Podcasting Beginner Tips
I am considering to start an educative podcast in a couple months (just considering, nothing certain). I want to monetise it with a freemium model where the most elementary thing---the audio---is free or very cheap (e.g. $1 on Patreon), but handouts (non-essential but very useful) are slightly more expensive. It will probably be weekly to begin with, and I mgiht add some extra material if it will be viable financially. I can't really afford pro or prosumer gear at this point, so I'd like to avoid that if possible.
My question is, what are your tips for a totally beginner podcaster like me? Either my case directly, or a more general newbie with little funds tobdedicate to this in the beginning.
Focus on engaging content first, build up a relationship with your audience (lots of patreon type stuff is making the audience feel like part of the community - they'll reward your engagement). Also, you'll be the one building your own audience. It's very much not "if you build it they will come" - your job will be promotion. Book guests spots for yourself on more successful podcasts with related audiences, book guests from more successful podcasts for your show. Use libsyn (or a similar service). Don't invest too much into your gear/setup - decent quality audio is all you need if you have solid content.
Building on this, if you want to monetize through a podcast, then the monetization should be 2 or 3 times removed from the podcast itself. Give as much away as possible, with the aim being to provide, rather than take.
Really, the best thing would be to use the podcast as a part of a whole, rather than the entire thing - best case is, you should be looking at using it to bolster something youre already doing, not making it on the podcasts merits alone.
If your model is freemium, why are you charging for the audio to begin with? Locking the most essential thing behind a paywall, even if it is as small as $1 will massively hinder your growth in audience up to a point where I fear you'll never really grow at all. I'd start completely free at the start and worry about monetization later, when you have more than ten people listening to you. There are other social media you can use to involve your audience.
As the others said, a good audio set up is crucial. The Blue Yeti is a good starter microphone. What also matters is echo and noise. Soundproofing foam is cheap to get and does loads to improve your audio quality even with a bad microphone. If you don't want to plaster your walls with it (understandable), try recording in a room with lots of cloth placed at the walls, like curtains. Placing mattresses or hanging blankets on the walls will help as well. If you can't do that, when recording, hide under a bed sheet or a blanket. Just cover yourself and the microphone. The softer your surrounding are, the better.
Thanks a lot!
The thing with pricing is that while I expect people to pay for handouts, I don't think a huge community can form around this, at least in the short run. My niche with this is teaching my native language, and it is not a major world language. I am not totally for the money with this, but I would appreciate if it could buy me a couple cups of coffee a week.
But as someone who has been at the receiving end of this and unable to afford paying for it, I do want to give out something free. What I can't know is that what if people generally only care for the audio and there is not much incentive to pay anything for the handouts (where I plan to put a transcript with english translations and also a contextual glossary, translations of glossary items, and a list of references).
Which is precisely why you should wait with the monetisation. Start small, with only the podcast. Build an audience and interact with them. Ask them what they want and if they would be alright with paying a little for it.
No one is going to care enough to pay for a podcast they've never heard of before, and no one is going to hear about it unless they listen to it. What you could consider, instead, is a time-based revenue model. You could make all of them are free, except for the most recent one; you pay to 'get access to next week's episode today' (that's a good way to phrase it). Another option would be to just make the most recent one free and if you pay you get access to all the rest. I wouldn't recommend just making the first couple free and all the rest paid, because the character of a podcast can change a lot over time.
I know next to nothing about producing and the technical setup but I do know that a good microphone and sound editing is crucial to the overall quality of the podcast no matter the subject. I know you said no pro gear but seriously consider this anyway if you want to keep listeners and especially when it's educational.
Professional audio gear isn't necessary to keep listeners. Entertaining, engrossing material would serve one much better in the beginning. The technology is upgradable. As long as it's clear, has little noise, and has no issues with the quality (like you'd get from a $10 mic), it's okay to start with.
That is what I hope, and also I hope to be able to use gain & recording volume setup to my benefit, but I'm not sure it'll work out. At the end, if a mic & a pop filter will be a must, I'll have to invest in them (and my research up to this point kinda suggests that), but the current conversion rates of my country's currency means that even relatively cheap stuff is expensive to me. Fuck politicians... It was US$ 1 ≅ TRY 1.6--TRY 1.2; but it's TRY 5.48 as of now and all happened in a few months.
My laptop went up two times in price after 2014.
If you have a limited budget, invest most of it into the mic. Cheap mics are okay for Skype and Discord. You want something that sounds professional. Talk to the pros: all podcasters had to start somewhere, and streamers and lets-players had to face the same dilemmas early in their careers, regardless of how successful they are now.
It might be easier than you think: you can make a decent one out of two socks or out of anything round you can strap a leg of pantyhose onto. Probably won't make you Dr. Dre, but should be good enough if you're on a tight budget.
Thanks for the videos! And I feel empathy for your situation. Decisions of some irrelevant fools, but we suffer the consequences...
This comment by @Esrever might be of help to you.
Thanks a lot!