Podcasting is growing in popularity at an astonishing rate. In fact, there are currently about 86 million active monthly podcast listeners, and that number is estimated to reach 132 million monthly listeners by 2022! But what are podcasts used for and how does podcasting work?
A good way to think of a podcast is a sort of internet radio on demand.
Unlike radio, podcasts are not primarily focused on delivering music. Actually, most podcast content is primarily spoken word.
There are many diverse genres of podcasts but they all share the same goal – to expound upon a particular topic.
Many podcasts are educational and aim to teach listeners to better their lives in some way.
Podcasts can be accessed via a podcast library. This library will depend on the type of phone you are using:
The primary podcast library for iPhones comes preinstalled on the phone. It’s a purple colored icon called “podcasts”.
Google Podcasts is the primary podcast library for Android devices.
Apple & Android:
Pocket Casts is another popular podcast library that is available on both Apple and Android devices.
Podcasts can be played in one of three ways.
1) Podcast library
The podcast libraries listed above each have a built-in player. So, once you have chosen a podcast to listen to, you can do it straight from the library app.
Just like in a car radio, you can save different “stations” in a podcast library app by subscribing to multiple podcasts.
Once subscribed, you will then get a notification on your phone whenever a new episode is uploaded – so you won’t have to worry about falling behind.
2) Website embedment
Podcasts can be played on websites that embed episodes on their pages, such as the Shopify podcast episode below:
Spotify is also another popular podcast library.
3) Feed Reader
The third way to play a podcast is via an RSS feed reader.
A feed reader subscribes to the RSS feed of podcasts you are interested in and sends you a notification whenever new content is published.
You can then download or stream the podcast episode directly from the feed reader.
An example of one such feed reader is Feedly.
There are different motivations for starting a podcast – and these motivations shape the content of the podcast.
Sharing a Hobby
Some podcast creators aim to share the joys of their hobby, such as story-telling, with the world.
One such podcast example is Radiolab.
Other podcasts discuss trending topics. Though many episodes may be educational and thought-provoking, subscribers of these types of podcasts tune in primarily for entertainment reasons.
A well-known example of an entertainment podcast is the Joe Rogan Experience.
Some podcast hosts are very knowledgeable in a particular area and aim to educate their listeners.
Some relevant podcast examples are:
To summarize, subscribing to a podcast is a great form of education and entertainment you can enjoy while going for a walk or even doing the house chores.
And the best part?
They’re absolutely free!