Creating a podcast is never an easy task. There is so much that goes into creating a perfect podcast other than just talking in front of a mic. One of the essential requirements for creating an engaging podcast is to determine your podcast format. If you are a newbie to the podcasting industry, things may seem slightly complex to you. Hence, today we will discuss everything that you need to know about podcast formats and how to choose the suitable podcast format for your podcasts! Let’s get started.
What are Podcast Formats?
Podcast formats simply help to arrange your show’s content in an organized manner. When you choose a podcast format, you need to stick to it for your next content too. This will help deliver podcasts strategically instead of getting messy and randomly publishing podcasts in different formats every time!
Why is Choosing a Podcast Format Important?
Podcast formats will offer consistency for your listeners. When you follow a specific podcast format, your listeners already know what to expect from your next podcast. A podcast format consists of a particular structure for content delivery which makes your podcasts organized and accessible to your listeners.
For example, if your podcast features a comedic panel this week but a solo monologue the other week, you may lose out on some potential listeners.
Next, it will be easier for your listeners to describe and share your show with their friends and family if they find it interesting. This way, a strict podcast format will indirectly help promote your podcasts to a wider audience base in no time!
Lastly, sticking to a specific podcast makes your entire podcast planning much simpler! You will already know the structure and shape of your podcast beforehand, which will help in curating your podcast easily!
How Do I Choose a Podcast Format?
There is no one size fits for all scenarios when it comes to choosing a podcast format! You may try out multiple podcast formats with time and when you finally find the one that fits like a glove, stick to it for the next podcasts!
Till then, you need to change and keep trying out different podcast formats.
A great way to identify a suitable podcast format is to get the feedback of your listeners.
If you are starting, you can release about 20 different episodes with different podcast formats and analyze which one brings the most traction and fits your personality!
Hence, the key is to keep on experimenting until you find the right one!
Most Popular Podcast Formats
Now that we know the basics of podcast formatting, let’s check out the fundamental podcast formats you can try for your podcasts!
The Interview Podcast Format
The Interview podcast format is one of the most popular types of all time until you get some renowned names as your hosts. You also get to connect with the best in the industry and get their insights on the topics. It is easier to produce since you can record the session either in person or remotely, giving you great flexibility.
- Here your guests provide most of the content. Hence you need not worry about the content much. If you have multiple guests over, you will get a great variety of insights and opinions on the topic. You just need to steer the conversation and keep it going with a set of interesting questions.
- The process of editing doesn’t have to be flawless. The regular breaks within the conversation are usually kept intact to make the episode more natural. This is eventually a huge time saver for people who do not prefer spending hours just editing their podcast.
- Your podcast guests can provide you with massive traction with new listeners when they share the episode on their social media handles!
- Interview podcast formats are one of the very common and popular ones of all. Hence, you may have a tough time standing out from the crowd with this podcast format.
- It is tough to book good and authoritative guests from the industry, especially if you are a newbie to the world of podcasting. You also need to research everything about your potential guest before starting the interview. Otherwise, it may affect the quality of your podcast.
- You need to be flexible with the schedules and fix the interviews as per their convenience. This can even bring late-nighters or early-morning recordings!
- You are entirely dependable on your guests for your podcast content. In case they are not in their best mood or you could not get your hands on the best in the industry, your final content can suffer!
- If you are holding remote interviews, the quality of your podcast ultimately depends on your network connectivity.
- Interviewing as a skill takes a lot of practice to master. You may not be the most appealing or engaging interviewer if you are just starting as a podcaster.
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- Hone your interviewing skills before the final date. Practice interviewing multiple times to make yourself comfortable and engaging.
- Contact your guests in advance and send them reminder emails a few days before the interview date to keep them updated about it.
The Solo/Monologue Podcast Format
The Solo/Monologue podcast format features a single host talking about different stories or commentaries about any topic or theme. These shows can be both informative and entertaining, depending on the topic.
The setup required here is relatively simple and does not consist of much hassle. You just need to create a script beforehand and then talk about it for about 35-40 minutes or even more as per your interests.
- It doesn’t require any fancy setup. You just need a good-quality mic and editing software to edit your podcasts.
- You have complete freedom to record at your convenience. You do not need to set your schedules as per other’s timings like the interview format.
