7 popular podcast formats: Which one is right for you?

August 28, 2023


With more than 460 million podcast listeners, podcasts have become one of the best ways for brands to connect with their target audiences.

However, setting up your podcast requires a lot of work, from deciding on content topics to actually recording a podcast episode. Before you jump into doing all that work, it’s important to first decide on the right format for your podcast that not only works for the type of content you’re looking to create but also resonates well with your audience.

In this article, we’ll go over the top 7 popular podcast formats so it’s easier to decide on the right one for your brand.

#1. Interview podcasts

Interview podcasts

Interview podcasts are when a host or the podcaster is interviewing a guest on their show. It’s the most common podcast format used by brands worldwide and can be compared to a TV host show. The host interacts with guests by asking them important questions or discussing topics that they are passionate about.

Interview podcasts are great for introducing new personalities to your audience and for discussing topics within your industry. For instance, you can host an interview podcast with VIPs in your niche and ask them important questions your audience would be interested in hearing their thoughts on. Similarly, VIPs or organizations might voluntarily join interview podcasts to promote their product or service to new audiences.

Interview podcasts are easy to host for podcasters and for guests who are invited to join the podcast. This is because you can prepare questions or a general outline of the topics you want to discuss with your guest in advance. In terms of equipment, you don’t need much preparation other than an additional microphone and headphones for your guests.


  • It can help your brand tap into new audiences, especially if you invite popular personalities or VIPs to your podcast.
  • Post-production editing processes are quicker as there are fewer edits needed when following a set question-answer or outline format.
  • Higher quality content without putting in much effort. This is because each guest you invite to your podcast will bring their own experiences to share.


  • Interview podcasts are one of the most popular podcast formats which means you will have to make your podcasts stand out from other competitors.

#2. Co-hosted podcasts

Co-hosted podcasts

Co-hosted podcasts, unlike interview podcasts, involve two or more hosts who converse with each other to discuss a topic or talk about an important issue. This format of podcasts is more casual and can be similar to two friends having a discussion with each other.

While co-hosted podcasts are easy to host and don’t require much planning beforehand, the synergy between the two hosts is the most important part of a co-hosted podcast. This is because most audience members are essentially tuning in to hear two friends or popular VIPs conversate and interact with each other. This is why it’s the most popular format used by brands that already have an audience base willing to interact with their favorite personalities more. Additionally, most users who watch co-hosted podcasts are looking to enjoy the relaxed and interactive conversations between two friends or well-known people that they follow or are fans of.


  • It’s unlikely to run out of things to talk about or say. With two hosts, they can complement each other’s discussions and keep the conversation lively.
  • Co-hosted podcasts make it easier for your audience members to understand and listen to discussions in a more laid-back, relaxed format.


  • While two hosts or celebrities hosting a podcast together can have many things to talk about, sooner or later, they’ll have to come up with more creative ideas to keep the audience engaged.
  • Having good synergy or chemistry between hosts is crucial for success.

#3. Educational podcasts

Educational podcasts

Educational podcasts are similar to interview or co-hosted podcasts but are more focused on offering a learning experience for audiences. For example, you can host a podcast teaching a topic like business management or time management. Audience members who want to enhance their skills or learn more regarding a topic can tune into your podcast.

Since educational or informational podcasts are designed to offer a learning experience, you’ll also have to provide your audience with show notes. Show notes can include important resources such as links to blogs, checklists, or quiz sheets. This not only helps add value to an educational podcast but also is a great way for podcasters to showcase their expertise or knowledge in their niche.


  • High-quality content that encourages your audience to tune back in for future podcast episodes.
  • By offering premium additional content like downloadable files or videos, you can make sure your audience sticks around with your brand for longer.


  • Some topics cannot be explained in great detail with audio only and may require some type of visual elements to support the explanation.

#4. News podcasts

News podcasts

Similar to popular news outlets like BBC and Fox News, news podcasts’ main purpose is to deliver the latest news or updates within a specific industry or niche. These can be the latest updates or new developments within the industry your brand operates. News podcasts also work great for sharing influential stories of popular names in an industry. Some organizations might want to join in on a news podcast episode to promote their products or services to mass audiences.

One of the most important parts of hosting a news podcast is staying up to date with the ongoing trends and news within your niche. The sooner you latch onto trends and start discussing them, the higher the chances more people will be interested in listening to your podcast.


  • There’s no creative element required; all topics or news topics are from ongoing events or developments within the industry your podcast covers.


  • Requires a lot of planning and research before you can jump into recording a news podcast.

#5. Solo podcasts

Solo podcasts

Solo podcasts, just like the name suggests, are podcasts that don’t require a co-host or any guest; only the podcaster is the main speaker. It’s the most basic and simple version of a podcast and doesn’t require much investment to get started. All you need is to come up with unique ideas and a great way to present them to your target audience before you can start recording your episodes.

