So, you want to start a podcast? GREAT! But you’re on a budget? No problem! Creating a high-quality podcast on a budget is a totally-achievable goal!
There are some basics that you will need to initially invest in – good quality microphones, earphones or headphones, perhaps a pop filter and a sound mixer, depending on your set-up. These are vital to getting that high-quality audio you’re after and are worth every cent!
Related read: Podcast Basics: What You (Really) Need To Start A Podcast In 2021
But now that you’ve invested in the equipment, you may find that your remaining budget is very limited. What about everything else that goes into starting and running a successful podcast? The recording? The editing? And what about the hosting?
We’ve got you covered with amazing tools to help you make your podcasting dream a reality for the high cost of free! Yip! We’re sharing 13 top free tools to help you succeed each step of the way on your podcasting journey!
There’s no time (or money!) to waste! Let’s get right to it!
Related read: How Much Does Podcasting Really Cost? (Breaking Down The Expenses)
As with anything in life, a successful podcast is usually made during the planning stages. You need to plan your launch, your upcoming episodes, your dream guestlist. That’s a lot to think about! And while good ol’ pen and paper is certainly up to the task, technology provides us with more streamlined ways to organize our thoughts, script podcast episodes, and keep everything in one place!
And the free tool to help you do all this and so much more is Evernote…
Evernote is a great resource you have at your disposal and is a great asset for improving your overall workflow. It’s an app designed for note taking, organizing, task management, and storing all your bright ideas. It helps you save heaps of time by giving you all the features you need to capture your ideas and find them fast. You can take standard notes, capture images, and record audio in meetings or lectures, all from your phone or tablet – even if you’re offline.
Evernote has all types of templates! So whether you need to script your latest masterpiece, create your monthly budget, or just keep all those things you have to do on a neat checklist, Evernote is in your corner!
The Basic Plan is free, and it allows you to sync up to two devices, and provides a 60MB monthly upload limit. You can check out more here.
Recording and Editing
Recording your audio and editing it into engaging episodes is at the heart of your podcasting journey. There are some top options that will get you sounding like a pro without a hefty price tag.
Audacity is a free, open-source, cross-platform, audio software that offers you all of the basic tools that you’ll need to create an excellent podcast. It’s a multi-track audio editor and recorder compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. Best of all, it’s really user-friendly!
Audacity also offers some impressive audio-processing effects that will help you remove unwanted coughs, static, or other distracting sounds. With all of this literally at your fingertips, you’ll soon be producing a pro-sounding podcast.
Pro Tip: Audacity is a user-friendly, fairly intuitive software, but there are also some great resources online to help you get started! (There’s the Audacity Manual, or this Udemy course.) And bonus! As most of these are free too!
Another entry-level option if you’re using Apple devices is GarageBand. GarageBand has some really great editing features, but it is also fairly simple to use, and comes pre-installed on most new Apple products and can be found for free in the App Store.
It has an intuitive, modern design, making it easy to learn, play, record, create and, of course, share your podcast worldwide. You can create multiple tracks with premade MIDI keyboards, pre-made loops, an array of various instrumental effects, and voice recordings. The software has tons of helpful recording and editing features that make this perfect for podcasters of all skill levels.
The software even comes with a complete sound library, making it easy to add these to your podcast episodes.
And speaking of sounds…
Music and Sound Effects
Background music and sound effects really elevate a podcast and take it to the next level of quality. But adding these to your podcasts is not so straightforward. This is because a lot of music is protected by copyright laws. But the tools we’re sharing today are all totally legal, free ways for you to include these in your podcast episodes.
Incompetech has a few highly noteworthy characteristics. Number 1, it is one of the more well-known sites which offer royalty-free music, which can largely be attributed to Number 2, the fact that the over 2,000 pieces of music on the site have been composed by one composer and musician, Kevin MacLeod. Which is impressive! But what is perhaps more impressive is that he has made all of his pieces available under a Creative Commons copyright license. The music is free to use (although, an optional donation of $5 per piece is suggested and greatly appreciated!), with credit given to Kevin MacLeod.
There’s music from a wide range of genres, so you’re sure to find something to suit your show!
5. Free Music Archive
You can also check out the Free Music Archive. Here, you can get free access to open licensed, original music. There is also an interactive library of high-quality, legal audio downloads. The Free Music Archive provides a legal and technological framework for curators, artists, and listeners to harness the potential of music sharing. All music found in the Free Music Archive is free for use to anyone and everyone, and their library of songs can also be accessed on Android or iOS devices through the FMA app.
NOTE: Certain tracks may have stricter licenses but this will be stipulated on a track-by-track basis, so make sure you read the fine print of each piece you download. All tracks require credit to the original artist.
If you’re looking for free (legal!) sound effects for your podcast, check out SoundBible. This site offers thousands of free sound effects and sound clips, and is a great source for copyright free sounds. They can be used for all sorts of projects, your podcast included, and the specific license for each clip is clearly marked right next to it, so be sure to pay attention to these.