- You can go on with your podcast just as you like without any restrictions.
- You can build up a deep connection with your audience as if you are directly communicating with them. This will help in building your brand even better.
- Editing a single voice for the podcast is easier than editing multiple voices together.
- In case you make any mistakes, you are free to omit them during the editing process.
- You don’t need to rely on your guests for the content. You can build everything on your own!
- If you aren’t an expert or pro at the topic you are going to speak about, you may end up messing it up halfway through the recording. This can also bring your brand image down if your audience realizes your lack of knowledge on the subject.
- It may seem harder to talk to yourself for hours without having anybody else to talk to.
- If you do not have a script with all the points you will talk about; you can easily miss out on any points or details during the podcast.
- You do not have anybody else to plan out the podcast and add ideas to your content.
- If you are nervous behind the mic, you can have a tough time recording a podcast with a natural tone.
- Practice talking to yourself for hours every day.
- Create a script listing everything you are aiming to cover in the episode. However, keep it concise and not much comprehensive. You can expand the points later as you speak.
- Rehearse the entire podcast at least once before hitting the record button.
- Spice up your podcast with some fun music and sound effects to keep the podcast engaging.
Conversational/ Co-hosted Podcast Format
Most people tend to confuse a Conversational podcast format and an Interview podcast format.
In the Conversational/Co-hosted podcast format, two hosts are involved who already have good chemistry or friendship. In most cases, each host plays a specific role in the podcast.
For example, one of them shares their experiences, whereas the other one provides you with lessons from experience.
- You can split up the entire work with your partner instead of taking up all the load of creating the content by yourself
- The podcast feels more like an organic conversation instead of a scripted show.
- Creating content with your partner is easy when they are engaging and have interesting topics to talk about.
- Your podcast audience will feel like they are part of a group or club.
- Conversational podcasts tend to be great live shows!
- You both need to be on the same page during the podcast. Any sense of conflict can send a wrong impression to your listeners.
- If either of the co-hosts is not engaging enough, the show can get boring real quick!
- If you crack insider jokes or references, you need to keep your audience updated about every backstory.
- You may need to fix your schedules as per your co-host and vice versa.
- It gets slightly harder to edit two voices instead of one.
- You can’t do much scripting. Instead, the conversation may sound inorganic.
- You need to choose topics that you both are interested in and know about
- Host a few meetings and share thoughts on how well you guys know about the topic you will be talking about in the podcast.
- Listen to podcasts of your co-host and take notes on how exactly they talk in a podcast and ask your co-host to do the same. This will help you in understanding how to tune in with your co-host and improve the collaboration.
The Panel Podcast Format
The Panel Podcast format is very similar to an interview podcast format but with more guests. Each episode has a single host with more than two guests wherein the host interviews them about different topics. Your listeners can feel that they are overhearing an organic conversation with a panel of experts.
- Your listeners will be exposed to various opinions and insights about a single topic from different guests.
- Both sides of every argument are given equal importance, which gives your listener a broader perspective on every point.
- It will help in promoting your podcast if the guest shares your podcast on their social media handles.
- The pressure is less on the host since more people are contributing to the conversation.
- Filling the panel with new guests every time takes up a lot of time and effort. It gets more challenging if you are a new podcaster in the industry.
- You need to ensure that everybody is talking on their terms and not over one another, resulting in a messy situation.
- If a guest talks about a particular point for more than the required duration, it can get tough to cut them off in the middle of the conversation and move on to the next person.
- There could be technical challenges while recording multiple voices on the podcast.
- Create a topic list beforehand and provide it to your guests.
- Allocate a specific duration to every guest so that they know when to stop and give the next person a chance to speak.
Non-fictional Storytelling Podcast Format
Non-fictional podcast formats include but are not limited to murders, chronicles, historical events, and similar other real-life events. You can either talk about the complete experience within a single episode or create a series of episodes for a single experience to keep your audience hooked and waiting for the next episode. This is great for keeping the audience engaged and immersed in your podcast.
- Since everything is completely scripted and already planted in your mind, you have complete control over how your listeners will consume the content.
- Your listeners can even learn lessons and messages from every episode.
- The market is less saturated, which gives you more chances of getting recognized. This format will even grow within the next couple of years.
