If you’re reading this, you’re probably excited at the thought of delivering high-quality content to listeners.
Perhaps, you’ve even searched out some of the best podcasting equipment. But there’s just one problem: which format should you adopt for your podcast?
Many newbie podcasters, like you, are also wondering the same thing, so you’re not alone.
A good place to start is to understand the content your audience would love to consume. This will help you figure out the best format to adopt for your podcasting.
This guide will show you the various types of podcasts so you can easily choose one that suits your niche and style.
1. Interview Podcast
This type of podcast involves a host or pair of co-hosts who interview one or more guests, usually a person of interest. This format is similar to a TV talk show.
The interview format is an excellent choice if you plan to provide listeners with varied opinions, especially from experts.
In this case, your guests provide expert input, different shades of opinion, and insight into the subject at hand. This format is common when interviewing thought leaders, industry leaders, and politicians.
But this podcast format is not limited to sharing expert views only.
Entertainment journalists and comedians can use this podcast format for entertainment-style interviews, where guests are invited to share their interesting life stories with the audience.
Examples of interview podcasts include:
On the surface, the interview podcast format seems easy – after all, the guest is doing most of the talking.
While that may be true, you need to know how to creatively steer the conversation and draw out interesting stories from guests.
You’ll have to do quite a bit of research and hone in on your interviewing skills to make this a success.
Keep in mind that this is a highly popular podcast format, so it will require some concerted efforts, patience, and consistency for you to stand out.
Of course, it is a lot easier if you are already a celebrity or have a significant number of followers.
On the bright side, this format opens your show to a varied audience since many of your guests are highly connected people and will attract their fan base.
2. Monologue Podcast
As the name suggests, a monologue or solo podcast involves only one host doing all the talking throughout the episode.
This might be worth considering if you are an expert in a specific field and want to share your vast knowledge with your audience.
Many beginner podcasters choose this format and it’s quite easy to see why. You don’t have to fuss and worry about setup – you simply hit record and talk into your mic.
Provided you have a good microphone and free podcast recording software, you’re good to go!
While there are a couple of widely popular podcast styles, the solo or monologue format ranks among the easiest of all types of podcasts.
It is a good place to start if you don’t have any experience with podcasting.
Check out these great examples of monologue podcasts:
This type of podcast is powerful for building your brand, as the format allows your audience to get to know you more intimately.
Keep in mind that building a great reputation doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and consistency.
And whatever you do, don’t treat a monologue-style podcast like an audiobook! Your audience wants to hear you speak naturally, and not read a script.
Although this format doesn’t provide any room for bouncing ideas off any guest or co-host, it gives you the flexibility of making things happen on your own schedule and not waiting for someone else’s involvement.
Plus, editing a monologue during post-production is a lot easier. That’s because you are editing only your voice, which is a lot easier than working on multiple tracks at the same time.
3. Conversational Podcast
Conversational or co-hosted podcasts is another popular format that is similar to a traditional radio show.
The format has two podcasters having interesting conversations on specific topics and themes, such as trending news.
Usually, this format is great for two people who have great chemistry together, share the same interests in a particular theme or topic, and want to start a podcast together.
Similar to a radio show, each host has a specific role in the conversation. For example, one of the hosts may lecture on a topic or lesson, while the other shares personal stories relating to the lesson.
Or one host might provide insightful or humorous commentary after the other reports a trending news item.
Check out these examples of conversational podcasts:
It is quite easy to create a friendly and entertaining feel with each episode with this type of format.
It doesn’t take long before listeners will start to feel they are part of the conversation, especially if the entire session feels natural instead of scripted.
However, both hosts need to make sure that they stay on the same page overall instead of creating a conflict for listeners.
While this is a fun podcast format, editing two voices is usually more work than editing one.
But the good thing is that a co-hosted podcast means sharing the workload of creating a podcast with someone who is equally thrilled about your idea.
4. The Panel Podcast
Panel podcasts or roundtable shows is somewhat like an interview-style podcast. But with this format, the conversation involves a group of hosts instead of interviewing guests.
This is a great format if you find the right group of friends who share the same passion as you and are excited about sharing their different points of view on specific topics.
