An Introduction to Podcasts & Why You’ll Want to Listen.
About a year ago I discovered the wide, wide world of podcasts, and I enJOY them so much that I’m now like a podcast evangelist! Podcasts have taken my “time to kill” moments to a time of thinking “great, I can fit in a podcast!” I can find podcasts for literally any topic that interests me, and I am like a sponge that just keeps soaking them up.
One of my favorite things about podcasts is that they’re mobile, so I often listen when I’m driving. I have a 45 minute commute to and from work, and podcasts have definitely upped the joy factor in my commute. I can’t read a book, but I can listen to a podcast.
Can you think of any other situations where podcasts might put a fun zing into an otherwise boring task? Why not learn something while your doing dishes or getting ready in the morning? Pop in your ear buds and listen while you’re waiting for an appointment, exercising, or while sitting on a bus. Podcasts offer the perfect opportunity to learn or be entertained while doing other mindless things. Take the boring stuff and insert fun!
A Pod What?
Let’s start with a basic, non-technical definition of a podcast. The word podcast originated from combining the word iPod (the most popular media player when podcasts got started) and the word broadcast.
Podcasts are basically digital audio (and on occasion video) files that you can listen to using your smartphone, mobile device, or computer. They’re like a radio show. You get to listen to what you want – whenever you want – for free!
Some podcasts have a little advertising sprinkled into it, but really very little. Plus, you can touch the 15-second fast forward icon and skip through advertisements. Usually advertising is at the beginning or end of the podcast. Many podcasters mention their website where people can get more information or take advantage of services or products offered.
Listen Up! Get Started.
Podcasts are most easily listened to using a podcast app. You can then subscribe to the podcasts that you enjoy, and you’ll be notified when new episodes are released. Episodes can be downloaded to your device while you have an internet connection. You can then listen while out and about, but you won’t use precious data. The download feature is also handy if you’re going to be out of data reception area, such as an airplane.
If you have an Apple device such as an iPhone or an iPad, you can go to the App Store and download/install a free app called Podcasts. When you open the new app, click on the browse icon at the bottom and you can see all the categories you can browse for podcasts that are to your liking.
I’m not familiar with android phones, but if you have one just go to the Google play store and you will find plenty of apps there for you.
Youtube.com is a great resource if you need technical help to get your podcast app setup. Here is one video that takes you through the main app features. Keep in mind that the apps are updated regularly, which means the look will be slightly different.
FREE & Popular Podcasts
Ok, that headline might be a bit misleading because all podcasts are free! Are you thinking that podcasts sound intriguing but you have no idea what topics you’d really listen to?
Personally, I mostly listen to podcasts about personal growth/self help and about blogging. But whether you want to learn about history, photography, politics, technology, animals… or maybe you just want to be entertained with a story or comedy… there is a podcast for you. The apps make it very easy to search topics, so you won’t have any problem finding topics that interest you.
Here are some of my personal favorite podcasts:
Jesse and Marni, along with the experts they interview, teach and inspire you to reach your maximum health potential. Topics include lifestyle, nutrition, fitness, self-help, sleep, meditation, and spirituality.
Lucas Rockwood talks not only about yoga, but a whole range of health and wellness topics. He offers great tips and interesting topics.
This podcast by Carol Howell was really helpful for me while my dad was living with dementia. It gave me ideas on how to best interact with him, as well as just feeling a sense of community with this online lady who I never met but went through a similar situation with “momma.” Off topic, but her strong southern accent added a bit of fun for me!
Personal Growth and Inspiration
Who doesn’t love Oprah?!!?! Podcast description: “Hear Oprah’s personal selection of her interviews with thought-leaders, best-selling authors, spiritual luminaries, as well as health and wellness experts. All designed to light you up, guide you through life’s big questions and help bring you one step closer to your best self.”
With my blog being If It Brings You Joy, of course The Joy Factor is extremely interesting to me! Listeners get ideas from Julie Hanson and her expert guests about how to create more joy in their lives. Get tools, tips, and inspiration.
Short stories with inspiration and motivation. Includes wisdom, advice, and easy-to-implement tips. Fun to listen while getting ready for your day.
Life Stages/Self Help
Suzy Rosenstein is entertaining as she teaches you how to “regret-proof” your life, especially if you’re in a midlife funk. Suzy is a Certified Life Coach and will teach you mindfulness skills to create a life that you love. Honestly, I think that people of any age can benefit from Suzy’s messages.
Not my era, but good listening for people to get motivated and navigate any transition in your life.
I don’t listen to this but it’s by Brandon Gaille and I do listen to his podcast about blogging (see below). He has mentioned his cancer experience and I think you’ll enjoy this if you or a special person in your life is dealing with cancer.
Kim Anderson is a fantastic motivator for bloggers. From her experience as a blogger, she understands the challenges and frustrations bloggers face and offers encouragement to just keep blogging.
Brandon Gaille teaches bloggers strategies to grow traffic and monetize their blogs. He gives clear step-by-step instructions, and his tips are applicable to every blogger. Brandon is a pro blogger himself, and he freely shares his many methods to help others become successful bloggers.
Kate Ahl is the best guru I’ve found for helping content creators use Pinterest as a marketing tool. She offers tips for everything from analytics to hot topics for the month. She keeps current by attending conferences and she graciously shares everything she learns.
And the list of podcast topics goes on…
- Puppy training
- Chameleon breeding (Obscure? Yes, but there really is such a podcast!)
- Need more ideas? Read this thread on Reddit.com where people reply to the question, “What are your favorite weird, strange, or creepy podcasts?”
A Listening Feature You Won’t Want to Miss
You can speed up the rate you listen, and that means you can take in more episodes. Listening at a faster speed makes me focus, but I get through so much more! I am like a sponge and just can’t get enough listening, so I love this feature.
Some topics are more conducive for speeding up. Things like meditations or music are better left at the actual speed. Anything else, I usually listen at 1½X. When I speed it up to 2X, I can still understand the words, but the pitch gets wonky and it takes too much focus to really catch it all.
Listening speed is really a personal preference, but now that I’m used to listening at rate of 1½X, it feels too slow to listen at normal speed. The one exception is when I listen at night. When I’m tired, I need to listen at normal rate in order to truly digest the information. Speeding it up too fast takes the joy out of it for me, but you should try it to decide what speed you enjoy.
A Whole New World
To sum it up, podcasts are a great resource for you to learn without spending any money. They’re free and easily available via your mobile device or computer. Give podcasts a try as a method to grow, be entertained, keep up with current news, and to learn. There are more listeners than ever, and you will likely also find joy in podcasts. Please leave a comment with podcasts you already enjoy or your thoughts about podcasts in general.
May I ask a favor? If you enJOY my blog, please follow me on Pinterest where you’ll find more ideas and articles for personal growth and other fun topics that will bring you joy. Thank you!
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