Podcasts are one of the best kept secrets on the internet – a huge audio resource on just about every topic you can think of, with something for everyone. I listen to a podcast or two most days, but I often hear people say they don’t know how to listen to them and I can understand that – that was me for ages! Finally I decided that I was going to work it out and it took me about three minutes, and since then its been a game changer. So if that’s you, read on, and all will become clear!
What is a podcast?
A podcast is an audio show, that you can download and listen to, either on a computer, or via an app on your phone. Each show will tend to have a theme, or a particular style, and will explore that theme over a number of episodes. Sometimes a show will have a few series you can listen to, delving back into the archives to binge listen. They are almost all free, and you can listen to as many or as few as you want, as often as you like, at a time to suit you.
How do I listen to a podcast?
There are a few different ways you can listen to a podcast, and all of them are really easy – once you know how.
1. On a computer
An easy way for you to listen to a podcast is to play it directly through the podcasts website. If you know the podcast already, just go to the website and they will most likely have a ‘listen now’ option, and as long as you have a speaker or headphones on your computer you can listen. But, this isn’t necessarily the best way – it means you are limited to being near your computer, and have to remember to go back to the website to check for new episodes.
2. On your phone using an app
This the easiest way to listen to podcasts on the move, and to keep up with new episodes so you don’t miss any. You just need an app on your phone, and then you can download episodes at home and listen to them wherever you are. There are a few different options depending on which phone you have.
On an Apple iPhone listening to podcasts is really easy – your phone comes with the Podcast app already installed, you just need to find it, click the icon and, boom, there’s your doorway into the podcast world opened for you.
Once you’ve installed the app, use the search box to find the Podcasts you want, by searching for the podcast title. Sometimes you need to be quite specific and use the correct title. Once you have found it, just click the podcast name to go to that shows page. You will see some information about the podcast and also all the available episodes. Just tap one to play it! Easy, wasn’t it?
Once you have found a podcast that you like, the best thing to do is to subscribe to it, you’ll find the subscribe button on the podcasts main page. If you tap Subscribe, each new episode of the Podcast will automatically be downloaded to your phone when it’s published. That means you never have to remember to go and look for new episodes, they are just there, ready for you to listen to when you want them. In iTunes if you haven’t listened in for a while, it will pause the automatic downloading but you can just start it back up again with a click, no drama.
Once you have got the hang of listening to podcasts you might want to explore some other apps which offer more functions. A really good free app to consider is Pocket Cast which is easy to use, simple and offers lots of features, and its improving all the time. You can also use Spotify to listen to Podcasts as well, if you are a spotify user but they don’t always offer the full range. I use the Apple Podcast app and it does everything I need it to so I have never used these options
What equipment do I need to listen to podcasts?
The most simple way to listen to a podcast is just with a computer and speaker, or on a phone. However, if you are listening on the go, you may want to use a few things to make your listening easier and more enjoyable.
Because my kids love podcasts as much as I do, we often listen in the car when we are on the way to an activity – there are so many great educational podcast so this ticked quite a few home ed boxes, but we also listen to stories too, especially on long car journeys. My car doesn’t have a Bluetooth connection on the radio ( that’s the easiest way to listen, just connect your phone via bluetooth to the car radio) so I just use an Aux-in cable like this one.
I also listen to podcast when I am walking or running, so I bought these bone conductor headphones, so I can still hear whats going on around me but also listen to podcasts at the same time – I have listened to hours of podcasts whilst pounding the pavements in my town – you can also use them at the gym too as they are wireless so no cables to get tangled up in machines. And, I also use them a lot at home, as it means I can listen to podcasts whilst I am cooking or busy in the house and no one else has to hear them – perfect if you want to listen to something but don’t want little ears listening too, or if like me you have child who is overly sensitive to audio stimulation. With these headphones I can still hear what else is happening in the house too ( its magic, I have no idea how it works but it does!) .
How do I find podcasts to listen to?
Once you have the podcast app, if you know what podcast you want, you can simply search on the show title and find your podcasts that way. But, if you want to discover new podcasts, you will need to go looking for them. Start by asking friends what they are listening to ( and if they say they don’t know how to listen to podcasts, send them here!) . You can also use the charts to see what is popular right now. iTtunes podcast charts change regularly, and they also a New and Noteworthy section you can browse. You will also find lots of blog posts with ‘ Best Podcasts for…’ like this one, where several are recommended – I usually find one or two on a list like this that I like. Pinterest is also a great place to look for podcast ideas – you can even follow my Pinterest board for ideas and to see what I am listening to as well. Finally, google is your friend here.
The thing I love about podcasts is that there are podcast on so many different topics, last year I listened to podcasts on how to run a business, good places to travel to, health, fitness, architecture, science topics for kids, politics, parenting, adventuring, self development, gardening, books, people just chatting about their lives and interviews with some amazing people I would never have otherwise discovered. And here are so many new podcasts starting all the time too.
One last thing…
Almost all podcasts are produced for free – you wont find many adds and generally the ones you do are well chosen and subtle. Podcasters spend hours creating this free content for us to enjoy, so if you find one you like, click the subscribe button and go onto iTunes and leave a review – it makes a huge difference to that podcaster and only takes you a minute or two. Its a great way to say thanks for all the hard work they have gone to in producing the show.
OK hopefully that has inspired you to start listening to podcast – let me know which method you choose and if you find a great podcast please let me know in the comments below!