Podcasting is all the rage these days. Did you know that there are currently over 30 million podcast episodes and 850,000 active podcasts in the world?
According to Edison Research, podcast listening has grown exponentially around the world, with 100 million listeners in the US alone. One of the primary reasons for the same is an increase in consumer adoption of smart speakers such as Amazon Echo.
For brands, podcasting enables them to tell their story anywhere, any time, and helps them establish authority in their industry. Having a podcast is seen as another marketing tool that is as effective as having a blog.
No wonder an increasing number of marketing teams are investing in running a podcast show. If you are starting now, here are some of the best podcast tools to help you ace the podcasting game.
Self-hosting audio platform
Ardour is a digital workstation software suitable for marketers working within tight budgets. All you have to do is arrange for a quality audio interface, plug in a microphone or keyboard, and record an audio track. Besides, if you already have an audio file, import it from your hard drive.
Edit with several options such as cut, stretch, copy-paste, align, crossfade, trip, zoom, swing, drag, and drop. Yes, it all comes with unlimited undo and redo. You can mix with edited audio with solo, mute, fader, isolate, automate, and more.
Available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It is FREE to download.
Podcast hosting platform
Transistor is for marketing professionals who have recently started their podcast and want all the tools they need to create, distribute, and host it. The tool provides a website for your podcast, a place to store all your audio files, and an iTunes-ready RSS feed.
The distribution of your podcast is handled by Transistor that has access to platforms such as Overcast, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, and more. Transistor also provides a website for your podcast that updates each time a new episode gets added.
Price: $19 per month onward
Open-source audio editor
Developed as open-source by volunteers, Audacity is an easy-to-use, cross-platform software for multi-track recording and editing sounds. You can record live with a microphone or mixer. Edit the track with cut, copy, paste and delete, plus enjoy unlimited steps of undo and redo.
Audacity supports 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit sound quality, and Nyquist, LADSPA, LV2, VST, and more effect plugins. Manipulate tracks and selections using the keyboard. There is also a Spectrogram view mode for visualizing and selecting frequencies. Export multiple recordings at once in any file format easily.
Available for Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and Windows.
Reuse your content from WordPress, Medium, Ghost, Weebly, Joomla, Wix, LightCMS, Tumblr, and more.
With the help of Play, you can convert your articles into podcasts, audiobooks, and audio articles. You can choose from over 100 voices.
An all-in-one podcasting solution, Podbean is ideal if you don’t have any programming knowledge but still want to build a profitable podcast. Incorporate your corporate branding and customize the theme of your podcasting site.
Know precisely which podcasts are performing best, lead podcast discussions, engage with your audience, and enable social sharing – all from the same tool. You can get advertising sponsorships through the Podbean Podcast Advertising Marketplace.
Besides, publish gated premium content and earn through recurring subscriptions or fees for select episodes. And you can even turn your Podcast fans into patrons through their crowdsourcing platform. Podbean boasts of a robust hosting network.
Available for Windows and Mac OS X
Price: $9 per month onward
If your company is heavily into podcasting and you want to switch to a cost-friendly option, Anchor is ideal for you.
There are two ways to use this tool.
- Create your podcast from scratch and host unlimited episodes
- Upload your podcast and benefit from Anchor’s free hosting and distribution services.
Anchor offers smart background tracks and transitions from its built-in audio library, and you can distribute your podcast on platforms like Apple podcasts. Further, a non-exclusive license allows you to own your content with no contracts.
Their monetization model is also unique. Anchor will match you with a brand that wants to sponsor your show. You can then record an audio ad that will be played by your sponsor on their digital assets. You get paid every time your ad is heard!
Alternatively, you can even add a button for donations on your podcast site.
Live recording sessions
If you have garnered an impressive audience for your podcast and want to go the extra mile, you can have live broadcasting sessions with them on Facebook Live. This will allow your most enthusiastic followers to listen to your podcast as you record – even parts you can edit later.
You can stream directly from your Android/iOS phone or webcam, and automatically upload it to your company’s Facebook page. When you start a live broadcast, you can ask them questions directly, thus making them a part of the episode.
