First things first - do you know what I am referring to? A boom arm is that desk mounted "thing" that you see on the edges of so many successful podcast desks. It's literally a long and adjustable microphone holder that allows you to suspend your microphone off of the desk.
Why would you need such a device? From someone who had a small tripod on his desk for years, the sheer amount of freedom you get is enough to run out and buy one. That extra space that you gain can be used for additional lighting, papers, notes and so forth.
Not only that, keeping your mic off the desk will help eliminate those "bumps" that seem to happen when you get particularly excited about a topic. You know the ones where you start to use your hands a lot? Just ask any podcaster how many times they have nearly knocked their mic tripod off the desk and you will instantly see just how important it is to suspend it!
First things first, though. Make sure you get a good one! You definitely want one with strong springs, a good mounting base and quality materials. Oh, and don't forget to make sure it swivels! There are some really low grade ones out there that should be avoided at all costs! Remember, you get what you pay for.
This Neewer NW-35 Kit on Amazon is a great place to start, especially if you have your own microphone. This is the kit that I use, although I had already purchased a pop filter. If you're not using a pop filter yet, YOU NEED TO BUY ONE RIGHT NOW. Sound quality is more important as you gain popularity, but there is not need to sound like complete garbage at the beginning, either. Most pop filters are a few bucks and will greatly enhance your podcast sound and the chance that people will actually come back and listen to you.
Some of you might be looking for a starter kit, and I have a great one for you. Fifine has a great little setup for those starting out or even for those that have been at it for a while. In the kit you get their USB condenser mic, the boom arm and a pop filter. These three pieces are the exact setup you need to up your podcasting game right away. I am not saying you need a ton of fancy stuff right off the bat, but if you have some money saved up to get started, this is a great way to launch a great sounding podcast right away with a low investment up front.
No matter what you do, please pay attention to your sound quality. Even if you are recording with your phone, an inexpensive lav mic will go a long way in making your production sound a little bit more professional. Sounding clear and crisp will give you the instant credibility that you will need if you're just starting out. I'm not promoting massive after production, but I am saying give yourself a leg up by simply paying attention to your equipment.
Does it take hundreds of dollars to get started in podcasting? Absolutely not. If you can bone up a benjamin, you'll be off to a great start. Got questions? Find me on Twitter!