Did you ever wonder why people started podcasting?
It seems like everyone has a podcast these days. They once were a novel new form of entertainment.
Now thousands of celebrities, experts, and regular people have started their own shows.
While some of these podcasts are purely for entertainment purposes, others have very specific goals that their creators want to achieve and share with the public.
Because podcasting is relatively cheap and straightforward, anyone who needs to get their information out can do so.
People create podcasts to make people laugh, to introduce people to new topics and ideas, to educate, to inspire, and to entertain them throughout their day.
There are several reasons to start a podcast.
But first, let's cover some of the basics.
What is podcasting?
The definition of podcasting is
The practice of using the Internet to make digital recordings of broadcasts available for downloading to a computer or mobile device.Oxford
Why should you use podcasts?
Podcasts are convenient
Your listeners can listen to them just about everywhere. They are perfect for listening to during commutes, exercise, housework, among others.
Podcasts cover everything
Podcasts, like blogs, exist in just about every niche imaginable.
If you can think of a topic, you are sure to find a podcast on it.
And if not, it may be a gap you can fill…
Why are podcasters podcasting?
Podcasters use the format to share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions with the rest of the world.
Maybe they are a teacher who wants to share their knowledge with students and others that want to learn.
Or maybe they are a celebrity who likes sharing stories from their career with fans.
Maybe they are an introvert who has a lot of thoughts and opinions but doesn't feel comfortable sharing them in other public forums.
Whatever their reason, podcasters are finding the platform makes it easy for them to get their content out to an audience. It also makes it easier to find the audience they want to target.
Podcasts can be very specific in their themes and topics. And they are posted so that other people interested in those particular themes and topics can find them and listen to them.
Communities of like-minded people grow around those podcasts.
Like books, movies, and television shows, podcasts are used to tell stories that make listeners laugh, cry, and scream in terror.
Some include fictional, serialized stories. Over several episodes, listeners are taken through the experiences of characters as they navigate different elements in the stories.
In other shows, podcasters interview celebrities who share real-life stories of their experiences during their careers.
Even podcasts created by ‘regular' people without famous backgrounds can become popular for entertaining audiences.
As long as they focus around topics that others want to listen to, it doesn't matter who creates them.
It only matters that they serve their purpose and keep listeners amused.
Another widespread use is to share knowledge with others.
Podcasters can teach concepts that they specialize in and reach a broad audience by creating episodes based around those concepts.
They can focus on different elements of those concepts each episode and go into great detail if they feel like it.
The episodes can also focus on concepts that may seem challenging to teach to people without much experience with them.
They can break down those concepts into simple to understand elements over a matter of episodes, making them easier to understand.
Some teachers and professors use podcasts to supplement the information they give in their classrooms.
Some podcasters have never had the opportunity to teach but would like to do so in a relaxed and exciting manner.
Scientists, historians, and even mathematicians have found the format works well for helping them share their knowledge and ideas.
To make money
While making money isn't typically a primary reason for starting a podcast, it can be an excellent benefit.
Some examples of how popular podcasts make money include:
- Premium content
- Affiliate marketing
Podcasts typically are the next step up from a blog. And they are another tool for expanding your brand.
Furthermore, interviewing people from your niche on your show can result in additional exposure.
And additional exposure is key to increasing your monetization potential.
Why are listeners listening?
Audiences are listening to podcasts for much the same reasons that creators are making them.
They want to be entertained, and they also want to hear from other people that have similar interests and ideas to them.
Listeners use podcasts to distract themselves from tedious work or a long period of travel.
They may also be using them to supplement their education in certain ways.
Perhaps history isn't sticking well in their heads just by reading about it. They may find a history-themed podcast that they can listen to and retain information from more easily than from a textbook.
To be entertained
As with many forms of media, podcast subscribers want to be entertained.
They select podcasts based on things that interest them.
It could mean they listen to interview shows, where their favorite celebrities tell stories about themselves and their projects.
It may also mean they listen to podcasts about topics they are interested in learning about.
These days podcasts cover just about every possible topic.
Is a listener interested in movies, or race cars, or cryptozoological creatures?
A brief search online can lead to several podcasts about those topics.
There are many communities built up around these entertainment podcasts, and listeners enjoy chatting online and in-person with other fans.
Additionally, several entertainment podcasts stream live from events, and listeners can attend and be in the audience for them.
That adds an extra element of interest for some subscribers.
To learn something new or important
A podcast can be a great way to supplement information gained from a textbook or a class.
Students can listen to them whenever convenient and can repeat them as many times as necessary to understand the information from it.
Podcasts can also go into greater detail than a lecture might be able to do.
Some people want to learn about things they never studied while in school.
They can find a podcast about history, science, language, or even math, that can help them ‘study' those things.
Additionally, some students have trouble with highly specific academic language when they are trying to learn something.
A podcast that breaks things down into more generalized or easy to understand language can help them better understand the subject.
For inspiration and motivation
Several podcasts exist to inspire and motivate.
Whether you want to lose weight, exercise more, become an entrepreneur, or just be a better person in general, there is a podcast for you.
Nick Loper's “The Side Hustle Show” over at Side Hustle Nation, was a huge motivator for me when I was thinking about starting this blog.
As more people learn how to use the technology to record and upload podcasts, the number of them available to listen to is constantly growing.
Podcasters use them to entertain and teach their listeners, and listeners are using them to amuse themselves and learn about new topics.
Furthermore, they are great for helping to build communities of creators and consumers who all love the same things.
Do you have other thoughts about the uses of podcasts? Please share them below.
Finally, if you are thinking about creating your own podcast, here are the top hosting platforms to consider.