How Much Does it Cost to Start a Podcast

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Podcast?

There are a lot of blogs online with an array of information that’ll tell you $100 is enough to start a podcast. However, you’ll also find articles stating you need $5,000 to be successful. At the end of the day, it all boils down to your purpose behind starting a podcast and your financial situation.  So you might wonder, how much does it cost to start a podcast? Let’s break it down. 

Before we break down the costs of starting a podcast, we recommend identifying your podcast budget.

Some of the determining factors when budgeting for your podcast include`;

  • Understanding your income
  • Determining your fixed costs
  • Identifying your variable(s)
  • Making a rainy day fund and;
  • Crafting a budget

Simplifying it in this way gives you a holistic approach to curate a podcast budget that is right for you. 

With that said, let’s examine what it costs to start a podcast.

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The Basic Equipment Needed

Let’s start with the basic equipment. If you want to start a podcast there are some basic pieces that every podcast, regardless of budget, will need.

Headphones for Podcasters

You can begin with the pair you have right now. Whether you’re planning on recording episodes with guests remotely or having solo sessions at home, headphones help you articulate your words better. 

As you talk into the microphone your brain processes what it’s hearing through the headphones which gives you the chance to self-review and make minor tweaks. If you don’t have much experience recording audio this might not seem important but trust me, it makes a huge difference to your performance and ultimately to how you sound.”

Rachel Corbett

In the end, headphones are important because they allow podcast hosts to monitor their audio during a recording. Ultimately, hearing yourself talk will help your mic technique. Headphones also pick up room noise. This will help you configure your setup in a way that eliminates outside noises.

What headphones to buy

For those starting with a smaller to mid-sized budget, we recommend purchasing a multi-purpose pair of headphones like the Studio3 Beats by Dre which are conveniently noise-canceling. Another great pick is the Audio-Technica ATH-M20X studio headphones which are under $50 and durable.

Now, if money is no object, then we would recommend these headphones:

Besides price other factors for your headphone selection are durability, size, sound quality, wireless, and mobility. Although headphones are a crucial piece to the podcasting puzzle, they’re not the only item.

Let’s talk about microphones. 

Microphones for Podcasters

Again, if you’re a beginner or balling on a budget, your microphone set-up can be as easy as hooking up your headphones to your phone. From there, we suggest downloading our Spreaker Studio app where you can professionally record your podcast with one click. There are even built-in features that allow you to record in sections and enhance your audio.

Another minimal microphone setup can be simply using your phone. You can opt-in for a microphone that connects directly to your phone like the IK Multimedia iRig Microphone Lavalier for only $29.99 and for such a tiny device, it delivers extraordinary value. This microphone clips right onto your phone for recording on the go. 

On another note, some podcasters decide recording on their computer is more fitting. If your one of them, grab a USB microphone that easily fits into your computer. As a refresh, a USB allows your microphone and computer to communicate. At the top of the list is the Samson Portable USB microphone. This option is under $50 and comes with a stand for ultimate convenience. 

Additional choices that may be worth the investment are the Blue Yeti Nano which has smart functions that enable you to create a top-notch sound, and The Rode NT-USB that allows you to monitor the microphone input in real-time. These are both highly recommended amongst the podcasting community and are conveniently both USBs. 

For more recommendations on microphones check out this blog: Three Pieces of Gear for Starting a Podcast.

Besides physical gear, you’ll need some sort of software to edit out those pesky “uhms” and dead space from your episodes. Keep reading to learn about different podcast recording software. 

Podcast Recording and Editing Softwares

There are plenty of options out there to record for free that get the job done:

  • Spreaker Studio App
  • Garageband (for Macbook users)
  • Audacity (Macbook and PC users). 

Aside from simply recording your podcast, another feature you might want to consider while shopping around is remote compatibility. Nowadays, hosts can speak with guests across the world which is extraordinary and opens up a whole new world (literally). This means you get to tap into global demographics, thus growing your audience diversity. If recording remotely is important to you, consider Spreaker’s app. It has integrations with Skype that allow you to record right there as you host your session online.

