Just One of Many Ways to Start a Podcast for Free
This is not a definitive guide, but rather one of an infinite number of possible approaches. It’s the way that I create podcasts, and it costs nothing (well, you need access to a computer or mobile device, and you need the Internet – I guess that costs something). But if you have some very basic hardware and an Internet connection, you can create and promote your own podcast without paying for things like hosting and distribution.
Here’s an overview of one way to make your own podcast for free.
Summary of the Required Pieces
Of course, you need to have something to say. You need content, and your content needs to be something that you can imagine sustaining through some number of episodes. For that matter, your content needs to be something that lends itself well to audio. The great news here is that brainstorming, planning, and writing are all free. You can (and should) spend plenty of time developing your ideas while assembling the other pieces of your podcasting enterprise.
If you own or have access to a computer and a microphone, you have all the hardware you really need to create a podcast. I use what I would describe as an ordinary PC and some tried and true free software; you could also just as easily use a phone or tablet to do the same thing. The better the microphone, the better the sound, for sure – but if you’re just starting out, use the built-in mic at hand or look around for a USB RockBand mic. Doesn’t everyone have one or two of those in a drawer?
The minimal software list is this: an audio editor and a web browser. And while there are, again, so many options available for free, I tend to get a lot accomplished with Audacity. The rest, as you will discover, can potentially be accomplished via Internet navigation and setup.
You should also think about images (i.e., branding, logos) with these requirements in mind.
Up to this point, the requirements for creating a podcast are probably quite intuitive: write some content, record it, edit, done. But where do I put my brilliant audio content? And how do I get people to find it, listen, and subscribe?
You need to host your audio somewhere, and it seems to me like this is one of a couple reasons why people pay to use a podcasting service. But you’re reading this, I imagine, because you’d rather not pay anyone if you don’t have to. So here’s what I suggest:
- Find a free web hosting plan for your podcast’s homepage
- Register a free domain name
- Host your audio somewhere on the Internet for free
- Use free software (like WordPress and some WordPress plugins) to transform your hosted content into a feed
- Submit your feed to the places people go when they look for podcasts
My Personal Podcasting Recipe
Again, this is simply one of countless possible ways to get up and running with your own podcast, but it’s a recipe that I’ve been quite pleased with and it provides a workflow that works for me. So, modify as you see fit! I use:
- AwardSpace for my website and free domain name
- WordPress within my AwardSpace plan, along with the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin, to create the feed for my podcast, and
- The Internet Archive to host my audio
A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting Your Podcast for Free
Maybe this article is enough to get you moving in a productive direction. If you’re interested in a more detailed, step-by-step guide, I’m making one. When it’s ready, I’ll share links here. In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions. Thanks and good luck!