Your podcast format should match the types of stories your audience wants to hear and those that best represent your commander's intent. It should be engaging but also sustainable. Each of these podcast formats has its own unique challenges and benefits. Understanding your audience and your goals will help inform your steps going forward.
Some common and popular podcast formats are:
This podcast format involves a singular host delivering content—
usually an expert or an authoritative figure. Listeners tune in to hear one person speak.
- Easier to produce
- Independent and applicable to multiple topics
- Limited-run episodes possible
- Extensive research
- Pressure on one person to always be "on"
This format involves one or two hosts interviewing guests and is suited to messaging that provides expert viewpoints and opinions from trustworthy guests in their field or program. Interview style allows you to interview guests with interesting and applicable life stories that can entertain your audience.
- Highly sought after by listeners
- Expert, reliable, trustworthy input
- Thrives on varied opinions
- Many can contribute
- Continually finding guests who are experts and entertaining to interview can be difficult
- More voices mean more editing time
- Strong time management and scheduling skills required
This format typically has two or more co-hosts discuss trending topics and provide commentary. This type requires chemistry between the hosts that lead to insightful, humorous or debate-driven conversations. This format works well when it's not scripted and improvised on the spot.
- High entertainment value
- Organic and adaptable to trending issues
- Technical challenges possible if done in separate studios
- Splicing software needed
This podcast could be non-fiction or fiction. Stories can span multiple episodes and arcs to create a single or even multiple seasons. Non-fiction episodes can be documentary-style that tell real-life stories. Fiction channels the creativity of the host to tell stories and teach lessons.
- High entertainment value
This podcast style involves taking existing, established content and utilizing it for a new segment of the target audience.
- Boost audience engagement on already established medium
- Good for digital-heavy clients or brands
- Less production time
- Audio quality
- Clearance can take time if content isn't the property of the organization or public domain
This podcast features any combination of the traditional formats where the merging of styles is better suited to meet and align with what audiences want and need.
- Flexibility for niche topics
- Constant evaluation of format versus intended audience
Tips for a Successful Podcast
No matter which podcast style you choose, there are some universal practices that will help the process move forward smoothly.
Practice and get support from others!
- Build up your solo podcasting skills with practice.
- Pre-test topics with colleagues.
- Practice discussing them with a microphone in front of you.
- Limit studio guests to only those who need to be there.
- Involve a support team (subordinate unit) for note-taking and post-production.
Repeat patterns for familiarity!
- Incorporate recognizable elements to help with branding and memory.
- Consider what kind of background information you need for stories, topics or guests and use it consistently.
Establish an interview protocol!
- Collect bios of guests in advance.
- Warm up your guests in advance with pre-interview questions.
- Prepare guests with interview tips.
- Interview no more than four guests in a single show.
- Plan for what will happen after you introduce your guests.
Great audio requires great equipment!
- Test your audio equipment before you begin.
- If you're recording on your phone, use an auxiliary cable from your phone directly into a recording device.
- Connect the microphone via an external line return (XLR) cable. Don't rely on conference software for audio.
The best part of heading up a podcast is that you get to call the shots. If the format you choose isn't working, try out something else for a couple of episodes. Play to your strengths, support your command's mission and let your audience be your guide.