It’s February 2020, can you believe it? And maybe that means you’re Feb-u-ready to start a podcast! How exciting! We’re right in the middle of The Golden Age of Podcasts so now is a perfect time to join the phenomenon. So if you’re a new podcaster and you’re wanting to get a headstart in the industry, then you’ve come to the right place! We’ve put together our list of some of the top tools new (and not so new!) podcasters can use to up the ante and establish their place in the podcasting world. The list includes equipment and hardware, must-have recording and editing software, as well as other tools we feel will really help the up-and-coming podcaster on their way to podcasting success.
1. Microphones, Headphones, And Devices
First up, we’re looking at the equipment you’ll need to start your podcast. Numero Uno is the recording hardware that you’ll need. Due to its relative simplicity and ease of use, the most common hardware set-up is a USB mic (popular choices include the ATR2100 or the Blue Yeti) plugged into a laptop or desktop computer. You can, of course, use your smartphone or tablet and their onboard microphone to record, but you will have to put in a little more effort in the editing phase to achieve high-quality audio in the finished product.
Another piece of equipment you should look at investing in is a pair of quality headphones. Not only do headphones help keep you focused during your recording by minimizing auditory distractions, but they are an asset to the editing process as they can help you pick up any audio issues during the recording, which can then be fixed right away. Two headphones popular amongst podcasters are the Audio Technica ATH-M30x and the Sony MDR-7506.
For a more in-depth look at podcasting tools, check out our post on The Best Tools for Your Podcast Recording Process.
2. A Sound-Conducive Recording Space
We’ve included your recording space under equipment as a high-quality audio recording requires a particular physical set-up. If you’ve bought a USB mic and some quality headphones, it may be tempting to think that that’s all you need for a great recording, but your location can actually have a massive impact on the final sound quality of your recording and make your editing job much easier! So what exactly do you need to create a great recording space? A professional recording studio is obviously going to be first prize for a high-quality recording, but if you’re not quite at the point of booking a studio (yet), you can create an effective, sound-conducive recording space with relative ease. First up, you need a quiet room, and preferably one that has a few furniture items in it, as these will help break up the sound waves. Carpets and curtains will go a long way into reducing any echoes, not to mention helping to create a great-looking space! Add a bookshelf, a few plants, and you’ll have created a beautiful sound-conducive recording space, which yields high-quality recordings and have you feeling like a pro.
2. Software And Apps
Now that your equipment and hardware are all sorted, we can look at the software-related tools every podcaster needs. There’s a whole lot to choose from, as well as the many apps available, so it’s always a good idea to do little research and find what will work best for you and your show.
1. Recording and Editing Tools
Recording and editing software are essential tools for any podcaster. There is a myriad of different options available so we’re only mentioning some of the most popular choices. Your choice of recording and editing tools could also be influenced by the type of podcast you are recording, solo vs. interview, for example. A widely-used recording and editing software is Audacity, an open-source, cross-platform audio software. It’s free, easy-to-use, and offers a variety of recording and editing features, including a multi-track recording option which is great if you’re conducting an interview. GarageBand (now free on all iOS and Mac devices), and Adobe Audition (this one does come at a price!) are also popular choices. There are also some amazing apps for both iOS and Android users such as SquadCast, Zencaster, and Ringr, which are handy tools for capturing quality audio when doing telephonic or long-distance interviews. You can then just simply export your audio files to the editing software of your choice.
Related read: How to Plan for Recording Your First Podcast Episode
2. Storage and Hosting Tools
Now that the recording and editing software have been covered, the next tools you’ll want to look at are audio storage tools, i.e. the place you’ll keep all those great recordings, and then, of course, podcast hosting tools. Again, this choice is dependent on your specific needs but there are so many options, you’ll be spoiled for choice! Some basic storage options for keeping those recordings safe in one place are Google Drive or Dropbox. Cloud storage is an effective storage tool, particularly if you have a team working on different elements of your podcast production.
But in order to actually share your amazing content with the world, you need a podcast hosting site that will catalog and store your edited episodes and stream them to your listeners. There is a huge variety of podcast hosting sites to choose from to suit both your needs and your wallet, but two popular hosts we’ll mention are Libsyn and Buzzsprout. Both are big names in the podcasting game and so are the hosting tool chosen by many new and seasoned podcasters alike.