Other than an easy first setup, solo podcasts are great for establishing more personal connections with your target audience and helping develop a stronger sense of branding. You can connect and interact with your target audience the way you want to along with managing all aspects of your podcasting business your own way.


  • You don’t have to work with another host’s schedule, which means you can make new podcast episodes whenever you want to.
  • You always have the final say on how podcasts are recorded, selecting topics to be discussed, and what content is presented to your target audience post-production and editing.


  • You have to work really hard to carry the conversation by yourself for the whole podcast episode. You don’t want to sound repetitive while making sure the episode is interactive and easy to digest for your target audience.

#6. Fictional topic podcasts

Fictional topic podcasts

Fictional topic podcasts follow the same format as solo or co-hosted podcasts, but instead of topics, fictional stories or experiences are discussed. This is the perfect option for creative individuals and fictional writers who want to start gathering an audience by sharing their stories.

You can also take stories from other creative writers to present on your fictional or podcast theater episode or recreate your existing content into new formats or “stories” for your target audience.


  • It can help attract a loyal fanbase as a creative or fictional writer.
  • You can start monetizing your fictional content.


  • Since the market is less saturated, fewer people want to listen to fictional topic podcasts.
  • Not an easy format to follow, especially if you want to create special storytelling experiences that require expert voice actors.

#7. Short podcasts

Short podcasts

Some topics don’t require a longer, traditional-style podcast, as there’s simply not much to talk about. This is where short or bit-sized podcasts come in. For instance, if you want to discuss important sports events, you can create short, 20-minute episodes to keep your content easily digestible and concise.


  • Shorter podcasts mean that you don’t have to spend a lot of time planning, recording, and editing your episodes.
  • It can be a great way to test what kind of topics appeal to your audience or to validate content topics that can be later turned into a full-fledged podcast series.


  • Planning is important as you have to pre-plan what each episode will include when creating short podcasts.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the different podcast formats to consider for my show?

A: There are several podcast formats to consider for your show, including solo podcast, conversational podcast, interview podcast, storytelling podcast, monologue, panel podcast, and many more.

Q: How do I choose the right podcast format for my show?

A: To choose the right podcast format for your show, you need to consider your content, target audience, and personal preferences. Think about the style and format that will best convey your message and engage your audience.

Q: What is a solo podcast?

A: A solo podcast is a format where one host presents the content without co-hosts or guests. It allows for more personal and focused storytelling.

Q: What is a conversational podcast?

A: A conversational podcast is a format where hosts engage in discussions and conversations on a specific topic. It often involves multiple hosts and provides a casual and interactive listening experience.

Q: What is an interview podcast?

A: An interview podcast is a format where hosts invite guests to share their expertise, experiences, or stories. It is a great way to feature different perspectives and provide valuable insights to your audience.

Q: What is a storytelling podcast?

A: A storytelling podcast is a format where hosts narrate and present stories to captivate the audience. It can be fictional or based on real-life events, and often includes sound effects and immersive storytelling techniques.

Q: How do I start a podcast?

A: To start a podcast, you need to choose the right podcast format, plan your episodes, obtain the necessary equipment, record and edit your episodes, and publish them on podcast platforms. It is also important to promote your podcast to reach your target audience.

Q: What are the pros and cons of different podcast formats?

A: The pros and cons of different podcast formats depend on your goals and preferences. Solo podcasts offer more control and focus, while conversational podcasts provide a dynamic and interactive listening experience. Interview podcasts allow for diverse perspectives, storytelling podcasts create immersive narratives, and monologues can be introspective and personal.

Q: How many episodes should I have before launching my podcast?

A: There is no set number of episodes you need to have before launching your podcast. However, it is recommended to have at least three to five episodes ready to publish when you launch to give your audience a taste of what to expect from your show.

Q: How do I make my show stand out in a crowded podcasting space?

A: To make your show stand out, focus on providing unique and high-quality content, consistent release schedule, engaging storytelling, and effective promotion. Find a niche or angle that sets your show apart from others and create a brand that resonates with your target audience.

Q: What is the best podcast format for my show?

A: The best podcast format for your show depends on your content, goals, and target audience. It’s important to choose a format that aligns with your message and engages your audience effectively. Experiment with different formats and consider listener feedback to find the right one for your show.


Now that you have an idea of what kind of podcast formats are the most popular, deciding on the right one for your business should be straightforward.

You can then start working on generating solid content ideas and recording your podcast episodes. Depending on the podcast format you use, you’ll need to make sure you have the required recording equipment and a solid podcast hosting platform to publish your content once it’s ready. For more information on this, check out this guide on the best podcast hosting platforms.

Do you know of any other popular podcast formats? Let us know in the comments box below.

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