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Did you know that 75% of the US is conversant with terminology podcasting? Statistics have shown that over 100 million Americans listen to at least one podcast each month. In a period of three years, monthly podcast listeners have grown 54% (half of Americans).

Familiarity and listening to podcasts continue to grow in the US, steered by an increase in podcast programming and partly beacuse of recent pandemic that forced several churches to embrace podcasts. Another contributing factor is client adoption of smart speaker devices, such as Google Home and Amazon Echo.

That is good news to business owners, as podcasts are providing a unique platform to grow a close relationship with listeners and budding clients. It is also another tactic for their audience to interact with their content, and build the business’ reputation, and much more!

So, what is a podcast?

What is a Podcast?

A podcast refers to a digital audio file accessible in the Internet that you can download to your mobile device (iPhone, Android, etc) or PC. Typically, podcasts are available as new episodes or a series that subscribers can receive automatically.

You can listen to a podcast on the go, for instance when driving or doing house chores, without interrupting your schedule or timetable. Some podcasts have downloadable mobile apps that you can install and listen to using your headphones.

Example of Popular Podcasts

There are many popular podcasts with a lot of following and subscribers, depending on the content they offer and their impacts on everyday life. From Serial (investigative journalism based on true stories) to Cocaine and Rhinestones (the history of 20th century country music), there is a huge list. 

See Serial here, or Cocaine and Rhinestones here.

Podcasts Offer More Than Repurposed Radio

Though radio shows and podcasts are similar, they are surely not the same. Substantial disparities exist between these two channels that make it simpler to repurpose some radio shows than others.

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How are Podcasts far better?

  1. Unlike repurposed radio, podcasts are not limited by station geographic reach or format. As such, they remain focused on specific topics or niches, which meets the needs of many searchers/listeners.
  2. Podcasts are available from the beginning of an episode which is critical to an episode as the listener decides to or not to listen throughout. For repurposed radio, listeners tune in at different times, and you are not sure if they have been following.
  3. Podcasts have no time constraints, which means that the length of an episode is entirely your decision. This offers enough time to cover loads of gripping content.
  4. Repurposed radio allows playing music in between the show. Podcasts, on the other hand, are strictly focused on talking more about topics.
  5. Unlike repurposed radio, podcasts have a long shelf life, which means they can be accessed years from today. In fact, some podcast episodes do not see a breakthrough until later after production has even stopped. And while some podcast content is timeless, others are more temporary.

Are Podcasts Audio or Video?

A one-on-one interaction with your audience creates a solid connection which makes video podcasts a great deal. Now, imagine all the things you have to do to produce a high-quality audio podcast. See? These factors go to another level when you think about video content, with questions such as do I look great? Does the video grab the attention? and more.

While a video podcast is attractive and engaging, it is less convenient for your listeners, as they cannot sacrifice their daily chores to sit down and watch. 

Nowadays, podcasts are available in audio format only, but this does not make video podcasts extinct. Podcasting is no longer a background content. Listeners need something that can educate, inspire, or entertain them in the middle of a busy schedule.

For instance, podcast stats have shown that 22% of Americans listen to podcasts while driving. You cannot watch a video while driving a car, can you? That is why most podcasts are available in audio formats due to their accessibility and engagement.

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Audio format podcasts can be listened to from the bathroom, kitchen, gymnasium, or any other engaging activity. 

What do Podcasts Sound Like?

When listening to a podcast, it is easy to tell that most of them sound quite familiar. Perhaps the content is similar to what you might have come across on a radio or TV talk show. However, podcasts offer a lot of freedom, which makes it different and fresh compared to the normal broadcasting.

Normally, podcasts revolve around a particular topic that features in each episode of the talk. They are more like interviews, where different hosts and guests cover a certain topic and exhaust every bit. Professional podcasts are great for the ears, but they are both time-consuming and expensive.

Types of Podcasts

There are four types of podcasts that you will find out there, including solo, interview, and multi-host podcasts.

  1. Solo Podcasts

Solo podcasts are a fantastic choice for individuals looking to start up a podcast, and they involve a single individual running the entire show. Its content can be question & answer (Q/A), news, or based on opinions.

Technically, the production of a solo podcast is easy as it involves having a topic, podcast recording skills, and your voice, of course. A good example is Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income that blends instruction and inspiration on marketing your online business.

  1. Interview Podcasts

As the name suggests, interview podcasts involve one or two individuals hosting separate guests on each episode. The fact that interview podcasts do not need plenty of basis makes it a popular podcast format.

All you need to do is conduct research on your interviewee and structure questions. A good example for this is Political Gabfest that discusses political issues, featuring hosts John Dickerson, Emily Bazelon, and David Plotz.

  1. Multi-host or Hybrid Podcasts

A multi-host or hybrid podcast is one that includes a group of hosts, plus other guest speakers who feature in the show. This type of podcast begins with a monologue from the host, and then others make their contributions to the topic on the table.

The Fizzle Show is a good example of a multi-host podcast that features co-hosts Caleb Wojcik, Chase Reeves, and Corbett Barr.

  1. Repurposed Content
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Repurposed content is yet another common podcast style that involves content such as workshop interviews, seminars, and more that boost the audience’s experience. A recognized example for repurposed content is The Moth, which features the US best stories featured on stage.

Podcasts vs Podcast Episodes

Confusing terminology, right? We have talked about a podcast above, so what is a podcast episode? If a podcast is a program with a series of episodes, that makes a podcast episode a single recording from the whole podcast program.

It is just like you see it on TV, yeah! Take for instance a TV series like ‘Supernatural’ and ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ as the episode. In the case above, Supernatural is our podcast, and Stranger in a Strange Land is the podcast episode.

Difference Between a Podcast and an Audio File

Unless you want to start a podcast, this information can be termed as rather irrelevant. But if you insist, then let’s embrace it. Technically, they are one and the same. How? If you have downloaded an episode of a podcast from a podcast site, what you downloaded is an audio file.

What is the difference then? This comes when you include an option to subscribe to that series of audio files. If your podcast hosting service lets subscribers to subscribe to a series of your podcast series of audio recording, that’s a completely operational podcast.

Bottomline

Podcasts are a great way to reach out a larger audience, but audio formats are more preferable and adopted. Given the rising growth of using podcasts, it’s a worthy investment.