an audio editing program such as a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). The cost of this depends on the scope of what you wish to achieve; the more pro you go, the more you’ll pay. This software comes as semi-pro to pro. As an example, FL Studio, for semi-pros, will set you back $99 as a once-off cost, as opposed to MAGIX Samplitude Pro X, with a $129 once-off cost.
Effective Results and Hassle-free: How Content Allies Can Help You
Content Allies is an agency that helps B2B companies produce revenue-generating podcasts. Although there are quite a few podcast agencies, all of them perform different tasks. Content Allies, however, takes things one step further and is also able to source the best guests for your show, as well as do all your podcast marketing.
Their team is able to perform every task necessary to launch a podcast and maintain it. The only thing you need to do is have great conversations, and watch your podcast grow as Content Allies uses their own equipment and resources to generate the highest quality shows, then promote each episode to your audience on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Contact Content Allies to discuss podcasting for your business.