I’m not exaggerating when I say that podcasts are one of my favorite things about living in the 21st century. I’ve listened to thousands of hours worth of podcasts over the last 15 years and I can’t get enough of this medium. But only 25 per cent of the population listens to podcasts in an average month. If you’re in the other 75 per cent, this beginner’s guide to self-help podcasts is for you.
If you’re already a pro with podcasts, but want some tips on where to go for some good self-help podcasts, Part 2 of the beginner’s guide to self-help podcasts is coming soon.
What are podcasts?
Podcasts are on-demand audio programs. They vary by topic, length, frequency, and quality. There are over 500,000 podcasts out there, so you’re sure to find something that matches your interests. Each episode can be as short as a couple minutes or as long as several hours. Some are released daily; some weekly, and some less often. Some publish year-round, and some have seasons, like a television show.
And the quality varies considerably. The best podcasts are among the highest-quality content you will find, with amazing writing, engaging hosts and professional sound design. The worst are not very good. The good news is that there are so many great podcasts that you don’t need to stick with the crap. Just delete it and download something better.
Where / How to Listen
You can listen to podcasts on your phone, a computer, or a home assistant such as Alexa or Google Home.
The vast majority of podcast listening happens through smartphones. This is how people listen when they’re commuting, exercising or doing chores.
How you listen depends on whether you have an iPhone or an Android phone.
The Apple Podcasts app comes preloaded on all iPhones. Look for a purple app icon with two circles going around what looks like a lower-case letter ‘i’ but is probably supposed to represent a person. Once you open the app, you can browse by category or search for a specific podcast. Once you find something you like, click the subscribe button — then each new episode will automatically be downloaded to your device.
If you’re not using an iPhone, you probably have an Android phone. You can listen to podcasts on an Android by downloading one of the popular podcast apps such as Overcast, Castbox or Google Podcasts. Google has also integrated its Google Podcasts service into search results on Android phones, so you can both find and listen to podcasts through the search bar.
Spotify (Android or iPhone)
Another great option for iPhone or Android is Spotify. You don’t need to pay; you just need a free account to listen to podcasts. Spotify is personalized for you so you might get podcast recommendations on your home screen, or you may need to search for podcasts. Once you find one you like, click the follow button.
On a computer
Don’t have a smartphone, or can’t be bothered figuring out how to listen on one? You can also listen through a computer. You can do this through iTunes or through the website of the podcast you want to listen to.
In part 2 of the Beginner’s Guide to Self-Help Podcasts, I’ll share my picks for some of the best podcasts to help you own your life and achieve your biggest goals and wildest dreams.