Although Facebook Live is not a typical podcast tool, it will help you incorporate listener interaction into the episodes and grow your reputation as a social media influencer.
Online interview solution
As many podcast interviews are now conducted remotely, Squadcast enables you to connect with any interviewee, from across the globe, in real-time and be confident you will end up with a high-quality recording.
When you are ready to take the interview, your guest (e.g., influencer) has to click a unique link to join the meeting (how it is done on Zoom) using any internet browser. Google Chrome works best with Squadcast.
The podcast tool will then record your guest’s audio on a separate track, thus making it easier for you to edit when you are doing the final mix. If there are multiple guests, Squadcast will record their audios separately, which is why you will always get the best quality possible.
A session on Squadcast can accommodate four people, i.e., one host and three guests.
Price: $9 per month onward
Remote interview solution
Similar to Squadcast is Zencastr, which lets you record interviews in studio quality, remotely. When you are ready to take the interview, your guest has to click a unique link to join the meeting. However, unlike Squadcast, you don’t need a third-party service like Zoom to conduct the interview. You can voice chat directly from Zencastr!
Depending on the number of guests you invite, separate studio-quality tracks will be automatically available to you on DropBox or Google Drive for editing. Generate a single mixed record, add audio enhancements to it and turn into a ready-to-publish file on a tool like Audacity.
The best part is bad internet connections won’t spoil your audio quality once the recording has started. A free session on Squadcast can accommodate up to two guests. Zencastr recommends you keep your recordings to under three hours for superior results.
Price: $20 per month
Online voice recorder
If you are looking for an effective solution to include your audience in your podcast, then SneakPipe is ideal for you.
Your audience will be able to send you voice messages on clicking a button, which you can embed anywhere on the site. The widget allows them to record a message as many times as they want before they submit on the site. The good news is they don’t need to create an account with SneakPipe to do so.
SneakPipe can also act as a lead generation tool. As your audience has the option to share their contact details before sending a message, you can make that step mandatory to use the info to contact them or send them marketing collaterals, with permission, of course.
Besides, you can send voice replies to the messages you receive from your audience. Make use of SneakPipe’s hosted voicemail page so you can keep track of all voice messages via desktop or mobile. If you want, you can also download the messages as an MP3 file and put them on your website or use them in your podcast.
Many marketing teams convert their podcasts into blog posts, eBooks, or SlideShares. However, transcribing manually is never a feasible solution, which is where machine-based transcription services come in handy.
However, Descript takes one notch further. It analyses the audio file and removes any odd sounds such as sneezes, awkward sentences, narration errors to generate a high-quality transcript. You can then quickly convert the script into any piece of content you like!
Price: $10 per month onward (although the Free plan includes everything you need to transcribe the audio)
Podcast monetization tool
Podomatic allows you to play your podcast directly from Facebook and Twitter feeds, and you can embed your episodes on the website or share it on social media to maximize visibility.
Besides, you can attract listeners to fund your podcast via Patreon, and add your podcast to AdvertiseCast’s marketplace and run ads on Advertisecast. If you don’t have a podcasting site yet, you can make one using a drag-and-drop website building CMS, Weebly.
Of course, if you have a podcast, you want it to reach as many ears as possible. Podbase can help you ensure your podcast is as optimized as it can be.
For example, it will test whether or not the content is “well-formed” according to the XML standard.
If you are building an RSS feed yourself or have a podcast hosting service, you can test your podcast URL to make sure the feed conforms to the RSS 2.0 specification as well. Podbase will quickly enable you to spot RSS feed issues that could get your podcast kicked out of iTunes or worse. It helps you keep your podcast safe.
Podcasting editing tool
This is a multi-track audio editor with advanced tools such as automatic audio leveling and Voice Profiler, which is an automatic equalizer that sets an EQ for you – based on your ideal sound, whenever a new episode is recorded on Hindenburg.
