The Top 4 Podcasts to Learn from as You Launch Your Own

1/7/19

Out of the digital age we have seen the rise of the podcast. In 2018, 26 percent of Americans listened to podcasts monthly and while that number seems low, that is six million more Americans listening per week than 2017. Podcasts are not just a fad, but one of the more lucrative and useful tools for personal or corporate branding. Podcasts adhere to the 21st century go-go-go millennial lifestyle, from fifteen minute informative segments to one hour long engaging pieces of storytelling. Podcasts are easy to start and offer a new platform to reach like-minded individuals.

Here are my top 4 podcasts with the greatest takeaways to help you launch your very own successful podcast.

  1. Armchair Expert

    This podcast is hosted by Dax Shepard and Monica Padman. Each episode is an interview with actor, musician, or expert. Now, obviously Armchair expert is partially so successful because it is hosted by a celebrity generally interviewing celebrities. However, the takeaway for anyone thinking about starting a podcast is the vulnerability and community that Armchair Expert exhibits. No matter the content, go beyond the surface level, dig deeper, and set yourself apart from the concentrated network of podcasts. Armchair Expert followers are affectionately called “armcherries”, this type of community that you want to create with your podcast. Find your niche, find your people and create unity from that.

  2. Work Party

    Work Party is hosted by Jaclyn Johnson the founder of the digital platform Create + Cultivate, as a successful entrepreneur herself the podcast focuses on interviews with other industry professionals who share their stories, tips, successes and failures. The biggest takeaway from Work Party is the ability to be an expert while being relatable. This can be difficult, especially when there is no video to show facial expressions and circumstances. As the host, Jacklyn definitely sets the tone and is able to create a space where listeners feel comfortable gaining advice but feel as though it’s coming from their best friends.

  3. The Wilderness

    The Wilderness comes from the team at Crooked Media. Crooked Media podcasts are centered around politics, their mission statement reads, “…We promise a no-bullshit conversation about politics and culture where you can laugh, cry, scream, ridicule us daily, share your ideas, and hopefully decide that you want to help fix this mess too. That’s it. End of mission.” The Wilderness is a 15-part series on the history and future of the Democratic party and is hosted by political commentator and speechwriter, Jon Favreau. Politics and general (especially now) can be a heavy subject. But what Crooked Media and Jon Favreau do best is create engaging content on dry subject matter. The episodes for The Wilderness have to be in depth to a degree, the listener needs to feel informed, however each episode is between 35-50 minutes. Creating time limits and barriers when dealing with serious subject matter is key. There are plenty of people who want to listen to education, politics, finance, etc but you need to keep it reasonable. You want your content to be approachable no matter the genre which is exactly what The Wilderness demonstrates.

  4. S-Town

    Hosted by This American Life producer, Brian Reed, S-Town is a podcast but I would more accurately describe it as a piece of art. Even after listening to the whole podcast multiple times it is hard as a listener to translate the experience to another. The storytelling is masterful, and that is the biggest takeaway. S-Town is a true story and follows Reed’s relationship with a stranger and a small Alabama town. It is clever, funny, concerning, heartbreaking, and more. S-Town takes the listener on a journey, you’re left feeling like you know the people involved. No matter the subject matter of your podcast, remember to tell a story. Embrace the humanity that is in everything we do and in everything we are.

If you’re thinking about starting a podcast or already in the midst of creating one remember to go beyond the surface level, create community, relatability is key, keep your subject matter approachable, and tell remarkable stories.