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What are the different types of podcast?

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Which style of podcast is right for you?

If you’re thinking about starting a podcast but you’ve got no idea of the different styles, here’s a few of the most common ones…

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1. The Interview Show

This is one of the most popular. Why? Because in some respects it’s the easiest to do.

Not because there’s not a lot of work involved but because you’re drawing on the content of another person each week so you’re opening your show up to a whole bunch of different stories, expertise, advice and input.

When the alternative is you staring at a blank piece of paper trying to come up with something to talk it can be pretty appealing.

While I said this is “the easiest to do” that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  In fact, this style of show is a lot of work.

You have to put in the time to research so you’re well prepared and you need to have good interviewing skills, which can take a while to develop.

Interviewing tips for your podcast

Read

One way to make this easier is to have a format where you ask the same questions of every guest e.g. EO Fire with John Lee Dumas.

Doing a show this way will reduce your prep time because you don’t have to research each interviewee from scratch but it can get stale if you don’t do it right or if it doesn’t suit your show.

As a general rule, it’s always best to have bespoke interview questions based on your guest’s individual story.

Advantages of the interview podcast

You open your show up to a new audience

Fans of your guest will likely come and check out your podcast and that means new ears on your show.

Keep this in mind when you’re thinking about the experience you create for them. People are more likely to share something if they’ve had a great time.

If you just look at them as a way to get to more people to your podcast, they’ll smell that a mile away.  And it won’t smell good.

It gives you more varied content

Since you’re tapping into the expertise and experience of a new person every week this provides great variety for your audience.

You can do it from the comfort of your own home

All you need is a computer, a decent microphone, Skype and you’re ready to roll.

This also means you can be more flexible with recording times which opens your podcast up to international guests who might not be able to make it on the show during your nine to five.

Disadvantages of the interview podcast

Booking guests can be difficult

When you’re starting out it can be hard to get guests to commit to coming on a show they’ve never heard of or that doesn’t have a proven reputation already.

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, and all you need is that first guest to entice the next one but this is something to keep in mind if you’re planning to start your show soon.  It might take a bit more lead time to cultivate enough interviews to kick off your show.

You have to factor in other people’s schedules

Finding a time that suits your guests can be difficult, particularly if you’re trying to lock down someone who’s really busy.  This is why it’s important to make sure you’ve got a long lead time between recording and going live because it’s you who has to be flexible and work in with their schedule.

You can’t say “Hey I’d love to get you on the show but I can only do half an hour on Friday in one week from now”…unless of course you’re Oprah.

If you’re little old newbie podcaster and you’re wanting people to come on your show for free (which is the norm) then you have to work around them.

Research takes a lot of time

You guest is always going to be more responsive and open if you’re well prepared.  Unfortunately, this can take a lot of time.

A good trick is to give yourself a time limit for research so you don’t get stuck in the  procrastination rabbit hole.  If you schedule in a few hours you’ll be more likely to apply yourself and be more productive than saying “I’ve got weeks to get this done.”

Your fate can be in your guest’s hands

The only part of the interview you have control over is your 50%.

Sometimes you’ll get someone on a bad day or you’ll ask a question they don’t like or maybe they just don’t like you.  Often, these things are out of your control.

The only thing you can do is be completely prepared, in control and try to make it as enjoyable as possible.

It’s also best to make sure you’re not front-loading your interview questions with anything that might put them off and give yourself time to build rapport before you leap into the questions.

If you can conduct a pre-interview that’s great but if that’s not possible make sure you schedule an additional 10-15 minutes at the start of the chat so you can get comfortable with each other.

That will help warm up your guest and give them an opportunity to see you’re not a dick (very important)

Should you conduct a pre-interview with your podcast guest?

Read

2. The Solo Podcast

This is a fairly common style and is often used by people who have expertise they want to share with an audience.

The set up is just you, a microphone and your audience listening on the other end.

Advantages of a solo podcast

You don’t have to worry about anyone else

Because you’re flying solo, you can work to your schedule and you don’t have to worry about pairing up with a co-host who is committed but then loses interest halfway through.