Now that we’ve got the pre-production covered, let’s chat about post-production. It can take time to sift through the uhms, dead noise, and harsh s sounds on your own. If you have time to spare and don’t mind this then you could save money.

Post-Production Budget

Okay, let’s take a look at some other options based on your specific financial needs. Here’s the cost of podcasting recording and editing software by budget:

In contrast, if you don’t have the time or want to edit your podcast we suggest hiring a podcast editor or audio engineer.  Outsourcing to a podcast editor can cost anywhere from $100- $500 and varies depending on how many episodes you need to be edited per month.

Podcast equipment doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg. You can always start small and work up to better equipment once you get more listeners.   

Podcast Brand Identity

So, you’ve got your podcast topics, your guests, and all the software to create a well-thought-out podcast but how will you present it to the world? This piece to the podcasting puzzle is crucial and could make the difference between thousands of listens or very few listens. 

Podcast branding is a unique style, tone, and presence that you display online. Your consistent and aligned branding will paint a picture to your audience, thus attracting more loyal listeners who will love all your content. 

Branding is important because it sets you apart from your competition and gives your listeners a reason to listen your podcast.

The word branding is a broad term that has a lot of moving parts some of which include:

  • Podcast differentiator – what makes your podcast different than the thousands already out there?
  • Ideal podcast listener avatar
  • Mission and Vision
  • Logo
  • Cover art
  • Intro/outro for your podcast
  • The copy and messaging that represents your brand on social media/show notes

But let’s remember, branding is more than just a logo.

The process of branding means creating a unique image of your podcast through the formation of relationships, emotions, and memories around your brand. Ultimately, your brand is your podcast and your brand is defined by your audience’s perception of your podcast.

How much does branding really cost?

Okay, now back to the logistics. You can hire freelancers from Upwork or Fiverr to create just about any of your branding needs. Alternatively, you can post what you need in Facebook groups like Graphic Designers & Freelancing, or I Need a Graphic Designer.

Here’s an overview of branding needs and costs:

  • Podcast brand strategy: $0-1,000
  • Logo: $0- $300
  • Cover Art: $0-400
  • Intro/Altro: $0-500
  • Podcast Trailer: $0-500

These prices vary drastically because they depend on a ton of factors. For instance, do you have the skill to create a free logo on Canva or would you rather pay a highly experienced designer? How long will your intro be? Will you include a snippet of your voice or just some music in the intro? All these questions should be taken into consideration when crafting your podcast brand identity budget. 

Additional Costs for Podcasting

Merchandise

Tee shirts, water bottles, magnetics, and hats are all fantastic ways to organically promote your podcast. Not only is merchandise a great way to market your podcast. But you can make some extra cash from it and gain user-generated content thus expanding your brand awareness. 

Let us explain for a moment how user-generated content works to cultivate brand awareness. First, a listener purchases a shirt with your podcast logo on it. He or she is so excited that they post a picture wearing the shirt on Instagram. Then, you repost this to your Instagram and other members of your audience get the urge to purchase too and the cycle continues. This is just one example of how merchandise can explode your podcast. 

Ultimately you can’t go wrong with launching merchandise around your podcast and here’s how much it might cost you depending on what you’d like to sell:

  1. Teeshirts: Use a print-on-demand service for t-shirts to keep the costs low (by ordering 50+ shirts at a time you’ll spend on average of $5-10 per shirt)
  2. Redbubble: Another print-on-demand site that is free to sign up and you get paid when someone purchases what’s called an artist margin. Sticker’s are a fun and cheap way to promote your podcast, take for example The Dream podcasts sticker line.

By using print-on-demand services you’ll decrease the amount of time, money, and energy that goes into packaging, labeling, and distributing the merchandise because they do it all for you! And, by ordering items in bulk you’ll also keep prices low.

Merchandise is not recommended to focus on if you’re just starting your podcast as it could lead to overwhelming however if you’ve been podcasting for a while or have a team to help you, we say go for it! 

