Written by Lisa Michaels

The podcast craze going around the internet can only be attributed to one thing – a massive audience explosion. This is not just mere talk since, according to recent statistics, the number of active podcasts stood at 700,000 in 2019.  And the number of episodes? 

A staggering 29 million. As a matter of fact, Apple, during the WWDC in 2018, reported a figure of 550,000 for active podcasts and 18.5 million episodes, at the time.

Clearly, that’s tremendous growth for a market almost a decade old.

So, Should I Jump Into the Craze?

Grammar correction – this is not a craze. 

It’s a content marketing opportunity. 

And yes, you should.

Even companies are now spending heavily on podcast ads. And, according to a forecast by PwC, podcast ad revenues for 2019 should well surpass the $800 million mark, with the numbers being expected to hit $1.6 billion by 2022. 

How Do I Get Started?

Advertising on someone’s podcast is great, but producing and promoting your own content is even better. 

That is why Spotify has acquired Gimlet Media, a podcasting startup, for a staggering $200 million. 

Evidently, every business decision comes with financial responsibility. So, how much will a podcast take you back?

Or more aptly, are there tools available that can help me produce and promote my podcast on a very limited budget?

Well, here are 5 budget-friendly tools you’ll definitely need.

1. Notion

Notion is just one of many free to use options for planning and creation of podcasts

You can collaboratively jot down ideas for each episode with your crew/co-host and refine them later. 

Notion even comes with a virtual assistant who can help you through the process, with very robust collaborative features being put available for you and your team.

2. Skype

Skype is the most intuitive and most commonly used budget tool for recording your podcast, but before you can actually use it to record everything, you’ll need to use a few more apps. 

A third-party app such as Audio Hijack 3 and Skype Call Recorder will help you record the conversation in good quality. It takes a bit of time to set it all up, but it gets the job done rather well.

If you’re looking for a good alternative, you should check out Squadcast. It has in-built recording features and supports enhanced audio recordings. It’s definitely an upgrade when compared to Skype, and your podcasts will have a more professional sound. 

The downside? 

Unlike Skype, it is less intuitive and user-friendly, so take the time to learn it before you decide to use it professionally.

3. Levelator

The recorded conversations aren’t released immediately – you need to edit them. Post-production tools tend to be super expensive and out of reach though. 

You must have heard of Auphonic as the most professional podcast editing and post-production tool in the market, but their pricing structure leaves much to be desired.

But there are free options – like Levelator.

Levelator does much of the job Auphonic does, in that it basically normalizes the levels from one speaker to the next while dealing with variations. 

It takes a bit of time to learn how to use it, and you should be aware that it’s not being updated anymore, but is still usable.

4. iTunes

Basically, all you need iTunes for is the promotion and marketing of your podcasts

But why not Spotify for starters?

Well, not to discredit Spotify – it is a significant player as far as podcast streaming is concerned, but it only accounts for 19% of the global podcast listeners share. 

Apple, on the other hand, owns 52% of the podcast pie.

Even better, iTunes will not only come in handy in the promotion and marketing of your podcasts but also in the MP3 encoding of the same content

All it requires is you uploading the audio file into iTunes, right-clicking on it and selecting “Create MP3 version”.

5. Cloud Hosting Service

Don’t forget that you’ll need to store and manage your podcast episodes somewhere too. 

A cloud hosting service is your best bet. 

All those big platforms – iTunes, Soundcloud, Spotify- require that you have a reliable hosting services provider if they are to feature your podcast in their apps. 

You need to make a careful selection between the private cloud and public cloud, so it’s best to learn the features of each option

While low cost might be the main factor behind your decision, don’t forget to look at security and other things too. 

Amazon S3 may be a good choice if you want enhanced security features, better performance, and larger storage.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

There are a few other things on the list if you want to produce a podcast that sounds and looks good. 

A Mic For Better Recording

Your hardware is as important as your software, after all. 

Your local computer’s microphone is not the best, or the recommended audio recording device you can use. 

Your best bet is to spend a few extra bucks purchasing a microphone which will do a better job than the standard piece of hardware in your PC. 

A Pop Filter 

The pop filter is a noise protection filter for your microphone

It will eliminate the air blasts and popping sounds your produce while speaking. 

Good Cover Art

If you happen to be a graphics designer, well and good – your spending here will be zilch. But if you are not, then spending a few bucks on a good cover art will do you good.

Well, cover arts are a defining factor, especially with Apple, who are using it to determine whether they should feature you in their “New and Noteworthy” section or not.

In a Nutshell

Podcasts are the next big thing as far as audio engagement and content marketing is concerned. 

And to tap into this huge disruptive market, you need to learn how to produce killer podcasts, on a budget. 

Or rather, more importantly, you need to make sure you use those five tools mentioned. 

Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.

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