How to start a small business podcast on a budget

- July 4, 2023 5 MIN READ
Young woman recording a podcast at her desk

Did you know that Australia is the podcast capital of the world? With 43 per cent of the Aussie population listening each month, Australia has surpassed the US and now leads the world in terms of podcast listening! Beyond just the stats, podcasting provides a unique way to connect with customers on a deeper level, widening your brand’s reach and meeting your customers’ ever-growing demand for digestible, on-the-go content, writes Adam Jaffrey, Strategy Director at Wavelength Creative.

So, how much does it really cost to kick off your own small business podcast with a professional touch?

The cost of starting a small business podcast

To launch a podcast for your business, you’re looking at an initial investment that will sit somewhere between $1,500 and $5,000. This is without ongoing costs such as hosting services and marketing efforts.

Let’s break it down.

The cost of equipment

Creating a quality podcast requires quality gear. So here are the essentials:

  • Computer: Most likely, you’ve got a computer already. If not, a good laptop suitable for audio production will set you back anywhere between $700 and $2,000.
  • Microphones: As you’d expect, good sound is crucial, and that means investing in decent microphones. Prices range from $200 to $500. You’ll want at least two, so you can bring interesting guests on your podcast.
  • Microphone stands: Quality microphone stands will save you a lot of production issues in the long run. You can get good ones for anything between $20 and $100 each. For two stands, budget $40 to $200.
  • Headphones: A solid pair of headphones are a must-have for monitoring your audio while recording and during editing. Studio-quality headphones can cost you between $100 and $300.
  • Pop filters: Pop filters help disperse the harsh wind noises that come from consonants like ‘B’, ‘P’ and ‘T’ sounds. We call these ‘plosives’, and they can really mess up your audio. Pop filters can save you tonnes of time editing, and they’re really affordable. Budget about $20 for each mic, so $40 total.
  • Audio interface: This nifty device connects your microphones to your computer and will convert the analogue signal from your mic into a digital signal your computer understands. A good audio interface can seriously improve your sound quality. An audio interface suitable for a two-person podcast will cost you between $300 and $1,000.
  • Mic cables: You’ll need some XLR cables to plug your mics into your audio interface. These don’t need to be gold-plated fancy ones (despite what the label says!). A 3m cable should do, and these cost about $20 each, so $40 total.

Summing it up, to get started you’ll need to put aside at least $1,500, depending on the quality of the equipment you decide on.

Woman reading from script into microphone

The cost of software

There are free options out there, and they can be a great way to dip your toes into the podcasting waters. But you do get what you pay for. Free software comes with limitations in terms of quality, the effects that are included, and editing options.

You’re better off going with subscription-based software. Expect to invest between $30 and $80 a month for features that can really improve your podcasting game — think better sound quality, professional effects and customisations, and more sophisticated editing options.

Before you pull out your credit card, make sure the software is compatible with your recording equipment. Some software doesn’t play nice with certain types of microphones or recording devices, so do your homework to avoid any tech dramas.

The cost of creating a recording space vs renting a podcast studio vs remote recordings

One of the decisions you’ll need to make when starting your podcast is where to do your recordings. You can create your own recording space, rent a podcast studio, or record your show remotely via an online video call — each with its own pros and cons, depending on your budget, desired quality, and how much control you want.

If you’re a do-it-yourself type, go ahead and create your own recording space. You’ll have complete control over your space and the freedom to record whenever the muse strikes.

If you’re DIYing, besides the cost of equipment mentioned above, you’ll need to factor in upfront costs like soundproofing. This can cost between $50 for basic foam panels and up to $2,000 or more for a professional job, depending on your space and materials.

If the DIY route seems daunting, or you want the best audio quality with minimal fuss, you can rent a podcast studio. Across Australia, studio rates vary from $30 to $300 per hour.

Furthermore, many studios will ask you to rent their space for a minimum of two or three hours, bringing your per-episode cost to anywhere between $100 and $600.

That’s usually fine, as you’re going to need at least two hours in the studio. Remember, recording isn’t just the time you spend talking. You’ll also need to account for setting up, warming up, retaking segments, recording intros/outros, etc.

The other option is to record your show remotely using video calling software. This software has come a long way in recent years, and today it’s possible to achieve studio-quality recordings with both your guest and you logging in from separate locations. These software solutions usually have a monthly cost to use them, ranging from $20 to $60 per month.

Ongoing costs

Once you’ve got your podcast up and running, there are some regular costs to keep it going. You’ll need to budget for hosting your podcast media online, possibly investing in transcription services for better accessibility and SEO, and perhaps hiring a designer or animator to create some eye-catching artwork and promotional materials.

Plus, while you can submit to most major podcast directories for free, growing your listener base might require a bit of a marketing budget. So, be smart about your spending and aim for maximum value for both your podcast and your listeners.

The cost of hiring a podcast production agency to do it all

Doing the DIY thing to launch your business podcast might initially seem appealing due to the lower cost investment upfront. However, it often involves a steep learning curve, significant time investment, and the potential frustrations of dealing with the intricacies of sound engineering, editing and distribution.

Releasing a podcast with inconsistent audio quality or a lack of professional polish could also negatively affect your brand’s perception. This all means that the cost-effective solution might be investing in a professional podcast production agency.

Creating a successful branded podcast requires strategic planning, consistency and technical expertise. A podcast production agency can provide you with an experienced producer to guide you through the process, broadcast-quality equipment, professional editors, and even help with marketing and distribution for your brand-new show.

For an ongoing podcast series, a professional podcast agency will offer you a monthly retainer ranging from $1,500 to $3,000.

The exact quote will vary based on your podcast’s format, episode length and desired production quality. For instance, a narrative podcast, which includes scripting, sound effects and music requires more production time and resources than a more straightforward interview-style show.

And there you have it. Now you’re all set to make smart calls on your podcast journey and launch a great show. As you bring your brand’s unique voice to the world, remember that quality, consistency and authenticity are your keys to success. We can’t wait to hear your show!

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