Podcasts, like videos, can reveal knowledgeable information and ideas in a fresh and atypical style, since they tend to be targeted at a broader audience. Not everyone listens to podcasts, but it is becoming increasingly popular. According to the Reuters Institute’s latest Digital News Report, more than a third of the survey respondents from 22 countries have listened to a podcast in the month preceding the survey. Where 6, from the 11 highest, are from European countries*. It is particularly popular among younger audiences and digital natives, where the average listeners are between the age 20-50.

So, you have now decided to start doing podcasts? But don't know where to start; well, this document aims to provide knowledge on the different podcast styles and how to develop a podcast as well as how to publish it. Any information you need to start your own Podcast show or series!


Styles of Podcasts

There are thousands of different Podcast styles and formats, people constantly come up with new ways to form their shows. However, the list below displays and explains the most suitable for Think Tanks.

The Interview Show

Is a podcast that includes a host and a guest who have an interview style conversation on a specific topic.

  • Most popular style

  • The interview questions should be based on the guests individual story

  • Requirements:

    • Good interview skills (host)

    • Prepared research on topic and interviewee

    • An Interviewee(s)

    • Flowing content

    • Tools: a computer and a microphone.

  • Advantages:

    • Fans of your guest will likely listen to it

    • It provides a variety since it taps into the experience and expertise of a new person

    • Low-cost

    • You can do it anywhere

  • Disadvantages:

    • Difficulty in booking guests

    • Research is time-consuming

    • It relies on the chemistry of both parties (out of one’s control)

The Solo Show

This style is often used by people who have expertise that they want to share with an audience, since it will be just the person and the microphone. (It is possible to always have a different person, if it is a podcast series).

  • Common style

  • Requirements:

    • Clear and motivational speaker

    • Expert on the topic

    • Tools: a computer and a microphone

  • Advantages:

    • Work to your schedule

    • Easy to edit

    • Low-cost

    • Easy to establish it

    • Control over the content

  • Disadvantages:

    • Needs high energy and motivation

    • Need to have very interesting and knowledgeable content

    • Requires a lot of practice

    • Takes time to get an audience

The Panel Show

This usually consists of a host and a number of rotating guests.

  • It is better when this style is recorded on video, so people can keep on track who is speaking

  • Requirements:

    • Good moderator

    • Interviewees with different perspective

    • Flowing content

    • Tools: a computer, microphones, a space for the guests, and a camera

  • Advantages:

    • Keeps it interesting with new perspectives and opinions

    • The moderator has no content pressure

    • Less work on research for content

  • Disadvantages:

    • Difficulty in booking several guests

    • Difficulty in keeping the conversation on track

    • High-Cost

    • More work on finding interviewees

The Conversational/ Co-Host Show

The set up is a various people (2+), sitting around, and having a recorded conversation on different topics.

  • Common Style

  • One way to do the show: is one person who takes care of the business of the show e.g. introducing the show, setting up the topics and listing off the calls to action. While, having one person responsible for this (in radio they’re called an “anchor”) can help keep things on track and brings everyone back to the conversation.

  • It is better when this style is recorded on video, so people can keep on track who is speaking

  • Requirements:

    • Need 2+ more people who have a good chemistry

    • One moderator/anchor on the show

    • Flowing content

    • All co-hosts have the needed knowledge

    • Tools: a computer, microphones, camera, and room space

  • Advantages:

    • Fans and Hosts favourite style due to the feel of "catching up with friends"

    • Two or three heads are better than one - all equal pressure for content

    • Low-cost

    • Low work on research for content and interviewees

  • Disadvantages:

    • Everyone in the Podcasts (Co-Hosts) need to be on the same page

    • Difficulty in finding the right co-Host(s)

    • Hard to edit

    • Requires practice

Non-fiction Storytelling

This set-up is a speaker telling a non-fiction story on a topic, event, news, or person. It includes a lot of audio elements including grabs of interviews, actuality, ambient sound, phone conversations, behind the scenes audio, the list goes on. It can be done as simple or complex as one likes and of course, every bit of audio could add to the story.

  • The non-fiction stories are mostly told in an investigative journalism style

  • Requirements:

    • A good speaker, who can communicate the story well

    • A team of journalists, editors, producers, sound designers (to make it qualitative)

    • A lot of research and sound material

    • Factual evidence and information

    • Tools: a computer, a microphone, a sound mixer, and a good sound system

  • Advantages:

    • It is highly informational

    • Captures attention of audience

  • Disadvantages:

    • This style is very difficult to accomplish well

    • Requires a lot of work on content

    • Requires a large team

    • Not suitable for first time pod-casters

    • Very time-consuming

    • High-cost


This is a mixture of the previous styles, where you can be creative. You can mix and match depending on what suits your Podcast format best. For example, you’re a solo presenter and for part of your episode you dish out expertise and then wrap things up with a guest appearance from your listeners who get to ask you questions? OR Perhaps your show kicks off with a discussion between you and your co-hosts but ends with an interview?