Editing is easier

Editing one voice is much easier than editing many, plus you’ve got the added joy of not having to deal with things like over talk which can be a pain to cut around.

Do you need to edit your podcast?

Read

You’re also much more likely to stay on track and stick to the plan of your episode when you’re presenting solo.

It’s a great way to build your personal brand

Doing a solo show is a good way to establish your expertise in a space or if you’re a comedian or a social commentator it’s a great way to get your voice out into the world.

It’s a great way to establish a deep connection with your audience

As the host of a solo podcast you’re speaking directly to your audience so it should feel like it’s just you and them.  This builds your connection with them much faster than if they’re listening in on a chat between you and one or two other people.

Presenting your show in this way builds a deep connection that helps fans feel like they know you.  If they know you and like you, they’re more likely to trust you and that’s really important if you want them to keep coming back and recommend your show to other people.

Disadvantages of a solo podcast

It’s hard to get your energy up

If you’ve got no one to bounce off it can be tough to harness that conversational energy that’s essential to keep an audience engaged.

If you’re brand new to podcasting and nervous behind the mic, I’d recommend taking some time to practice before you go live with this style.  Spend time listening back to your episodes to hear how you sound and work out how much energy you need to make it sound engaging by the time it gets to your listeners (it might be more than you think).

How to keep an audience engaged when you’re presenting solo

Read

Be self-critical and keep practicing until you get the right amount of energy in your voice.  Then you can start to record real shows and go live.

Remember there’s no time limit on this.  You could be dropping stuff on tape for three years before you release anything. You just need to make sure you’re comfortable and confident in your delivery.

Practice, practice, practice and you’ll get there.

3. The panel show

This usually consists of a host and then a number of rotating guests and it can be an excellent way to bring new perspectives and points of view to your show.

You’ll hear this a lot in newsy podcasts like NPR’s 1A. On this show, hosted by Joshua Johnson, they do a Friday news roundup where journalists and experts share their opinion on the news of the week.  The conversation is mediated by Joshua and it makes for a really interesting and dynamic conversation.

Advantages of a panel show

It keeps things interesting for your audience

It’s a great way to give your audience something different and to vary up the content so they’re constantly getting access to new opinions and perspectives.

It takes some of the content pressure off you

When you’ve got other brains in the room, you’ve got other people to rely on for content.  Yes, you need to moderate the conversation but you’re really just guiding your guests rather than having to come up with everything yourself.

Disadvantages of a panel show

Booking guests can be tough

Not only is this difficult from a scheduling perspective, but if you’re just starting out it might be difficult to get a cast of guests to agree to come on your show.  Obviously, a show like 1A has the benefit of a huge audience and contacts with well-respected journalists so getting people to say yes would be pretty easy.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for you.  In fact, if you work in an industry where you have a lot of colleagues that would offer great insight in your niche you might be able to draw on your personal contacts to create this kind of show.

Obviously, whether you’re a big organisation with heaps of contacts or just you in your loungeroom, scheduling busy people is always a bit of a punish so think about this before you commit to doing this format every week.  If you’ve got a bunch of producers working behind the scenes trying to wrangle guests this is do-able but if it’s just you, in your spare time, while you’re trying to work a full-time job it might be more hassle than it’s worth.

It can be hard to keep things on track

You have to be quite skilled as a moderator to keep a show like this moving and to pick up the ball when your guest finishes their train of thought.  Sometimes you’ll have guests who will naturally jump in once someone else is finished but most of the time they’ll be taking their cues from you so you have to be on your toes and keep the conversation rolling.

If you’re doing this remotely and you’re connected with your guests via Skype or Google Hangouts it might be difficult to get the rhythm right.  But if you nail it, it can sound awesome.

4. Conversational/Co-hosted podcast

This style is pretty common and the basic set up is a bunch of people, sitting around, shooting the shit.

This was the style of my old show Paul and Rach and it’s great if you’ve got co-hosts you’ve got great chemistry with.

Often there might be one person who takes care of the business of the show e.g. introducing the show, setting up the topics and listing off the calls to action.  Having one person responsible for this (in radio they’re called an “anchor”) can help keep things on track but it’s important that everyone brings something to the conversation.

