So you wanna start a podcast. But you aren’t sure what kind of show format to choose?
What’s even possible?
Ultimately, your show format is an extension of your personality, tone, goals, and logistics centering around where you will record from most often.
So let’s look at some questions to consider and options you can pick from to find the right podcast show format for you!
A Few Questions to Consider
What’s your podcast’s goal?
- Are you sharing blog posts in a podcast format?
- Are you presenting information using images and audio?
- Are you talking to guests and sharing the conversations?
Where will you be podcasting?
- In a studio with your guest?
- At home by yourself?
- On the road?
- At conferences doing “man on the street” interviews?
The good news is that each podcast episode has its own format so you aren’t locked into a specific option. You can have a mix!
Here’s a quick overview of some podcast show format types.
Types of Podcast Show Formats
- The Standard Interview
- The Monologue
- The Co-hosted Show
- The Question and Answer Format
- The Presentation
- Live Conference Shows
- Audience Reaction Shows
- Mix It Up!
Let’s look at each of these in more detail…
1. The Standard Interview
IMA Leader is mainly an interview-style podcast. I normally records my episodes in Skype. These shows follow a pretty simply format:
- Standard, pre-recorded intro
- Warm greeting and updates
- Introduction of guest
- The interview
- Closing remarks
- Standard, pre-recorded outro
2. The Monologue
Some podcasts are simply a single person talking to the audience. A great example of this is Podtent Marketing’s Executive Producer, Gregg Clunis and his show Tiny Leaps Big Changes. Gregg records his episodes directly into Audacity and follows a pretty strict format – based on late night comedy shows:
- Sponsor message from Gregg
- Quick Intro
- Musical Interlude and Explanation
- Standard Introduction
- Show Content
- Calls to Action and Reading a Guest’s iTunes Review
- Standard Closing
- Musical Outro
3. The Co-hosted Show
Periodically, you may want to bring on a co-host. This is complex to do via Skype but easy if the co-hosts are in the same room. The Cloud City Cast focuses on all things Star Wars, Disney, and Marvel and is recorded with both hosts in the same room.
Co-hosting can also be done via Skype. An example is this episode of IMA Leader with Heather Dubrow of the Real Housewives of Orange County. Co-host and IMA founder Sinan Kanatsiz and I were on Skype and we brought in Heather who was on the road.
When and if you have a co-host, do a test interview with someone else. Make sure neither host has any sound quality issues. With three participants on the call and only two recording tracks available via Skype, you won’t be able to alter one host’s audio while keeping the other constant so having equitable sound from the hosts is critical.
The structure of these shows is the same as a typical interview with the addition of an introduction of the co-host at the top of the show.
4. The Question and Answer Format
Pat Flynn’s “Ask Pat” is a great example of this type of show.
Several daily podcasts make one show a week specifically for this type of episode. It drives audience engagement as people submit questions in order to hear it answered “on air.”
5. The Presentation
Even before YouTube, there were video podcasts. Several of the most popular podcasts have both an audio and a video format normally with the same content.
IMA Leader is actually two podcasts. The one most people are familiar with is the audio version but, in special circumstances, we produce shows for our video podcast as well.
A good example of this is when we have marketing leaders like evite CEO Victor Cho or Microsoft CMO-Lead Jeff Marcoux on as guests. I give these individuals the opportunity to actually share content directly with our audience. They grab the mic, so to speak, and deliver a 15 or 20 minute educational PowerPoint. While listeners to the audio podcast still hear what’s going on, the video podcast displays the show to those who aren’t driving while listening.
6. Live Conference Shows
A podcast can bring a lot of value to vendors at a conference long after all of the attendees have flown home.
If you host and/or attend conferences, talking to people about their experiences and using those conversations as content for podcast episodes can demonstrate value for your sponsors or vendors long after the show has ended.
Consider this episode of IMA Leader where I interviewed a sponsor of the IMPACT14 internet marketing conference. The company was able to use the podcast episode to generate content weeks after the close of the show.
If you’re a vendor at a conference, you can drive a lot of traffic to your exhibit or booth simply by putting up two chairs, a table and a microphone. Conference attendees love interactivity and the chance to get a bit of spotlight.
With nearly all conference sessions and keynote speeches forcing participants to sit and get information, they crave the ability to give their reaction. They especially love being able to do that and then see themselves on their iPhone. Plus you can Periscope for live interaction with guests following the conference live.
By IMPACT15, Laura and I had taken IMA Leader’s presence at the conference to the next level. Through a partnership with Oracle, I interviewed conference sponsors and attendees in a recording marathon while Laura snapped photos and live tweeted the interviews as they happened.
Not only did this generate a huge crowd around the Oracle exhibit, it generated enough content to power IMA Leader for several weeks. http://imavideo.libsyn.com/
7. Audience Reaction Shows
IMA Leader was envisioned to be a library of content to help modern marketers stay current. Rather than focus on downloads in a given week, we wanted to create evergreen content that new IMA members could visit as a free resource.
After two years, we’re building an audience reaction show (coming soon!). This is an audience-driven show. We give IMA Members the ability to submit up to ten minutes of audio talking about how they implemented something an IMA Leader guest discussed in a previous episode.
After your show has built up a library of content and an audience, this is something you may want to implement as well.
8. Mix It Up!
Ultimately, it is your show, so if you want to do a mix, that is completely okay. Laura’s show Copy That Pops is primarily a mix of Interviews and Monologue shows, for example.
And She Podcasts also mixes it up quite often to the delight of fans.
Just map out a plan and let us know your goals so we can give feedback on the best way to implement things and keep your audience feeling cohesiveness from show to show.
As you can see there are many podcast show format options available to you and you are not pigeon-holed into any one in particular if you want to work in some variety.
Our main suggestion though is to make sure whatever you choose resonates with your audience! Get feedback from them and keep incorporating their favorite things as you grow.
- What kind of podcast show format do you use?
- What kind of podcast show format is your favorite to listen to?
Share in the comments below!