All set to dive into the world of podcasting with your interesting content, high-quality audio recording devices, and your amazing voice. One thing that you might miss and cause the make and break of your podcast is the right format. Yes, you read it right, the format you use for your Podcast is an important factor and with multiple options available, you would need to choose it smartly and wisely.
This write-up is everything you are looking to make your podcast a success- best podcast formats, how long should a podcast be, and several other related factors. So, keep reading and stick with us till the end.
In this article
- What is a Podcast Format?
- Why Picking the Right Podcast Format Matters?
- How to Choose the Right Podcast Format For Your Show
- Produce a High Quality Podcast Right Now
Part 1: What is a Podcast Format?
Above we have discussed how important a format for the podcast is. So, before proceeding further, let's understand what a podcast format is.
In simplest terms, a format can be defined as the way or the manner in which the content of your podcast show is organized. The way in which your podcast is delivered to your audience can also be termed as a format. Using the right format will not only keep your content organized manner but will also help in easy accessibility as well as reaching the right audience.
A format will also make your podcast structured and will help you keep it consistent over multiple episodes. So, having a format for your podcasts will make it look neat, structured, and organized.
Part 2: Why Picking the Right Podcast Format Matters?
In the above part, we learned what podcast format is and its basic importance. So, with multiple format options available, picking up the right podcast format is tricky as well as important. Here we will study why it is important to analyse and choose the right podcast format options available.
The type of content as well as the targeted audience helps in determining the right format for your podcast. It is seen that whatever format is selected, it is kept throughout the show as it not only makes your show consistent but the audience then also knows what to expect from your podcast. Moreover, selecting the right format and sticking to the same also helps in easier planning and execution of the content.
For instance, if you have been using the solo format, the audience will know that you will be talking about multiple issues in a solo manner in your upcoming podcast. Similarly, if your format has been in an interview style, the audience will be well prepared for that type of content in the coming shows.
Another benefit of selecting the right format and also staying with it for your shows, is easy marketing and publicity, as listeners can better describe what people can expect from your shows and content.
Part 3: The 10 Most Popular Podcast Formats
Now, that you know what podcast format is, its importance, and the benefits of choosing the right format, it's time to learn what are the options available when it comes to choosing the format.
Below we have listed the top and the most widely used types of podcast formats with their details.
1. Interview Podcast Format
This is a type of format where the host(s) interview new guests in each of their episodes. This is one of the most popularly used formats that is liked by the audience as the listeners get to hear about the expertise as well as the experience or the new guest in each episode.
Example: Podcast Noor
The podcaster Noor AI-Huda Tagouri (@noor) collaborates with storytellers to bring you their own stories for the first time, or the right time.
- Most of the talking is done by the guests, so you just need to maintain the conversation.
- The podcast looks like a legitimate conversation and thus small mistakes are ignored by the audience.
- Interview podcast helps you get a new audience and grow as with each episode the audience of the guest is also added to yours.
- This type of format is less production intensive.
- The biggest challenge is to get new guests for each episode.
- You need to have a lot of patience, practice, and also good interviewing skills else the content will become boring.
- While connecting online for an interview, issues can arise in case of low connection.
- The success of your show depends on a lot the way in which the guests interact and entertain.
While using this type of format, it is always advisable to keep a guest list ready and approach them for the coming shows. Practice your interviewing skills with informative and interesting questions, to keep the audience engaged.
2. Solo Podcast Format
This is one of the most commonly used types where the host explores and discusses one or many topics in each of their episodes. Since the conversation is held in a monologue style, this format is also known as the monologue podcast format. This format is simple and does not involve any specific or elaborate setup or arrangements. You just need to start speaking about the topic using your microphone.
Example: Carefree and Black Diaries
This is the podcast for you where everything from culture, politics, music, and education will be discussed. Every other Tuesday, join Shaakira White, an HBCU grad and life enthusiast, as she discusses new topics.
- Can be planned and produced easily as it is not dependent on any other host or guest.
- Offers an intimate and close experience for the listeners and thus helps in brand building as well.
- Easy editing as it only involves a single voice.
- Offer complete control over the recording process.
- Being a solo event, everything from the content to the recording has to be taken care of single-handedly.
- There is a lot of talking involved in a solo format so it can be tiring.
- In the initial phases, you would need to practice speaking solo on the mic.
- It can be challenging to keep the listeners interested in your solo talk.
In solo format, it is always better to plan and keep the script ready before you start recording. Also, ensure that the content as well as the narration is interesting so that the listeners stick with you till the end.
