The word ‘podcast‘ is a portmanteau of these two words- iPod and broadcast.
Podcasting began in 2004 by Adam Curry, an MTV VJ, and Dave Winer, a software developer when the two coded a program known as iPodder, which enabled them to download Internet radio broadcasts to their iPods (hence, the portmanteau).
Upon development, they quickly brought an audible revolution into the world.
Today, podcasts are major sources of information, entertainment, and infotainment.
So, What Is a Podcast?
This is how podcasts are defined: Podcasts are pre-recorded audio recordings bundled as episodes and made available online. Anyone may subscribe to them and download them to their computers or mobile devices. From there, anyone can listen to them anytime they want.
Podcasts are downloadable audio entertainment at your fingertips that you can listen to at your leisure (a digital audio file).
1. Are Podcasts Audio or Video?
Traditionally, podcasts are digital audio files, but numerous video podcasts are available with the digital expansion.
Most podcasts are in audio format because they are easier to produce, and they require less storage space, which is beneficial for both the podcast creator who hosts the files and the listener who downloads them.
Also, the majority of the listeners prefer audio podcasts. After all, the files are smaller, and people prefer to listen to them while doing something else, such as driving or exercising, when they can’t see the screen.
2. Podcasts vs Audio Files:
Many people believe that anyone can record themselves or someone else using something as simple as a smartphone’s audio recorder and then upload that audio file to a podcasting service. Voilà, they have created a podcast.
It is a common misconception that podcasts are only ordinary audio files. However, this is not the case.
What differentiates normal audio files and podcasts is the option of subscription.
Once an audio file is uploaded to a podcast hosting service, the service provider then generates a subscription feed known as the RSS feed. The RSS feed allows users to subscribe to a podcast, which is how an audio file becomes a podcast episode.
2.1. Isn’t a Podcast the Same as A Podcast Episode?
Not at all! A podcast refers to a series of audio files, whereas a podcast episode is one episode of that podcast that focuses on a specific topic.
Think of your favorite tv show or web series, like Euphoria, and it has a series of episodes and a few seasons. Similarly, a podcast is a series of podcast episodes.
3. Different Types of Podcasts:
The great part about podcasts is that there are many produced in various forms and most popular podcast genres, and there is a podcast for everyone, depending on their likes or dislikes.
They come in various formats and genres and exist for any topic of interest, even those uncommon or considered taboo.
The following sections are the most common examples of these categories:
3.1. Interview Podcast:
Interview podcasts are the most popular podcast form. Conversational podcasts can also come under this format.
These podcasts involve a regular host(s) interviewing a different guest about a certain topic every episode or two; the topic might be anything, such as politics, entertainment, career, social issues, hilarious tales, or anything else.
Sometimes it feels like the listener is listening to friends speaking with one another, which piques their curiosity.
While the guests and themes change with each episode, a common thread binds them together. This is why this format is so enticing. It has the potential to keep the audience engaged.
Many podcast hosts prefer to record their shows in this format when podcasting for business.
A great example of an interview podcast is Armchair Expert with Dax Shephard, a weekly podcast hosted by Dax Shepherd (an American actor, director, and writer) and Monica Padman (Emmy-nominated actor and producer), where they interview celebrities, journalists, and lecturers on “The messiness of being humans.”
3.2. Educational Podcast
Educational podcasts are ideal for students and anyone who wants to learn through audio lectures. These podcasts may appear to be conversational, but they only teach one topic at a time.
These podcasts are lovely for mobility and convenience since listeners may download and access the instructional materials at any time and from any location.
This American Life, a popular NPR radio show that airs on many radio stations, is also available as a weekly podcast, including essays, memoirs, short fiction, and journalistic programming.
3.3. Solo Podcast:
Many hosts use podcasts as a personal platform to express their thoughts and views or to share their stories, so it might not be comfortable for them to have a co-host or guests. Solo podcasts are quickly gaining momentum because we are not all social butterflies.
Solo podcasting is an excellent way for beginner podcast creators to start their shows. Also, solo podcasts are great for audience engagement as they provide a way to connect with the listeners.
Live from 405 is a weekly podcast hosted by Luke Allein. The episodes are usually unscripted and often improvised by the host when he is inside his car, commuting to work. This hilarious podcast is a great stress-reliever.
3.4. Non-Fiction Storytelling Podcast:
A storytelling podcast is any show in which the episodes are organized in narratives. It follows a factual narrative or delivers the most recent information in a specific area.
The podcast host can also use audio clips of a real-life person, such as an influential personality, to retell their true stories and a few pieces of their own opinion regarding a particular issue.
This format also includes news podcasts as well. Many big news organizations are also venturing into the podcasting game, releasing news-related content to keep the listeners updated and to keep themselves in the loop.
Tales, by Parcast Network, hosted by Vanessa Richardson, is a weekly storytelling podcast where the podcast host tells the original narrative of all the modern-day fairy tales in each new episode.
3.5. Fiction Podcast:
The podcast host tells a fictional story to the audience in this podcast. These have evolved into an effective platform for creators to explore and let their ideas run wild.
Each episode might be a solo tale in and of itself, but in certain circumstances, numerous episodes are stitched together to build a bigger, more coherent plot.
Welcome to Night Vale is one of the best fiction podcasts out there. It is the first podcast that prompted the launch of other fictional podcasts.
It is created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor in the guise of a community radio station providing news and information for the remote desert town of Night Vale where bizarre events take place.
4. How Can I Listen to A Podcast?
You need a working internet connection and a smartphone or computer to listen to podcasts.
Once you are ready, you only need to find a podcast website or a podcast app of your choice and start your podcasting journey.
Podcast Websites: If you want to listen to a podcast on your desktop for a change, too many podcast websites are available.
