A short series of blog posts about my personal experience of creating my podcast, About The Adventure, to share the practical side of equipment and costs, the reasons behind my choices and processes, and the support that I have received along the way. I also answer some questions that were sent to me on Twitter, LinkedIn and by email. Thank you to everyone who sent those in! This post begins the series with my equipment choices and costs, for both field and remote recordings.
A quick introduction
I’d like to begin by saying how much I enjoy creating my show About The Adventure. It's the guests that make it a really rewarding experience and it’s been a wonderful way to get to know them better, or to meet some of them for the first time. It really is a special way to connect with people, listening to their unique perspectives and career change stories. It feels like an amazing opportunity to create this platform, to get an insider view on different types of work and the pathways into them. You can read why I started the project in a previous blog post here.
It’s important to note here that I’m not promoting myself as an expert podcaster, and my podcast is not aimed towards making money. There is no sponsorship or advertising involved, and I’m really happy with my decision because I personally don’t enjoy hearing ads when I listen to podcasts. I'm not giving any advice here, I'm simply sharing my experience because it may be useful to other people, and it gives an insight into what goes on behind the scenes of my show.
Summary of costs
In case you want to skip all of the details and just see a quick summary of costs, here it is!
Total cost of my field equipment = £284.82
Average cost per field episode = £74
Average cost per remote episode = £81
Equipment & costs
Due to the closure of the Kurious Arts podcast studio in Sheffield since the first lockdown in England in March 2020, where I recorded my first four episodes, I eventually decided to purchase my own recording equipment. There is plenty of useful information online on this, but I took a more personal route by asking advice from people I already knew.
Joe Willis, a Freelance Writer and Creative Consultant who edited my first four episodes, recommended the Zoom H4n recorder. James Marriott, a Podcast Strategist ► Audio Consultant ► Editor and Producer, very kindly made some affordable recommendations for buying microphones, cables, etc. that would work with the Zoom recorder. After doing some research on costs, I took on an extra bit of freelancing work with Komoot to save up for the equipment, and bought it all through Amazon over the space of a couple of months.
The guidance and support that I received during these early stages was really valuable to me, it helped me to make decisions, to take action, and to get on with the project rather than just think about it. Massive thanks to Joe Willis and James for their personal recommendations.
Zoom H4n Pro/UK Handy Recorder - £199
Behringer XM8500 Ultravoice Dynamic Cardioid Vocal Microphone (x2) - £45.98
Amazon Basics Braided XLR Microphone Cable | 3 meters (5-Pack) - £14.96
Transcend 8GB SDXC/SDHC Class 10 UHS-I 600x (Ultimate) Memory Card - £6.90
Furry Outdoor Microphone Windscreen Muff for Zoom H4N Pro - £11.99
Microphone Cover, 5Pcs Handheld Mic Foam Windshield, Black - £5.99
Cost of editing
I pay Gabby £15/hour and the time spent editing varies with each episode, between £45-£75 so far.
When I first started to dabble with my podcast idea I did try out some editing myself, but I soon realised that I wanted to focus my time on the interview preparation, show notes, and marketing, rather than editing. I think it requires a lot of patience, plus a different skill set. I knew my boyfriend’s sister Gabby had done some audio editing during her degree, so I asked her if she would be interested in editing my podcast. I’m so happy that she said yes as she does an immaculate job and I love working with her because she gives me feedback and support with every episode. I send her the recording, she works her magic, and sends it back to me ready to publish.
Cost of hosting platform
I have a monthly subscription with Captivate.fm which costs $19.00, or about £14.00 per month.
Why did I choose Captivate?
The creators of captivate.fm, Rebel Base Media, are based locally to me in Sheffield and their services are used by an organisation that I do some freelance work for, so I trusted them straight away.
Their customer service is the best that I have ever experienced because they respond super quickly with a personal approach.
The resources and support that they offer through blog posts, emails, facebook groups and their own podcasts, is phenomenal - I can’t even keep up!
They create a real buzz and excitement about podcasting, that makes me want to be part of the industry.
I can have more than one podcast on their hosting platform at no extra cost.
They are always growing, open to change, and they keep their customers informed.
The hosting platform is straightforward and enjoyable to use, with assistance by my side every step of the way if I need it.
Analytics are updated regularly and easy to access from a user friendly dashboard.
Cost of recording remotely
You can of course record remotely for free, but I have chosen to use Squadcast by the recommendation of Mark Asquith on The Podcast Accelerator. I pay $10.00 (£7.20) per month which allows me to record up to 2 hours each month.
As recording remotely is a temporary solution for me during the pandemic, I didn’t want to buy any extra equipment such as a USB microphone. Luckily I have a friend who is a musician and he offered to lend me his equipment that I can connect to both my laptop and one of the microphones I had already purchased. The equipment I have borrowed from Sam is a Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB Audio Interface with matching Scarlett headphones. This has enabled me to continue recording good quality sound remotely and at no extra cost other than choosing to use Squadcast which has been excellent in terms of recording, customer relations, and community.
Is there a big gain from podcasts?
This is a great question that was sent to me on Twitter by Duncan Simpson who writes about youth hostels, their history and the people and ideas behind them. Of course I can only answer from my own personal perspective. Here are the three big gains for me:
listening to my guests answer my questions on topics that are really interesting to me, and then sharing their insight and stories with other people through my own platform.
improving my confidence by meeting new people and having a voice on a theme that is important to me.
learning about different approaches to careers, lifestyle, creativity, connecting with people, and spending time in nature.
As you can tell, I'm not in it for money-making or sales-focused promotion. It's a people-centred project that I do because I really enjoy it. I did some experimenting before I invested any money into it, and once I knew that I loved it as much as I thought I would, I decided to take my next steps.
Do you have any questions about this blog post? You can email: email@example.com or get in touch on my social media accounts. The next post in this series is about my podcast analytics, focusing on downloads. Read it here. I share some data on how many people download my show, as well as my perspective on measuring value by analytics.
You can listen to my show on your favourite app, select from here.
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