There are nearly one million active podcasts in the audio industry according to Oberlo. With this high number comes a myriad of podcast types. We’ll dive into the different kinds of podcasts to understand how formatting is key to podcast identity, as well as the various genres associated.
Something that makes podcasts unique is the way they’re formatted. When a show is laid out in a particular way, it sets the tone for the duration of the podcast’s life and gives listeners an expectation for what kind of content they’ll be tuned into. Some of these formats include: interviews, storytelling (fiction and nonfiction), solo shows, panel, co-host conversations, and repurposed content.
What’s neat about podcast formatting is how an assortment of tones are great for a range of moods or settings, depending on how the listener feels in the moment. If banter with friends is your cup of joe, a co-hosted conversational podcast will do the trick. If you want to be captivated and entranced, a good fiction or nonfiction storyline podcast can transport you to other realms and lifetimes.
There are oodles of podcast genres available to listeners, making it possible for anyone to find something they love to listen to. As mentioned in Music Oomph, by mid 2021, the five most popular podcast genres were society & culture, comedy, news & politics, business, and health. Within these categories are subgenres that are more niche-specific, such as the latest celebrity gossip in society & culture, or diet fads and nutrition shows listed under health.
The possibilities for podcast genres and topics are nearly endless. These include immersive soundscape stories, muti-series true crime narratives, up-to-date investing wars, and so much more.
Some podcasts have highly sought-after actors voicing critical roles within their shows. For example, Cole Sprouse plays the role of Sam Walker in QCODE’s Borrasca, a podcast about a quiet town in the Ozarks, riddled with mysterious kidnappings. More recently, Jeff Goldblum joined the Dark Dice podcast team of voice actors and played the part of an Elven sorcerer in the popular Dungeons and Dragons live-action show.
If you have a vision in mind for how you want your podcast to be perceived but still need help narrowing to a specific genre or category, our tip is to listen to similar podcasts in your desired genre.
Exploring the multitude of podcasts is sure to lead to some new favorites and can inspire you to reshape or finetune the details of your show based on what you liked or didn’t like while listening to other similar shows. Give different categories a try, you might like what you hear!
There is no singular way to do a podcast genre. Many people assume they have to put their show in an industry mold in order to fit in with their chosen genre. This simply isn’t true. Take the shows on the health charts for example.
Many podcasts in this category are factually based and come straight from a textbook. They might feel like sitting in a college class, listening to a professor drag on. Others are more conversational and host guest interviews to bring additional insights to the topic. Within the health genre, there are many subgenres to be explored like fitness, diet, health trends, specific medical conditions or even interviews with professional athletes.
You don’t have to stick to one singular mode of recording. Success can be found in a variety of genres under the same umbrella genre.
Mixing horror with true crime and personal stories is sure to be an interesting podcast. Another could be foodie adventures mixed with traveling and language learning.
That being said, whatever you are passionate about, there is a potential for genre mixing that fits your show.
The first step to becoming a true podcast aficionado is to find the right topic that suits you. Even if you think your passion is too niche, we promise that someone out there will love what you have to say.