Here is a list of websites, so you don’t have to go around searching for the perfect podcasting website:
- Player FM
- Podcast Directories
- Digital Podcast
- Podcast Alley
Podcast Apps: A fantastic podcast can take you on a voyage across every genre available and is a wonderful way to pass the time, whether out on your regular jog, traveling to work, or preparing a quick meal.
To start listening to podcasts on your smartphone, you first need to download a listening app. The app allows for listening to and streaming your favorite audio content from a mobile device.
For Android Phones:
- Google podcasts app
- Spotify (yes, your favorite music app also has a successful podcast network).
- Pocket Casts
- TuneIn Radio
- Podcast Go
For iOS Devices:
5. How Do Podcasts Work?
It is relatively simple for podcast creators to create and share a podcast. They have to record the audio content and upload it to a podcast hosting service to receive the podcast RSS feed.
The podcast producer can then send the show’s RSS feed to a podcast directory such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher.
This directory provides a platform for podcast listening and the ability for users to subscribe to and access podcast sites via their favorite list and search.
6. What Are Some Examples of Popular Podcasts?
The whole world came to a standstill at the end of 2019, and almost all media platforms suffered many losses, but not the podcasting industry.
With the plethora of free time at their disposal, people began to listen to podcasts either to cure their boredom or for news or gain insight on their favorite topics. As a result, the podcasting industry has grown considerably in the last few years.
Here is a curated list of the most popular podcast series:
- The Joe Regan Experience
- The Daily
- Stuff you should know
- My favorite murder
- Crime Junkie
- Sweet Bobby
- American Radical
- U Up?
- Boys like me
- Rabbit hole
- On purpose with Jay Shetty
- Dark House
7. How to Start a Podcast?
Staring your very own podcast is not as scary as you might think. There are many ways to create one. You only need the following:
- A microphone
- A recording software
- A podcast hosting website
When you have these components, you can easily get started. Your Podcast can be scripted or not. It all depends on you and how you want your podcast to be.
Start recording yourself talking about the topic of your choice, edit the audio file (if necessary) using editing software (many editing software are built-in on your computer), and then upload your audio content to one of the hosting websites mentioned above in the article.
After you have got the RSS feeds for your podcast, people can listen to your podcasts on the various podcast directories such as apple podcasts and google podcasts.
8. Things You Need to Know Before Recording Your Podcast
You should not begin your podcast without first doing a lot of research and considering a few critical points. If you want your podcast to be successful, you need to know these things:
8.1. Define Your Target Audience or Niche:
Do not go rushing blindly into releasing your content without knowing who you are recording for. Think of it as marketing. To have a profitable business, marketers use a foolproof SWOT analysis strategy.
Similarly, you need to select your niche, determine their likes and dislikes and use the right opportunity to get out there.
8.2. Deciding on The Podcast Content:
Before you record your first episode, you need to decide what you should be talking about. There are several podcast topics to choose from.
You can be autobiographical, tell a fictional story, express your views on politics or world issues, read a book, or experiment with the different formats. Choose a topic that is interesting to your target audience.
Choosing your podcast name: After you have decided on a topic, you need to choose a name for your podcPodcastck that resonates with your content. Take care that the name is not hard to memorize or spell.
8.3. Choose Your Platform:
When you are done with the starting steps and have recorded your podcast and uploaded your audio recording to a hosting service you will need to decide on a podcast hosting platform to upload your podcasts
You can choose multiple platforms and build a website for better reach. If you want your podcast to stand out from the crowd, make sure it has a distinct identity that is consistent across all of your social media channels.
8.4. Go Slow:
It’s mentioned earlier that starting a podcast is easier than it sounds. It is, but once your show is out there, competing with a thousand others will take some time to reach your desired goals.
So, do not give up and keep doing what you love.
9. Podcast Hosting Tips
The competition is tough. There are hundreds of people releasing thousands of podcasts every month. And the only way to gain a competitive edge over your competitors is by becoming a better podcast presenter.
This way, you and your show can be set apart from the competition. Here are a few tips:
If you are hosting an interview podcast, make sure to make your guest feel at ease. Start with easy questions and share a few laughs to make them comfortable.
You should not bombard your interviewee with questions they might be uncomfortable answering, and certainly do not pressure them to answer your questions if they don’t want to.
Do not be monotonous. No one wants to get bored while listening to something supposed to be either informing or entertaining.
As science has said, again and again, human brains can only focus for an average of 35 to 40 minutes without breaks, do not overwhelm your listeners with information. Allow your listeners the time to retain the information you have shared with them.
Build a relationship with your audience. At the end of the day, the audience keeps the show going. It is a two-way relationship, therefore make an effort to communicate with them. You can use your social networking sites to build a rapport with the audience.
Ask your listeners to share their views on your new episode, ask for ideas and suggestions for your show featuring some of the regular listeners on your show or give them a shout-out through either your podcast or social media.
There are many ways to connect with the audience, and you need to choose the one that works for both you and them.
Be your true self. Your voice and emotion play a very important role in how the audience perceives you. If you try to present yourself as someone you are not or falsely pretend that you care about something, you may come off as phony, and your audience may begin to distrust you.
You have a two-way relationship with your audience, and just like every other relationship, trust is the foundation of this one as well. Get your audience to trust you.
Also, there is every individual out there, and many want something (or someone) to hate on to let out their repressed anger.
Reputation is a very fickle thing. You will want to have a clean slate if you want to stay and survive in the industry. So, keep in mind that you have to be true to yourself and your emotions.
That concludes this article. After reading this post, I hope your questions regarding a podcast have been answered.
If you want to know anything else regarding podcasts, feel free to contact us. You can write to us in the comment section.
We will be waiting!
-Edited by Steffy Michael|30/6/22