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What is Podcast? A Beginner’s Guide

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Do you ever find yourself wondering what a podcast is? A podcast is a digital audio file, usually in the form of a series, that can be downloaded or streamed online. It’s a great way to stay informed on topics of interest, listen to entertaining stories, and learn new skills. In this blog post, we'll explain what is podcast and how to start listening.

Podcasts are one of the fastest-growing media platforms that allow people to listen to conversations, stories, and music from around the world. With an endless variety of topics to choose from, podcasts offer something for everyone.

But what exactly is a podcast? This beginner’s guide will explain what podcast means, how they work, and why they’re a great source of entertainment and information. You'll also learn tips on finding the best podcasts for your interests. So let’s dive in!

What is a Podcast and How Does It Work?

A podcast is an audio program that can be downloaded from the internet and listened to on a computer, music player, or smartphone. It’s similar to a radio show in many aspects, but it allows users to listen at their convenience. Unlike traditional radio, podcasts aren’t subject to terrestrial broadcast restrictions and most are available for free.

Podcasts come in a variety of formats—ranging from interviews, talk shows, and audio dramas to educational programs on specific topics. They’re typically episodic in nature, meaning they’re organized into seasons or episodes with each focusing on a particular topic or storyline.

A podcast can be found either through subscription services like iTunes or via websites that directly host audio files. Listening requires only an internet connection, so you can enjoy your favorite podcast anywhere at any time—perfect for commuters or when traveling away from home!

What is the Purpose of a Podcast?

Man listening to a podcast on his headphones
With podcasts, you can learn a new skill or dive deep into a topic without ever leaving the comfort of your home.

From educational content and news updates to personal interest stories, podcasts are becoming a popular way to stay informed and entertained. But what is podcast used for?

The main purpose of a podcast is for people to have easy access to the information they find interesting or important. Podcasts are often serialized and released in episodes, allowing listeners to stay up-to-date on whatever topic they choose.

Podcasts can also be used as a great tool for entrepreneurs looking for ways to reach their target audiences with engaging content that can help grow their businesses. If you’re an aspiring podcaster needing help promoting your content across multiple platforms, try using the tool in this Lately review.

What are the 3 Types of Podcasts?

While there are hundreds of different podcasts out there, they can generally be broken down into 3 types—informational, story-based, and interview-style.

Informational podcast

An informational podcast is a type of audio program that provides listeners with interesting and useful information about topics related to their interests. The format usually involves one or more knowledgeable hosts discussing a topic, conducting interviews with experts, or entertainingly presenting collected research. Informational podcasts cover various types of topics, from current events to historical facts and stories.

Story-based podcast

Man sitting on the table with a paper and microphone
Telling stories from different perspectives, podcasting has become an increasingly popular way to be entertained and informed.

A story-based podcast is an audio program that features stories, characters, and storylines. It can be either a fictional or non-fictional tale told in a series of episodes.

Unlike traditional radio programs, story-based podcasts tap into the imagination of listeners with compelling storylines and colorful characters. Each episode typically contains narration from an expert on the topic, as well as interviews with real people to provide insight into the story being told. Story-based podcasts can range from comedic tales to serious dramas, giving listeners access to a variety of stories from all genres.

Interview-style podcast

An interview-style podcast features an interviewer conversing with one or more guests. Interviews are often structured as a series of questions posed by the host to the guest, which provides listeners with insights into topics related to their interests.

Interview-style podcasts provide both listener and creator with plenty of opportunities for engagement. As an audience member, you have access to interviews with experts on any given topic—providing you with an opportunity to learn something new each time you tune in!

What is a Podcast on YouTube?

A podcast on YouTube is a video version of a podcast—typically in an audio-only format. Many podcasters will record their audio podcast and then upload a video version of the same content to YouTube to reach a wider audience. The video version of the podcast often includes visual elements, such as slides or images, to accompany the audio content.

It's worth noting that YouTube isn’t traditionally seen as a primary distribution platform for podcasts, as it competes with many other platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Soundcloud. But since YouTube is the largest video hosting platform with a huge user base, adding the video component in a podcast and uploading it to YouTube can give more visibility and exposure to your podcast.

What is an Example of a Podcast?

While there are many types of podcasts available for listeners to enjoy, some popular podcast examples include:

The Joe Rogan Experience

The Joe Rogan Experience is one of the most popular and longest-running podcasts on the internet. It has been going strong since 2009 and has seen a wide range of guests from all walks of life—ranging from comedians to scientists. The show is hosted by stand-up comedian Joe Rogan and covers a variety of topics, such as comedy, current events, health and fitness, politics, and spirituality.

This American Life

This American Life is a weekly radio show that has been broadcast since 1995. It features stories about everyday life—ranging from funny to heartbreaking and everything in between. This award-winning program is hosted by Ira Glass and features an array of voices from different walks of life. The show also includes musical interludes, as well as comedians and famous actors who provide unique perspectives on a range of topics.

Pod Save America

Pod Save America is a popular podcast for political news and analysis. Hosted by three former Obama aides, the show offers an unfiltered and frank take on politics in the United States. For those looking to stay informed on the issues that matter most, Pod Save America provides a unique perspective into today's political climate.

Call Her Daddy

Call Her Daddy is an American podcast hosted by Alexandra Cooper and Sofia Franklyn. It began in 2018 with the mission to provide a platform for young women to share their wildest stories, thoughts, and advice when it comes to dating, sex, relationships, and navigating through life.