3. Conversational/Co-Hosted/Roundtable Podcast
As the name suggests, this type of podcast format involves two or more hosts/speakers who interview the guest and discusses the related issues together. This type of format is casual in nature and is not very structured as a conversation between multiple people takes place.
Example: Black Wealth Renaissance
The podcast shares knowledge & experience of successful Black entrepreneurs and investors.
- With multiple hosts, the workload related to production, planning, and everything else is shared.
- It is not dependent on one single member and if any one member is missing due to some emergency, the episode can still be recorded.
- With this type of format, listeners can experience a diverse set of perspectives.
- With multiple hosts and guests, the format can be quite interesting and engaging.
- The hosts need to be on the same page and stick to the purpose and the message.
- Editing multiple voices can be a difficult and time-consuming task.
- Topics that are known to all the hosts have to be selected.
- Not much planning or scripting can be done.
For a co-hosted/roundtable podcast, all the participating hosts need to have good bonding and conversational skills. All the hosts also need to have somewhat similar perspectives on the issue discussed else there will be a conflict of opinion.
4. The Panel Podcast Format
This format is somewhat similar to that of an interview format but involves a single host and multiple guests in each of the episodes. This format looks like a panel show which comes on a TV program. The listeners get to hear the experiences of multiple people on the discussed issue through this format.
Example: Political Gabfest
The Gabfest, featuring Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz, is the kind of informal and irreverent discussion Washington journalists have after hours over drinks.
- With the opinions of multiple guests, the format offers a good experience to the listeners.
- Most of the talking in the show is done by the guests, so the host does not have to worry much about the talking part.
- Allows bringing together multiple celebrities and people on a show and thus helps in brand building.
- Planning and managing the schedule of multiple guests can be a difficult task.
- Getting multiple speakers for a single topic or an issue can be tricky.
- Balancing the conversation and making sure that each of the guests is heard equally is difficult.
- Recording and editing multiple voices requires specialized tools and software.
While planning a panel format, make sure that you brief each of the guests regarding the content, topic, time, and other factors before the show. Also, using good software to reduce the background noises and managing the microphone levels can help.
5. Narrative Podcast Format (Non-fictional Storytelling)
This type of podcast format majorly revolves around incidents or historical topics that are discussed by the host using interviews, recordings, or live fields. These types of podcasts are generally on real-life events, but at times can also be fictional. The format is apt if you have an audience who wishes to learn more about their surroundings, world, and happenings.
Example: American Hysteria
American Hysteria explores how fantastical thinking has shaped our culture – moral panics, urban legends, hoaxes, crazes, fringe beliefs, and national misunderstandings.
- Can be a good learning experience for people who wish to know about an incident or an event.
- This format of the podcast can also be added and mixed with other forms like movie clips, documentaries, news broadcasts, and more.
- There is a wide selection of stories and topics to choose from.
- Offers creative control as well as freedom.
- Sticking to a publishing schedule can be difficult with this type of format.
- In the case of real events, you need to be very careful and stick to accurate and correct information.
- This is a time-consuming format that involves a lot of intensive research.
- Editing for these types of podcasts can be challenging.
This format is great if you wish to convey and pass information. Since the format involves a lot of research, it is advised to well research and prepare the content in advance. Also if you are adding other audio elements, make sure to get their rights or permission beforehand.
6. Podcast Theater Podcast Format
This format is also popular by the name of fictional storytelling podcast format and in this type, a story is told across multiple episodes like a dramatic TV program. The stories in this format can be narrated using a single voice or multiple voices along with sound effects. Fictional storytelling involves a lot of creative work and should also be interesting to make the listeners stick to your podcast.
Limetown is produced by Two-Up, the producers of 36 Questions, The Wilderness and Shipworm.
- If your story and content are interesting, the audience will stick to your podcast to know what happens next.
- The competition is not very high as only a limited number of people opt for this format.
- You can have a lot of creative freedom with this type of format.
- No need to worry about any factual data.
- Creating an audience can take in this type of format.
- You need to be very creative to ensure that your audience is entertained in each episode.
- Since all the episodes in a series are related, you need to plan them and have a proper connect.
- Can be competition from other mediums like films, TV, radio, and more.
- Involves a lot of planning for executing the content visualized.
Since this format involves a lot of creativity, it is advisable to keep the script, and content ready and tight so that there are no production delays or end-minute changes. Using sound effects will add more drama to your content and will thus interest the audience.
7. Repurposed Content Podcast Format
This is a format where you actually pick up the content that is already present and then change or transform it to get more value out of it. The transformation can be done in several ways by adding to the content, splitting it, and moving it to another medium. A lot of bloggers also pick up the written content and then convert it into an audio podcast.
