A few weeks ago, a professor at a nearby university asked me exactly what podcast equipment I used and how it compared to the gear she already purchased. My answer disappointed her.
Questions like this are a huge opportunity for podcasters to make money on affiliate marketing. A well-crafted piece of media, full of Amazon Associates links can generate revenue on big ticket items. We’re talking $2000 video cameras and high-end microphones. For example, check out this studio tour with Rich Roll, a godfather in the golden age of podcasting.
I hate these questions. They’re useful once, maybe twice if your budget is tight, then they just separate the action takers from the talkers. Go to the Malibu pier on a Sunday afternoon and you’ll see what I mean. Watch the two clusters of surfers that form. Out where the best waves start there’s a group paddling around and catching waves. Closer to shore, where the waves are less frequent, there’s a cluster of beginners with rented gear talking about the boards and wetsuits they want to buy. Podcasts are similar, there are my friends who actually record podcasts and there are the masses who talk about the perfect microphone, the perfect logo, the perfect niche, blah, blah, blah.
My professor contact depresses me, because she actually bought equipment already. What has she done with it? On my podcast, Anthony Ongaro called this a “false first step.” It’s the mistaken belief that you must buy the equipment before you start something. Wanna run a marathon? Buy fancy shoes. Wanna lose weight? Buy a gym membership. These purchases feel like a step in the right direction, because that’s how they are marketed. The real first step is putting on the shoes you already have and running around your block.
For the aspiring podcaster, the real first step is to make a podcast. Sit down, record something, edit it, distribute it, repeat endlessly. Do 10 episodes, then fuss over your equipment. If you can’t do that, please don’t start. Better yet, commit to making 100 episodes before you even think about your equipment.
If you have access to this article you probably have access to plenty of podcasting gear. Here are a few ideas
-a computer with built-in microphone
-a camera with built-in microphone
-your friend’s audio gear
-a local studio that rents an audio booth
Lance Armstrong wrote a book with a title that jives with this philosophy, It’s Not About the Bike. I bet that attitude was part of Lance starting his own podcast. Consider it before your next shopping spree.