What is a podcast?

what is a podcast
The podcast is more popular than ever in the marketing world. Many even see it as the new blogging. But what is a podcast, how does it work and where can you find podcasts? Find out in this article.

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In 2021, no less than 46% of the Dutch people listened to a podcast (Market impact, 2021). What is striking is that 25% of all listeners didn't really know what a podcast was. It's not just a simple music recording. In this article, we'll clarify once and for all what a podcast is, how it works, what you can do with it and where you can find podcasts.

Table of Contents

What is a podcast? 

First of all, let's take a closer look at the meaning of the word "podcast". The term is derived from the words "iPod" and "Broadcast".

An iPod is a small device made by Apple for playing digital music and, in some cases, video files. The first podcasts were only available on these devices. It didn't take long before podcasts became available for every MP3 player, but by that time the term "podcast" was already established. 

The second part of the term comes from the word "broadcast": sending out a message by means of radio, television or another network source. 

Fused together, both terms form the word podcast, which basically is a radio broadcast online. The official definition is:

"A digital audio file, usually part of a themed series, that can be downloaded from a website to a cell phone, media player or computer. Users can usually subscribe to a podcast, after which the podcast is automatically retrieved and downloaded via an RSS feed."

Podcasts vs radio

Now you know where the name "podcast" comes from and what it means, but what exactly is a podcast?

A podcast is in fact radio on demand. While radio shows are usually broadcasted live, a podcast is recorded and edited before one can listen to it. After that, you can listen to it whenever and wherever you want. 

Did you know?

31% of all podcast listeners listen to podcasts as an addition to radio. And 23% listen to podcasts as a replacement for radio. (Market effect, 2021)


Another important difference is that a traditional radio programme often wants to serve as wide a target group as possible. A podcast is much more in-depth and often highlights one or two important themes in the broadcast. Think of themes such as sport, crime, health, politics or the latest news. Often there is no room for this on traditional radio. 

But nowadays almost every radio station has a podcast in which they go deeper into certain subjects. NPO Radio 1, for example, has several podcasts including the Early BirdsThe Day and The Jortcast. And radio NPO 3FM also has a whole series of podcasts, including Long story shortThe Crispy Folderand Party for the Friday

The rise of the podcast

Podcasting is labelled by some as the new marketing trend, but is it really a new marketing trend? The answer is... definitely not. In any case, not new. Podcasting was already introduced in the 80's! At the time, it was still referred to as 'audioblogging'.

It first started with the distribution of audio files in the educational sector. It was more than 10 years before podcasting took on its current form when one Carl Malamud started an internet radio show (internet Talk Radio).

In 2000, the inventor of the RSS feed made it possible to retrieve podcasts automatically, and it was not until 2004 that the big breakthrough came with the arrival of the iPod and other mobile audio devices.

Fun fact

Dutch entrepreneur and former radio and tv host Adam Curry invented podcasting as we know it today. Along with programmer Dave Winer he invented iPodder, which enabled the automatic download of internet radio streams. Adam Curry still hosts his own podcast: The Daily Source Code.

For a while, podcasting was a bit of a flounder and there was a relatively small group of people who regularly listened to a podcast. But where the first boom was driven by the arrival of mobile devices, the second boost is driven by innovations such as Apple Carplay, Android Car and the arrival of headphones like the Airpods.

Podcasts are now accessible anytime, anywhere. In addition, these developments fit seamlessly into the spirit of the times in which people continue to develop even during their adult lives, the so-called life-long learners.

And so we come to the point where podcasting is now being called the new blogging. Not because podcasting is going to replace blogging, but because podcasting is going to become as mainstream as blogging.

Why podcasts are so popular

Podcasts can be combined perfectly with other activities, such as sport, housework and driving. Just to name a few examples. For example, if you want to learn something about a certain subject, you can now combine it with something else. Learning and driving. 

In addition, podcasts are easier for most people to consume than books. Especially for people who are dyslexic, but also for the average person it is easier. As human beings, we often prefer to listen rather than read.

But what about remembering? Don't we remember better what we read? No, according to research.

How does podcasting work?

To be able to make a podcast, you obviously need the proper equipment and a clear strategy. If you want to start podcasting for business: in another article you can read all about the formulating a business podcast strategy. We also have a super handy manual with all kinds of tips and tricks for making a podcast.

In the following step-by-step plan, we explain exactly how podcasting works and what you need to do it. 

The podcaster

Of course, a podcast starts with the podcaster himself. You have the idea to start podcasting on a certain topic.

Starting a podcast is not difficult, but before launching you will need to arrange a number of things. Name, show format, background music, equipment, audio recording and editing, promotion etc. In our podcast guide we describe each step of the process.

Podcast hosting

Once you have decided how you want to make your podcast and how you are going to do it, the next step is to find good podcast hosting. A podcast host is a place to store and distribute your podcast audio files.

Podcast hosting is something you'll always need when starting out with your podcast. Choose a hosting company that suits the format of your podcast and distributes your podcast to the channels where you want it to be heard. The advantage of a good postcast host are additional features like podcast analytics and hidden podcast possibilities.

Promoting your podcast

In your plan to make a podcast you have already thought about how you want to promote your podcast; once your first episode is online it is actually time to show your podcast to the outside world. And there are lots of ways of doing this:

Do you want your own podcast website? Should the episodes be on Spotify, Google & Apple podcasts? On which social media channels will I share my podcast? And especially: how am I going to share them there? Do I choose for a link to the podcast or do I make a nice visual presentation of it? For example by a vodcast of it?