Example: The Moth
The weekly sermons by a religious organization, lectures by a professor, comedy by an artist, and similar others can be transposed into a podcast.
- This form is easy to produce as the content is already available. Only the editing part is required.
- The budget for this type of format is also low.
- With readymade content, production can be done quickly.
- Helps in growing the existing audience.
- Editing and transformation can be tricky for a lot of content.
- The editing result might not look right in a lot of cases. (For instance, if there is show-hand conversation in a lecture, it might not get conveyed accurately while creating a podcast).
- Can look repetitive.
- There is less creative freedom in this format.
While creating a repurposed content podcast ensure that you are editing and accurately transforming the already created content to match the podcast requirements. If any permission or rights are needed for the existing content, make sure to get it.
8. DIY Your Own Podcast Format
This is something that can also be considered as an experimental format where the creator does not follow any traditional style but creates and experiments with something on his/her own. Here, you can be as creative as you want and mix multiple forms to create something unique.
Example: Sleep and Relax ASMR
It is a weekly podcast that creates audio experiences designed to help people sleep and relax. The show uses various ASMR triggers including whispers, gentle speaking, relaxing background noise, and general ambiance to help people unwind and relax from their busy lives.
- This type of format gives you a lot of freedom to mix and match multiple forms as you want.
- You can create each episode in a series uniquely and differently.
- Can create an audience base among people who are looking for something different and unique.
- Offers a lot of flexibility.
- Conceptualizing can be challenging when you do not stick to any traditional format.
- A lot of creativity and time is involved to plan and create something unique.
- Staying motivated and sticking to the unique format can be challenging.
Before planning and producing, ensure that there is a target audience for the type of content you are creating. Thorough research, planning, and then bringing everything together in your DIY format can be tricky.
9. Investigative Podcast
As the name suggests, an investigative podcast format is one where a series of episodes are made to investigate an event or a mystery. This type of format might only have a solo host or may also have guests who discuss and investigate the mystery together. This is quite a gripping format for the listeners as they keep looking forward to the next episode as to what happens next. The investigation can be for a real event or a fictional one.
Example: Over My Dead Body
It is an anthology series about people who are pushed beyond their limits and do unspeakable things.
- Apt for the listeners who are looking for something interesting and gripping.
- Can keep the listeners hooked for several episodes.
- For a real-life event or a case, you just need to present your content based on the facts available.
- You need to put forward the factual data correctly.
- The content needs to be presented in an interesting manner else the listener will lose the connect and interest.
- Picking up the event or a mystery can be quite tricky and especially the one which is not yet solved.
Before starting to produce the show, ensure to collect all the information related to the event and draft the content and its flow. In case of a real event, you can even interview the related people in some of the episodes to make them interesting.
10. Video Podcast
This is a type of podcast format where a video element is added along with the audio content and this element can be footage that is pre-recorded, a static image, or even a recording showing your conversation with your guests. This type of podcast format is more engaging including the emotions, expressions, and also body language through video elements.
Example: The Joe Rogan Experience
The Joe Rogan Clips show page presents some of the best moments from the episodes. That’s a very typical video podcast.
- Helps in gaining a wider audience who prefer video along with audio content.
- The format is more engaging and entertaining and builds a better connect.
- Easier to share on social media sites and other platforms.
- The podcast in this format can be easily repurposed in different ways.
- Multiple ways of video podcasts can be created like in-studio interviews, remote interviews, interview and b-roll, static images, and more.
- Need extra effort to edit audio as well as video.
- Proper planning and content are needed to include the video part in the podcast.
- Need tools to record the video.
Plan the content of your podcast format, so that you know which video element to prepare. Use a good recording and editing tool for the videos. Check out the video podcast by other creators to get an idea.
Part 4: How to Choose the Right Podcast Format For Your Show
Above we have discussed different podcast formats that can be used for creating a podcast show. Now, that you know the types, the next question arises as to which one is the right and suitable format for your show. Several factors go into this deciding factor and this part of the topic will discuss, this aspect of podcast format selection.
To choose the right podcast format for your show, we can rely on the following 5-question formula.
1. How would you want to convey your information?
The very first question that you should ask yourself before choosing the podcast format is how would you the information to be conveyed to your audience. For instance, if your information is related to some expert advice then a panel and interview format would be good whereas, in the case of comedy and entertaining content, a multi-host format would be best.