Advantages of conversational podcasts

It’s a fan favourite

These are the type of shows listeners want to be a part of because they feel like they’re catching up with old mates.

It’s fun

If you’ve got great co-hosts who you have awesome chemistry with this style of show can be an absolute blast.

You’re relying on other people for content

Two or three heads are better than one and with this style of show you’re not solely responsible for content.  If you’ve got co-hosts who bring a lot of ideas, planning can be a creative dream.

It makes a great live show

This style of show is perfect if you want to go out on the road and get your show in front of a live audience.

Disadvantages of conversational podcasts

Everyone needs to be on the same page

If you’ve got a co-host who was really into podcasting at the start of the show but slowly becomes less and less reliable, this can be REALLY difficult.  You also need to factor in different schedules and that can be tough.  If you or your co-host has a family or a really stressful job then you both need to be 150% on board or you won’t prioritise the podcast and that will lead to issues down the road.

A podcast partnership is like a marriage.  You have to choose the right person to get into bed with.

To co-host or not to co-host?

Read

It’s harder to edit

The more people you’ve got talking on your podcast the more potential for over talk, tangents, faff, and fluff.  This is important to consider if you haven’t got a great deal of time for post-production.  It’s also a good idea to record less audio.  Don’t record three hours and then try to get it down to a snappy 30-minute show or you’ll be cursing yourself.

5. Non-fiction storytelling

If you are a first-time podcaster or even if you’re experienced this style can be difficult to do well without a whole bunch of people behind you.

Nailing this format takes a team of journalists, editors, producers, sound designers and a lot of time.  Examples include This American Life, Serial and The Teacher’s Pet. They mostly cover non-fiction stories and are told in an investigative journalism style.

Shows like this include A LOT of audio elements including grabs of interviews, actuality, ambient sound, phone conversations, behind the scenes audio, the list goes on.  You can really make them as simple or complex as you like and of course, every bit of audio you use should add to the story.

Unless you know what you’re doing, this is a style I’d avoid in the early days.

However, if you’ve got access to a great story but you’re not ready to put it together, there’s no reason you can’t collect little interviews or bits of audio over time in the hopes of putting something together at a later date.

6. Fiction storytelling

This is a less crowded space than non-fiction although more people are jumping on board.

If you’re a good writer or this can be a great way to get your stories out there but again it requires more than just you reading your story into a microphone. It’s audio storytelling not an audiobook, so this will require some production elements and probably a voice over artist.

While it does require a bit of audio sprinkle if you’re a great writer this can be a fantastic way to get your stories out into the world.

7. Repurposed content

You’ll notice a lot of television shows do this where they’ll repurpose their TV show into a podcast so people can catch up later e.g. The Rachel Maddow Show, Real Time with Bill Maher and Paul Murray Live.  This can also be done with live shows e.g The Moth.

Maybe you’re involved in a live show that would work brilliantly as a podcast and there might be an opportunity there?  It will require some editing because you can’t always put the show out exactly as it went live but it could be a good way to get two bites out of the content cherry.

8. Hybrid

This is a mishmash of the previous styles and you can be as creative as you like here.  Perhaps your show kicks off with a discussion between you and your co-hosts but ends with an interview?

Maybe you’re a solo presenter and for part of your episode you dish out expertise and then wrap things up with a guest appearance from your listeners who get to ask you questions?

You can mix and match depending on what suits you and your content so be as creative as you want here. Cherry pick the best bits of each of the different styles and put together something that is interesting and engaging for your audience.

And there you have it!  The different types of podcast styles (at least at the time of writing this…I’m sure there’ll be 700 more very soon).

Now all that’s left for you to do is pick the one that’s right for you and get cracking!

Got a burning question you’d like answered on the podcast? Send me an email.

Need some help getting started or setting up your home studio?  Download my free podcasting guide.