We wrote an article about the best way to make your podcast launch. Here you can read all about how to share your podcast with the rest of the world. 

The listener

In this overview, the listener is listed last, but actually you always keep the listener in mind. You start your podcast with a certain vision to spread relevant content to a certain target group. And all further decisions you make are adjusted to your target group; the channels you are active on, the content you share and even your hosting. 

How to build and retain podcast followers read this article. Want to reach more people with your podcast? Read our article about smart strategies to more listeners for your podcast to get. 

Types of podcasts

Podcasts are more popular than ever and there are many different types of podcasts today. It is a perfect medium for conveying stories, information and/or knowledge. Listening to a podcast is one of the most natural ways of processing information.

However, there is a big difference in the types of podcasts. That's why it's important to think carefully about the format you want to use for your podcast. That's why we list the most common types of podcasts for you. 

Would you like more information about the types of podcasts? We wrote an extensive article about the different types of podcastsincluding pros and cons and examples. 

Podcast on YouTube

More and more podcasts are appearing on YouTube these days, but a podcast actually only contains audio and no video. So how can you still put a podcast on YouTube? You can do that by making it a vodcast or a videocast. These are two different types of podcasts that can be made available on YouTube.

  • A vodcast is a video with a static image. Often one fixed image is shown in the background. A moving waveline is often placed over the background to show that it is audio. A good example of this is the podcast of Kim Munnecomwho publishes her podcast as a vodcast on YouTube. 
  • A videocast is a video as we are used to in many cases; a moving image on which everything can be seen. You can create a video cast by, for example, recording your podcast with a camera. You can then edit these images, including the recording, and post them on YouTube as a video cast. A good example of this is the podcast of Jorn Luka, The Trueman Show, who always records his podcast conversations. 

Wondering how to publish your podcast on YouTube? In another article we explain in a few steps how to turn your podcast into a vodcast or videocast.

And if you are looking for a platform where you can edit your podcast as vodcast or videocast; at Springcast we have a handy tool for this which you can make use of when hosting your podcast on our platform. 

What can you do with a podcast?

Podcasts come in all shapes and sizes. You can listen to them via your smartphone, laptop, PC or tablet. Choose from a range of topics including sport, technology, music, books, news and more. There are podcasts on every subject. 

Podcasts have become very popular in recent years. Not so strange, because you can use a podcast for many purposes. You can use it as an audiobook or as an online training. But the most common reason to start podcasting is to use it as a marketing tool. 

A podcast can be used very well to strengthen your branding. Whether this is about your personal branding or that of your organisation. It's a perfect addition to your marketing strategy, mainly to:

Do you want more information on how to enterprise podcasts can use? In this article you can read all about why companies podcasten. Or how to be a self-employed can strengthen your branding with podcasting. 

How do you listen to a podcast? 

In the year 2022, not only are there many podcasts that you can listen to, there are also many platforms where you can listen to podcasts for free or for a small fee. That's why it's useful to know where you can find and listen to the best podcasts. 

Because of the amount of podcasts, it is fortunately not difficult to find a podcast to listen to. If you search in iTunes or Spotify you'll go a long way. But to make it even easier for you, and also to help you find the right podcast quickly, here's an overview of the various platforms where you can listen to podcasts. We've divided them into three categories: 

Did you know?

64% listens to a podcast at home? And 35% on the go? Mostly while walking or running, in the car, on the bike or while exercising. (Market effect, 2021)

How do I find a podcast?

Nowadays, there are many podcasts that you can listen to and find on various platforms. Often the question is not how to find a podcast, but which one to choose from. Because not all podcasts are equally visible unless you are doing a targeted search. 

Suppose you are looking for a podcast about how to live a healthier life. There are two ways to start your search: you can either Google for podcasts or download a podcast app where you can listen to several podcasts. Here are some helpful apps for your search: 

How your search actually looks depends on whether you know what podcast you want to listen to. If you already know this, your search is quickly completed by Googling the podcast or looking it up in a podcast app. 

Don't know which podcast you want to listen to yet? Then it is useful to search by genre. In the case of our example you can Google for 'Podcast healthier living'. Note that the search results are mostly blog articles, rather than podcasts themselves. To actually find podcasts it is better to use a podcast app. In these apps you can easily filter by genre and you will see all the podcasts that the app offers. 

Podcast charts

Another way to find interesting podcasts are the hit lists. Generally, you have There are two kinds of podcast hit lists. You have hit lists based on data, i.e. how often listened to, and you have hit lists that are compiled by one or more people.

The data-based charts are objective and uncoloured. The disadvantage is that it does not necessarily say anything about the quality. If someone has a lot of followers on social media, he or she can achieve a top 1 position without valuable content.

The curated podcast charts are compiled by people and are therefore (almost) always subjective.

This is awkward if you want to know which podcast has the most listeners, for example if you want to advertise in a podcast. But the advantage is that that person is willing to put their name to their recommendation. And if you trust that person or organisation, then you have a pretty good chance of finding a podcast that suits you.

Start podcasting

In this article, we have hopefully given you a good idea of what podcasting is, how it works and where to find it. 

If you need further guidance on how to get started with podcasting, please refer to our podcast guide. In it, we explain step by step what you need to know before you actually start podcasting. 

If you're already a step ahead and looking for a hosting platform for your podcasting, please refer to our podcast hosting packages. But of course you can always ask for a free contact contact us. 

Happy Podcasting! 

Elke Folkersma

Elke Folkersma

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