Podcast Recording/Editing Software
First and foremost, you’ll need a way to record your podcast. Potentially even more important than what mic you choose, there are a couple of things to consider when it comes to selecting your software. Will you be recording remotely (with call-in guests or a co-host in another city), or on location? Then, what are your priorities? Do you need something basic and easy to use, or perhaps a top-of-the-range software with all the bells-and-whistles? Once you’ve evaluated your needs and desires, you can move on to choosing the best-suited software.
Zoom - Recording Only
Most of us have become pretty familiar with Zoom over the past few months, but did you know it can be used as a podcast recording software? For the uninitiated, Zoom is a web-conferencing application that provides all “meeting” attendees a link to your virtual conference room. Zoom records the audio and video on its own servers and sends you the audio file at the end. However, the quality can be pretty volatile since it’s all recorded over the internet. If there’s a drop in connection, any glitches or slow response will also be in the recording. Also, everyone attending your call must download Zoom, so it’s not the smoothest option, especially if you have a big-shot guest you want to impress.
Pricing: Free up to 40 minutes, Plans from $149.90/year
Riverside.fm - Recording Only
Riverside records the audio of all participants locally, meaning it takes place on the computer itself rather than over the internet. This means that the recordings are studio-quality and won’t include any disruptions caused by glitchy internet connection. Additionally, you can use your preferred mic for crisp sound to match the up to 4K video recordings. At the end of the episode, the host can download all the tracks from the participants - each person has an individual audio and video track. Riverside works with Chrome on any laptop or desktop, so you don’t even have to download anything to get started - simply log on and input your guest’s email to send them a link to join.
Pricing: Plans from 7.5$/month
Audacity - Recording & Editing
Audacity is widely considered the best free recording and editing software. It’s an open-source application featuring simple tools for splicing and mixing sound, including effects, changing speed and pitch. The UI is easy to navigate and it also includes a podcasting forum for community support. Audacity is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Reaper - Recording & Editing
For the more advanced or technologically-inclined podcasters, Reaper is the way to go. This software provides higher-quality audio and more options for editing and mixing. The user interface isn’t the most intuitive, but it could be worth it for the sound quality. Plus, you can record directly into the program, with as many audio tracks as you like and simultaneous recording inputs, then take advantage of its strong editing capabilities.
Pricing: 60$ one-time payment
While it can’t be used for the snipping and splicing that’s possible in other software, Auphonic is a god-send when it comes to filtering and post-processing. With the click of a button, you get automatic leveling and noise/hum reduction, your finished episode fully encoding, and everything in between. And the best part? It’s totally free for up to 2 hours of audio a month.
Pricing: Free/Plans from 11$/month
Scheduling Software (for podcasts with guests)
Once you’ve settled on your recording set-up, you’ll want to have a seamless administrative process in place for organizing your podcast. If your show involves interviews/guests, scheduling software is an absolute must. Instead of emailing back and forth trying to find a date and time that works, you can send a simple link where they’ll see all available slots. The software will then block off that time in your linked calendar.
Book Like A Boss
The main features across scheduling software are pretty standard, but what makes Book Like A Boss stand out is it’s incredible customization options. You can add several different blocks to your booking page, including YouTube videos, photos, and FAQs. This gives a more personal and simultaneously professional experience to your guests, and can also help them to prepare in advance. Plus, if your guest has watched a little welcome video from you already, it could put them more at ease and make for an even better interview.
Pricing: Plans from $7.50/month
The free edition of Calendly allows you to create only one event type. You could use this simply for scheduling podcast interviews, or, upgrade to their paid plan if you need to book multiple, different types of events. Once your guest selects an appointment, you’ll see it in the “Upcoming Events” section of your dashboard. If you often host interviews across time zones, you can rest assured that everyone’s on the same page with Calendly’s automatic time-zone detection. Best of all, you can integrate Calendly with your preferred email and calendar app for a totally seamless experience.
