What is podcast structure?

“When we talk about podcast structure, we’re referring to the components that comprise your episodes and their sequential arrangement.”

Generally, this implies that every episode ought to possess a distinct start, middle, and conclusion, in a sequential manner.

The content you add to each part of your show distinguishes between something ordinary and a unique creation. In this article, we will guide you on what elements to incorporate and how to arrange them in a fascinating narrative that captivate your audience.

Why does podcast structure matter?

Creating an effective format for your podcast can increase listener involvement while reducing the amount of effort put into each episode.

Well-structured podcasts are:

  • OrganizedGroup similar pieces of information together.
  • CoherentEpisodes convey one precise message.
  • SmoothEvery part of the sequence progresses smoothly and effortlessly from the section that came before it.
  • PredictableYour viewers are familiar with the content that will be presented in every single episode.
  • EngagingMaintains the focus of your viewers throughout the entire episode.
  • EfficientHaving a uniform format for each episode can be advantageous since it can also reduce the amount of time needed for editing after recording.

These components are crucial as in case your audience is perplexed, they will disengage from your program.

In the following section, we will guide you on how to arrange your episodes in a strategic manner to prevent such situations.

What aspects should you take into account when determining the structure of your podcast?

In each episode, it is recommended to incorporate three fundamental elements: an opening segment, a presentation section, and a practical application part. These components can also be conceptualized as an initial phase, a challenging moment, and a final resolution.

The beginning of the episode provides context for the main topic, informing listeners about what will be covered and why it is important to them.

Next, the speech constructs a captivating storyline that culminates in the proposal, effectively conveying the main message to the audience.

If you were reminded of the last novel you read by that analysis, it’s because novels, films and shows follow a similar format. This format is known as the three-act structure, and it revolves around telling a compelling story that resonates with your audience.

Now, it’s time to explore in detail the method of utilizing that framework to captivate your viewers.

How to build your podcast successfully

Step 1: Choose a theme

The main point or message you intend to convey to your audience through your show, which is also known as the podcast topic, is referred to as the theme. Every episode should be focused on highlighting and discussing this theme in some regard.

Before deciding on the format of each episode, it is important to identify your show’s overall theme and what you want your audience to gain from it. This will help guide the structure of each episode.

Make sure to consider your intended audience as well!

One approach to achieve this is by creating a listener persona, which is a detailed description of your intended audience. This includes identifying their interests and the challenges they encounter. Your content should revolve around these areas.

After building a small following, you can improve your understanding of your audience’s preferences by enhancing your listener persona and refining your theme. Conducting a live Q&A session can also assist in determining their reaction to your content.

Podcast recording can be made easier by utilizing software such as Riverside, which permits live audience participation via a call-in feature during the episode recording.

Step 2: Decide episode duration

It is important to determine the desired length of your episodes during the initial stage of planning, as this will impact the format that you ultimately choose. If your episodes are limited to only ten minutes, it may not be feasible to incorporate ten distinct sections into your primary content.

If you wish to determine the length of your podcast episodes based on typical durations, recent data indicates that the majority of podcast episodes tend to last for more than 30 minutes.

A helpful principle to remember is to make your episodes as brief as possible, especially if you’re just starting out with your show. However, once you’ve built a loyal audience, you can afford to make longer episodes without issue.

It’s recommended that each episode have a similar duration. This is because listeners prefer consistency. It’s acceptable to have occasional longer or shorter episodes, but it’s important to provide a reason for the deviation.

Step 3: Plan your pacing

Find a middle ground where the show is neither slow and dull causing boredom for the audience nor fast-paced and chaotic leading to confusion and stress among listeners.

It is important to allow some pause for your viewers to contemplate in between each part of your show. Therefore, it is crucial to address this matter early on in your preparations because it could affect how much content you aim to include in each episode.

To figure out the appropriate duration, try recording a segment of the show and have some acquaintances listen to it. If they appear disinterested or disconnected, modify the tempo accordingly while making the ultimate version.

If you are not sure, it is advisable to allow more time between segments rather than less. You can eliminate unwanted footage using software such as Riverside for podcast editing.

Step 4: Write a script

In this step, you’ll thoroughly plan the structure of your episode.

There are two ways to prepare for a speech: writing down exactly what you will say or creating an outline like the one shown in this sample script video.

