Podcasting is the new age of radio. You must be really off the technological scene if you are unaware of Podcasts. With around 384 million podcast listeners globally, Podcasting is a trending form of media. Podcasts can be traced back to the year 2000. While podcasts have existed for many years, they are gaining traction now.
If you are wondering what is a podcast, how they work, and how you can start them, this article is for you. I’m covering all the above questions along with additional information. You will be a podcast creator and own a podcast by this blog’s end.
Let’s get into it, Fam!
What Is A Podcast?
A podcast is an audio recording made available over the internet for people to listen to. Every unique audio recording is known as a podcast episode. The one who hosts a podcast is referred to as a podcaster. Sometimes, there are other co-hosts as well. A podcast can be of any niche. News and Sports are the most common forms of podcasts.
The above definition is a simple explanation of podcast; in recent times, how people produce and consume podcasts have changed. Podcasts are now a wildly popular form of media that have evolved beyond just being radio shows available for download. Most podcasts nowadays have a series, and the topic of discussion is distributed among episodes to make a season.
A podcast does not have a set format, duration, or tone. Each podcast is unique and covers various topics, but each episode usually focuses on a single subject.
The cultural environment that supports podcasting is known as the podosphere, similar to the blogosphere for Blogs.
What Is The Purpose Of A Podcast?
There can be a lot of purposes to start a podcast, but the main goal of a podcast is to entertain the audience. Listeners tune into a podcast for various reasons, such as:
- They want to learn something new that the podcast is offering.
- They want to keep up with all the recent events and get updated on what’s happening in the world.
- They want to have a good laugh listening to their favorite podcast.
- They want to know the life story of famous celebrities, like what they had to do to get fame.
- They want to know about real-life events that are related to crimes and ghosts.
All these reasons point toward getting entertained. A podcast can be a good way to promote your business too. It can easily help you find your target audience. If you build trust among your audience using podcasts, then there is a good chance they will be interested to know about your business too.
What’s the difference between a podcast and an audio file?
The most straightforward explanation is that a podcast episode and an audio file are the same. If you have downloaded a podcast episode from a podcast website, you would have already discovered that you are just downloading an audio file. The difference comes when you add the option to subscribe to that series of audio files.
So if you are using podcast hosting platforms to allow people to subscribe to your series of audio recordings, then you have suddenly turned them from simple audio files into a fully functioning podcast. But still, they are just audio files; alongside the subscription, you can call them a podcast too.
If you are using good podcast hosting platforms, the subscription aspect is done for you automatically. Still, you might want to know at least a little about how it works.
To keep it simple: it just runs through a technology called RSS feeds, and it’s just a computer language that lets your podcast software talk to the podcast websites.
So when you use apple podcasts, google podcasts or any other podcast apps, it’ll download the new episodes automatically. Also, it’ll keep track of all your subscribed podcast via each podcast’s RSS feeds. This is much easier than the normal audio files; you would have to search them out on the web and download them yourself.
One main thing to remember is that an audio file is just an audio file, nothing more than that. Unless you upload that audio file to a website and allow it to be subscribed to via an RSS feed, then it’s a podcast. That’s it.
How Do Podcasts Work?
Podcasts, as opposed to TV and radio shows, provide an easy way for podcasters to connect with people. Podcasts are currently unregulated, so you don’t need a broadcasting license to publish them. Anyone with basic podcasting equipment, such as a microphone, DAW, and a podcast hosting platform subscription, can start their show.
Because of sponsorship deals, contextual advertising, memberships, and more, monetizing a podcast has become a way to earn bread and butter for many.
The Easy way of Explaining How Podcasts Work Is:
A host, the podcaster, records a digital audio file using recording equipment. Then the audio file is edited in a daw to remove all the long pauses and unwanted parts. The file is then uploaded to the RSS feed.
The RSS feed acts as a warehouse of podcasts. You can submit this RSS feed to hosting platforms such as Spotify and Apple Podcasts. This makes your podcast available on streaming platforms where people can access it. Every time a new episode is added to the RSS feed, it automatically updates into the platform’s directory.
How Can You Start a Podcast?
It is no rocket science, and I will tell you that. Like I said earlier, anyone with basic recording equipment (even the phone’s mic will do) could record a podcast episode. And as it needs no licensing or other stuff, you don’t need to invest much.
Here is a Quick Guide On How to Start a Podcast
First things first. The checklist for your podcast.
- Recording Equipment: Now, there is no budget for this. You can use your phone’s built-in microphone, your headset’s mic, or go for the most expensive mic available and everything in between. Choose whatever suits your budget and Go for it!
- Recording Software: Also known as DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). You will need this software to record the podcast audio and make it clean by editing it. I recommend going for GarageBand on your Apple devices and Audacity for Others. Unlike Garageband, which only runs on Apple devices, Audacity supports all OS like Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- Hosting Platform: You need a platform to host your podcasts. Don’t confuse this for streaming platforms; a hosting platform is like a warehouse that stores your recordings, and a streaming platform is like a retail store that lets people access the podcasts.