3. Organizational Tools
Podcasting is a wonderful adventure – but it also requires a lot of hard work, as there are many facets that need your attention. That is why you need some organizational tools to help you stay on top of things and keep you performing at your best. Again, there are many different tools available, but the two we share with you today are Trello and Buffer. First up, Trello. Trello is a visual organizational tool that features Kanban-style list-making to help you keep track of everything you need to do. It’s also great for teams as it helps everyone stay on the same page and know exactly how everyone is doing on their assigned tasks. It’s incredibly easy to use with a really clean interface, making organizing all the little elements of your podcast a dream.
Buffer is a really useful tool or organizing and managing all your social media posts. It allows you to easily plan all your posts across your different platforms well in advance. You can also schedule your posts to publish at high-traffic times throughout the day, with different times for your different platforms, ensuring that you can keep on task with whatever you’re busy with. Buffer therefore also aids productivity and efficiency as you do not have to stop what you’re doing in order to share your post. And by allowing you to share across so many different platforms, it integrates a whole host of marketing tools into one easy-to-use site. Use it online or via the app and just see what a handy tool this is!
3. Podcast News Sources
Now that you’ve joined the expansive universe of podcasts, you’re going to need a way to stay in-the-know and up-to-date with all that is hot and happening in the industry. And what better way to get this sort-after info than straight from those in the podcast know? We’re talking podcast news sources and specifically, their newsletters. Not only are newsletters a great source of valuable content as they give you an in-depth overview of what’s happening where, but you get all this valuable info sent straight to your virtual mailbox. One of the best podcast-related newsletters comes from Podnews. Their signature is a jam-packed newsletter filled with developments, hot topics, suggestions of great new shows to listen to, and so much more! Podnews also has its own podcast, which brings you the highlights and points of interest from the newsletter on-the-go. Hot Pod is another content-rich newsletter to subscribe to, bringing you all the latest podcast news and in-depth explorations into the biggest podcast developments. These newsletters are our go-to source for podcast info and so we think they are a valuable tool that should definitely be in your podcasting toolbox.
4. Fun Podcast Tools
Now that you’ve got all the heavy-duty tools, we bring you three fun podcasting tools you should definitely try out!
I’m sure, during your social media scrolling, you’ve seen those fancy audio-based videos and their fun waveforms dancing across your screen. That is an audiogram, and they are a great podcast marketing tool! They are also incredibly easy to make, thanks to sites like Headliner. These sites do all the heavy lifting for you, and they’re 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. Did we mention it will even transcribe the audio for you? Making captions and subtitles a breeze. Headliner is only one example of these fun tools for creating audiograms. Other programs include Wavve, and Audiogram, and are both popular choices in their own right, and are all useful tools for promoting your podcast across a variety of platforms.
Podchaser is a really great website that, first and foremost, gives users a space to create lists of favorite podcasts and episodes, or a list storing all the shows you want to listen to. But that’s just one of its many offerings. Podchaser began in a Reddit thread where the lack of a way to rate and review individual podcast episodes was the hot topic of conversation. But Podchaser has evolved into way more than just a podcast rating site! Not only does it feature universal ratings of episodes, and both creator and podcast profiles, but their new feature, The Feed, is a content treasure trove, keeping you up-to-date with new releases and re-introducing you to old favorites. They’re also constantly adding and updating features to really enhance the user experience. So we recommend signing up for your free profile and using this tool to enhance your overall podcast experience and connect with podcast-lovers, just like yourself.
3. Podcast Alarm
Our last offering of podcast tools is Podcast Alarm. If your usual morning alarm fills you with dread, then this app is for you! Podcast Alarm allows you to find your favorite podcasts and have these be the first thing you hear when you wake up in the morning. How great is that! It has all the standard favorites, but part of its charm are its wonderfully-curated suggestions under really creative titles. You’re bound to find some of your new favorites in these gems! So if you need a way to cure the constant hitting of the snooze button first thing in the morning, and are looking for a way to catch up on all those shows you want to listen to, then Podcast Alarm is another must-have tool.
So there you have it, our list of some of the top podcasting tools to add to your arsenal and help ease the new podcaster into the industry. There are so many amazing resources available – this list is but a glimpse. Use the tools we’ve highlighted as your foundation, and enjoy exploring all that is available to help make your podcasting journey a truly successful one.
Are you a new podcaster? We’re always looking for our next great listen! Share your show with us, we’d love to check it out!