The podcast has gained a large following of fans due to its frank conversations about taboo topics, such as threesomes, open relationships, and one-night stands. This has made it the second most popular podcast on Spotify in 2021 and 2022.

Morbid: A True Crime Podcast

Morbid: A True Crime Podcast is a popular podcast that explores some of the most disturbing true crime stories. Hosted by Alaina Urquhart and Ashleigh Kelley, this podcast dives deep into criminal cases to uncover the truth behind them.

The show uses investigative journalism to explore different evidence, theories, and unreported facts related to unsolved and high-profile cases. Each episode focuses on a different case explored in depth with analysis from experts and interviews with family members of victims.

What are the Benefits of Podcasts?

Podcasts have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering listeners a new way to access media content. Not only are they entertaining and informative, but podcasts also offer numerous benefits, including:

Increased learning potential

A podcast can be used for educational purposes or personal growth and development, and it offers a unique opportunity for listeners to learn something new. With podcasts, one can get an in-depth look at an area of interest that they may not have had access to before—allowing them to further develop their knowledge base and gain valuable insights into topics they may not have previously explored.

Improved listening skills

For starters, podcasts provide an opportunity to hear different voices from all walks of life. By taking the time to listen and absorb these different perspectives and stories, you can develop a greater understanding of the world around you and increase your empathy towards others.

Listening to podcasts also allows you to focus on the words spoken rather than visual distractions like text or video. This encourages active listening, which can help strengthen your ability to concentrate for longer periods and pick up on details more quickly. As such, investing in podcasting could be one way to help sharpen your listening skills and expand your knowledge of various topics.

Increased accessibility

Woman listening to podcast on her phone outside
Take your learning on the go! Podcasts provide newfound access to knowledge, experience, and new perspectives.

Podcasts can easily be downloaded onto computers or mobile devices and listened to at any time, making them accessible even when individuals are on the go. Those with disabilities or limited mobility can also benefit from being able to consume audio material without having to physically move around or relocate.

For those with vision deficiencies, podcasts allow for a hands-free way to enjoy content that would otherwise be inaccessible due to its medium. Additionally, podcasts offer users control over their listening experience—they can pause when needed and rewind if they miss something important in an episode.

Cost-effective content creation

Creating content can be an expensive endeavor. Fortunately, there’s one type of content creation that doesn't have to be expensive—podcasts.

The cost savings from podcasting start with equipment costs. With relatively low start-up costs for microphones and recording software, creating a podcast doesn’t require a large investment in equipment like other forms of digital media do.

Additionally, many free hosting services exist, so no web hosting fees are necessary either. The majority of any expenses associated with producing a podcast will come from marketing and promotion, which can be done inexpensively online through social media platforms like Twitter or Instagram. You can also use software like the one in this PromoRepublic review to advertise your podcast content across multiple channels within just a single dashboard.

Unique engagement opportunities

Through podcasts, content creators can build relationships with their audience and provide engaging experiences that keep them coming back for more. Podcasts also allow you to interact directly with fans by responding personally to comments or questions on social media platforms or during live recordings. This not only gives the listener a sense of connection and appreciation but also allows you to gauge how you’re resonating with your audience.

How to Find Podcasts

If you’re looking to get started with podcasts or just want to find new content, there are several ways to search for them. Here are some tips on how to find the best podcasts available:

Use a podcast directory

A podcast directory is like a search engine specifically tailored to podcasts. It has information on thousands of different shows that you can browse through and explore. You can use filters, such as categories or topics of interest, language, and even country to narrow down your search results. Some directories even have ratings and reviews from other listeners, which can help make your decision easier.

Search popular platforms

Spotify discover page
With so many podcast platforms out there, it can be hard to know which ones are the best. So, choose the one that will help you reach your audio goals.

Platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts are some of the most popular for finding podcasts. They allow users to search for topics they’re interested in and even create custom playlists from their favorite shows. Plus, each platform offers personalized recommendations based on your listening habits. You can easily browse through the library of available podcasts and find something that fits your interests and schedule.

Ask around for recommendations

Search engines and streaming services can be a great place to start looking for podcasts, but don’t overlook the power of asking around for recommendations. Talking to friends and family who are already listening to podcasts can get you up-to-date on what’s popular in your social circles, as well as provide personalized suggestions that take into account your interests.

Additionally, you may find some lesser-known gems that haven’t made it onto the front page of streaming services yet but have become fan favorites among certain groups of listeners.

Listen to sample episodes

It can be difficult to know which show is right for you, so sampling an episode can give you a better idea of the topics discussed and the style of each podcast. By taking a few minutes to listen to a snippet from various shows, you’ll have a much clearer picture of what interests you and be able to find ones that match your preferences.

Many online platforms have made it easy for listeners with their “browse by genre” system, where users are shown all the different categories available, including comedy, sports, music, and news. From there, you can dive deeper into each category and listen to clips from whatever captures your interest.

Unlock the Power of Podcasts Now

U.S. Market Podcast Revenues Growth Projections
As reflected in the data above, podcast revenues are growing significantly each year. | Source: HubSpot

Podcasting is an exciting new medium for content creators and consumers alike. It offers a unique opportunity to create engaging audio experiences that reach your target audience. With the proper equipment, marketing strategy, and creative energy, you can launch your own podcast quickly and easily.

Creating a podcast may be daunting at first, but with a little bit of effort, you can become a successful podcaster in no time. Start by exploring the vast range of podcasts out there and find one that suits your interests.

For more tips, read this blog post: “15 Best Podcast Editing Software: Pricing, Features, and Benefits.”

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