What is a podcast and how they work

The word “podcast” originates from the fusion of two concepts:

  1. “iPod” (Apple’s mobile device for listening to mp3 files via iTunes) and
  2. “Broadcasting,” which refers to the method of transmitting information from one node to multiple nodes in a massive and simultaneous manner, applicable to both radio and television broadcasts.

You can integrate podcasts into hundreds of digital marketing strategies.

Initially, podcasts could only be played on such devices. However, their popularity has soared over time, making it possible to use apps and web platforms for both online listening and offline downloads.

Podcasts are now used for personal reasons, by businesses (both small and large), existing radio networks, and more.

Their increasing use is partly due to their flexible duration. They can be presented in episodes or seasons and created to build communities around interesting and appealing topics for specific groups.

Today’s audio podcast content can be distributed on various platforms with audience subscriptions, allowing listeners to choose to receive updates of each episode through Spotify or iTunes.

Podcasts are much more than just repackaged radio content.

The above might give you an idea of what a podcast is, but it doesn’t fully answer the question: “What is a podcast?!”

Most podcasts tend to be entirely original content, not just repurposed radio shows.

They often break free from the constraints of traditional radio formats to explore brilliantly original approaches and niche topics. For example:

  • They can vary in length, from a 1-minute news summary to a 3-hour in-depth interview.
  • They can be released with any frequency, from daily to monthly.
  • Their format can vary, from simple solo shows to large-scale audio dramas featuring multiple people.
  • They can cover ANY topic, many of which would never make it to radio.

No matter your interests, there’s a podcast out there that suits your preferences and available time.

How do podcasts work

Podcasts are conveniently accessible for both listeners and creators. Aspiring podcasters have various options for publishing their content. Unlike traditional radio stations and TV networks, which are often subject to regulations and approvals, several podcasting platforms allow for self-publishing. Podcasts are hosted on streaming apps like Spotify, Stitcher, iTunes, Google Podcasts, and Apple Podcasts (the podcast app that comes with iOS).

How to listen to a podcast

For listeners, a podcast functions like an on-demand radio show on the Internet. You can listen to episodes on a podcast app or subscribe to them online using an RSS feed (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication). Podcast subscribers receive notifications whenever a new episode is available. Most smartphones, including iPhones and Android phones, come equipped with a media player, allowing you to subscribe to podcasts and stream or download podcast episodes.

How to Create a Podcast

Developing, recording, editing, and distributing a quality podcast is a time-consuming endeavor. Here are some general steps to consider when creating your podcast:

1. Identify Your Topic and Objectives

Choose a podcast theme that aligns with your interests and expertise. Make a note of your goals for creating a podcast. Podcasters produce content for various reasons, including brand awareness, audience engagement, and sharing information about a topic they’re passionate about.

2. Listen to Other Podcasts on Your Topic

Delve into the top podcasts focusing on your chosen subject. Listen to episodes, read reviews, note the average length of the episodes, and learn more about what kind of content resonates with their subscriber base.

3. Develop Your Format

There are several podcast types, including talk shows, monologues, fiction, and non-fiction narratives. Decide how many episodes you want to produce for your first season and the approximate duration of each episode. Choose whether you’ll be the sole podcast host or partner with a co-host.

4. Choose a Title

After establishing your format, select a podcast name. Keep it simple and straightforward. Include essential keywords to enhance Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and assist new listeners in discovering your show based on the podcast name.

5. Write a Script or Outline

Depending on your podcast’s format, draft some show notes. Even if your podcast follows a free-form interview format, a basic template of talking points can help keep the conversation on track. Consider writing an introduction to welcome listeners to your show and a conclusion with a call to action for reviews and subscriptions.

6. Gather the Necessary Equipment

You’ll need some basic equipment, such as a microphone, a pop filter, and headphones. You also need access to audio recording and editing software to produce your own audio content. There are several free audio editing programs available for download online.

7. Prepare a Recording Space

Set up your podcast recording equipment in a quiet space in your home. Rooms with cushions, curtains, and carpets absorb echo reverberations that can diminish the quality of vocal audio.

8. Record Your Podcast

Using your show notes as a guide, start recording your first episode. If you’re a beginner podcaster, be patient, as it may take time to feel comfortable behind a microphone. Keep a glass of water nearby and take breaks when necessary.

9. Edit Your Audio

Begin by trimming any unnecessary content. Keep your podcast focused on your topic by editing out sections that stray. Consider rearranging segments for the episode’s narrative to be as clear as possible. Post-production is the time to eliminate or fix any sound quality issues you notice during playback.

10. Prepare Your Podcast for Distribution

Write a brief description of your show that includes useful SEO keywords. Create a simple cover image or hire a graphic designer for assistance. Save your cover image in the correct file size: a podcast cover image can be as small as 1400×1400 pixels or as large as 3000×3000 pixels.

11. Upload Your Audio Files to a Podcast Hosting Service

Podcast hosting platforms store your audio files and provide you with an RSS podcast feed that links to your podcast. Some popular podcast hosting services include Buzzsprout, Castos, and Anchor.

12. Submit Your Show to Podcast Directories

Using your podcast RSS feed URL, submit your show to podcast directories like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher.

13. Promote Your Podcast

Create a podcast website and post about it on social media. Find online groups related to your podcast’s theme and engage with members. Invite other podcasters with similar interests to co-host an episode. Be creative in how you approach potential podcast listeners and stay consistent with your release schedule. Most importantly, focus on uploading new episodes regularly to grow your listener base.


Podcasts are an underexplored strategy. They enhance credibility regarding knowledge in the relevant field, aiding in positioning keywords for SEO growth, as well as approaching leads through alternative forms of interaction and updating audio content.

Juan Esteban Yepes

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