2. Which format will help your show to stand out?
You are creating a podcast show to get the audience and stand out from the rest. So, another important and obvious question would be to know which format will let you stand out with the type of content you have. For this, you can check out and research the podcast similar to your content and study their format. This will give you a fair idea of the pros and cons of the style used. It is not at all necessary to follow the same format that others having content like you are following. In fact, to stand out from the rest, experiment with something new, but after thorough research.
3. How would you like to promote your show?
Another important point is to analyse as to how would you like your show to be promoted. For instance, if you have expertise or experience in any specific field, try aligning it with the podcast format. Like if you have professional industry experience, interview shows with people can be arranged easily and similarly to others.
4. Which format aligns with your brand?
Alignment of the format with your brand is very important for being successful and creating a niche for yourself. If you are already running an organization, then it means you have a brand and choosing a format that well aligns with the brand will help in creating a cohesive experience.
5. Which format aligns with your style?
You can only create interesting and engaging content regularly if you enjoy doing it and this can only be done when the podcast matches your style and personality. So, always choose a format that goes well with your style., personality, and the type of content you want to create.
Tips while selecting a podcast format
1. Switch between the formats at the beginning, test, and get the listener’s feedback
Selecting a format is an important decision but once selected, it is not necessary to stick with it forever. You can choose to change it from the very beginning. You can keep changing the format from time to time, test it, get feedback from your audience and then decide, so, switching between formats can prove to be beneficial.
However, while switching or doing a transition, make sure that your existing audience does not lose interest in your show, and that's why we recommend you conduct tests in the early stages of the show.
2. Wisely selecting the guests
If you are using a format that requires you to call for a guest or a panel, make sure to choose them wisely. The guests should be well aware of your show, and its content and can add value to the same. Also help them with a few questions beforehand, so that they can prepare accordingly.
Part 5: Produce a High Quality Podcast Right Now
So, now that you have decided on the content and the format of the podcast, the main task arises- creating a podcast. Though you can do everything from a scratch, this can be quite demanding in terms of effort and time. To help you with the same, there are several tools and programs available and here we will discuss one such excellent software called Wondershare Filmora.
Filmora by Wondershare is a complete video editing tool, it also comes packed in with multiple audio-related features that can help you create a podcast quickly, and easily. The software can be downloaded on all the latest Windows, Mac, and iPad systems and features a user-friendly interface.
Some of the Wondershare Filmora features that are of great help in creating a podcast are enlisted below.
Using Filmora, not only video but also audio recording can be done in high quality with the microphone. So, if the software is installed on your system and your content is ready, you can directly start recording your audio. The tool allows recording the voiceover and the screen simultaneously.
Adding audio effects
With the software, you can use over 100 audio effects to further enhance your podcast and add some extra elements. You can also access the royalty-free music available at the site.
Text to Speech (TTS)
If you are not willing to use your own voice for the podcast, no need to worry as the software allows converting your text into speech in an accurate manner using the leading algorithms technology. The software gives you the freedom to choose as well as customize the voice that you want for your podcast among 10 different options available.
To cater to all types of listeners around the globe, the software supports up to 16 languages including English, French, Japanese, and others.
Speech to Text (STT)
Another useful feature of the software is Speech to Text, where your speech is recognized by the tool and converted into a text format for editing or any other requirements. The latest technology and the algorithm ensure that the task is done most accurately.
Steps to record and edit podcasts using Wondershare Filmora
Step1 Launch the software and create a new project
Download, install, and run the Filmora software on your system and then choose to Create New Project.
Step2 Start Audio recording
Next, clicking on the Record button for the recording process. Next, choose the Record Voiceover from the given options.
Step3 Set your microphone
In this step, you need to set your Microphone device and then click on the Red circle that will confirm the voiceover recording.
Step4 Keep recording and export the file
Now, you can keep recording till you want the content for your podcast. To proceed, tap on the OK button. Next, tap on the Export button for downloading the project.
Step5 Editing the recorded audio file
Double click the audio file, then make edits, like fade in, fade out, pitch, denoise, etc., can be made on the audio you just recorded.
Step6 Adding transition music for the middle
Filmora provides a lot of royalty-free music resources within the software, like background and atmospheric noises for the natural scene creation. You can find all of them from the audio tab.
With the above content, it is clear how important the podcast format is for the success and impact of the show. Not only the format helps in connecting with the target audience, but it also helps in creating content, publishing as well as marketing. Above we have listed several formats with their pros and cons and also a few questions that can help you land the best suitable format. For users who are looking for some professional help to record a podcast, Wondershare Filmora works as an excellent tool.