When I decided to launch a podcast, I had no idea where to start, and “how much does it cost to have a podcast?” was at the top of my question list. There were so many websites with conflicting advice, and I just felt overwhelmed. Thankfully, I had a couple friends already in the podcasting game who graciously answered all of my questions. I’m far from an expert, but I’m excited to share what I’ve learned in this post, along with some reader questions.
How Much Does It Cost To Have A Podcast?
It’s hard to definitively answer the question about how much you’ll need to spend because it depends on your goals. I viewed the podcast as an investment and spent about $600 before announcing it to the public. Vagner’s experience with music production helped me decide what equipment I wanted. Here were my first purchases (affiliate links below):
Audio-Technica ATH-M50XWH Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, $140: I didn’t fully appreciate my headphones until I had to edit an episode with my AirPods. When I replayed it through my headphones, I was shocked at how many things I missed. These are definitely more clunky than earbuds but worth it.
Blue Yeti USB Mic for Recording and Streaming on PC and Mac, $99.99: I can’t say enough good things about this mic. It’s portable, convenient when I record away from my desk, and it also produces fantastic sound for the price.
Graphic design and branding, $360: One of the best lessons I’ve learned as a business owner is the value of knowing your strengths. I hired a designer to create Canva and Photoshop templates for me, along with a logo, and it was probably my most helpful spend at the start.
We’ve covered what I spent upfront, so let’s discuss recurring costs. If technical specs aren’t what you’re interested in, you can skip this section, but this is all the information I wish I would’ve known beforehand.
How Much Does It Cost To Have A Podcast? Recurring Expenses Explained
I’ve been a guest on a fair number of podcasts, so I racked my brain for the recording software I found most intuitive when appearing on other people’s shows. I landed on Zencastr and pay $216 a year for the service. My biggest complaint is that it is only compatible with Google Chrome, which can be annoying. Still, it’s a winner — in my opinion, it’s way more pleasant to use than Zoom.
Have you ever thought about how a podcast actually gets to your device? I had zero idea before Asked by Ayana, but it involves a podcast hosting service! I use Buzzsprout and pay $18/month. In turn, I’m able to easily upload an episode and they do the rest of the work and distribute it to a range of directories, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Overcast, and pretty much anywhere else you listen to shows.
Lastly, I pay $20.99/month for an Adobe Premiere Pro subscription. This software is great for making video teasers for episodes, although I haven’t used it in months and could probably get away with canceling it.
Should You Hire An Editor?
I keep it pretty simple and use Audacity, a free platform with a slight learning curve for editing. I hated it at first, but now I’d recommend it to anyone. One of the questions that I often get is whether it’s worth it to hire an audio editor. I worked with a Fiverr editor for the first couple of months and paid $25-$30 per episode (a total steal). It felt efficient at the time, but I stopped for a few reasons:
- I’d re-listen to the audio after I received the completed file just to make sure he didn’t miss anything, so I still had to sit in front of my computer.
- I’m not making any money from the podcast because I really wanted a hobby that wasn’t monetized. That being said, spending $100-$120 monthly on editing on top of my other costs just didn’t make financial sense.
- I was able to get the hang of editing audio pretty quickly. Zencastr does basic audio mixing, and I usually go through to cut out filler words and awkward silences. I spend about an hour editing the average 40-minute episode.
To recap, I record interviews in Zencastr. Then, I download the mixed .WAV file and edit in Audacity. I import the final version into Buzzsprout, schedule the release date, and they do the rest.
More Recording Questions
What happens if you don’t know what to say? How do you stop saying filler words? Honestly, it takes practice. I thought I’d be a pro because I was a journalist, but I’m not used to being concise on audio. If I’m truly lost, I’ll ask my guest for a second to collect my thoughts and just edit it out later.
As far as filler words go, I still use them! It’s less than when I started, but I’m prone to sprinkle a “you know” into every other sentence. I edit out as many as I can, but I have a conversational podcast at the end of the day. It’s not an NPR show! It’s okay if my speech isn’t always perfect.
Do you use scripts? I scripted my first solo episode introducing the podcast but haven’t done it since then. The vibe is casual, and I feel like a bit of rambling actually fits. I might consider scripting if I had a different show with a more authoritative tone, but I honestly found it painful.
How do you get clean audio? I don’t record when Nora is home or awake, no exceptions. Sometimes I drive to my parents’ and sit on the floor of their guest room with my equipment. If I can’t do that, Vagner takes her for a walk when I really need the house. Other than that, I try to do as much as possible to minimize noise (Vagner stays out of the room when I’m recording, and I take off Luna’s collar because she’s known to jingle all over the place). If there’s a knock on the door or something, I do my best to edit it out but don’t beat myself up about it.
General Podcasting Questions
Do you batch episodes? Funny you should ask. I try to record at least a month in advance, but work got really busy at the end of 2021, and I had to take all of December off to catch up. Right now, I’m only recording a week in advance, but I’m trying to get back to my old schedule.
How did you pick an aim for your podcast? I always knew that it’d be interview-style if I created a podcast. I personally cannot stand shoot-the-breeze shows where the hosts just talk for hours! I’ve always loved hearing about people’s careers, and I realized that a job-focused podcast would be entertaining and give me an excuse to meet really cool folks.
Finding Podcast Guests
It was incredibly easy to find guests for the first five or so episodes because I was pretty much just inviting my friends. Once I ran through that list, I had to get creative. My guests are usually found one of three ways:
- I reach out to someone via Instagram DM (often a mutual who I’ve DMed with before) and ask if I can send more info about the podcast via email.
- People pitch themselves to me, or PR people pitch their clients (I’ve found so many good guests this way, so feel free to reach out at email@example.com).
- I email complete strangers and ask if they’re interested in appearing on the podcast (not always successful, TBH, but great when it is).
Fear of rejection is normal but also freeing — the worst people can say is no, so what do you have to lose? It’s rare for me to get outright refusals. Usually, people don’t respond or tell me to check back in a few months.
My one goal when I launched was to have fun, and I’m still having a blast. I hope I answered your “how much does it cost to have a podcast?” question — feel free to leave any additional questions in the comments.