- Every episode gets highly addictive if you can keep the curiosity within the listeners intact.
- This podcast format is highly resource-intensive, which demands more time and monetary investments.
- Your copywriting skills should be top-notch to script the complete narration and tie every element in the right sequence.
- You need to be a good editor if you want to spice things up in your podcast from a variety of podcasts.
- You need to be very precise about every detail. There is no way that you exaggerate or make an error and get away with it.
- It may result in inconsistent publishing of episodes since each episode takes up a lot of time and effort to complete without a team.
- You need to hone your podcast editing skills and become a pro at it if you want to deliver high-quality content to your listeners.
- You need to brush up on every memory of the experience you are talking about to avoid errors.
- Hire a professional team to release some of the burdens of the work.
Podcast Theatre Podcast Format
Commonly known as the Fictional Storytelling podcast format, you can talk about fictional stories similar to dramatic television. The narrative would be a single voice paired up with multiple sound effects and other audio elements to spice up the entire podcast. If you like to create characters, weave plots or even build a fictional world of your own, this could be an excellent option for you!
- Once the story starts, your audience will stick to the end if it is engaging enough. They will be eagerly waiting for the next episode to hear about the next part of the story!
- If you are creating the fictional story yourself, you do not need to do any previous research. You can get a few facts and figures wrong with no hassle!
- Less competition in this podcast format since audio dramas are currently scarce.
- It may take time to build a loyal audience since the format is pretty new and uncommon.
- Your competition would be TV, youtube, and other platforms featuring dramas
- Since every episode is related to the other, you need to plan out the complete season beforehand.
- If you are not a very creative person, this is not the right choice for you!
- Unleash your inner creativity to excel in this podcast format
- Don’t give up quickly if you are having a tough time building an audience. Once you start getting traction, there is no going back.
- Create a complete plan of the entire story before you start the first episode.
Repurpose Content Podcast Format
If you have existing content in bulk and want to modify it to make more out of it, you can try out the repurposed content podcast format! Countless bloggers tend to turn their written content into a podcast! For example, if you are a comedian, you can publish recordings from your standup comedies into your podcast!
- There is pretty much no extra effort required to create the content since everything is already available.
- There is no requirement for high-budget resources here since you are not creating new content here.
- Your listeners can choose the other way of consuming the same content since it is readily available in the other format too.
- Since the content was not created for a podcast, it may not sound the best.
- Try to spice up the content and make slight tweaks to help it blend into the podcast format
- Try to keep the session engaging by explaining every point more lucidly.
Your Podcast Format – A Combination of Podcast Formats
There is no stringent rule yet when it comes to podcasting. As we said, you can try out multiple podcast types and choose the one that works the best for your show!
Just because you started with a solo podcast doesn’t mean that you cannot switch to a few roundtable episodes! You have complete freedom in choosing the most favorable podcast format for your show. If you find the other episode doing better than the last one, you know your call!
However, avoid delaying the choice for a prolonged time. Frequent switching to different podcast formats may give a bad impression to your listeners. Also, the investment ratio varies in every podcast format.
What is the Best Way to Convey Your Topic’s Information?
The main motive for creating a podcast should be how well you can convey your message to the audience. If you want to give expert-level advice to your audience, which you do not have, you can opt for the interview podcast format to send the information. Similarly, if you want to have a fun conversation with people in your podcast, you should choose the co-host or panel podcast format. If you want to portray a story to your listeners, the non-fictional storytelling or podcast theatre format should be the ideal choice!
Which Format Will Help Your Show Stand Out?
Lastly, everything comes down to the traction of your podcast. With multiple podcasts emerging every day, you need to ensure that your podcast stands out from the rest!
If you think you are in a saturated industry or theme wherein most podcasts are in interview format, you can try out podcasting in the panel format under the same niche to have a unique approach.
Similarly, if most people are using regular and traditional podcast formats like the interview or solo format, you can start a podcast theatre format and surprise your listeners! This will also help in gaining more new listeners real quickly!
The choice of your podcast format is one of the fundamental steps in starting in the podcasting industry. Your podcast format will help you create content that will attract the maximum number of viewers strategically while suiting your personality too! If you have an outgoing personality and can easily blend with multiple people, you can choose the panel or co-host podcast format.