Got some time on your hands? Read the full episode transcript

Hello and welcome to the show. Today I'm going to be chatting about the different types of podcasts that you can create and by no means is this an exhaustive list because you can bet your bottom dollar that as soon as I press publish on this episode somebody will just come up with a brand new way of doing things. But just in case you're starting to think about putting a podcast together but you don't really know the different types or maybe you listen to one type of show and you're not aware of the other ways you can do things I thought I'd run you through a few of the different styles and some of the benefits and disadvantages so you can work out what will best suit your content and your style of presentation.

1. The Interview Show

This is one of the most popular formats. Why? Because in some respects it’s the easiest one to do. Not because there’s not a lot of work involved but because you’re drawing on the content of another person each week so you're opening your show up to a whole bunch of different stories, expertise, advice and input. You're also exposing your show to a brand new audience. If your guest has a lot of fans and they share your show that can open your show up to a whole bunch of people who love your guest and want to see what they’re up to.

Don’t be fooled by the word “easy” because this style of show is still a lot of work. You have to put in the time to research, you need to make sure you’re well prepared and you need to have good interviewing skills, which take a while to develop. There’s a lot that needs to go into it before you get started but because you’re basically getting content from another person (if you ask the right questions, it can be much easier than just sitting there staring at a blank piece of paper thinking “what the hell am I going to talk about this week?”

This can be made even easier if you have a format that means that you're asking the same questions of every guest because that can really reduce your prep time. It can, however, get stale if you don't do it right or if it doesn't suit the idea for your show. As a general rule, it’s always best to have bespoke interview questions that are based on research of your guest's individual story

Advantages of the interview podcast

Obviously, your show is opened up to a lot more listeners because if they love your guest then they will want to hear what they have been doing elsewhere and they might come and hear your show. You're getting more varied content and that means you're tapping into the expertise and stories of other people Even though you might have a lot of experience or you've got a lot of really interesting things to say you only have a finite amount of that. You know you are limited by your life experience and your expertise and all of the things that you've done. But if you open your show up to other people then all of a sudden you've got thousands and thousands of hours of other people's experiences and expertise and stories and all sorts of things so it can really throw open the doors in terms of content and not make it so limiting for you. The other great thing is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home with just an internet connection and a microphone at your end. That also means you can be a bit more flexible in terms of fitting in with another person's schedule so if you're trying to get people overseas you might be able to do late at night.

Disadvantages of the interview podcast

Some of the disadvantages, however, are of course booking guests for a start. If you're just starting your show and people don't know who you are and you don't have a real profile or a website to point to it can be hard to get high profile people on your show.

That does mean it's impossible and to be honest you really only need that one person who takes a chance on you if you win them over with a good email or sell. There is no reason that you can't get your wish list guests on board but it can sometimes be tough in the early days when you're just starting out. The other thing that can be difficult is scheduling and booking guests. That takes a lot of wrangling particularly if your guests are busy. If they've got a lot of stuff to do you really need to work in with them. You can't say to them “Hey I'd love to get you on the show but I can only do half an hour on Friday in one week from now.” You have to throw it open to them if you really want them on the show and say “I'll work around you” and that can be quite tough. It can also mean that it's difficult for you to meet that weekly deadline so when you're doing an interview show the further ahead of yourself that you can be in terms of the record the better off you will be. Another disadvantage is that research can take a lot of time obviously as I said you could do the same questions for each interview but remember that can get a little tired for your audience so it's often good to make sure you're researching each guest. Also for your guest, they like to be on the end of questions where it appears you've spent a bit of time looking into their story and their past. That's a really good way to get a guest on-side.

So the more research that you can do the better. And that can really take some time because you want to make sure that you've covered all the contingencies and you really know your stuff when you walk into that interview so that you are absolutely in control and make your guest feel comfortable.

