Types of Podcasts: Which One Is Right For Your Podcast?

woman talking about different types of podcasts on microphone

Which type of podcast is best for my podcast? With over 400,000 active podcasts available for podcast listeners and some directories claiming more than 4 million podcasts available in their apps, there is likely a podcast format or podcast genre available for any search term you can think of. We generally work on podcasts for busy professionals and small businesses where the podcast host is using their podcast as content marketing but are aware of many different types of podcasts and podcast formats.

If you have a podcast or are considering launching a podcast, Emerald City Productions will guide you in the best formats for your subject matter. You’ll benefit from our years of experience, as we’ve learned what categories, hosting, and formats are the most engaging for your specific audience. You don’t have to get locked into a single style or format but can use a hybrid podcast format approach depending on that episode’s content.

Content and Intent Types

The easiest way to classify your own podcast is to think about the intent of the content. Let’s explore some of the most popular podcast formats.

Interview Podcasts

A quick word about interview podcasts before we explore more… Most podcast hosts seem to jump to the conclusion that they should do an interview podcast format primarily, likely because they listen to podcasts with this type of conversational podcast like the Joe Rogan Experience and others.

On the contrary, the most important content you will create will be episodes featuring the host because the most powerful relationship your listeners will have will be with the host of the podcast.

Educational Podcasts

Most busy professionals and small businesses will be best served by providing educational podcasts and content. This podcast format seeks to provide value and knowledge at no cost to potential customers as a way to build a relationship with them. We see these types of podcasts perform very well in generating leads for a business.

Business + Company Brand Podcasts

Some businesses elect to “educate” potential customers about their business by creating content that explains the services offered by the business. Others elect to “sponsor” podcasts that educate potential customers about the industry or product that the business specializes in or focuses on.

Internal Private Company Podcasts

An internal company podcast is a series created for the employees of an organization. It’s designed to educate, encourage, and motivate your team members while crafting company culture and values at a deeper level. In addition, it fosters relationships with team members as they get a more personal glimpse at the executive leadership team and other staff.

Are you wondering how a podcast can benefit your organization? Could you use it for PR and corporate communications, or even talent development? By creating an enterprise podcast you can use your podcast for internal training, for conveying messages and statements from organization leaders, as well as internal communication.

Personal Brand Podcasts

A personal brand podcast reveals how you define the distinctive value that you bring to others. It also reveals you as an individual person, not just an organizational entity.

Perhaps the most effective podcast format is the personal brand podcast. Besides building a relationship with potential clients, the personal brand podcast creates a body of work that establishes trust and authority for the host. It has the potential to strengthen your connections and engage more deeply with colleagues.

Non-Fiction Narrative Story-Telling and Fiction Narrative Story-Telling (aka Podcast Theater)

Though we do not work on these types of podcasts, narrative podcasts are very popular. Stories carry power and storytellers have been in fad since the earliest human existence. Such podcasts include popular podcast genres like true-crime and shows like RadioLab.

Repurposed Content

Content repurposing is the process of recycling a piece of content. For many marketers, repurposing can mean taking a piece of content (say, a podcast episode) that’s intended for one channel and reformatting it for another (audiograms for social media).

We encourage all of our podcast clients to repurpose their episodes into other formats and assist them in creating blog posts, social media, YouTube content, and other forms of content marketing built from their podcast episodes.

It’s also possible to turn and extend existing content into a podcast format. For example, if someone is an author, they can discuss further elements of the book in a podcast format.

Limited-Run Podcast Series

For businesses that may not have time to create consistent content over an extended period of time, limited run podcasts are a great way to provide helpful content to potential customers. A limited run podcast means the creator has a plan to only release a certain number of podcasts around a given topic, and not have the series be scheduled indefinitely into the foreseeable future.

Hosting Formats: Another Consideration

While the types of podcasts above deal more with the content or intent of the podcast, there are also four types of podcast hosting formats. For most podcasters, it is appropriate to combine several of the podcast formats below for a hybrid podcast approach.

Solo Podcast Format

These episodes feature only the host and as mentioned above help establish the relationship with the listeners and also create a body of work and establish trust and authority. They are a monologue format most of the time.

woman monologue podcast recording

The Positive

Gets the host’s voice out as a leading thought leader on the given topic of the podcast.

The Challenge

Most of the pressure for content creation and expertise rests on the host. It can get tough to fill ongoing episodes.

Conversational Podcasts / Co-Hosted Podcast Format

A slight modification of the solo show is to have 2 hosts or co-hosted podcasts that involve conversational podcast episodes between the hosts. The back and forth conversation, interplay, and banter can greatly help to hold the attention of podcast listeners. Two sets of perspectives are shared throughout, as well, and this allows the podcast hosts to ask questions and get feedback from one another while recording.

co-hosts podcast recording

The Positive

Creates a conversational feel, not a lecture feel, making the podcast seem more accessible.

The Challenge

Getting the chemistry of show hosts right can be a challenge.

Interview Format

The interview podcast is a classic format. There is typically a recurring host who interviews special guests. PBS’s How I Built This is a great example of this format with Guy Raz interviewing founders, allowing them to share their founding story, challenges, and other business principles they learned along the way.

The interview podcast format is a great way to feature guests and we suggest that clients use this format to expand on topics or subtopics where they may need a recognized expert to provide more information for their audience members. Authors, academics, practitioners, subject experts and authority sources are booked as guests.

woman interviewing podcast recording

The Positive

The host doesn’t have to be a comprehensive subject matter expert. They simply need to be to ask outstanding questions.

The Challenge

Gathering the questions often requires significant research, such as reading the interviewee’s book or publications.

Panel Format

Often used by entertainment podcasts, the panel show allows an energetic discussion of a topic. Typically a moderator guides the discussion of the panel. The strength of the podcast is the diversity of opinions and perspectives shared. It is the opposite of the monologue/solo podcast, in that sense.

panel doing podcast recording
Positive male and female radio presenters interviewing guest in sound broadcasting station. Focus on man

The Positive

A wide variety of opinions and perspectives can be shared by a diverse panel.

The Challenge

Making sure the podcast stays on track and on topic while allowing each panelist an opportunity to participate requires a master host with skill.

How Emerald Makes You Sound Great Regardless of Your Type of Podcast

Without having to master each and every tiny task involved, you want a podcast that sounds fantastic. 

Launching a podcast and producing material should be easy, and you want to reach as many people as you can.

We can help with that!

Emerald City Productions is a full-service podcast production firm that offers podcast production services for each and every podcast episode you generate, including podcast editing services and high-quality audio production services.

You need a podcast production firm because you are a busy professional and require assistance with everything from the initial idea through the planning, production, publishing, distribution, and launch.

Yes, you can devote hours to researching how to accomplish it yourself. On the subject, there are a ton of podcast episodes and videos on YouTube. You may even buy books that will walk you through the process step-by-step. You don’t need to learn how to be a podcast host, podcast editor, and marketing consultant since your time is important. Even worse, you don’t want to teach your staff how to accomplish any of those things. And you definitely don’t want to fall into time-consuming traps that lead you off the path.

That is the purpose behind Emerald City Productions. Your professional audio editing is performed by a dedicated member of our team, which also includes a copywriter, a designer, and a project manager who ensures that your episodes are published each week.

I want Emerald to help me sound great!