Having spoken to many clients about why they didn’t start their podcast sooner, reasons (read: excuses) generally fall into three categories:

  1. I just don’t have the time
  2. I don’t think anyone will listen
  3. It’s way too expensive to get started

We think we’ve done a pretty good job at busting Excuse #1 in our Podcast Launching 101 guide. And the stats speak for themselves on Excuse #2.

So today, we’re tackling Excuse #3: that starting a podcast costs too much money and just isn’t worth it.

Buckle in, because we’re about to spill the pod-tea!

How much does launching a podcast cost?

As with most things in business, there’s an upfront cost to starting a podcast. But it’s not as much as you might think…

Sure, if you want to take podcasting SUPER seriously and launch it into the stratospheric realms of Joe Rogan or Steven Bartlett, yeah, you’re going to need a pretty hefty investment behind you… You’ll need funds to cover: high-quality audio and video equipment, a full production team, buying or hiring a purpose-built studio, professional editors, full-time marketers, paid guests, advertising – the list goes on.

But if your ambitions aren’t quite so lofty, there’s no need to have thousands of dollars ready to invest in your podcast. If you’re taking it seriously enough to invest a few hundred dollars, that’s great – you’ll be able to launch a high-quality podcast with little effort. If you don’t have that level of investment, that’s fine too – launching a podcast on a bootstrap budget is entirely possible, and can have pretty damn good results too!

So, we’re about to dive deep into the costs of launching a podcast – from the basic, lowest investment end up to the pro end of the spectrum.

Remember: launching a podcast can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be! If you’re ready to start the process yourself, download our Podcast Launch Roadmap to get your voice in your listeners’ ears in just 4 weeks!

The costs of podcasting equipment

We’ve spoken before about our favourite bits of podcasting equipment, because they’re one of the first things you’ll need to consider when starting your podcast.

While it’s more important to have valuable stuff to say on your podcast, the quality of your recording does matter – and a lot of it depends on the technology you choose.

For the beginner podcaster… $50-100

For beginners with little investment available, the bare minimum you need is a USB microphone that you can plug into your computer or laptop. One of our tried-and-tested favourites is the Blue Yeti Nano microphone, which you can pick up for under $100, or you can find some off-brand alternatives that get pretty decent reviews on Amazon (like this one) for under $50.

For the pro-podcaster… $200-400+

If you’re a sucker for the best-of-the-best when it comes to tech, there’s an almost infinite range of podcasting microphones you could choose. If you’re serious about podcasting, we’d recommend picking up a microphone stand and a pair of noise-cancelling headphones too, so that you can record in comfort. One of the most popular mid-level options on the market is the Shure MV7 USB microphone, which you can pick up in a bundle with a boom stand and Shure SRH440 headphones for $400.

The costs of podcast recording and editing

Recording and editing your podcast is an ongoing cost, but it will take an extra time investment to begin with – particularly if you’re choosing the DIY route. Editing podcasts is a skill that does take some time to finesse, so there’s a decision to be made around whether you have the time and energy to do it yourself, or the budget to outsource it.

If budgets are tight, doing it yourself might sound like the most appealing option – especially when you can get perfectly good free editing software online. But this is only an appealing option if you have the time to learn a brand new skill! So make sure you understand how much time commitment will go into editing each of your podcast episodes before you make the decision to do it yourself – because if you put too much on your plate, your podcast will fall off your to-do list pretty quickly!

For the DIY-er… free or $21 per month

For recording podcasts, the simplest (and completely free) option is to record directly onto your computer through your USB microphone. It really is that simple and perfect for solo episodes. If you’re interviewing guests, using Zoom is a good option, although you’ll likely not get the highest quality audio if you or your guest’s internet connection isn’t amazing!

There are plenty of good DIY editing suites out there, some of which are entirely free. Particularly if you’re only recording audio and only recording a single stream of audio (i.e. not recording guests), free software like GarageBand on Mac or Cakewalk for Windows is easy to understand and gets the job done. If you’re looking for something with a little bit more functionality and something that will make editing multiple audio streams a bit easier, software like Adobe Audition for $20.99 per month is a good option.

For the outsourcer… from $500 per month

Again, for recording solo podcast episodes the easiest and simplest option is to record audio directly through your USB microphone onto your computer or laptop. For recording episodes with guests, the more reliable and higher quality option instead of using Zoom is to use software like Squadcast (ranging from $10-50 per month, depending on how many hours of audio you record), where you’ll be able to record multiple audio streams to keep the quality high and make the editing process simpler.

If you recognise that audio editing isn’t in your zone of genius and you just don’t have the time or desire to learn the ins and outs of podcast editing, outsourcing it is definitely the right choice for you! At Hazell Studio, our podcast editing package includes editing and professional sound mixing of weekly podcast episodes for $500 per month.

The costs of podcast hosting

One of the most important parts of the podcasting puzzle is hosting. Without getting into the nitty-gritty of the tech-y side of things, essentially without a podcast host, your podcast won’t be able to be heard by your audience. So, yeah – it’s pretty important!

