How to Find and Listen to Podcasts
▼▼▼ Watch and Listen Below ▼▼▼I had a conversation earlier today with a friend who was interested in listening to podcasts, but he'd found it difficult to find and access podcasts he might like to hear. If you are a new podcast listener or would like to start finding and enjoying podcasts, this quick tutorial will help you get started.
Finding a Phone or Device App
The first step is to find an app you can use to listen on your smart devices. You already have at least one app on your phone or tablet that has podcast listening built in. I suggest you find an app that allows you to search, subscribe, stream, download, share, and review podcasts.
If you have an Apple device like an iPhone or iPad, Apple Podcasts should be installed on your phone or easily accessed in the app store. Apple Podcasts is easy to learn how to use, although I have heard complaints about its search function being too limited. That said, Apple was the first platform to make podcasts more accessible, and they have been a leading app for podcast listening for a long time.
You may already have podcast access through any music streaming service you use. Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and other streaming services also feature podcast access. Some allow downloading, while others allow only streaming. Audible, Amazon's audiobook platform, also has a selection of podcasts available on its app. Many podcasts are also available in video form on YouTube, and Spotify added video podcasts to its offerings. You may not need to download another app just for podcast listening.
When I started listening to podcasts on my smartphone, I had an Android device. At that time, iTunes was the standard podcast app people used and wasn't available for Android. I found a great app called Podcast Addict that I still use today. You can find it in the Google Play Store. There is a free version with in-app ads, or you can pay a small fee to have the in-app ads removed. Sadly, it can't remove the ads in the podcasts themselves. UPDATE: Another great podcast access app was recommended - Find Podchaser here!
Listening to Podcasts on a Computer
You may also opt to listen to podcasts on your computer. You can use the online version of the apps I mentioned above for listening, or you may find computer apps in the Apple Store and the Windows Store for your specific platform. If you use a Linux computer, gPodder is a popular listening app. Most people who listen on the computer just listen in their web browsers using platforms like YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. I know a handful of people who listen on the individual show websites if they really like the show.
My podcasts are available on all of the platforms mentioned above, and since you're here on my website, you may have seen you can listen to them here.
Finding the Podcasts You May Enjoy
The reliability and functionality of search tools in each app are inconsistent. As I mentioned, my friend didn't find the Apple Podcasts search to be very helpful. I like the search feature in Podcast Addict and find it easy to use and navigate. YouTube also has a reliable search function, and Spotify is starting to catch up. Google and Bing search tools are also reliable places to look for the podcasts you want to hear. I have a few suggestions for how to search.
Ask People You Know and Trust for Recommendations
This is a great place to start if your friends, family, peers, and colleagues are podcast listeners. It seems like I see at least one social media post a week asking for podcast recommendations. As with any source, your taste and theirs may be completely different. As you start to listen more, you'll find more reliable referrals, especially as your preferences develop. You'll find the hosts, formats, topics, and guests that you enjoy, and you'll be able to discover more like them. Just like books and films and any other kind of medium, you'll start to find your own network of people you can count on to point you in the right direction. I'll include some of my favorites at the end of the article.
Search by Theme or Topic
There are podcasts available for almost every theme and topic you can think of. Search engines always work better if you can give them specific information to work with. Searching for business podcasts will cast a very wide and unhelpful net that you'll still have to sort through. Searching for marketing podcasts for creative solopreneurs will likely return a more favorable result if that's what you're looking for.
The same rule applies to topics. Instead of searching for podcasts on LinkedIn, tell the search engine to show you podcasts with a more specific focus - podcasts about article writing on LinkedIn or podcasts on growing your LinkedIn following. The more specific you can be, the happier you'll be with the shows you find.
Search by Host Name or Show Title
You can search for that name on most platforms if you know the name of a show's host or title. You may be curious to see if a certain person hosts a podcast, so entering that into a search doesn't hurt. Sometimes titles aren't spelled conventionally, or they combine words, so it can be tricky to find those shows. And sometimes, the host's name has a spelling that isn't exactly how it sounds, which can be dicey, too. I often use Google for these kinds of searches because it offers alternative spellings for some search terms.
Search by Guest's Name
If I really like a guest I've heard on one podcast, I often search for other podcasts they've appeared on. Again, the correct spelling of the name is helpful. With Podcast Addict, I can add episodes to a playlist and listen to them together. I enjoy hearing the differences between shows, too. Each host can bring out a different way for the guest to speak about their topic. It makes it interesting and great for learning a guest's point of view from different angles.
Search for a Title or Character
If you are interested in a specific book, film, TV show, or character, you can find podcasts that feature those topics. I like to do this when considering adding a book to my list or reviewing anything for Amazon or Goodreads. I make podcast playlists for family, friends, and clients when they are interested in an author or a director. Searching by title is a good place to start.
You can search for podcasts based on any related keyword or phrase. Most of the shows that have been around for a while are easy to find through these kinds of searches. Sometimes, when a show is new, it doesn't immediately show up in search results.
How to Decide What to Listen To
While most of the apps offer lists of popular podcasts, that doesn't always mean they are worth your time. The most popular show as I write this is the Joe Rogan Podcast, which currently ranks as the top show across all platforms. His shows are often two to three hours long and don't follow a predictable format. He's a competent interviewer who likes to highlight some of his guests' subtleties and sometimes controversial aspects, but he's not everyone's cup of tea. So popularity by itself isn't the most reliable way to select.
Some of the most interesting podcasts are those with the fewest listeners and downloads. Most of the apps will let you listen to short segments. I like to play a few minutes of a show and then decide if I want to download it. I also pay attention to recommendations from people I trust.
Shows don't necessarily need to be recent to be worth hearing. I've found some older shows that haven't been produced in several years whose content was still stellar. One of the challenges here is that the podcast apps only promote shows that are still in production. Sometimes, you have to dig for some of the old gold that has been around for years.
I've also been a fan of podcast series that weren't ongoing shows but had a short run on a specific topic. One of my favorites in this vein was a show Jay Baer produced called Talk Triggers. The podcast accompanied his book by the same title and allowed him to share more information and related stories from the book. It was a tremendous added value.
Subscribe and Review!
If you like a show, be sure to subscribe to it in your app so you'll automatically know about new episodes. And be sure to leave a review wherever you can. Most hosts prefer reviews to be left on Apple Podcasts since Apple Podcasts reviews tend to carry the most weight in the industry. That said, if your app has a way to review shows, your show hosts will appreciate you leaving them. It helps them reach new listeners.
Find Time to Listen
I grew up listening to the radio several hours a day, mostly because that's where I could hear new music. That was true until I started listening to more podcasts a few years ago. One of the things I didn't like about radio was that there were so many commercials and that I had no control over the content except the ability to change stations when I didn't like what I heard. Podcast listening gives me a lot more choice about what I listen to, and I can mix it up depending on my mood, my whims, and any specific scratches I need to itch.
I enjoy listening to podcasts throughout the day, especially when I'm driving, walking the dog, or doing routine daily tasks like washing dishes and cleaning the house. My favorite way to listen is with earbuds, although I'll turn on a speaker if other people aren't around to bother. While I'll always have a spot in my heart for radio, podcasts have become my main form of infotainment.
This will help you get started on your podcast-listening adventure and easily find the kinds of shows you want to hear. Your questions and comments are welcome using the contact form on my blog: https://franklintaggart.com. And I always appreciate new listeners!