The Best Educational Podcasts Of 2020–And How To Create Your Own
As listeners and podcast producers, we're always on the hunt for shows that help us improve in some aspect of our lives. The best educational podcasts fill the void with episodes about entrepreneurship, language learning practice, and even philosophical debates.
When Craig sat down with Kevan Lee from Buffer, he didn't plan on digging deeper into how Buffer creates their educational podcasts. But after hearing about their unique process and transition into scripted episodes, we had to know more.
This week on Audience, we're talking about a popular podcast topic and category–educational podcasts. These podcast's formats take many forms but one thing remains constant. The audience is there to learn something and they need actionable steps to get started.
Listen to our interview with Kevan to find out how Buffer produces their show then read on to discover 10 of the best educational podcasts out there.
Why You Should Consider An Educational Podcast Format
The best educational podcasts tackle a theme or niche topic and analyze it down to its basic points. These shows are popular because podcasts are a great way to learn new skills from experts. They also help audiences access more information about a specific interest that may be too complicated to understand via other mediums.
For example, there is a community interested in learning about how to save and invest for retirement. But it takes time to research and understand complex financial topic from articles around the internet. Instead, people listen to Money For The Rest of Us. The host, David Stein, previously managed billions of dollars and is there to guide his listeners through a variety of financial topics. His goal is to help people become more confident investors and take control of their financial futures.
For individual hosts, like David Stein, educational podcasts offer an opportunity to become an industry authority. He published a book in 2019, curates a weekly newsletter, and speaks at live events due to his podcast's success. For aspiring podcasters, if you're interested in educating others about a topic or skill then this podcast format is for you.
In the same vein, brands like Buffer are producing educational podcasts that weave in their products with actionable information. Buffer's team is an expert on all things social media so they're able teach listeners about industry best practices and how their tool can help. Brands producing educational podcasts offer more value to their customers, helping them refine a skillset along the way.
What Buffer Learned From Producing A Podcast
We weren't shocked to hear about Buffer's transition from an interview-based podcast to a scripted show because their written content is the pinnacle B2B of content marketing. Recording an educational podcast based off their high performing blog content sounded like a no-brainer. But it took some trial and error from them to get there.
The Science of Social Media started as an interview-style show where 3 different hosts would rotate through interviewing industry experts. But they found it was difficult to have a unique perspective in a sea of similar educational podcasts that were speaking with the same people. So they pivoted into talking about "the how" behind trending industry practices so listeners could learn how to set up their own social media campaigns effectively.
Now the podcast is hosted by two of Buffer's team members and they follow a script to ensure they drive home the takeaways. No more than 15-20 minutes long, they aim to make everything sound conversational but the end goal is provide as much knowledge as possible within the show's run time.
Tips for turning a blog post into a podcast script
Scripting the show based off blog posts took some effort to get it right. Kevan's main learning points included:
- Include some conversational cues so the hosts knew to add short anecdotes or humor to keep things light.
- Remove all commas from the script. Speaking something out loud has different natural pauses compared to reading it.
- Practice the script as a group to make it sound as conversational as possible.
- Keep an eye on word counts. For a 15-20 minute episode, Buffer looks for 2,000 word articles. If pieces are too long, they cut sections out but make sure everything still flows.
- Chuck the blog post into sections so topics flow and the audience has the relevant information to understand the subsequent topic.
- Remember to add in filler words and transitions so hosts can naturally pass the conversation back and forth.
- Spell out acronyms and rehearse difficult to pronounce words and names.
- When important visuals appear within the blog post, get detailed in how you describe it audibly. You want the audience to be able to recreate the action on their own while listening.
10 Best Educational Podcasts In 2020
Many of us are on the hunt for ways to improve our lives and learning new skills is one part of that journey. We gathered the ten best educational podcasts that will help you learn something new. These shows follow different formats and cover a variety of topics so there's something for everyone!
- Overheard at National Geographic: "Each week we’ll dive into one of the curiously delightful conversations we’ve overheard around National Geographic’s headquarters. You’ll be introduced to the explorers, photographers and scientists at the edges of our big, bizarre, and beautiful world."
- WorkLife by TED: "Organizational psychologist Adam Grant takes you inside the minds of some of the world’s most unusual professionals to explore the science of making work not suck. From learning how to love criticism to harnessing the power of frustration, one thing’s for sure: You’ll never see your job the same way again."
- Life Kit by NPR: "Everyone needs a little help being human. From sleep to saving money to parenting and more, we talk to the experts to get the best advice out there. Life Kit is here to help you get it together."
- You're Wrong About: "Mike and Sarah are journalists obsessed with the past. Every where they reconsider an event or person or trend that's been miscast in the public imagination."
- How to Money: "Best friends Joel and Matt believe that when you handle your money in a purposeful, thoughtful way that works for your lifestyle, you can really start living a rich life."
- The Pitch: "Listen as real entrepreneurs pitch real investors–for real money."
- This Podcast Will Kill You: Each episode tackles a different disease, from its history to its biology, and finally how scared you need to be."
- Coffee Break: "Learn one of seven languages, including Enlgihs, Spanish, French, and more, on the go."
- Houston, We Have a Podcast: "We bring in the experts, scientists, engineers, astronauts, all to let you know what's going on in the world of human spaceflight."
- Encyclopedia Womannica: "In just 5 minutes a day, learn about different incredible women from throughout history."
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