Pricing: Free/Plans from $8/month
So, you’ve recorded your first episode and now you’re itching to share it with the world - you’ll need a host for that. Your host is the home base for your podcast. Directories like Apple Podcasts and Spotify don’t actually host your podcast, they play content that is hosted elsewhere. Once you’ve created and recorded an episode, you upload it to your host, and you tell the directories where to find it by sharing the URL to your podcast’s RSS feed. When it comes to choosing your host, it all depends on your personal priorities.
One of the best things about Buzzsprout is that it gets your podcast listed in all the top podcast directories, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher. It also provides advanced metrics, enabling you to track the progress of your podcast - you can see statistics about your listeners, total plays over time, and where people listen to your podcast. Plus, it has an in-built transcription feature you can use to create show-notes or blog posts.
Price: Free/Plans from $12/month (for unlimited storage and episodes hosted indefinitely)
Captivate claims “the only growth-oriented” podcast host, and the features they offer prove that. From the “One-Click Sponsor” kit to the “Calls to Action” in the podcast players and easy connection with your email list, this is a marketer’s dream. Your podcast website with Captivate is slick and professional, with 3 fully responsive, very customizable templates, or if you have an existing WordPress site, link your podcast using the Captivate Sync plug-in. Stripping it back to basics, the interface and dashboard are intuitive for “non-techy” podcasters, with an easy walk-through for creating your first episode.
Pricing: Plans from $19/month
Podcast Website Maker
Now that you’re officially a podcaster, it’s worth investing in a professional website to seal the deal and impress your audience. Plus, it’s a great way to build your business with a newsletter, merchandise, and/or other services. Whilst there are some hosting software with impressive podcast website capabilities, like Captivate, it could be worth using a dedicated website-builder instead, especially if your business extends beyond podcasting.
With Squarespace, you can host your podcast directly on your website. All the plans offer unlimited storage space and bandwidth, too, so you won’t have to worry about switching to another provider once your podcast gains traction. Choose from ten templates recommended for bloggers and podcasters (we suggest Paloma for a sleek, seamless look) or customize another one to suit your needs.
Pricing: Plans from $12/month
Wix doesn’t offer direct podcast hosting, but you can take advantage of the Wix Podcast Player app to embed your episodes onto your website. With its intuitive UI, seamless episode streaming, and impressive listener engagement series, your website will be impressive and professional. And using an external host could actually be to your advantage - you can take advantage of the more specialized features, like easy monetization and detailed analytics.
Pricing: Free/Plans from $18/month for unlimited bandwidth
Live Q&A / Feedback Tools
With all this in place, your show will start to build momentum. To maximize your success, build on that momentum by interacting with your audience through Q&As, and requesting feedback. This will not only increase engagement but also help you discover where you can improve right from the horse’s mouth.
With SpeakPipe, your audience can send you voice messages with the click of a button. This is a great way to incorporate listener Q&As, as hearing the person’s voice makes the experience more personal and engaging. Plus, visitors don’t need a SpeakPipe account to send you a voicemail - it couldn’t be a more seamless process. You can install either a custom button or the SpeakPipe side button on your website and start collecting questions and feedback, today.
Pricing: Plans from $7/month
Google Voice offers not only voicemails but live phone calls, too. The service provides you with a new phone number that is linked to your own number, so you can give it out without disclosing private information. That way, you can send out a tweet, or if you’re streaming live, mention the number when you’re ready for calls and have direct interaction with your listeners. Later, your audience can continue to leave voicemails on your Google Number. These can be downloaded and used for Q&A or feedback sessions in your episodes. Unfortunately, there’s no video capacity with Google Voice, so if you film your episodes you’ll be missing out on the face-to-face element.
With Riverside, listeners can call into your podcast with video for that extra, face-to-face engagement. You can record up to 8 participants at once, and it’s all stored locally, meaning any glitches in the connection won’t affect the quality of the sound. By simply inputting their first name and their question or comment, they’ll be directed to a “waiting” room where you can decide when and if to add them to the call.
