In the world of podcasting, there are so many types of podcasts you can choose from. To put a number on it, there are nine typical types of podcasts. Within the general nine types there are niche categories, genres, and hybrid mixes. When you’re coming up with your podcast business plan, choosing your podcast type is one of your main building blocks.
You’ll need to settle on a type of podcast before you learn how to host a podcast. At Mr. Thrive, we’ve worked with podcasts across the board. We’ve seen up close what types of podcasts work for different subjects and podcast goals. There are successful podcasts in each of these categories. The question we’ll help you answer today is, why one is right for you?
9 Types of Podcasts
Choosing the type of podcast that works best for you will depend on the subject you have in mind and the vibes you want your podcast to have. You may already have a subject in mind, and if you do, you can let that play into the type of podcast that works for you. If not, choosing a type and subject together will make for a seamless podcast plan.
These nine types of podcasts are the most common. There are types within these. If you dig into all current podcasts, you might find something else. For the most part, however, any podcast can fit into one of these categories. We’ll take a walk through them, to see what they’re all about.
9. Sleep Stories
We’re starting with sleep stories because they’re a lesser thought of but often listened to form of podcasts. You’ve probably seen sleep stories on the Calm app or on Headspace. They are calming stories designed to help you fall asleep. They’re often paired with meditation practices, as they involve a a short meditation to prepare you for sleep.
There are several companies that make sleep story podcasts, but don’t let that discourage you from creating your own. You can bring in guest hosts with soothing voices to read them, and craft a podcast business around calming stories.
8. Roundtable Chats
Roundtable chats are similar to conversation-style podcasts, with a slightly higher focus on a larger discussion. Often, a roundtable chat will have upwards of three people, to round out the discussion. You can also expect to have up to three guests for a roundtable chat, depending on the subject of the discussion.
Roundtable chats are ideal for podcasts where you want to open an active discourse on the subject. You can even bring in listeners and community members as guests for different episodes. It doesn’t need to be a big group for every episode, but keeping the conversation lively and open to different voices is the key to a successful roundtable podcast.
7. Theatrical Productions
Theatrical productions are a niche area of podcasting, where a theatrical piece is put on over a series of podcast episodes. The group of hosts may change from series to series. Overall, a theatrical podcast is more of a cast of hosts than a traditional podcast structure.
A theatrical podcast can be a series that does theatre pieces, but it can also be something along the lines of Critical Role, the Dungeons & Dragons group. Any type of roleplaying game could also be turned into a theatrical podcast.
Hybrid podcasts are the combination of two or more of the other types of podcasts. For example, you could have a roundtable theatrical production or a monologue of repurposed content. You could also have more than two types mixed together, although if you mix too many, the function of your podcast could get a little muddy.
There is a lot of wiggle room in hybrid podcasts, but you should balance the freedom of the type with a specific subject and planned episodes. If too many things are loosely brought together, your podcast could lose focus. A tidy hybrid with a consistent subject, however, will keep listeners engaged.
5. Repurposed Content
A podcast of repurposed content is typically a series that covers blog posts or stories that have already been covered elsewhere. This could be repurposed blog content, or short stories. In some cases, the original authors and creators of the content are brought on as guests.
Repurposed content podcasts are a type that require a higher level of attention to uniqueness. Of course, there is only so much you can do with the content itself to make it unique and stay true to the source. What you can do, however, is give a fresh take outside of the repurposed content, to give listeners a new way to think about it.
Interviews are typically set up to interview a guest or subject of the podcast topic in essentially every podcast episode. There may be some episodes with just the host speaking about an event or upcoming interview. The main substance of the podcast, however, is the interviews.
An interview podcast can fit into several of the other types on this list. Investigation interviews are often big hits, as well as conversational and roundtable podcasts. Any of these podcast types with the possibility of podcast guests has the potential to become an interview.
Monologue podcasts are effectively one person speaking on a subject, similar to a TED Talk. A monologue podcast could be just one host, but the most popular monologues bring in different guest hosts for each episode, or a small series of episodes. That brings in different opinions for a variety of monologue subjects.
If you’re looking to create a monologue podcast, the main thing you should brush up on is your storytelling skills. A monologue runs the risk of being a bit like a college lecture, and that’s something you want to avoid. Crafting a story out of your subject will help you keep it interesting.
Investigative podcasts can cover many subjects, but one of the most popular, at least recently, is true crime. The Hulu show Only Murders in the Building has drawn even more people towards true crime investigative podcasts. While the likelihood of a murder taking place in your apartment complex is slim, you can find old cold cases, or even humorous crimes to cover.
You could also make an investigation out of searching for fossils, or researching old historical artifacts. Essentially, anything can become an investigation, and if you can find a decent amount of information to start with, you can make it a podcast.
Conversational podcasts focus on co-hosts and guests. A conversational podcast is one of the most common types of podcasts, because it can cover any subject. It’s the most versatile, and it can be paired with almost any other type for a hybrid option.
If you’re looking for a podcast type that will work with any subject in some way or another, a conversational podcast is a good place to start. The best thing about it is, as you move forward, and really find the root of your podcast, a conversational podcast can grow into another type.
Frequently Asked Questions About Types of Podcasts
As you’re starting your podcast and learning the key fundamentals of podcasting you’ll have a lot of considerations to work through with the types of podcasts. Which one is right for you? Will you mix up several to create a hybrid? Will you craft something unique with a type and a genre? Our answers to these frequently asked questions will help you make those decisions.
How Many Podcast Genres Are There?
There are the nine types of podcasts we outlined in this blog post, but beyond that, there are podcasts that fit the main genres of different forms of storytelling. From horror to humor to ghost stories, a podcast can fit any of the classic genres. Any of the common genres can mix with the types of podcasts to create something unique.
What Type of Podcast Should I Do?
The type of podcast that will work best for you will depend on the subject you would like to cover. If you’re looking to delve into mysteries, an investigative podcast is the way to go. If you and a couple of friends want to talk about different things you find interesting, a conversational podcast will suit you perfectly.
What Are the Most Popular Types of Podcasts?
The most popular types of podcasts are typically conversations, interviews, investigations, and interviews. Of course, hybrids are also among the most popular. The fact of the matter is, there are different groups of podcast listeners who are equally invested in different types of podcasts. Whatever type you choose, you’ll have a niche group of loyal listeners.
How Do I Make My Podcast Unique?
To make a podcast unique, the best thing you can do is use your own personal perspective as much as you can. Of course, there are common facts and ideas that will show up in podcasts of similar backgrounds.
However, your podcast will be unique because you are unique, and you’re coming at it from your own perspective. Lean into that perspective and you’ll create something new.
Types of Podcasts: Podcasting or Typecasting?
Once you settle on the type of podcast you want to host, along with the subject you’d like to talk about, you’re on your way to getting your show on the air, so to speak. The other thing you need to decide is how you’re going to produce your podcast. That’s where the Mr. Thrive agency can help.
Here at Mr. Thrive Media, we can produce your podcast with precision and care. Our agency of vocal talent, marketing experts, and podcast-producing pros will build up the foundation of your podcast, while you build out the content. Contact us to get started today.