You can check out another episode that I have of this podcast where I talk about interview tips to help you get the most out of your guests and that'll take you through some other things that will help you make sure they're looking at you going “Jeez I'm glad I did this!” not “I hate your guts and I never want to see you again.” One final disadvantage is that in an interview podcast your fate can be in your guest's hands. You need to bring it every single time and interviewing does take a lot of time to get good at. It’s a real skill and you need to practice and make sure you’re bringing your 75 per cent to the table. But sometimes you'll catch your guest on a bad day or they'll take a dislike to you for some unknown reason. There a whole bunch of variables you just don't have control over. It's always best to try and make sure that you're not front-loading your interview questions with anything that might put them off and make sure that you really make them comfortable with you before you get into the chat. If you can do a pre-interview with them that's great. If you've got a busy person you're probably not going to be able to do that. And if they haven't got a lot of information on the internet about them a brief pre-interview would be really helpful to try and hone your questions. But if you can't get that pre-interview make sure you schedule in enough time so that you can have at least 10 to 15 minutes buffer so that you can sit down in front of the microphone and have a bit of general chit chat to try and build some rapport so that when you actually start questioning your guest isn't coming in completely cold. You want to warn them up a bit so that they get along with you so that they like you, so they feel like they are in safe hands and they feel comfortable. A few extra minutes at the beginning of your interview can really help with that so make sure you schedule that time if at all possible.

2. The Solo Podcast

This type of podcast is the one you are listening to one right now. It's just me talking into my couch cushions by myself with you on the other end. This is a fairly common style of show when you are dealing with somebody who is sharing their expertise or teaching something to an audience. It's a very intimate way to get to know your audience because you are literally presenting and talking straight to their ears you're not talking to your co-host and your audience is listening you are talking directly to your audience.

This is a great way to get across your message. It doesn't also need to be educational if you're a comedian or you just want to do your own social commentary on things you can absolutely do a solo show. But it is difficult if you are just starting out behind the microphone because talking to nobody can be really hard to do. It can be difficult to make it sound interesting and engaging because it can be tough to get the right tone in your voice or enough energy so that you can keep people engaged on the other side. So just be mindful of that because there are some advantages that I'll go through but you need to be quite comfortable behind the mic if you want to do it well.

Advantages of a solo podcast

Obviously, you don't have to worry about another person because it is just you and your microphone on your schedule. You don’t have to worry about booking guests, or dealing with a cohost that was really committed at the beginning and then got over and it only turns up every second week. You have only got yourself to rely on and if you’re passionate about this then that can be great because you can work to your own schedule. Editing your show is also much easier because you only have one voice to deal with. I can't, no matter how hard I try, talk over the top of myself so I don't have any of the issues that I can often have with a co-hosted show where I'm trying to edit things but somebody's spoken over the top of somebody else and I can't get a clean cut. Or somebody has gone off on a tangent and I've tried to cut it out but then later they refer to it so I've got to drop it back in. Just having one voice can make the editing process so much easier because you can stay on track. I have a plan for my shows so I know what I want to tell you I know what I want to go through and because I don't have somebody here to get lost in the moment with it is much easier for me to get through my plan quite simply without much fluff or faff. Doing a solo show is a good way to establish your expertise in a space if you're taking a show like this and you're instructing people or educating people on things. Alternatively, if you're a comedian or a social commentator it's a great way to get your point of view and your voice out into the world and to focus on you as the person behind the microphone. And finally, it really is a great way to establish a deep connection with your audience. Like I said earlier they're not coming to a chat that you are having with somebody else. I am here with you directly speaking right to you. So it's a great way to build a deeper connection with your audience and that's really important if you want people to keep coming back. They need to feel like they know you and that they can trust you and that they begin to like you. Those are all important things to build fans for your show.

Disadvantages of a solo podcast

It can be tough if you've got no one to bounce off to get that energy and conversational style happening so your audience feel like they're just having a chat with you. If you are brand new behind the microphone that can be hard to cultivate. If you want some tips on presenting solo and this seems like something that you would like to do then I also have an episode of this podcast that covers how to present solo and not sound like you're dead behind the mic so that should help you. But one of the things that I would say apart from taking the advice in that episode is to just practice you don't have to release everything that you record. If you want to do a podcast but you want to spend some time getting comfortable first. That is great. Spend some time listening back to your episodes to hear whether the energy you thought you had in your voice at the time is actually what translates into your ears when you listen to it back. Be self-critical and keep on practising until you get that right amount of energy where you sound the way you want to sound to your audience and then you can start to record actual shows that you're going to go live with.
You could be dropping stuff down on tape for three years before you actually release anything. You just need to make sure that you're comfortable and it's really important to listen back to what you're doing because what you are doing into the microphone, I guarantee, will always sound different to what you think it is on the other end. So if you're brand new to this make sure you're practising so you can get comfy That’s the best way for your audience to feel connected to you and you won't be sitting behind the mic going “What do I do by myself?” It can be tough so just practice and you'll get there.

