As some of you are aware, I do some work for a local podcast called Optimist Vs. Pessimist that is run by my fiancé and his friend. I typically do the graphics, set up audio, render tracks, etc. I am not often on the mic with the boys, though on the odd occasion I will pop in to fill in for a host or pose trivia for them. Since I was there since the beginning of the podcast, and once tried my hand at running my own, I can lend some insight to the whole process.
Starting a podcast can be beneficial in a lot of ways. You get to spend a lot of time working on a project you are passionate about with someone you want to work with. You set your own hours. You have complete creative control of a product you are putting out without restriction from anyone. But it is a lot of work. Setting up everything can seem daunting, but maintaining everything is much more difficult. Building a community can be incredibly difficult. Ensuring your social media not only spreads your podcast but also entertains your audience is a delicate balance that can be difficult.
In reality, recording the episodes is the easiest part of having a podcast. Let me break this down for time and cost.
Graphics : Your initial logo, website design, social media imagery and additional in video elements can take hours and hours to create initially, and will need updating over time. Most of these can be done in Illustrator and Photoshop, so there is a cost included here. No to mention thumbnails (such as the one seen above) and promotional imagery and video for upcoming projects and episodes can be quite time consuming.
Video Elements : Working in after effects is a great way to increase quality in your podcast with floating titles and elements that come up during segments, but each element can take from five minutes to a couple hours depending on experience with the program.
Cameras : A single camera angle can be just fine for high quality podcasts, but you have to be able to purchase on that can support continuous filming for well over an hour. Often running a camera directly into a hard drive is a good way to ensure processing speeds don’t drop. This does mean thousands of dollars of equipment to have good quality video. To run multiple cameras means an even larger cost.
Microphones : The initial cost of microphones isn’t too bad. Most decent quality microphones can be found around the hundred dollar mark. Cables, mixing boards and programs can vary, but in total, a basic two microphone set up with a board and cables comes in around $350.00 – $500.00 .
Website and hosting : Most sites can be done by individuals at this point, so for a couple hundred dollars a year you can host your RSS feed on your podcasts website. Set up for feeds can be intimidating, but there are sites designed for hosting that vary wildly in pricing.
Marketing : Social media marketing can be a very inexpensive way to market yourself, but it is not nearly as easy as it is made out to be. Simply buying ad space is not a great solution either, as it can be quite costly without a lot of long term audience members joining. Ultimately, paying a professional is the most efficient way to increase viewership if you can’t seem to reach anyone.
Planning and scripting : No one will listen to an hour worth of garbage. Value has to be created in that time and planning can take a lot of time. Not to mention during your “off time”, depending on the subject of your podcast, a lot of research, content viewing and testing has to be done before the podcast can be recorded. Often with the OVP podcast that Ryan and Carlos run, they will have to watch films, play video games, read books and keep up to date on news in the film and video game industries. This means a massive amount of time is invested into the podcast even when not directly working on it.
Now not everyone hosts video for their podcasts, in fact a lot don’t. This reduced time and costs. Using more simplistic equipment and not paying for rss hosting can also decrease costs, but also reduces the amount of income that can be gained from the podcast. Not to mention, a podcast that requires more than one person risks having disagreements and scheduling issues that can disrupt the production of episodes. If you just want to try it out, I would completely agree with you trying, and not all costs have to come in one day. Inexpensive equipment can be upgraded over time and diversifying platforms to find your work on can come later.
If you have a podcast you would like to share in the comments I would be happy to be able to listen to it! Please feel free to share your favourite podcasts!