  • Advantages:

    • Choose the styles that suit you best or vary it depending on the topic

    • Keeps the Podcast interesting

    • Can have advantages of the styles you chose

  • Disadvantages:

    • Tricky to accomplish

    • Good moderator/Host

    • Requires more skills

    • Time-consuming

    • Can have the disadvantages of the styles you chose

How to develop a Podcast

Before developing a Podcast

Before deciding to start a Podcast, you should ask yourself several questions and make a set of decisions.

1. Consider Your Motives

Determine your motives prior to starting is key. You should set what your goal and motivation is for doing a Podcast. For example, to grow your Think Tank or to inform on Foreign Policy; possibly to bring more awareness to your Publications. Thus, your motivation for creating it should inspire the content you share.

2. Can you be consistent?

The first question you should answer, do you have the resources and time to deliver content?

Ideally it should be consistent, whether it is once a week, every 2 weeks, or once a month. You need to be clear about the specific dates and time for your own time management and for your audience to know when to expect a show and thus tune in.

Therefore; ask yourself, can you create a calendar you can stick to? What would it look like? How much time do you need to devote to recording, editing (if need be) and syndicating? What day do you have the most time to post? Make a weekly or monthly syndication day and stick to it!

However, if you would rather just do a Podcast series with for instance 10 episodes. You would have more time to develop and create the content beforehand, and then publish them all at once or every week for around two months. This would be up to the format you chose to have. Just be clear about it beforehand!

3. Identify your Focus

Choose your niche because when your Podcast lacks focus, your audience won’t know what to expect from your show and, in turn, won’t know what to come to you for.

Therefore, think about your optimal listener and what you have to offer them— what do you talk about that promptly interests you? Start there and polish your concept until you can set a true theme. For example: focus on National Foreign Policy, or experts to support your Publication. Whatever, you believe can help your motive and format.

4. Figure out your Format/Style

Every podcast has a specific format, whether it varies sometimes or not. You should beforehand identify what your style is going to be. There are many different ways you could style your show (as listed above), you just need to see what format works best for you, your motives, and your Think Tank.

5. Decide on a Name

The name of your podcast should reflect your style and focus as well as give the audience an idea of what for topics and subjects you will be talking/discussing about.

When you’ve found a catchy and reflective name that you like, first research on podcast platforms if the name is not being used already and to guarantee there aren’t others that sound highly similar.

6. Importance of the Intros & Outros

While you should not write down a script or specific guideline on what to say during your show, since it should sound natural and easy going, you should have a good plan on what you will say during your intros and outros - so you will not forget any necessary detail you should mention. Since, the intro should generally entail a brief rundown on what to expect during the show, as well as a brief personal introduction of you and your guests (if applicable). Whereas, the outros could entail a teaser for whats to come and entail a reminder to share the content— these points would make your audience increase.

They should present as a thread, which links each episode together. For instance, the intro could welcome the audience (a specific catch phrase) as well as introduce the topic and the guests, while the outro remind the audience to like, share, comment, and share their opinion on the topic discussed. Possibly also to contribute to a specific workshop or even to subscribe to your newsletter, that depends on your style and format.

7. Decide on Thumbnail image

Decide on a representative thumbnail/ cover image, since it is the one space where you can engage your audience visually. While it may be a simple small picture, it’s what can makes your podcast recognisable.

Therefore, as a Think Tank, it should probably be your logo.

8. Equipment needed

The necessary essentials:

  • Microphone(s)

  • Headphones

  • A compressor (more qualitative)

  • A mixer (if there are many hosts/guests involved)

  • A computer

  • The right software for Podcasts; best recommendation: Adobe Audition.

After doing the Podcast

Once you have developed your Podcast and have completed your first show, What do you do now?

You should first have people review it, before putting it on the internet. Share it with your co-workers and your board and get their insight and see what you could do better before making it public.

Where and How do you upload your Podcast?

You do not have to create your own WordPress site to place your Podcast audio files. You can upload it to the iTunes Podcast or/and on soundcloud. You can also create an account on Libsyn, which is a service that allows you to publish your shows easily on places like iTunes and provides you with links for sharing your content as well as shows you analytics on how your show is performing. Podcaster is a similar German version of Libsyn (US).


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