3. The panel show

This usually consists of a host and then a number of rotating guests and it can be an excellent way to bring new perspectives and new points of view and ideas and expertise into your show.
You’ll hear this a lot in newsy podcasts like 1A. They do a Friday news roundup and they'll get a bunch of journalists and experts and there's one guy who's hosting the show who will throw to each of the experts for their opinion.

Advantages of a panel show

This can be great to get a different perspective and to give your audience some different insight. So it's not just relying on you and your ideas but it's drawing on other people's expertise.
If you're rotating people through each week that can be so interesting for your audience because they're getting access to people they wouldn't normally get access to and they're getting lots of different expertise and ideas so that can be a really great way to do things.

Disadvantages of a panel show

Since you have guests to book that can be tough if you want to get really good guests that offer a really good insight. It might be difficult if you're just a brand new podcast starting out. Obviously, a show like 1A or any of the shows that are coming out of news organizations have access to a lot more contacts and so that can be easier for them to get people through the door. Maybe, however, you work in an industry where you have a lot of colleagues that could offer really great insights, expertise or funny stories and you might be able to draw on your personal contacts and connections to create this kind of show. But it can be difficult to book a bunch of guests. As you know with the interview podcast it's hard scheduling one person so if you're trying to schedule three people a week that's just made your life three times more difficult.

It can also be hard to keep things on track. You have to be quite skilled as a moderator. You have to keep the conversation going, keep the ball moving and you have to make sure you're really on top of it. If you’re doing this remotely and you’re connected with your guests via Skype or a Google hangout that can be tough as well because you've got potential over talk. You might not have the usual visual cues you have when you’ve got guests in the same space so it can be hard to wrangle that kind of show unless you have a bit of experience. But if you get it right it can sound really awesome.

4. Conversational/Co-hosted podcast

This is quite common and a lot of comedy show will be in this format where there’s a bunch of people sitting around shooting the shit. This was the style of my old show ‘Paul and Rach” and it’s great if you’ve got co-hosts you’ve got awesome chemistry with. Often there might be one person who does the business of the show e.g. the calls to action, introducing the show and the topics (though you can take turns with this) and that can be helpful because one person can be responsible for keeping things on track. They’re not necessarily talking any more than anybody else they’re just there to keep things moving. If you do this style of show it’s important that everyone brings something to the conversation.

Advantages of conversational podcasts

This is great for an audience because it feels like they’re catching up with old mates. People feel like they know you and they want to be a part of your gang and that can be a lovely thing to create for an audience. It can also be awesome for you as a cohost if you find the right people to bounce off. When you get the mix right you’ve got all these different stories, anecdotes, points of view, funny tales you can throw it in the bowl together rather than having to rely on bringing everything yourself. If you get the right chemistry with somebody or with two people it can be magic. Magic for you as a presenter and magic for the audience. If you have the right chemistry people love to listen to it because it’s great listening to people who dig each other. You can also share some of the idea load which is helpful because that can be hefty. If you've got a bunch of people that you're doing a show with everybody can throw their ideas in the ring rather than you having to come up with everything so that's great.

It can also translate really well to a live show. People love to turn up and see their favourite gang of podcasters doing something live. So if that's something you want to work towards in the future these kind of shows are great for that.