- I recommend going for podbean as it is convenient to use and has a free trial. The pricing plans are very economical as well.
Now that you know the checklist, time to explain to you how to start a podcast in a few easy steps.
- Plug the Mic into your computer
- Launch the DAW and set the audio input channel.
- Test the Mic and make sure to cut out any background noise.
- Press the record button and start recording. You can pause and continue according to your convenience. Once done, click the Stop button to end the recording.
- Edit the recording as per your needs. This means cutting the long pauses, adjusting the pitch, and more.
- Export the file (preferably in mp3). If you want, you can choose more options, such as WAV and FLAC.
- Upload the audio file to a podcast hosting platform. This will create your RSS feed which you can submit to podcast streaming platforms later. I recommend going for Podbeans.
- Submit the RSS feed to popular podcast streaming platforms, on your Podcast websites, and on your social media to attract the audience.
So this is how you start a podcast.
I have also posted a detailed guide on recording a podcast and starting a podcast on Spotify earlier. You can check to understand the above process better.
Types of Podcast
If we are to differentiate podcasts, we can make up hundreds of categories. I’m sharing four podcast types in this space that cover most sub-types. Here are they.
- Non-Fiction Narrative Podcasts
It is one of the most popular podcast formats. This category is typically dominated by reporters who excel at gathering details and insights from their areas of study. These types of podcasts use audio clips from a subject’s interview to share the true stories of others and their own opinions.
- Conversational Podcasts
In this podcast, two or more hosts have conversations about specific themes and topics. Co-hosts frequently discuss trending topics and offer insights and other relevant stuff to that topic.
- Hybrid Podcasts
This type of podcast has a designated host but frequently has different guest speakers who guest host the show. It usually begins with the host’s remarks, followed by a roundtable discussion, a question and answer session, or a contribution from another source.
- Fiction Narrative Podcasts
Fiction podcasts aim to tell interesting stories like a non-fictional narrative, such as a TV series, does. Reading scenes from fictional books or telling a story of fictional characters such as Dracula is an excellent example of this type of podcast.
The theme need not necessarily be mythological or unearthly. Podcasters can even make up a fictional story about a dog and make a podcast out of it.
Why do many people and businesses start podcasts?
Every podcaster has their own “why” many podcasters and businesses start podcasts to:
- Marketing their services to potential customers
- Developing a web presence
- Teach their mastered skills to the people via a podcast app
- To entertain people
- Earn money through donations or ads
- Have fun with themselves and with their friends
- Promote and sell items through affiliate links
Also, check out how much podcasters earn from their podcast
Advantages & Disadvantages Of Starting A Podcast
Here we have mentioned the advantages & disadvantages of starting a podcast.
- Starting a podcast does not require you to invest heavily, and it can help give the boost your business requires.
- Anyone can access your podcasts with ease from various platforms. It is not exclusive content that is hard to find for your audience.
- You can share any kind of information on your podcast; it is the easiest way to educate your audience on your new products and share a message with your audience.
- A Podcast helps you in engaging your audience and keep them hooked to your content. If done right, you can keep the attention of your target audience.
- Podcasts are an amazing way to increase your reach, and you can reach a new audience with only word of mouth.
- Podcasts require a lot of time, such as recording and editing. You must also put in marketing efforts to find an audience for your podcasts.
- Your podcasts need to be entertaining; otherwise, your audience will get bored, and you may start to lose them instead of gaining new listeners.
Conclusion: What Is A Podcast (2023)
This is it, guys. This is what podcasts are, and this is how they work. I hope I could clear all the doubts in your mind regarding podcasts. I will keep on creating content around podcasts; if you wish to check my earlier blogs on podcasts, you can do so in the blog section. Happy reading.
Bonus: To hear and sound the best, you must buy these top-rated podcasting headphones.
FAQs On Podcast
While most podcasts are audio, creators have started recording videos of their podcast recordings. It is also wise to do this as video consumption worldwide is increasing immensely.
A podcast has many purposes. Many listeners listen to podcasts to stay up to date with current happenings. Learn about a new topic, get a different perspective on things, get motivated, and much more. But as the current trend says, Podcasts are mainly consumed for entertainment, with comedy being the top podcast category.
A podcast is a series of podcast episodes. A podcast episode is a single part of that series.
Yes, the majority of the podcasts are free. Some podcasts are paid and only accessible to membership holders. Some podcasts are partially free and paid. E.g., a specific section of a 30-minute podcast is free to listen to, and if you wish to listen to the whole thing, you need to pay.
A podcast RSS feed is the podcast’s address. When users subscribe to a podcast’s RSS feed, they get updates as soon as new podcast episodes are released. They can then listen to those episodes on podcast streaming platforms.
I recommend going for Garageband if you are a Mac OS user. Audacity is the best option for people who do not have a Macbook. Audacity works with Mac, Windows, and Linux.