The structure of your podcast is like the foundation for your house. Your podcast show structure defines how a podcast will perform by the development plan, or blueprint if you will, and dictates the lifespan of how long it will last. It is important to think about which structure makes more sense for your topic, because it will keep your content organized and help guide the flow of the conversation. Without a strong structure, your podcast will seem messy and disjointed. It is easy to get people to land on an episode of your podcast, but you have to create a well-thought out plan to ensure those listeners find a reason to come back for future episodes.
A podcast provides an outlet for people to share their thoughts and ideas, or for businesses to share their expertise and promote their product. If your podcast gives listeners valuable information they can not get anywhere else, and the structure is organized and flows well with the content, then you have just found yourself the recipe for success.
We will look at what structures are present in most podcasts today, and discover what structure works best for your podcast.
Finding Your Podcast Show Structure
A podcast can serve many purposes for its community of listeners. The main challenge you will find when creating your podcast is narrowing down what the topic is, and what content to put out to your target audience.
First, you need to make a creative brief on ideas you have for your podcast. The key to determining which podcast structure is best for you and your audience’s needs is to identify your personal “why” and what your target audience wants to hear about. These critical elements influence almost all future decisions for your podcast in regards to what topic you choose, how the episodes will be formatted, etc.
Second, develop a topic that best fits your personal or professional expertise. Remember, podcasts are as interesting to your listeners as it is to you, so make sure your topic resonates with your values and beliefs, and keep others in mind as well. A good exercise to help you choose the best topic for you and your audience is to brainstorm at least 20 different topics to talk about. If a show can only go on for a few episodes, then think of other ways you can transform your ideas to make your show the best it can be.
Lastly, do some field research with other successful podcasts, whether they are related to your topic or not. Look at their structure and deconstruct what you like and do not like about their podcast. Ask yourself: What do I love about other shows? How can I make what I love interesting to others? What other podcasts are similar to my concept?
Podcast Show Structure Ideas
As everyone knows, every good story has to have a beginning, middle, and end. That does not stop short when it comes to podcasting. Your listeners tune into your podcast for the story you tell, so make sure the structure you choose aligns with the story you want to share.
There are four main structures a podcast can follow: interview format, solo format, co-host format, and hybrid and other formats. As you think about what format would be best for your show, look at other podcasts to see how their structure best fits their topic, and keep your audience’s interests in mind.
Interview podcasts usually consist of a host who interviews a new guest each episode to give their listeners a unique perspective on different topics. Since each guest is different, it is best to choose guests that best fit the theme of the show to keep it cohesive.
Solo podcasts are a fairly common structure to find in podcasts today. It’s usually used by people who have a specific topic or expertise they want to focus on. With this structure, it is crucial to have a detailed plan set up for your episodes because it’s one individual talking for a long period of time.
Co-Host or Conversation Podcast
The co-host or conversational podcast format is another common structure, but involves two people having a conversation. This requires the duo to have good chemistry and flow in order to make the podcast interesting and entertaining for listeners. Bonus points if each host can add their own expertise or topic piece to the podcast to allow diverse conversation!
In the hybrid category, this is where your podcast can get pretty creative. While the formats listed previously are most common in podcast structures, there are some podcasts that do not fit into these specific categories because they create their own unique structure that works best for their brand.
For example, a podcast can have a segment in their episodes where the co-hosts are having a conversation about a given topic, and in the next episode they bring someone on as a guest and interview them. Think about the plan you want for your podcast and choose the structure that fits best with that plan.
What’s Next in Creating Your Podcast?
Now that you have finalized the best podcast show structure for you, where do you go from here? Hosting and interviewing can seem like a daunting task. But the important thing to remember is since you already chose the best structure for your topic and created a creative brief for your podcast, then you’re already off to a great start!
The first step to preparing an episode is to conduct plenty of research first. Do you have a guest for this upcoming episode? Look at their LinkedIn, previous interviews, and online presence for inspiration.This research will give you an idea on what their expertise is, what accomplishments they have, and maybe some hardships to talk about as well. Look at primary, secondary, and tertiary sources to get as much information going into the interview as possible.
Next, start preparing a guide for the episode. Your episodes should NOT be scripted because it will sound monotone and too formal, but you should have a guide on questions or talking points to help carry the conversation along. Provide a guide for your guest as well so they have an idea on what questions and points will be discussed during this segment. An example of an episode outline should have some or all of these items…
Example of an Interview Podcast Structure
- Episode title
- Episode teaser
- Intro music
- Personal segue/News and Updates
- Guest Interview
- Close/Call to Action
- Call to Connect
- Outro Music
- Disclosure (if necessary)
In order to make a good host in interview structures, it is important to keep in mind listeners are listening to your podcast to hear from the guest, not you. Let your guest carry the show by allowing them ample time to answer the question and tell stories about their experiences. Additionally, let your guest finish up the podcast with final words and give a call to action to their business or cause, or connect on social media accounts.
Still have some questions on starting your own podcast? Here at Sparkcade, we have years of combined experience creating, planning, and executing media and company-branded podcasts for a variety of different clients. If you need an extra hand to get your podcast off the ground, your second player is ready to join in at a moment’s notice.
Want to learn more about podcasting, download our free checklist with this free step by step checklist on how to rock your own podcast!
Ready to get started but need help with creating a podcast to fit your objectives? Reach out to us today and learn how to kickstart your own successful podcast!