Pricing: Plans start at 15$/month
Once you’re set with all the vital software, deck your show out with all the bells and whistles. These are by no means necessary, but no one ever made waves by doing the bare minimum...
Streaming your podcast live gives your audience a more interactive experience and a unique way to engage with your show and to feel like part of the community. Plus, it’s just that bit more exciting for you!
If you host your podcast on Podbean, you can take advantage of its live feature. It includes several sound effect options and a built-in, royalty-free music function. To go live with your podcast, you must be using chrome on a desktop. Your Livestream will create a chatroom that listeners can access via a link shared on social media, and they can even call in if you enable that option. Up to 5 guests and co-hosts can also join the stream, but they’ll have to download the Podbean app to access the live show.
Pricing: Free/Plans from $9/month (for unlimited bandwidth)
With Riverside, you can not only screen and accept live video calls from listeners, but stream your episode live across your social channels. Riverside can stream directly to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and/or Twitch, significantly extending the reach of your broadcast.
Pricing: Plans from 15$/month
Sure, quality is more important than quantity, but why not try for both? If you’re serious about growing your audience, you’ll want to transcribe the audio of each episode so it can be used for show notes and blog posts - it’ll help new listeners find you through Google and expand your reach.
With Rev, you have the option of human transcription. Your podcast is matched with a freelance transcriptionist who can guarantee results of at least 99% accuracy. This cuts out a lot of errors that AI software creates, like mixing up multiple speakers talking over each other or struggling to understand thick accents. This option has a 12-hour turnaround, and they offer standard AI transcription, too, delivering within 5 minutes.
Pricing: $1.25/min for human transcription, $0.25/min for AI
Scribie operates on a pay-as-you-go-system, and you choose between fully automated transcription or automated with a human editor. It’s an extra fifty cents for poor, noisy audio and/or “accented speakers”.
Pricing: $0.10/min fully automated, $0.80/min with a human editor.
Social Media / Promotion Software
We’re living in the digital age, going hard on your social media/marketing strategy can make or break the success of your podcast. From Instagram to email, there are a few key tools that will help you take things to the next level.
Headliner helps you repurpose your content to create shareable bites for better promotion across social media. The software creates an audiogram with multiple sound wave options to choose from, text, image, and animation options as well as video-editing options like fade-in or -out transitions. You can share your video directly from the app to your social channels and even publish an entire episode of up to 2 hours to YouTube.
Pricing: Free/Plans from $7.99
Buffer is one of the world’s leading social media management tools. Use it to schedule your podcasts then analyze the rich performance statistics to up your game. You can also manage multiple other social media accounts at once, so you can be sure your tweets and IG posts go up right on time to promote your new episode!
Pricing: Free/Plans from $15/month
Email is widely considered one of the most powerful forms of content marketing out there. Use ConvertKit to create customized newsletter campaigns to keep your audience loyal and engaged. Take advantage of the capacity for A/B test email subject lines to see which wording gets you more clicks, then you can edit your episode name to the catchier title. This is also a great way to introduce your listeners to other services or products you might offer. And the best part is, there’s no “algorithm” to beat for your email to show up in their inbox - just add a sign-up form to your website and once they’re in, they’re in.
Pricing: Free/Plans from $29/month
You might prefer to make note of a few key quotations for show notes and social media, rather than transcribe entire episodes. If that’s the case, Note Cast allows you to easily save the best bits as you’re listening over.
With the click of a button or the quick voice command “Save that”, the app will transcribe the last 30 seconds as a digital note. You can then add your own annotations to your notes, and categorize them with your own tags for ultimate organization. You can access them at any time via the mobile or desktop interface, and choose to have them emailed to you at the end of every day or every week.
Pricing: Free/Plans from $4.99
At the end of the Day...
When choosing which software to go with, make sure you’re thinking about your specific needs. It’s easy to search around for the “best” software and just go with that, but it’s all dependent on what you want to achieve - one person’s “best” might not be right for you. Be sure you’re clear on your priorities and your goals, and with that in mind, you’ll make a great decision and be ready to take the podcasting world by storm!