The main objective behind adopting either a script or an outline is to arrange your material in a systematic manner by grouping related data and ensuring its smooth transition.

If you are planning to interview a guest, make sure to write down the questions you will ask and provide them with an outline beforehand.

It is time to begin recording after completing the essential planning.

Step 5: Record the introduction

There are countless methods to organize an introduction for a podcast.

No matter how you arrange them, the components that should be incorporated are listed below.

  • It is an important part of any communication. It is a method used to capture the audience’s attention and create intrigue about the topic at hand. 
  • A hook can be anything from a surprising statistic to a compelling story, but its primary goal is to motivate listeners to pay attention and actively engage with the message being conveyed. Without an effective hook, a presentation or speech can fall flat and fail to connect with its intended audience.
  • A short clip of music
  • Your name
  • The name of your show
  • A recap of relevant past episodes is referred to as a back sell.
  • A brief overview of the topics that will be discussed in this particular episode will be provided.

To capture your audience’s attention right from the start of an episode, a effective technique is to include a compelling segment from the middle of the show. This is something that we practice in our HitPublish podcasts.

By taking these steps, you can improve the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts and increase engagement with your brand.

This method induces the listeners to remain and listen further.

One way to start the episode’s subject is by sharing a brief anecdote.

Subsequently, ensure that you convey to your audience the benefits they will gain from listening to the episode. Inform them of how it can aid them in problem-solving or enhancing their quality of life.

If you’re struggling to understand the content of the episode, consider recording the remaining parts first and then record the introduction. This way, it will be simpler to give a brief overview of what has just been discussed.

In conclusion, it is crucial to keep your introduction brief. You don’t want to captivate your audience only to bore them with a lengthy introduction. If your introduction surpasses the 5-minute mark, you could potentially lose nearly a third of your listeners, up to 27.5%.

Step 6 involves documenting the main section of the podcast, which is also known as the delivery.

Your episode’s primary content ought to be in a storytelling format.

One way to present the information is to pose it as a challenge that needs to be addressed. You can then guide your audience through the process of reaching a resolution, complete with unexpected turns and obstacles along the way.

If you choose to share a personal experience, it would be beneficial to discuss any errors or setbacks you encountered. Alternatively, if you are recounting someone else’s narrative (such as that of a notable figure), it may be relevant to highlight the suspense and mystery surrounding specific periods in their life.

The main concept is to maintain your audience’s curiosity by incorporating unexpected elements and creating a story that the listeners can relate to. As real life consists of numerous surprises, your podcast should also have some twists and turns.

Bear in mind that you should not provide your audience with any solutions or conclusions yet. It is best to reserve them for the conclusion of the episode.

Including music or sponsored advertisements at the points where segments transition is recommended, particularly because this portion of the content is the lengthiest.

Step 7: Record the resolution

In this stage, you disclose the details of how the protagonist in your story (either yourself, your guest, or a third party) successfully tackled the challenges they encountered and developed as a result. You reveal the last bit of information that you had been keeping undisclosed.

That is what your audience gains from hearing your story.

Once you have addressed any remaining unresolved issues, make sure to emphasize to your audience the ways in which they have gained from listening, specifically how the main message pertains to them.

Afterwards, request a specific action from your audience. This could involve requesting for them to rate and review your podcast on platforms such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify, downloading a resource or completing a survey. 

Incentives may also be provided such as offering prizes to the first ten people who complete the task.

Finally, provide your audience with communication means such as emails or social media usernames to reach you, co-hosts or guests. Additionally, express gratitude towards your co-hosts and guests for being part of your show.

It is important to remember that the order of this section does not have to be exact. You are allowed to mix up the structure if needed.

Additional Tips To Produce Your Own Podcast Episodes

These resources offer guidance and inspiration for structuring your podcast content, including suggested segment lengths, script templates, and ideas for opening and closing segments. 

Use these tools to streamline your production process and create engaging podcasts that keep listeners coming back for more.

Learning the fundamentals of forming a podcast layout is not equivalent to witnessing an actual demonstration. Therefore, we shall examine several suggestions for various podcast formats as a starting point.

