What is a Podcast?

In the last few years podcasts have become more popular than avocado toast (and that’s saying something). Listener rates continue to climb every year with research showing that there are over 800,000 podcasts online to date.

November 12, 2019

So what is a podcast you may ask? At the most basic level a podcast is a lot like the radio except it’s not live. Rather, it’s a series of pre-recorded audio episodes, focused on a particular topic. Also, unlike the radio, podcasts are on-demand, so you can listen on your schedule whenever boredom strikes or you’re just in the mood. Although video podcasts do exist, usually they are solely audio.  

The topics can range from broad topics like the Freakonomics Radio podcast where the hosts discuss wide-ranging socioeconomic issues for a general audience, to very niche topics like the Weird Sisters Harry Potter Reread Podcast where two sisters re-read the Harry Potter series and record their discussions. No matter what you’re into, there’s a podcast out there covering a topic you would enjoy.

Most podcasts release new episodes every single week to continue building their audience, so listeners can look forward to new content and connect with their favorite hosts regularly.

The reason podcasts have become wildly popular is because they help keep listeners entertained while doing mundane tasks like brushing their cat or doing the dishes, and they make the commute to the job they hate a little more bearable. In the age of productivity, absorbing as much valuable content as possible in a short span of time is a necessity, and podcasts fit perfectly into that picture. People can simply pop their earbuds in and get transported into a conversation about a topic they deem interesting, or get their daily dose of inspiration. 

One of the most appealing aspects of podcasts is how easily anyone can create their own. It’s a democratic form of media, and you don’t have to be a big media giant to create one. Although large media companies have now developed their own podcasts, the market is still open to amateurs. 

Creating a podcast doesn’t have to require a lot of money or work, which is a relief to most people. Learning how to start a podcast and edit one doesn’t have to be difficult, as it doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge. An added bonus - the actual equipment required can easily be purchased inexpensively online.

If you do require professional help, there are marketplaces that can connect you with freelancers to hire. Including audio engineers to assist with podcast editing or even graphic designers to assist with album cover art or logo design.

Some podcast shows have formats that are more organic, with a few people just having conversations about a specific topic, while others are more prepared by using professional editing and sound effects. These more professional ones also usually have branding.

The format of the show can be interview style with a host interviewing a guest. Alternatively, it can be hosted by a single host who performs their content like a monologue. A podcast can also have multiple hosts discussing a topic together.

Overall, a podcast is an easy way to share your content and views with the world. Whether it’s to use as a form of content marketing for your business or just an individual passion project, keep reading the Quill blog to learn more.

Platform
Price
Pro’s
Con's
Anchor

Free

  • Easy to use
  • Automatically distributes your podcast to major platforms.
  • Embed media player.
  • Great if podcasting is a
    side hobby
  • Very basic editing
  • Since it’s a free tool, you don’t have full control over the monetization of your podcast.
  • Not the right platform for people taking podcasting seriously
Buzzsprout

Free for 2 hours of content per month

$12 for 3 hours per month

$18+ for 6 hours and up

  • Very user-friendly
  • Caters to both long term and beginner podcasters
  • Advanced analytics
  • Easy distribution of your episodes
  • They measure their size requirements to hours not megabytes
  • Bonus: get a free $20 Amazon gift card when you sign up for any paid hosting plan!
  • Advanced features like dynamic ad insertion need some work
Libsyn

$5/month for Monthly Storage 50mb

  • Oldest podcast hosting site.
  • Easy distribution to major platforms and great for scaling once your podcast gets bigger.
  • Hosted over 35,000 podcasts.
  • An iTunes Podcast partner.
  • Allows you to publish your podcast to specific directories.
  • Embed media player.
  • Price is based on storage
  • 50mb storage for $5 won’t be enough if you are publishing weekly so you’ll end up with a higher price point
Podbean

Unlimited audio package: $9/month

Storage space:

Unlimited

  • Great support & customer service features
  • Unlimited audio.
  • Pages are easy to customize
  • Can schedule podcast release dates.
  • Easy to use.
  • Uploads and changes to podcast titles and/or descriptions are automatic to Spotify.
  • Embed media player.
  • Simple Analytics
  • Analytics aren’t as advanced as other platforms
  • Upload and changes to podcast titles and/or descriptions take a day to change on iTunes.
  • Not an iTunes podcast partner.
  • The process to send a podcast to iTunes is more tedious. But, you will still be able to get on the platform.
Blubrry

Classic

$5/month

Monthly Storage

50mb

  • Podcast Wordpress plugin and management.
  • If you want to record a new introduction or conclusion, add in a sponsored ad or upload a new version of a podcast, it doesn't count towards your storage usage per month.
  • Blubrry allows a 25% storage overage each month
  • Prices are based on storage.
  • Usability is okay.
SimpleCast

Starting: $15/month

Recommendation: $35/month

Monthly Storage: Unlimited

  • Hosts your audio files no matter what the size!
  • Dynamic insertion for podcast ads or edits.
  • Incredibly detailed analytics including number of episodes completed and listener location tracking.
  • Embed media player.
  • Easy to use.
  • Great distribution! Easy access to all major podcast platforms.
  • Customizable podcast
    website.
  • Prices are slightly higher than other platforms, but well worth it especially if you have a branded company podcast!