Podcast Show Formats
Staying consistent with your show format is just as important as producing content within your podcast niche. Your audience will come to expect your show to be more or less the same each week. It would feel odd to the listeners if one week you ranted, the next week you sat down and interviewed an expert in your industry and the following week you did a roundtable with friends, or a sentimental solo-cast. Once in a while it’s fine to add in a different segment, bring in an interesting guest or talk about something going on in your personal life, but, for the most part stick to a format.
This is especially true in the beginning. I highly recommend you master your current format, before you try spicing up your format or segments. Your listeners want consistency, they’ll come to expect your show to have a similar feel each time they put it on. Don’t confuse them.
The Six Show Formats:
- Interview shows – This is where you and/or a co-host(s) sit down and interview someone or a few people that have influence in the field/genre of your podcast. Think of an FM Music Radio station interviewing a couple members of a band who just put out an album.
- Roundtable/Conversational – A more casual approach to a podcast, where a group of friends have a discussion. For example; The Patriots just won the Super Bowl and you and your co-host/buddies are discussing the game.
- Instructional – These podcasts teach you a specific skill. For example, there are numerous podcasts out today that teach you how to trade stocks.
- Solo-Casts – This is where the host does the show alone and maybe gives advice, talks about things going on in their personal life, teaches a lesson, does comedy bits etc… It’s a great way to connect with your audience on a deeper more personal level because it’s you alone on the microphone being vulnerable. Audiences love hearing your vulnerability because often times they can relate to your story or life circumstances.
- Narrative/Story-Telling – These podcasts aim to tell compelling true stories about events that have happened in the world. You could aim to tell the stories of the Charles Manson murders, by interviewing witnesses, the police that were involved, victims family members etc… These shows require quite a bit of journalistic and editing experience because you have to dive deep into historical research and conduct compelling interviews. Think of these as almost mini documentaries. You must be an excellent writer to pull these off and often times need a team of producers, writers and editors.
- Scripted – These are scripted podcasts. They’re like a TV show but only audio. There are characters that need to be cast and a story that has to be written. If you’re interested in creating a scripted podcast, you’ll need to write each episode line by line and cast voice actors to play the characters in your story. The really compelling and successful “Audio Drama”/Scripted podcasts are often turned into TV shows. For example, Gimlet’s “Homecoming” was turned into a TV show on Amazon Prime.
Hopefully this article will give you some insight to the different types of podcasts you can create. Each one requires a different mindset and skill set. If you’re still confused or have paralysis by analysis, look to podcasts that you’re trying mimic or that you’re inspired by. What are there show formats? How can you fit into their format but bring something new to the market?