The format provides the flexibility for discussing (or bantering on) just about any topic of interest to the group.
And if the group pulls this one off, it is quite easy to gather a following of eager and passionate listeners.
That’s because audience members are quick to feel like they are part of the group with this format, and long-time listeners can easily pick up personality quirks and jokes from the different hosts.
Here are examples of the panel podcast:
Usually, one of the hosts will anchor each episode while other co-hosts fill specific roles in the conversation. But coordinating this type of podcast may not be a walk in the park.
You will have to consider the conflicting schedules of the hosts, and you may problems if the different personalities don’t blend quite well.
However, the panel podcast can easily be a huge success if all the hosts decide to work together.
5. Storytelling Podcast
Storytelling podcasts share real-life stories in each episode. So this format should suit you if writing non-fictional events is your thing.
The format allows you to share events, unique perspectives, and first-hand stories with interested listeners.
These stories may span over several episodes in a series or you may choose to tell share one story per episode.
Here are a few examples of storytelling podcasts:
This podcast format offers an unlimited number of stories to share with your audience, so you’re not likely to run out of content quickly.
However, it requires thorough research skills and getting the facts correct.
Remember that this is supposed to be a medium for sharing non-fictional events, such as true crime stories or historical events. Your audience may not be readily forgiving if you don’t get your facts right.
However, if you do this right, the format can quickly attract addictive listeners, especially people who want to learn more about the topic.
6. Podcast Theater Podcast Format
The podcast theater podcast also goes by the name fictional storytelling. Similar to dramatic television, this format essentially uses the medium to entertain audiences with fictional stories across several episodes.
The format can use the voice of only one podcaster but in many cases, it involves many voice actors.
In some cases, it can even use sound effects, sound engineers, and an entire cast to make the story more captivating and give listeners a more immersive experience.
Some examples of the theater podcast format include:
This is an ideal format if you enjoy creating characters and weave fascinating plots. So, if you have a fictional script you’ll like to make into a podcast, the podcast theater podcast format is your best bet.
As you probably already guess, this will involve a lot of work and effort. But it is one of the least common podcast formats, so you’re not going to face stiff competition like other types of podcasts.
7. Repurposed Content Podcast Format
This podcast format involves taking already existing content and transforming it to provide more value for your audience.
This is an easier way for bloggers, vloggers, and content creators in other mediums to reach a new audience.
You can split the original content, add to it, or transpose it into a new medium.
For example, you can record your lectures, transform your blogs into podcasts, or turn a weekly sermon into a downloadable podcast.
Obviously, you’ll have to do some editing to make the original content suitable for a podcast.
Depending on the original content, it might take less time and effort to edit this type of podcast than creating it from scratch.
To give a clear insight into what a repurposed content podcast is, check out the following examples:
Keep in mind that people have other ways to access the original content. So, make sure they are getting additional value by listening to your repurposed content podcast, or else you’ll lose them fast!
8. Hybrid Podcasts
This list of the major types of podcasts will be incomplete without mentioning the hybrid podcast format.
Consider going for the hybrid podcast format if you are looking for more flexibility with the different things you’ll like to do on your show.
It is also an excellent choice if you can’t seem to box your niche topic into a more traditional podcast format.
Here are excellent examples of a hybrid podcast:
This type of format simply means mixing and matching a couple of different podcast types to create something unique to your style and niche. It is absolutely up to you and how creative you want to get!
However, you want to be careful about “creativity” so that your podcast will still make sense while providing value to your listeners.
If you are fusing different formats, make sure the entire episode is cohesive and won’t leave your audience confused.
For example, you may want to split an episode of a panel show into different segments where the main host will carry on a solo or monologue for a while before tying back to the panel.
Or, you may choose to interview guests occasionally on a monologue-style podcast.
Bottom line: people should come out of the podcast experience with value and appreciation of your unique podcasting style. Your hybrid podcast is a huge success if you can achieve this.
Choosing one from the various types of podcasts comes down to identifying what your preferred niche is – what you really enjoy talking about – and the content your target audience is most likely drawn to.
Once you figured out these, how successful you are will depend on your skillset, consistency, and patience.
Remember, there is no best podcast format. It all boils down to how well you use any of the podcasts types listed above.