If your goal this year is to spin up a new podcast for your marketing strategy to help support your brand and engage your audience, you’ve come to the right place! Like learning any new skill, podcasting can seem intimidating if you don’t know where to start or what tools you need. But, the truth is that you don’t need high-quality studio gear to get off the ground running!
In this podcasting tool guide for marketers, we’ll give you a better handle on podcast gear and technology basics. From planning and recording to editing and promoting, all the tools you’ll need are right here. By the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll feel more confident about recording a podcast on your own — without the help of a dedicated producer or editor!
Let’s dive in!
Pre-production for podcasts is super important for setting yourself up for success, and it will make your life easier when it comes to recording, editing, and getting your podcast out into the world.
During the planning stage, project management and collaboration tools can help you and your team stay organized.
Here’s a look at some of our favorite tools for planning your podcast.
With Trello, you can create pinboards that make it easy to visualize your progress. Pinboards allow you to assign each task of your podcasting process to someone on your team, add due dates and attachments, provide comments, and more.
Depending on your needs, Asana and Basecamp are two other project management tools to consider. At Wistia, we’ve been using Asana to manage the workflow of our podcast Talking Too Loud.
If you want to collaborate with folks to script episodes, Google Docs is the simplest way to go — and you can’t go wrong. With all of your documents in the cloud, you and your collaborators can hop into a script to edit anytime, anywhere.
Now, let’s discuss the most basic gear required to record a solid-sounding podcast.
For your microphone, a USB mic is a pretty inexpensive option that sounds great and is easy to use. We recommend the Audio Technica ATR2100X, which is about $100, or the Samson Q2U USB mic. All you need to do is plug in a USB cable from your microphone to your computer to get set up.
Headphones are also a must-have for recording because they’ll allow you to hear yourself. They’re also non-negotiable for any guests. Make sure you mention to anyone joining your recording session that they’ll need wired headphones.
“Make sure you mention to anyone joining your recording session that they’ll need wired headphones.”
You can use whatever headphones you have around the house, such as Apple Earpods. These are perfectly acceptable, and many folks already have them.
What’s the big deal about headphones, you ask? Well, when you rely on computer speakers to hear your co-hosts or guests, the sound from the speakers ends up in your recording, which doesn’t make for ideal audio quality. Also, remote conferencing software, like Zoom or Skype, has built-in technology that will disrupt your guest’s side of the recording if your microphone picks up their audio — it’ll make it sound like a terrible cell phone connection in remote interview situations.
Moving onto recording tools, folks out there on a Mac can use their built-in GarageBand, a free and powerful recording tool. On the other hand, folks on PCs can search for a super popular and functional program called Audacity.
If you’re creating a podcast with a co-host or interviewing guests, recording on separate tracks (locally) will give you a more polished sound that makes it seem like you and your guest are in the same room. Each participant can record their side of the conversation on their own computer using QuickTime, GarageBand, or Audacity. Remote conferencing software like Zoom also has this functionality built-in.
And, if that seems like a bit too much to ask of your guest, check out Zencastr, which is a web app that can record higher-quality audio for remote conversations. With Zencastr, all you need to do is send a link to your guests and record your interview; they don’t need to sign up with Zencastr to join a recording session. Your audio will automatically be saved to your Google Drive or Dropbox account.
After you’re done recording and have your audio files, it’s time to edit your show together. You can go as light or as heavy on editing as you want. Even beginner editing software like GarageBand makes it easy to do some light editing.
At the minimum, adding intros, outros, and music can help establish some sonic branding for your podcast. Music licensing libraries like Marmoset, Tunefruit, Artlist.io, and Epidemic Sound are a handful of top trending sites that can help you set the tone you’re going for. Storyblocks is another option for finding royalty-free music and sound effects with a diverse range if you’re on a budget.
If you want to give your episodes a little love but don’t feel comfortable or don’t have the time, hiring a freelancer from Fiverr or Upwork can help you offload the editing step. That’s what Dave Gerhardt, CMO at Privy, did to launch the business’s first podcast, The Ecommerce Marketing Show.
The absolute minimum thing you need to brand your podcast and help listeners identify your show is a square image. If you’re not a designer, don’t fret! Canva can be a quick fix to whip up an image on the fly. It’s also super important that you get the size of the artwork right. If it isn’t the right size, some podcast distribution platforms might reject it.
Apple breaks down some cover art best practices here.
After your podcast episode is ready to go, uploading your podcast for everyone to listen to is pretty simple. You’ll need to sign up for a podcast hosting platform where you can upload your .mp3 files and publish show notes with episode summaries, transcripts, and any other additional information. From there, you can submit your RSS Feed to podcast directories like Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, and more.
There are plenty of podcast hosting options available for marketers, and it can be hard to cut through the noise on which platform is a good fit. Here are a few table stakes things to look for in your host:
- Seamless distribution to all of the major listening apps (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc.)
- A beautiful, branded audio player
- Built-in analytics and third-party listening stats
Once your podcast is sitting pretty on a streaming platform, don’t fall short on getting the word out! Here are some tools and tips that can help you create a solid promotion plan to start growing an audience of loyal podcast listeners.
One of the best places to start is promoting your podcast is on social media. Keep social media marketing promotion close to home and leverage any of your existing audiences. For example, whenever a new episode of Talking Too Loud drops, we post across all channels but place special emphasis on Instagram and LinkedIn because that’s where our most engaged audience is.
“Keep promotion close to home and leverage your existing audiences.”
Promoting your podcast with email is another popular way to help spread the word. Marketing automation is your friend for growing your podcast audience! We use HubSpot to automate our subscriber experience for Talking Too Loud. Everyone who subscribes to the podcast gets an email from our host, Chris Savage, welcoming them to the show. They’ll get emails whenever a new episode drops, and we send subscribers exclusive content as an added perk!
Where else can you reach folks who might be interested in listening to your podcast? SparkToro is an audience development tool that can help you discover what your audience reads, watches, listens to, and follows. It’s an excellent tool for identifying spaces and opportunities for your podcast to get found!
Last but not least, creating podcast assets will better support your branding and promotion efforts. We are lucky enough to have a team of designers that handles all of our assets, but if you don’t have a design team to turn to, Canva is your best bet for creating beautiful designs with ease.
If you’re looking for a tool that can create social images out of audio clips, we love using Headliner. You don’t need to be a designer or audio editor to use the handy app. If you’re just starting out with promoting your podcast on social media, this type of tool is the perfect solution for creating engaging media that can be repurposed across multiple social channels.
How are you feeling about recording your own podcast now? Feeling more confident? We know you can do it! With all of these new tools under your belt, you’ll be well-equipped to record your first podcast show from start to finish.