Related read: Podcasts And Royalty Free Music PLUS 12 Resources For Royalty Free Music And Sound Effects
Perhaps you’re launching a video podcast, or you want ways to engage your long-distance interviews with your stand-out guests? You’re going to need some specific software to help you do this!
Zoom has definitely seen a surge in popularity since 2020, as business meetings and colleague check-ins have all had to happen in the virtual world. Zoom makes it easy to connect face-to-face and simulate real-life conversations, which is why it is another popular choice for remotely recording your podcast interviews. Simply use the record feature to capture your conversation and you’re all set. This feature is free when using Zoom on your desktop app.
Zencaster is another option to consider when looking for software to record your podcast remotely. Zencastr currently has a great free plan which will enable you to record up to 8 hours per month for up to 2 guests in MP3 format.
You’ve invested in your recording equipment, and you’ve saved big-time on your editing software, but now you’ve got to get your podcast out into the world via a podcast host.
A podcast host stores your content, including your metadata and artwork, online, and then distributes your show’s RSS feed so that your listeners can access your episodes via their podcast listening app of choice, such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or Stitcher. But is it possible to get all this for free?
It certainly is!
We love Buzzsprout for their simple approach to hosting podcasts. We host a few hundred podcasts with them and we haven’t had any issues. Their team is constantly working on features to help elevate the podcaster’s experience, and so we highly recommend them if you’re looking for a supportive, innovative place to host your podcast.
On their free plan, you can upload 2 hours every month. Your episodes are hosted for 90 days, and you get access to advanced stats and can have unlimited team members.
Podbean also offers a free basic plan for podcast hosting. This plan offers 5 Hours total storage space (500MB) and 100GB monthly bandwidth, as well as access to basic podcast stats. You also receive your own podcast site, RSS Feed and iTunes Support.
Your podcast needs eye-catching artwork to grab the attention of your listeners. Yes, artwork crafted by a skilled graphic designer is the dream, but if that is not quite the reality just yet, you can be your own designer and create something free of charge using…
Canva is a handy graphic design platform, which you can use to create social media graphics and all sorts of other visual content. It makes it super easy to create professional-looking images and artwork for your podcast! The free plan offers 250,000+ free templates to help you get started, and hundreds of thousands of free photos and graphics for you to use to create your own work of art.
You can also use Canva to create stunning social media posts which are essential to helping you promote your podcast, build your listener base, and get your stellar content out there for everyone to enjoy.
Colorcinch is the super cool, new kid on the block when it comes to creating eye-catching designs with ease. Colorcinch is a web-based photo editor that makes creating a masterpiece a breeze with it’s intuitive design and powerful functionality.
And best news? (You guessed it!) You can get started for free! And as an added bonus, no sign-up is required. Simply upload your image, and you’re all set to have tons of fun creating. You can add text, play with color and layers, and do all the adjustments you’re looking for in a photo editor. And if you need help getting your creative juices flowing, there’s plenty of free graphics and templates available. And with some fun effects to boot, you’ll be able to create some amazing artwork for your podcast, as well as all those scroll-stopping pics for social media.
And speaking of social media, there are some great free tools to help you in the Promotion Department…
Promotion and Engagement
There’s certainly no getting around the fact that a social media strategy is a necessity when it comes to promoting your podcast. But it can get a little overwhelming, especially if this area is not exactly your forte! But there are some great tools to help ease the stress and have you marketing on social media like a pro!
Related read: Social Media Marketing Options For Podcasts
Buffer enables you to focus your social media strategies by making it easy and effective to plan, collaborate, and publish all your content across the different social media platforms. It enables you to plan and queue up your social media content well in advance, and set the times that will work best for your audience on the different platforms.
On their free plan, you get access to 3 social channels where you can share your best content, as well as 10 scheduled posts per month.
A really fun, effective way to promote your podcast and share your content via the different social media channels is by creating audiograms.
Audiograms are an audio clipping that has been converted to an animated waveform and placed on top of an image. The end product is a video, and video makes for really effective social media promotion!
Headliner is one of the sites that can help you make these eye-catching audiograms. Headliner is super user-friendly, allowing you to easily select your desired audio clip, choose from multiple styles and colors of waveforms, and upload your desired background image. It will even transcribe the audio for you, making subtitles a breeze. In a matter of minutes, you’ll have a fun audiogram to share across your different social media platforms.
On their Forever Free plan, you can create 5 videos per month, or unlimited watermarked videos. You also get 10 minutes of transcription per month.
Related read: Tips For Using Audiograms To Promote Your Podcast
Starting your own podcast doesn’t have to break the bank! An amazing-sounding, high-quality podcast is totally doable, even on the tightest of budgets. We do recommend investing into quality equipment – no amount of editing can really fix a cheap mic that produces audio which sounds like it’s been recorded in a tin can! But after that initial spending, you really can do a whole lot for your podcast for free!
Check out these tools and let them help you launch your podcast into stratosphere success today!