The free option… 

If you’re really keeping an eye on the dollars, there are some free podcast hosting platforms you can use – but be aware that they usually have pretty hefty limitations! Buzzsprout, for example, is a free hosting service, but you can only upload up to 2 hours of audio each month and episodes will be deleted after 3 months. Or you can use something like Anchor which is partnered with Spotify, it just doesn’t have the most amazing statistics data.

The not-free-but-better option… $17-90 per month

For a hosting platform that won’t break the bank but also won’t delete your episodes, Captivate is a good option. Depending on the number of downloads your podcast receives each month, pricing ranges from $17 per month (up to 12,000 monthly downloads) up to $90 per month (up to 150,000 monthly downloads) – for most people, the $17/month package is fine for the first few months at least!

Other costs you might not have considered…

Aside from actually creating the podcast itself, which all of the previous costs have been associated with, let’s not forget that you actually need to launch the podcast too – and there are some other little bits to consider in the run-up to launching.

Here’s a quick rundown of the other launch costs that you might not have considered:

  • Cover Art – if you’ve got a good eye, you can DIY your own cover art in something like Canva for free. But if you want professional, on-brand cover art, you could spend upwards of $200 for professional design service.
  • Launch Strategy – depending on how you run your business at the moment and what you outsource vs what you DIY, creating a strategy and implementing a launch process for marketing your podcast can cost time and/or money. If you’re DIYing your marketing, be prepared to put a fair amount of time investment into creating your launch strategy – without which your podcast won’t get listeners! If you’re outsourcing, your existing marketing team will need extra time to create and implement your launch. Or, if you don’t already outsource your marketing but want to outsource for the launch of your podcast, our VIP Launch Package (starting at $1500) might be right up your street.
  • Promotion Strategy – people need to know your podcast exists, so you’ll need to build podcast promotion and podcast SEO into your regular marketing activities. That means creating social posts, writing up show notes, writing blog posts, optimising episode titles – and that can take a lot of time, particularly if you’re releasing episodes weekly! At Hazell Studio, our VIP Launch Package includes launch promotion and our Management Package includes optimised show notes, show titles, creation of social media graphics, blog post creation and upload, and podcast workflows.
  • Production Costs – if you’re recording solo episodes at home or in the office and only recording audio, your production costs will be low. But, if you’re planning to record in a studio, you’ll need to factor in hire or purchase costs associated with that. Some podcast studios cost as little as $30/hour to hire, but purpose-built professional studios can cost upwards of $100/hour – which can add up if you’re filming multiple episodes a month! And if you’re adding the video element into that too, there will be additional costs for video professionals to consider too. 
  • Paid Guests – if you’re taking podcasting as a serious business venture, you’re going to want to get high-value guests onto your podcast, not just so they can share their knowledge with your audience but also so that you can access their existing audience too! Guests are great exposure, but many high-profile guests will require payment for podcast features. Make sure you’re factoring in these potential costs when planning your podcast strategy.

The real cost of launching a podcast

In summary, then, here’s the real costs of launching and running your podcast, depending on whether you’re going for the bootstrapped option, the more pro (but more expensive) option or the completely-out-of-your-hands outsourced option:

On a budget:

Tech equipment$50-100
HostingFree – but very limited
Cover ArtDIY
Promotion strategyDIY

Total Cost $50-100 PLUS lots of your time

Pro option:

Tech equipment$200-400
Recording$10-50 per month
Hosting$17-90 per month
Cover Art$200
Promotion strategyDIY

Total Cost $400-600 upfront, $27-140 per month PLUS some of your time

The outsourced option:

Tech equipment$50-400 (depending on desired quality)
Recording$10-50 per month
Editingoutsourced to Hazell Studio
Hosting$17-90 per month
Cover Artoutsourced to Hazell Studio
Promotion strategyoutsourced to Hazell Studio

Total Cost $50-400 upfront, $27-140 per month PLUS Hazell Studio’s Management Package at $1000 per month (with 0 time investment)

Is launching a podcast worth the cost?

Now that you know the true cost of launching a podcast, we reach the real question: is launching a podcast worth what it costs?

Your business might be doing fine at the moment. You’re getting leads from social media whenever you show up, you’ve got work in the pipeline, and you’re on track to reach your goals. So do you really need a podcast?

We (shockingly) think YES!

And we’ve written about why you need a podcast before.

But as a reminder: having a podcast can level up your business and help you reach those crazy-big goals you have in the back of your mind – and if you’re able to invest in podcast management, you’ll be hitting those goals with hardly any extra work. All you need to do is sit down, hit record and talk – we handle the rest.

So when you look at it that way, and you consider the success we’ve seen many of our clients have from podcasting (we’re talking sell-out launches, consistent lead generation, and strong community building), the real question is – why are you still dragging your heels?!
If you’re ready to get started, we can help! Whether you need help with your launch, outsourced editing or just want to hand everything over to the pros, we’ve got your back! Check out your options here and get in touch when you’re ready to get started!

“Launching a podcast is too expensive” – how much it really costs to start a podcast

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“Launching a podcast is too expensive” – how much it really costs to start a podcast