A Podcaster's Guide To Different Podcast Formats

podcast formats podcasting tips Feb 07, 2019


Can my podcast have two different types of formats? First I think we need to define what a "format" is and then determine whether or not it will be beneficial for you, your podcast listeners and your podcast.

This particular question comes from a recent tweet. This is how it was asked:

"Hey, Shannon, I've been binge-watching your YouTube videos all this week and have a question. How advisable-- or not--is it to have two different kinds of formats of content in a single podcast,? For example, a solo talking [podcast] interview uploaded in alternate weeks to the same channel?"

Defining "Format" In Podcasting

When I think of "format" for podcast purposes only, I'm thinking of "style". You might have a solo podcast where you're talking just alone and you're sharing your thoughts and your ideas out.

Then you have the "interview style" format, which would be you and a guest.  This can also be a podcast where it's you and a co-host interviewing a guest.

Or maybe you have the "storytelling" format where it's more produced and may require more editing.

You can define "format" in many different ways, but these are the ways how I've defined "format".

When you decide you want to do a different style or format, consider whether you're changing the topic of the podcast by each episode.  Are you talking about Photoshop design one week and then NASCAR the next week? It's important to understand this concept because an unclear MAIN topic of your podcast will confuse your audience.

There are ton of people out there that say, "I want to talk about a little bit about everything.".

I totally get what you're saying and it's definitely admirable.

I mean, you probably have thoughts on so many different areas that you feel you're exploding with ideas.

But when it comes down to your podcast, you should be podcasting about the one thing that sets you one fire. It's almost necessary to do this and stay within the listed niche in Apple Podcasts because you should be considering how consumers are searching inside of Apple Podcasts or other syndication platforms. Generally speaking, they're searching for something to listen to inside a specific niches or category.

What Is Your Podcast Search Behavior?

Consider how you look for podcasts: you go into a specific category. Perhaps that category is "business" or "health and wellness", "nutrition", "video gaming", "comic books", or whatever else. I think you understand my point here. You have respect how Apple, Spotify and other syndication platforms are categorizing the content.

In the instance of the particular question that prompted this post, I knew the individual was a photographer and wants to start a podcast based around photography. In this case, it would be important for him to stay within the niche.

With regards to which format he wants to do, he's going to have to decide whether he wants to do a solo podcast or interview-based podcast. In this case, I'm sure that he can do either one.

There are going to be times when you don't have a guest and you won't be able to release anything. The only thing you must be aware of is the fact that your listeners are going to expect that your content will be helping them out. Remember, some listeners will prefer your interviews while others prefer listening to your solo-based episodes. When you record your program, try to remain consistent rather than publishing erratic formats.

If you're creating a podcast for photographers that will help other photographers, you're making sure that your content is helping other photographers out, right?

Your Podcast Should Be Entertaining Or Educating. Period.

If you are doing a podcast based around comic books and the Marvel series of movies, you may watch the movies/read the comic books, then make a commentary on those pieces of media. Your podcast could be interview-based or it could be a collaboration between a group of individuals. Just remember to maintain quality content by either entertaining your audience or educating them.

Remember: any content that is posted on the internet is content that either educates or entertains. 

If you're wildly entertaining, people are probably going to come back and listen.

If you're just looking to educate other photographers by sharing tips and tricks, share what has worked you. Even if your method isn't the "right way", your tips are methods that have worked for you and may help other photographers advance to the next level.

If you want to get more detailed on how your content can really educate a listener, I recommend you purchase the book, Youtility by Jay Baer. This book breaks down how you create content to help other people out so they can continue returning back to your content and trust you more. In fact, my entire blog and YouTube channel are based around that book and its philosophies

Can You Program Multiple Podcasts On One RSS Feed?

This concept may be a little too advanced, but I feel I need to cover it because I know there's someone has this question.

Let's say you have one RSS feed, and you want to create different styles of formats or a different podcast within that feed. In other words, the one feed you're seeing on Apple Podcasts might have different programs from different podcasters, but it's all part of the same RSS feed.

Is this effective for you and your podcast?

I don't feel that it is effective because when you're creating an RSS feed, people are buying into you and they're buying into the content that you are creating. Let me give you an example:.

Say you have a photography podcast and all you talk about on Mondays is photography.

Then Tuesday rolls around and there's a podcast on the same RSS feed that about video editing. Sure, it kind of relates to photography because it's somewhat related. You can do this, but I don't recommend it.

Again, I recommend you stay within the niche of your topic gather like-minded people who will want to listen to what you have to say within that niche area. And you will want to stay within the niched because that's what people are searching for.

Let's just take it to the other extreme.

Let's say your podcast is all about entertainment and comedy. Still, you need to have a niche if it's about comedy. Now we need to dive deeper. Is it about true crime? Can a comedy-based podcast about true crime can be tongue in cheek? I believe it can.

In fact, it's already being done by my friends from Small Town Murder and Crime and Sports.

Jimmy Whisman and James Pietregallo has successfully done this for the last 3 years while garning millions of downloads. They were very conscious of their decision when they made two different RSS feeds for two different podcasts. They knew they couldn't put Small Town Murder inside of a podcast that is focused more on the athletic perspective. Logically, it didn't make sense. Even though it's still the same format, it's still two different programs with different goals.

Keep your podcasts individualized for one niche. This will help you gather more listeners. If your programming is erratic, it's not going to help you gather a raving fan base. Give your listeners a reason to know what they should expect.