One reason people love to create podcasts is because it's possible to do so for free from the comfort of their own home!
You probably already have a computer, so that requirement is already checked off your shopping list. What else do you need to record a podcast for free?
How to make a podcast for free (or close to it)
Here's what you need to make a podcast for as close to free as possible:
1) A good microphone. This is the one item in my list that is not free. You need a good quality microphone -- but don't worry, they are affordably priced!
Blue Microphones are the best podcasting microphones on the market for those who are getting started or want to make sure they have great sound quality on a budget. They sound excellent and they're affordable, portable, and easy to use. Blue's cheapest is the Snowball. Priced at a little over $50 on Amazon, it's a simple and great sounding mic. They also have the Yeti, which costs $130 and will give you better sound quality. While it's more expensive, it sounds just as good as a microphone you'd find in a radio station's studio. (Be sure to check out their Yeti Nano, too)
If you're looking to try a different brand, I currently use the Rode NT-USB (pictured below). Priced similarly to the Yeti, this one has a couple of added benefits: It includes a pop screen (necessary to avoid plosives when you speak), and it uses a larger USB port, which offers increased connection reliability. Unfortunately, the Yeti mic products use a thin USB port which I have found is prone to connection glitches.
Free alternative: Use wired headphones included with your phone, like Apple's iPhone headphones, to record your podcast. If using those, make sure they can plug into the headphone jack on your computer like the ones linked. While Apple's headphones are good quality, others may not be. Still, it might be a good solution to consider if you're just getting started.
Another free alternative is to use the microphone that's built into your computer or your display. During the pandemic, tech companies improved the cameras and the microphones in their computers for remote work, and as a result, modern laptops and computers (namely from Apple) have very good quality microphones built in. It won't sound as great as a separate microphone like the ones linked above, but it's a good enough start.
2) Audio recording software. Mac users have two free options: Quicktime and Voice Memos. Both should already be installed on Macs running the latest operating systems, and can record your microphone. For Windows users, the app called Sound Recorder, which should be built into your system, will do the trick. There are recording apps out there with additional features, but these three picks are good for beginners.
3) Zoom. This will let you speak with co-hosts who aren't in the same room as you, and you can even record yourself and your co-hosts/guests from within Zoom. Best of all, you can record each participant on their own audio track, which will give you more control while editing.
4) Audio editing software. This is the complicated part of the process and can cost money if you need to add multiple co-hosts or a substantial number of effects. For a beginner, an app like Audacity is a good place to start. It lets you trim, cut, and paste audio into a single file. For additional flexibility like editing multiple tracks, Apple's GarageBand is a free solution. Both pieces of software will have learning curves.
If you don't want to edit in co-hosts and music, you can also mix them in live-to-tape. And if podcast editing seems like too much work, I can do it for you.
5) A podcast server. Audioboom is a great place to upload your show to. They'll also help you add your show to places like Apple Podcasts, but you'll need to do some leg work to get your show everywhere. Another popular podcast host is Libsyn. Neither of these options are free, but they're easy and affordable to use. I personally am loyal to Audioboom, because they also help sell advertising.
Podcasting for free is possible!
With the options I outlined above, the only thing you'll need to consider paying for is a microphone. Spending money on a good one is a wise investment so that you can sound as great as possible!
Keeping things cheap at the beginning of your podcast journey is a good idea. Experimenting with free software will let you try your hand at podcasting with as little risk as possible. Once you're sure you want to continue your podcast over the long run, you'll want to invest in some good software and accessories to enhance your show.
Hire me for a consulting session to help you set up all of these elements and to learn about software and accessories that will take your podcast recording to the next level.
Learn how to play music and sound effects live on air, stream your episode recording live to the internet, and record live-to-tape so there's next to no editing involved. I can also teach you how to create a professional website and get your podcast in places like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, and other major streaming apps -- all while making money off your passion. My consulting services are a one-stop shop for learning how to podcast.