There is another feature called the Noise Reduction effect that identifies persistent noise, hums, and hisses in the audio files, and calculates the best way to eliminate them.
You don’t need any external hardware to access the tool. You can record the episode on Google Hangouts, FaceTime, and Skype. Have yourself and your guest on two separate audio tracks, and edit and mix them on Hindenburg.
Price: $390 onwards
Pro-level audio optimization
If you need a tool that polishes your podcast audio quality, you should go for Auphonic. Applying machine learning, the tool allows you to fine-tune your podcast audio and customize output files. Auphonic comprises an adaptive leveler, which adds consistency to the volume so that the audio is not too loud or soft in patches.
Price: $11 per month onward [Free for 2h of audio per month]
Hosting & Advanced podcast statistics
Having a podcast is not enough. You need to know how it is performing as well. With Blubrry, you can keep track of metrics such as the device or platform your audience uses to listen to your podcast, episodes they liked the most, demographics and geographies your podcast attracts, and so on.
Receive custom reports (featuring metrics you want to track) and daily email summaries that you can trust to grow your podcast further. If your podcast site is on WordPress, you can use the Powerpress plugin to use Blubrry.
Further, the tool is RSS-compliant, offers storage with no-fault overage, and unlimited bandwidth. Although it can be too advanced for newbies, it has excellent customer support you can benefit from.
Price: $12 per month onward
Podcast analytics and attribution
What’s the point of running a podcast if it doesn’t reach target audiences or boosts revenues? Eliminate this problem with the help of Chartable’s two cutting-edge tools.
SmartLinks, for example, helps figure out which marketing channels are driving listener growth with a trackable URL that routes your listeners to your podcast in their apps.
SmartPromos, on the other hand, will help you find the most effective audio channels for growth. The tool also enables you to track rankings and reviews of your podcast, on a weekly or daily basis, on multiple directories such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, and Stitcher.
Price: $50 per month onward
You can tinker with a variety of languages, playback speeds, and voices. If you have a WordPress site, you can take advantage of their WordPress plugin, and record audio files that can be later used as fillers in your podcast.
Trinity Audio has a reporting feature that enables you to analyze advanced metrics such as CTR, campaign performance, number of ad opportunities, and so on.
Plugin and podcast hosting platform
If you use WordPress and have come across Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin, then you know what Castos is as they own this plugin! To put it simply, Castos acts as your WordPress hosting platform for podcasts when you install the plugin.
That means you can create and manage your podcast right from your WordPress dashboard and even build your podcast-specific RSS feed that directories like iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher will read. All you have to do is upload your podcast audio files to the dedicated WordPress podcast hosting platform designed specifically for you.
And with all the content in one place, you can create blog posts, podcasts, and other content formats on your website, which is excellent from an SEO perspective. Further, embed Spotify podcasts with the new WordPress CoBlocks editor.
In terms of analytics, you can filter each podcast by the total number of listens, tailor your messaging to fit your target audience, and attract sponsors with your best podcast content.
But what makes Castos stand out is its YouTube Republishing feature. You can convert your podcast audio files to attract videos and automatically publish them on your YouTube channel, right from the dashboard.
A WordPress Plugin
PowerPress is a WordPress plugin by Blubrry that suits both beginners and experienced podcasters. For starters, it makes the podcast migration process easy. You can easily import your podcast from LibSyn, Squarespace, PodBean, or any other podcast RSS feed with the plugin.
It improves the discovery of your podcast on search engines such as Google and Bing, and the Apple Podcasts directory. Create a subscribe page with the subscribe shortcode embed, and a subscribe sidebar widget optimized for your podcast site.
PowerPress fully supports iTunes, TuneIn, Google Play, and Stitcher directories, and can help you create and support podcasts either by media format and category.
Over to you
Starting a podcast of your own may not require a lot of monetary investment. However, you must put in the time and effort to develop podcast content that adds value to its listeners and helps establish your authority in the industry.
Just how blogging, when done consistently, helps websites rank high, podcasts too can help expand your circle of influence amongst a highly attentive target audience, thereby enhancing your online brand.