Solo podcast

This type of podcast requires you to host a solo show. The structure of the podcast may resemble the following:

  • Introduction
  • First segment
  • Message from sponsor
  • Second segment
  • Segue
  • Reply to messages received from your audience via e-mail or on social media platforms.
  • Summary
  • Call to action

Keeping the podcast outline engaging is crucial as some listeners may find it tiresome to listen to only one narrator. It is suggested to make the segments brief and mix them up with segues such as music, advertisements or discussions with your producer.

Podcast with co-host(s)

This prevalent podcast style involves having discussions with your co-host(s) and sometimes inviting guests. It’s important to organize your outline in a way that ensures everyone has equal speaking time.

Your outline might look like this:

  • Introduce episode
  • Introduce co-host(s)
  • Discussion between co-hosts
  • Message from sponsor
  • Q&A with audience
  • Summary
  • Call to action

Interview podcast

Interview podcasts are a very popular type of format where the host or co-hosts hold a discussion with a guest. When creating your plan, make sure that your interview questions are arranged in a way that allows for smooth conversation.

The typical format for an interview podcast is as follows:

  • Hook
  • Music
  • Introduce host
  • Message from sponsor
  • Introduce guest
  • Easy opening questions
  • Main questions
  • Easy closing questions
  • Message from sponsor
  • Outro music

To demonstrate how professionals execute it, some selected illustrations from famous television shows will be provided as the conclusion.


The true-crime podcast, Serial, is widely known and favored by many.

  • Hook: Quotes from previous episode
  • Podcast title and description with music
  • Main content
  • Outro/cliffhanger

Missed Fortune

Missed Fortune tells the real-life tale of a man’s quest for a treasure worth one million dollars.

  • Hook: Quotes from previous episode
  • Intro to current episode
  • Episode title
  • Main content
  • Outro/cliffhanger


Radiolab employs investigative journalism to provide answers to a diverse array of intriguing inquiries.

  • Episode title
  • The introduction involves the hosts providing a brief preview of what the episode is about.
  • Musical transition
  • Main content
  • Outro discussion between hosts


Invisibilia explores the hidden factors that impact how people behave.

  • Introduction: An anecdote that introduces the topic of the episode.
  • Main story #1
  • Segue
  • Main story #2
  • Segue
  • Outro

There are numerous templates available for organizing your podcast, and only a few have been mentioned here as examples.

Remember that no matter how well-organized your podcast is, if the sound quality is subpar and the video is poorly edited, it will not be successful. The quality of the sound in the show is equally as professional as its organization.

FAQs on Podcast Structure

What are the 5 elements of a podcast?

The majority of popular podcasts showcase five components that contribute to their success:

  • Base your program and every installment on a sole subject.
  • To best engage your viewers, it is important to comprehend their interests and preferences and tailor your performance accordingly.
  • Publish new episodes at consistent intervals.
  • Maintain a deliberate and consistent format in every episode.
  • Try to be genuine and promote authenticity among your co-hosts and guests.

Making use of these characteristics in your podcast guarantees that you’ll receive the most beneficial outcome for the effort and resources put into it.

What’s the most suitable format for a podcast?

The formation of your episodes is reliant on their objective and if there are any additional hosts or individuals being interviewed. However, to initiate the process, here is a basic plan for reference.

  • In order to capture the attention of your audience, you need to start with something that is engaging and intriguing. This could be a surprising fact, an anecdote, a question, or a thought-provoking statement. 
  • By drawing your audience in from the beginning, you can ensure that they will be interested in what you have to say and more likely to engage with your message. Remember, first impressions are important, so take the time to craft an introduction that will leave a lasting impression on your audience.
  • First segment
  • Segue (music or ads)
  • Second segment
  • Segue (music or ads)
  • Episode summary
  • Encourage your audience to give a rating, write a review, and subscribe.
  • Create a suspenseful moment at the end of an episode to encourage your audience to tune in for the next one.

How do you structure a solo podcast?

To commence a solo podcast, start by captivating your audience’s attention with a thrilling tale or an interesting segment from later in the show, just like any other form of podcasting.

Next, focus on your primary information. When creating a podcast by yourself, it is crucial to include pauses or musical interludes between sections to prevent feelings of boredom that might arise from prolonged stretches of talking alone.

Another way to include diverse perspectives is to allow the audience to participate by sending in their inquiries beforehand, which can then be addressed during the podcast episode.

Finally, conclude by reviewing the key points that were covered and sharing an intriguing sneak peek of what to expect in the next installment.