Disadvantages of conversational podcasts

The dreaded scheduling and commitment issue. If you've got a co-host you can never lock down, who was really into it at the beginning and now is getting a little bored or has met some dude or some girl and fallen in love and wants to be just out dating rather than podcasting it can be difficult. Life can get in the way so you really want to be sure when you wed yourself to a cohost they’re as committed to the show as you are. Because people will start to buy into your chemistry. They'll start to like the way you guys sound together and they won't want to lose one of you. You don't want to change that after you've started so be mindful of that when you're getting in. Marrying the right person in a podcast very important. The other disadvantage is that it can be harder to edit if you have more than one voice. You've got potential over talk, tangents, faff and fluff you need to get rid of and it can be tough to edit so think about that when you're thinking about the time that you have available to dedicate to your show.
If you're a longtime listener to this show you will know that I am a very big advocate for editing your shows and so I think it's important to do that even if you think it was 100 per cent gold. Just go through and do a bit of fine-tooth combing so you can make sure that only the best bits make it to air.
So those are things that you need to consider if you're working with cohosts. I have another episode on this show that you can listen to that is all about working with cohosts so check that out.

5. Non-fiction storytelling

If you are a first time or even if you are a very experienced podcast this style can be difficult to do well without a whole bunch of people behind you. These shows take journalists, editors, sound designers and a lot of time to do them well. Shows like this include This American Life and Serial. They mostly cover non-fiction stories told in an investigative journalism style.

This style of show includes lots of little bits of recorded audio including actuality, interviews, ambient sound, behind the scenes audio and you’ll often have a voiceover that ties it all together. Unless you are really experienced this style of show is something I would avoid in the early days because you are dealing with some very experienced competition and it has to be done really well to compete it's an overcrowded space. And it's overcrowded by people who are professional radio people. This is one of my favourite styles of podcast but it can be tough to do solo. However, the thing I love about the fact that this is open to people everywhere is that it now democratizes storytelling. So there are billions of stories on the planet and previously it would have been very hard to get it out there. You might be sitting on a fascinating one so maybe you can create a really compelling podcast around that but it will need more than just a rundown of the story. You’d need to conduct interviews, record some actuality at the scene and do a voiceover. Your story can be compelling but that’s not enough because you need to tell it and put it together in a way that can compete with what’s out there.

6. Fiction storytelling

This is a less crowded space although more people are jumping on board. If you’re a good writer or this can be a great way to get your stories out there but again it requires more than just somebody reading the story into a microphone. It's got to be audio storytelling it's not an audiobook. So this will require production elements as well as it's quite production heavy. So you not only need to be a really good writer, you also need somebody to do a voiceover who will act out the story rather than just reading it. It will also require a bit of added sprinkle not just you talking into a microphone.

7. Repurposed content
You’ll notice this a lot with television shows that repurposed their content into a podcast. The Rachel Maddow Show does it in the United States so does Real Time With Bill Maher and in Australia, Paul Murray Live. It’s basically a panel and talk show that happens on the air and gets repurposed into a podcast later. This can also happen with live shows like The Moth, the live storytelling show. So maybe you do a live show that might lend itself well to a podcast. It will require some editing because you can't necessarily just put the podcast out as it went live but maybe you're part of a live show at the moment and you think “Gosh this would make a great podcast!” So think about that if you're a part of something like that.

8. Hybrid

This is just a mishmash of the previous styles I've mentioned. So maybe you do a conversational show but you have a guest in every episode for an interview. Maybe you are a solo presenter and part of your episode is you dishing out some of your expertise and then in the latter part of the show you have a caller on to ask questions and you interact with them or maybe you do an interview with somebody. There’s not just one style per podcast you can really mix and match depending on what suits you and your content so be as creative as you want. You can really create whatever you want and cherry pick the best bits of each of the different styles to put together something that is really interesting and engaging for your audience.

So, I hope if you had no idea what different types of podcasts there are now you have a clearer understanding of what the benefits and disadvantages of each style are.

If you have any questions you can always head to PodSchoolPodcast.com and hit me up on the contact page. You’ll also find information about my online podcasting course PodSchool.com.au. And if you are finding these tips helpful you know what to do…just sneak into your little podcast app and leave a review (and a five-star rating if you feel so inclined). Thanks so much for joining me. I will see you next week and until then, happy podcasting.

 

4 Comments
  1. Hannah says:

    Thank you for writing this!

  2. Kiki says:

    Super clear and helpful, thank you!

  3. Yasmin says:

    Thank you this was so helpful

  4. Trish says:

    Concise and clear. Thank you!

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