The Art of the Podcast

The Art of the Podcast

What are the five types of podcasts? What is the common thread that connects each? How can you make your podcast better?

Yesterday, during the Craft Content conference in Nashville, I presented The Art of the Podcast. My goal was to leave the audience, who were a mix of current and future podcasters, with ideas on how to tell a better stories and produce better podcasts. I began my talk describing the five types of podcasts. 

The Five Types of Podcasts

The Five Types of Podcasts

1. Interview. An interview podcast is a program that features a guest and a host. Some of my favorites include; The James Altucher Show, WTF with Marc Maron, Marketing Smarts, and Six Pixels of Separation

2. Couples-Cast. A podcast featuring two co-hosts. I used to use this definition for podcasts with actual couples like Dawn and Drew, and my first podcast, Two Boobs and a Baby. I now use it to cover all co-hosted podcasts. Check out Marketing Over Coffee as a good example.

3. Ramble-Cast. A single host podcast. Any podcast with one person sharing what's on their mind fits this category. Tune into DicksnJanes and Up In This Brain to get a taste of what I am talking about.

4. Round Table. These are podcasts featuring a host as the moderator and a panel of subject experts. A favorite is The BeanCast.

5. Magazine. A magazine podcast is highly produced. It features multiple stories (like a magazine), and can also be referred to as a narrative podcast. I love shows like 99% Invisible, RadioLab, This American Life (admittedly this is a radio program first), and StartUp. I also have a new favorite, Neighbors, which I learned about from the host, Jakob Lewis, during Craft Content.

The online broadcasting barriers have dropped

While some of my favorite podcasts began as terrestrial radio programs, some favorites have gone the other way and become radio shows. The online broadcasting barriers have dropped with the advent of inexpensive production software (Audacity is free) and hardware like microphones, mixers, and headphonesAnyone can become a podcaster now. The point is to become a good one by telling and sharing stories your listeners will be interested in. 

What makes a great podcast story?

Each of the five types of podcasts has one thing in common: Storytelling. The interviewer knows when to remain quiet to listen to his guest's story. A couples cast will feature the hosts taking turns sharing and adding to their stories. A ramble cast features a single person telling stories about their day or from their past. A roundtable moderator will pass the mic to each panelist, she will ensure they stay on the same topic while each participant adds their own stories to the mix. Like a physical magazine, a magazine podcast includes narrative stories from guests and their hosts. All powerful podcasts include rich, vivid stories. 

What makes a great story in podcasting?

Four keys to podcasting an exceptional story

In The Art of the Podcast, I shared four keys to use in a podcast to relay an exceptional story. These don't have to all be used in a single podcast episode, but strong stories include one or more of the following; ambience (background sounds, music, sound effects), conflict and resolution, honesty, and humor. 

I included several clips during my presentation as examples. The sound bites came from 99% Invisible, RadioLab, DicksnJanes, and StartUp. I am truly passionate about podcasting. I hope my audience found my presentation helpful as they weave better stories into their shows. 

If you have a podcast please leave a link in the comments. I would love to tune in to your show. If you would like to see The Art of the Podcast live please get in touch