To continue the list of “nice-to-haves” for your podcast, consider a social media manager. 

Social Media Manager

Maintaining a podcast could be a full-time job, so if you have the budget you might consider hiring a social media manager.

A lot of time and energy goes into researching topics, finding vetted guests, and of course recording your podcast. If your main focus is to craft quality content for your listeners (which we’re sure it is), then you may feel spread thin attempting to present your podcast on social media too. 

Additionally, social media managers can:

  • Piece together a cohesive look on social media for your podcast
  • Put in the time required to plan, create, and engage on your platforms
  • Put in the time to optimize the content for all social media platforms (example: Twitter content is not the same as Linkedin content)
  • Utilize their knowledge about copywriting to direct your audience to your podcast or website

Because of the pandemic, podcasts are on the rise, and therefore podcasting social media managers are arising everywhere. Now, instead of finding a generic social manager, you can find one specific to your niche or one that knows about crafting content for podcasts. 

Moreover, some social managers can handle all your social channels and manage your podcast. Not a bad deal, right?

You can find these magical creatures by searching “podcast social media manager” on Instagram or even by looking at freelancing sites like Fiverr or Upwork. Typically, the going rates are anywhere from $25/hr to around $75/hr depending on a variety of factors including experience and portfolio samples. 

At the end of the day, if you have additional money to outsource your social media efforts that’s great but if not try to schedule out time in your week to make an effort to promote your podcast on a couple platforms. 

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers go hand in hand with social media. Humans are visual by nature so crafting a visual identity that wholly embodies who you are, and what your business/podcast is about is crucial. In fact, your audience is 3x more likely to share and engage with your business if your images are attractive. 

A specialized designer could incorporate elements and techniques that uniquely highlight your messaging. This in return cultivates brand recognition and awareness for your business in a way you wouldn’t imagine. 

As we mentioned earlier check out Fiverr, Upwork, or Facebook groups to find the perfect graphic designer for your podcast needs. 

To illustrate further how a graphic designer can be beneficial for your show, let’s look at the Tim Ferris podcast hosted on Spreaker. His graphic designer helps him promote his new episodes by creating exclusive hand-drawn portraits of his guests. 

Additionally, if you’ve got your eye on paid advertising, a graphic designer can create on-brand assets for you to utilize on social media for your campaigns.

Spreaker Quick Tip
We’ve probably mentioned this tool about a hundred times on this blog, but we are going to do it again., If you don’t have the budget to hire a graphic designer, then why not try Canva? Canva has a free version, but we would highly recommend looking into the pro version. Canva Pro grants free unlimited access to an extended library of premium imagesmusicvideos, and elements, and for additional features like the Background RemoverMagic Resizeversion history, and more.

So, How Much Does it Cost to Start a Podcast?

So in the end, it’s hard to answer the question: how much does it cost to start a podcast. Primarily because there are so many different factors to consider.

Let’s look at some examples

$0-90 budget for necessities:

  • Microphone $0-30
  • Headphones- $0-30
  • Podcast Recording/Editing Software- $0-30

$90-$200 for necessities + some branding pieces:

  • Microphone $0-30
  • Headphones- $0-30
  • Podcast Recording/Editing Software- $0-30
  • Intro- $0-150
  • Cover Art- $0-100

Beyond $200 for necessities + marketing:

  • Microphone $0-30
  • Headphones- $0-30
  • Podcast Recording/Editing Software- $0-30
  • Intro- $0-150
  • Cover Art- $0-100
  • Social Media Manager- $25-$75/hr
  • Audio Editor: $100-500/month

Focus on the necessities of starting a podcast first, and once those are nailed down, consider hiring an audio editor or social media manager to professionalize and manage your podcast. 

Understand how much additional money you have to spend based on your current income, determine recurring charges like subscriptions needed to run your podcast, and then think about skills you have and what’s important to you as you carefully craft your podcast budget. 

Remember the purpose behind considering a podcast in the first place and keep that in mind to anchor you as you move forward on your journey! 

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