12 MOST POPULAR PODCAST FORMATS

Guest post by Sheila, founding director of the BBE podcast agency

Podcast formats are ways to organize your show’s content and we have curated over 12 podcast formats to consider when creating your podcast. The most popular podcast format is interview and conversational but there are plenty of different ways to format your podcast. 

The right format will keep your content organized and make it accessible to your listeners. Without a strong format, your show will seem disjointed and messy.

Original post: 12 MOST POPULAR PODCAST FORMATS

Food for thought: if you already have a podcast, you can use these any of these 12 podcast formats as segments for a better listening experience for your listeners.

1. NEWS AND TRENDS

Shows with this format can be as easy or as complicated as you want. This format works for any topic and can be highly focused. For example, you can talk about the latest news in celebrity gossip, trends etc.

This is a flexible format that allows you to provide value to listeners with or without having an opinion on something. Easy to repurpose content to/from a newsletter, video etc.

Podcast examples: The Daily by The Times news publication

2. DEBATE

A debate format show is the perfect way to have increased engagement for your podcast because your guests and listeners can join you in the debates.

This format works for any topic, from politics, to fashion: and pretty much anything under the sun. mention above. You can keep it light or approach each episode in a way that leaves people crying (or at least gets their blood pressure up).

Podcast Example: The Great Debate

3. DEEP-DIVE INTERVIEWS

A deep dive podcast format involves someone with expertise in a particular industry speaking to other guests who are entrenched in their industry for years. This format gives a ‘behind the scenes’ conversation giving information about what happened in particular instances etc.

The Joe Budden podcast is the perfect example because retired rapper Joe Budden, Mal, Rory and Parks discuss the on-goings of the hiphop industry because they’re considered veterans in the rap game.

Podcast Example: The Joe Budden podcast with Mal, Rory and Parks

4. CONVERSATIONAL/CO-HOSTED

This is another common podcast format. It involves two people having a straightforward conversation who generally have great chemistry together. Unlike an interview podcast format, however, these two people are both hosts.

In many cases, each host will play a specific role in the conversation. One might report the news snippet while the other provides commentary or comedy. One might teach lessons while the other tells stories from their experience. 

Podcast Examples: Jesus and Jollof podcast

Shxts N Gigs podcast

5. Solo/Monologue Podcast

This podcast format is fairly common. It’s used by people who have a specific kind of expertise they want to share. There isn’t much fanfare or setup. You simply talk into a microphone.  Many new podcasters start with this format because it’s so simple. All you need to get started is a microphone and some free editing software. 

If you choose this podcast format, you’ll have to decide how much you want to plan each episode. Some podcasters are comfortable ad libbing off a few notes, but others have a hard time talking for 30-45 minutes without detailed preparation. You may decide to write a complete script for each episode.

Podcast Example: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

6. INFLUENCES

If you have some level of success and people care about the work you may consider creating, an “influences” show where you talk about the books, mentors, and other things that have helped you to do your work may be an option for you.

This format is a great way to tell your story and get people more connected to you by telling the stories of others.

7. PANEL BASED FORMAT

A panel podcast is similar to an interview podcast, but with more people. Each episode has a single host and a group of guests. For your listener, it feels like overhearing an organic conversation between friends. 

8. DECONSTRUCT A PROCESS

Songwriter and producer Jimmy Jam (with partner Terry Lewis) has produced dozens of hit records, including “When I Think Of You” by Janet Jackson, “Monkey” by George Michael, and “U Remind Me” by Usher. He’s had 41 top ten hits in the US and 31 in England.

Jimmy Jam knows the process of writing and recording music. So who better than to talk about this with other artists?

If you’ve “been there, done that” and have the ability to explain it, this is a great format. People love to hear the behind-the-scenes stories of how something was made and learn how successful people do their work. This will leverage existing audience and reputation of well-known work.

Podcast Example: Wind of Change 

9. NON-FICTIONAL STORYTELLING

Non-fictional stories are podcast episodes about real life events. You might dive into a series of murders, chronicle an expedition up Mount Everest, or recreate a historical event. You can tell one story per episode or span your story across an entire series. Or you could simply report the news.

This is an excellent podcast format for listeners who like to learn more about our world. You have the opportunity to expose people to new ideas, concepts, and events. 

Podcast ExampleTrue Spies (great spies to take you deep inside their greatest missions.)

10. TIGHT FOCUS / SINGLE-THEME

When it comes to attracting a podcast audience, it’s almost always better to be more specific than broad. Having a single-theme, tight focus is one way to do this.

In his show, Chorus And Verse, John Rzeznik focuses on the evolution and meaning of single songs, not albums, and not artists. This allows him to go deep, hearing aspects of a story that would likely be skipped in a more general setting.

You can’t cover everything. And if you try to cover too much within a single interview session or podcast episode, some topics won’t be given the justice they deserve.

Lots of people skip over important topics/discussions when interviewing guests. By having a tightly-focused show, you’ll be able to attract true fans who want more than a general interview and give them something they’ve never heard before.

11. REPURPOSE CONTENT

Repurposing content is when you take content that already exists and transform it in a way to get more value out of it. You might add to it, split it up, or transpose it to a new medium. Some bloggers simply take existing written content and repurpose it into a podcast for an audio experience.

Podcast Example: Limetown podcast (“What happened to the people of Limetown?”)

12. PEER INTERVIEWS

Terry Gross interviewing Howard Stern. is the perfect example of a peer interview. As an established radio host herself, she’s with him and trying to understand him better, not putting him up on a pedestal, like so many hosts do with their guests.

Podcast Example: Under Construction with Tamar Braxton

Is there a wrong or right podcast format?

No. We have a curated a list of the only 12 podcast formats to show that there is no wrong or right answer. Simply choose a format and tailor your content to fit that protest.

Choosing the right podcast format: the essential questions

Now that you know the 12 podcast formats, you’re probably wondering, “So which one is right for me and my show?” Ask yourself this:

  1. What’s the best way to convey your topic’s information?
  2. Which format will help your show stand out? But most importantly, which format aligns with your style?

Book your free 1-to-1 consultation so our team can help you figure out what the best format for your podcast.

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