Podcast listening has grown significantly over the past few years. According to recent reports, there are more than 464 million listeners in the world and is expected to reach 5 million by 2024. However, there are only roughly 5 million podcasts and approximately 70 million episodes across these channels.
As the demand for podcast content increases, more and more people are looking past their favorite podcasts and thinking about starting a podcast channel themselves. But what is it like to start a podcast?
Podcast content creation is not as easy as one-to-three. Part of this process is planning what your podcast should look like. This includes determining what style or format you are going to follow. To give you a better idea, here are the top podcast formats for you to choose from.
3 Most Popular Podcast Styles and Formats
Interview podcasts are the most popular and liked podcast format. It features a podcast host or two and an invited guest they would interview or question to create conversations about their knowledge, experience, or expertise.
Interview podcasts are much less structured or scripted than other podcast formats. After a brief introduction of the guest for the episode, the podcast can let the conversation flow depending on the answers of the guest. However, having a small list of questions or topics can help keep the conversations from going astray.
There is a reason why interview podcasts are the most popular format in the industry. One of the advantages of interview-style podcasts is that the guest does most of the talking, and each guest offers unique stories and opinions that can be refreshing for long-time listeners.
In addition to this, podcast guests are capable of drawing different audiences. When you have guests from different industries, targeting and reaching people from these niches is possible. Podcast guesting is also an effective way to draw the attention of your guest’s audience or followers.
Considering that interview-style podcasts are less structured, this format is much more forgiving when it comes to minor mistakes such as small silences, persistent uhms, etc. The focus of interview podcasts is on the conversation, not much on the delivery.
While interview podcasts are extremely popular among creators and listeners, there are also some risks and challenges that come with them.
One of the biggest challenges of interview-style podcast formats is that there is a lot of competition. Therefore, it could be harder to stand out when several more podcast channels offer the same style as you do.
Another persistent challenge in interview podcasting is that finding guests to invite to your podcast can be extremely difficult. It takes a lot of work to research someone you deem can be interesting for your podcast listeners. Even more, it is often hard to find the right time to schedule your recording.
While recording an interview podcast through digital communication like Zoom or Skype is possible, there is always the risk of disconnection or issues regarding the audio quality.
The success of an interview-style podcast also relies on your skill as a host and interviewer and your guest’s capability to deliver themselves in an entertaining and engaging manner. Listeners can lose interest if the host or guest is boring, inarticulate, or simply hard to understand.
Monologue podcasts are fairly popular, especially for those just starting out, as they require minimal tools and equipment. Monologues are also referred to as solo podcasts and are where a host would talk and speak into a microphone on their own.
Solo podcasts are often used by people who want to talk, discuss, or share their knowledge or experience about topics they have expertise on or are passionate about. Monologue podcasts can either be structured or not.
It’s possible for a podcast host to rely on just a few topic notes and adlib through the majority of the episode. It’s also possible for the host to write a whole script that they would simply read when recording.
As mentioned earlier, solo podcast formats are perfect for those who are just dipping their toes in the industry. Since it only needs one host, the equipment needed would also be minimal compared to other formats with several hosts or guests.
Aside from equipment, solo podcasts are also significantly easy to record and edit. Not only are you dealing with just one audio track, but you’re also allowed to re-record parts that you initially did not like.
More importantly, the solo podcast format is great for building a brand. Your audience will get to know you more personally than those that include several other personalities.
On the flip side, monologue podcasts can be time-consuming and ultimately tiring to record. Even with a perfect run, talking and speaking for more than 30 minutes can be exhausting. Re-recording certain parts, while advantageous for those who want a perfect delivery, would take more effort and energy.
Monologue podcasts can also be difficult to record for those who are not experienced or confident. Speaking into a microphone can still be nerve-wracking, even when you’re alone. In addition, doing everything on your podcast content creation can be difficult as you would have no help or someone to bounce ideas off.
Storytelling podcasts can be done in two ways – non-fiction and fiction. Some storytelling podcasts are narrated by a single person, while others involve several others to play specific characters.
Non-fictional narrative podcasts are some of the most popular formats for consumers. This style of podcasting involves telling non-fiction events or real-life stories. Podcast channels using this type of format often include several episodes about a specific niche or genre. Some of the most popular topics include true crime, history, real adventures, and the like.
Storytelling or narrative podcasts can also venture into fictional topics. Fictional podcasts are suitable for those with a creative bone and are capable of bringing their stories to life through words and audio. Production of storytelling podcasts can also include elements such as sound effects and background music to add an ambiance to the recording.
Storytelling or narrative podcasts are great for creating a solid listener base as consumers are most likely to stick and follow through when listening to stories cut into numerous parts.
Aside from that, niche-specific audiences, such as those who like true crime or history, are easy to find and target. Those genuinely interested in your stories, real or not, are going to stay to know more.
Both non-fiction and fiction storytelling podcasts enjoy nearly unlimited stories to talk about. As a storyteller, you can add other topics or jump from one niche to another. If you’re talking about non-fiction, you have even more infinite story opportunities.
While stories and narratives can be addicting to listeners, they can be extremely laborious for the creators. Non-fiction stories require extensive research in order to set the facts straight and deliver an accurate narrative of real-life events.
On the other hand, fiction podcasts need creative writers who can not only write about interesting and engaging stories. Instead, they need to be able to produce content in a manner that suits the podcast medium.
Considering this, narrative-style formats are not suited for one-man podcast channels but typically require a team of researchers, writers, and the like to keep up with the demand of this podcast format.
Jumping into podcasting can still be a tricky and challenging process. Part of getting ready for this journey is knowing the different podcast styles and formats.
The three most popular podcast formats are the interview, monologue, and storytelling podcasts. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages or pros and cons that can help you decide which style suits you best.
However, podcast content creation can still be challenging and time-consuming. A solution to this is to hire virtual assistants that can support you in your podcast creation process. Whether it’s on script writing, research, editing, and so on. You can hire them full-time, part-time, or hourly, depending on your needs.
Want to know more about efficient podcast creation? Sidekicks is an on-demand virtual company, and we’re eager to help visionaries and entrepreneurs like you. Get a free ebook and learn more about how we can help you by signing up for our newsletter. We also offer a free 30-minute consultation if you prefer something more personal.