Very few people like parting with money. Podcasters are no exception. So, can you podcast for free? We get asked that question a lot here at The Podcast Host.
The answer is “sort of”, because it's often said that you'll either pay for something in money, or in time.
I'm assuming here that you're in the “time” camp. They say it's the one currency you can't get back, but, on the other hand, there are worse things to spend it on than podcasting.
This guide focuses on the recording, production, and publishing of a podcast. There's a lot more to running a successful show than these 3 areas, though. For an in-depth look at some very important planning and content-related advice, check out our main step by step guide on how to start a podcast.
For now though, let's see if we can get you up and running, with minimal impact on your wallet.
Recording Your Podcast for Free
Okay, so I'm assuming we can overlook pedantic facts like the cost of electricity, internet connection, etc.!
You likely already own a device capable of recording your podcast. In fact, I'd bet that whatever you're using to read this article would do the job.
Smartphones have mics. Most computers and laptops have built-in mics too. The quality isn't anywhere near what you'd get with a dedicated microphone, (and you don't need to break the bank to get a good one!) but you're going to have to sacrifice a few things in order to podcast for free.
Struggling to Choose & Use Your Podcast Equipment?
Pick the right gear, and learn how it works: from USB mics to mixers.
Recording on a Smartphone?
You could simply use your default voice memo app. Or you could use a podcast making app like Spreaker or Anchor.
Recording on a Computer?
Download and install Audacity. This powerful and intuitive software is an all-in-one solution for recording and editing your episodes. And it's absolutely free!
It's worth noting though, that – at time of writing – those working on MacOS Catalina may struggle to use Audacity. If that's the case, opt for Garageband, which is installed on your machine by default.
There are plenty options out there for recording conversations online. If you want to podcast for free, consider Skype, Zoom, Zencastr, or Cleanfeed. All of these are featured in the roundup I've linked to.
Producing Your Podcast for Free
Once you've recorded your content, you can enhance it by adding a layer of production. This means chopping out any mistakes or fluff, sorting out volume levels, and even adding in some elements like music and effects.
For the editing part, I've mentioned Spreaker and Anchor as the app-based options. For a bit more flexibility though, I'd opt for Audacity, if you have access to a computer. And again, if you're on MacOS Catalina, you might need to use Garageband instead.
If you'd like to add in music, Incompetech is a pretty extensive library of high-quality stuff. You can use anything there on your podcast for free, just so long as you credit the site and link back to them.
Publishing Your Podcast for Free
So your first episode is created and ready for the world to hear – but how do you get it out there?
You'll need a dedicated media host to upload a podcast. There are loads of different hosting services out there these days, but most of them cost money to run.
If you want to podcast for free, then there are a few options still. But the best one, in my opinion, is with Podbean.
With Podbean's free tier you'll be able to upload up to 5 hours of content a month. Your bandwidth will also be limited to 100GB a month. But, Podbean are a robust and established media host. If you do find yourself a bit more flush in the future, you can easily upgrade to their paid package.
Summary: How to Podcast for Free
Here's a quick recap of the most optimal freebie setup, then.
- Record and edit your show, via your computer's built-in mic, with Audacity.
- If you're recording interviews online, use Zoom.
- Upload and publish with Podbean.
You'll need to accept that your sound quality isn't going to be the best. You're going to be limited in a few other ways too. But, at least you'll get a taste for podcasting, and can figure out whether or not you think it's worth investing more in.
And remember, there's still a lot of important steps to consider in relation to your target audience, topic, and general strategy. For an in-depth look at this, check out our main guide to starting a podcast.