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Podcast Software: The Must-Haves for Podcasters of Any Level

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Podcast Software: The Must-Haves for Podcasters of Any Level

Entering the dynamic world of podcasting can be daunting, from equipment to podcast software to marketing and no one-size-fits-all solution. However, there are some must-haves if you want to launch a successful, high-quality podcast. Whether you’re a complete beginner or you’re looking to level up your podcasting game, this round-up will guide you through recording, editing, hosting, and every little detail in between.

Podcast Recording/Editing Software

Potentially even more important than what mic you choose, there are a couple of things to consider when selecting your software. First and foremost, you’ll need a way to record your podcast. 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.

Recording Remotely 

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? Zoom is a web-conferencing application that provides all “meeting” attendees a link to your virtual conference room for the uninitiated. Zoom records the audio and video on its servers and sends you the audio file at the end.

Zoom is not always the best podcast recording software option, though. The quality can be pretty volatile since all the video and audio recordings are captured over the internet. If there’s a drop in connection, any glitches or slow responses will also be in the recording. 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 and Editing

Editing a podcast recording clip on Riverside.fm's magic editor.

Riverside records the audio and video of all participants locally, meaning it takes place on the computer itself rather than over the internet. These are the best recording software because, in this way, the recordings are studio-quality and won’t include any disruptions caused by a 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.

Recording is not the only thing Riverside offers; it’s a complete podcast maker all on one platform. This podcast recording software is equipped with easy-to-use podcast editing software to take your content from beginning to end truly. Using the Riverside editor, you can edit your podcast by polishing your audio, adding customized backgrounds and logos, and creating short promotional Clips within a few simple clicks. Besides this, if you’re always on the go, Riverside also offers a mobile podcast app for easy podcasting wherever you are.  

This is one of the best podcast software options when looking at features as it offers everything in one place. The tools are designed to be accessible to podcast beginners, professionals, and anyone in between.

Pricing: Plans from 7.5$/month

Try Riverside for free today.

On Location

Audacity - Recording & Editing

If you’re not looking to pay a lot for software like Adobe Audition, then Audacity is widely considered the best free recording and editing software. This audio editor is 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.

Pricing: Free

Reaper - Recording & Editing

For advanced or technologically-inclined podcasters, Reaper is the way to go. It provides higher-quality audio and more options for editing and mixing. 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. The user interface isn’t intuitive, but it could be worth it for the sound quality.

Pricing: 60$ one-time payment

Bonus

Auphonic

While you can’t use this podcast recording app 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 free for up to 2 hours of audio a month.

Pricing: Free 2 hours per month; plans from 11$ per month.

Scheduling Software (for podcasts with guests)

Once you’ve settled on your recording setup, you’ll want to have a seamless administrative process in place for organizing your podcast. Scheduling software is an absolute must if your show involves interviews/guests. 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 its incredible customization options make Book Like A Boss stand out. You can add several 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

Calendly

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 kinds 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 seamless experience. 

Pricing: Free/Plans from $8/month

Podcast Hosting

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 podcast hosting service is the home base for your podcast. Directories like Apple Podcasts and Spotify don’t host your podcast; they play content hosted elsewhere. Once you’ve created and recorded an episode, you upload it to a hosting site, and you tell the directories where to find it by sharing the URL to your podcast’s RSS feed. When it comes to choosing the best podcast hosting platform for you, it all depends on your priorities.

Buzzsprout

Buzzsprout Podcast uploads
(image source: Buzzsprout)

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. 

If you’re looking to monetize your podcast show notes, Buzzsprout also offers an affiliate marketplace to help connect you to companies you can advertise.

Price: Free/Plans from $12/month (for unlimited storage and episodes hosted indefinitely)

Captivate

Captivate claims “the only growth-oriented” podcast host, and the features they offer prove that. This is a marketer’s dream, from the “One-Click Sponsor” kit to the “Calls to Action” in the podcast players and easy connection with your email list. Your podcast website with Captivate is slick and professional, with 3 fully responsive, very customizable templates. 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. If you have an existing WordPress site, link your podcast using the Captivate Sync plug-in. 

Pricing: Plans from $17/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. While 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.

Squarespace

With Squarespace, you can host your podcast directly on your website. 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. 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.

Pricing: Plans from $12/month 

Wix

Wix doesn’t offer direct podcast hosting, but you can use the Wix Podcast Player app to embed your episodes onto your website. 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. With its intuitive UI, seamless episode streaming, and impressive listener engagement series, your website will be impressive and professional.

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. 

Speak Pipe

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: Free/Plans from $7/month

Google Voice

Google Voice offers not only voicemails but live phone calls, too. The service provides you with a new phone number linked to your 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.

Pricing: Free

Riverside.fm

A live recording on Riverside.fm with two participants.

With Riverside.fm, audience listeners can call into your podcast with video for that extra, face-to-face engagement. 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. In addition, you can record a live podcast with up to 7 guests at once, and it’s all stored locally, meaning any glitches in the connection won’t affect the quality of the sound

If you’re looking to capture your screen live, Riverside also acts as a screen recorder, making it ideal for gaming, tutorials, and all sorts of live sessions.

Pricing: Lives call plans start at 15$/month

Try Riverside for free today.

Extras

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 software

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!

Podbean

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. Your Live stream 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 8 guests and co-hosts can also join the stream, but they’ll have to download the Podbean app to access the live show. To go live with your podcast, you must be using chrome on a desktop.

Pricing: Free/Plans from $9/month (for unlimited bandwidth)

Riverside.fm

With Riverside, you can not only screen and accept live video calls from listeners but live 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: Live stream plans from 15$/month

Try Riverside for free today.

Transcription Software

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 you can use it for show notes and blog posts - it’ll help new listeners find you through Google and expand your reach.

Riverside.fm

With Riverside.fm, you can automatically generate podcast transcripts. Even better, you get unlimited transcriptions with the Pro and Enterprise plan. So if you're looking for one podcast software that can do it all, you should consider Riverside.fm.

Rev.com

With Rev, you have the option of human transcription. Your podcast is matched with a freelance transcriptionist who can guarantee 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 a standard AI transcription pay-as-you-go system5 minutes.

Pricing: $1.25/min for human transcription, $0.25/min for AI

Scribie

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, a few key tools will help you take things to the next level. 

Headliner

Headliner helps you repurpose your content to create shareable bites for better promotion across social media. The software makes 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

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

Convert Kit

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 $9/month

Riverside.fm

One way to promote your podcast is by sharing short highlights all over social media to attract audiences to listen to your show. A lot of the big podcasters already do this such as Gary Vaynerchuk and Joe Rogan. While they have a whole production team to help them, doing this alone is time-consuming and that is where Riverside helps. Riverside’s Clips tool allows you to mark important points in your recording and create short promotional clips within minutes.

Note-Taking Program

You might prefer to make a 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 save the best bits as you’re listening over easily. 

Note Cast

With the click of a button or the quick voice command “Save that,” the Note Cast app will transcribe the last 30 seconds as a digital note. You can then add your annotations to your notes and categorize them with your 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...

It’s easy to search around for the “best” software or try out any free podcast software, but it’s all dependent on what you want to achieve. When choosing which podcast software to go with, make sure you’re thinking about your specific needs. The best podcast app for - one person might not be suitable 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!

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