From true crime and chat shows to audio drama and paranormal activity, here are the most popular podcast trends we predict for 2022.
Podcasting has absolutely exploded over the last few years. From film reviews and sporting analysis, to true crime and business advice, podcast enthusiasts now have the opportunity to tune in to a diverse range of audio offerings from around the world with the tap of a finger.
Since making their way into the mainstream, podcasts have transitioned from simple DIY shows made by friends in bedroom studios, to highly-polished, professional pieces of media with big budgets behind them. In fact, podcast has become an industry in its own right with big players involved, such as the BBC. If you’ve got an idea that could become the world’s next big audio show, check out this guide on how to start a podcast. Or if you need help choosing a podcast host that meets your needs and budget, we recommend this post on the best podcast hosting platforms
As Envato’s Audio Content Specialist Adrian Gardiner says, “If you have any kind of hobby or interest, there’s a podcast about it.” The rising popularity of podcasts has seen plenty of podcast trends popping up – spanning everything from topic and theme to podcast audio and sound effects. From planning your podcast to recording it to promoting it, there’s a lot that goes into getting a successful podcast off the ground. So, as trending podcasts change and new technologies arise, it’s more important than ever to keep your finger on the pulse if you want your podcast to be searchable, relevant and relatable for your target audience.
Ready to find out what’s making audio waves this year? Here are the 10 big podcast trends pegged for 2022…
1. True Crime
From books and movies to documentaries and TV shows, true crime has cemented itself as the top binge-worthy genre – and podcasts aren’t exempt. Ranging from one-off episodes to series-long deep dives containing all the gory details, true crime podcasts feature fast-paced storytelling, steady build-ups, and drip-fed facts to keep audiences in suspense. They often make use of archival sources as well as interviews and dramatization to keep listeners engaged and encourage them to try to piece things together along the way.
Unravel True Crime: Juanita is a true crime podcast that focuses on one of Australia’s most compelling unsolved mysteries. It’s been 46 years since Juanita Nielsen’s sudden disappearance, and this podcast takes a fresh look at the case. Covering everything from Juanita’s iconic beehive hairstyle to the cultural and political climate of Sydney’s Kings Cross in the early 1970s, the Unravel True Crime series uses music to build suspense and assist in telling the story.
Every true crime podcast needs a suspenseful or emotional audio track to set the scene. Clocks by Adigold is a royalty free track that contains the perfect dose of drama and sadness. Cut to it at any point in your podcast episode to pull on your listeners heartstrings.
2. Chat Shows
A perennially popular medium for radio and TV, chat shows have also become one of the most popular podcast genres. Many chatty podcasts balance light-hearted forays into the little things in life while also tackling big issues to give their shows depth and color. They’re often informative and entertaining, and when done right, can make listeners feel as if they’re part of a conversation between friends. Due to this casual and conversational style, these kinds of podcasts are great for consuming on commutes, walks, or while cooking or doing jobs around the house.
A great example comes from Hamish & Andy – two Australian comedians. Full of laughs, facts and hot takes, the pair’s weekly chat show covers everything from Hamish’s famous cake baking, to fake plants and bad ads, featuring appearances from special guests and even audience messages.
With many podcast chat shows featuring two hosts (think other iconic duos such as Michelle and Zara from Shameless, or Pandora and Dolly from the High Low), a duo font such as this fun and playful Soda Lime Font by saltandpepperdesigns is perfect for creating your chat show podcast art.
3. Global News
In the past, global news was reserved for television, radio and newspapers, but global news podcasts are an increasingly popular podcast genre. Often delving into serious, rigorously researched and up-to-the-minute content covering world affairs and high-interest topics, these podcasts are usually delivered daily, working to a tight schedule and with great attention to detail. Whether they’re delivering breaking news, news story explainers, or longer investigations, these podcasts showcase high calibre journalistic skills in audio format – often from a more objective, less emotional angle than other podcasts.
There are a few news broadcasters dominating the global scene. As a broadcaster with a long reputation for high quality news content, the BBC Global News Podcast is one of the most popular of this genre, delivering top stories from around the world, twice a day on weekdays and daily on weekends.
Choosing the right audio track is essential for emanating an air of professionalism for your news show. News by Dredstudio is high-impact and sharp, ideal for breaking news, returning from advertisements and special announcements.
Sports podcasts are becoming a typical way to provide fans with the latest sports news, updates, inspirational content or tips. They allow listeners to tune in any time for game recaps and hot takes. From weekly chat shows going over game results, to interviews with former pros, or even motivational training programs – the world of sports podcasting can be as varied as the sporting industry itself.
Sports Wars is a great example of a sports podcast with a killer point of difference. From the makers of Business Wars, this podcast looks at some of the greatest athletic rivalries of all time, from the infamous to the iconic. Each series takes an in-depth look back at the meltdowns and victories of an ongoing rivalry, with all the camaraderie and fights in between.
Sporting events are all about ambience – from the crowd noise of a stadium, to the pubs broadcasting the biggest tournaments, or the clapping on the sidelines at local games. An audio track like Sports Crowd Ambience 01 by HollywoodEdge will help you set the scene perfectly. Hot Tip: Open every episode with fanfare, and close it out to the sound of applause.
While foodie culture was already thriving prior to the pandemic, we’ve recently seen an absolute boom in all things food-related, which leads us to our fifth trend – food podcasts. With many of us confined to our own kitchens, cooking restaurant-quality dishes or exploring the world dish-by-dish with a good travel or restaurant review podcast can be a great way to feel like you’re dining out from the comfort of your own home. Or, if you like to get creative with new recipes or dishes, there’s no shortage of recipe-sharing hosts and cooking podcasts. This genre proves you don’t need to smell, taste or even see food to enjoy a sensory experience.
An example that combines guest interviews with food talk is the podcast Off Menu – hosted by comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster. It features special guests who share their ultimate restaurant experience, including their favorite drink, starter, main course, side dish and dessert. Ranging from fitness coach Joe Wicks, to Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK runner-up Bimini Bon Boulash, to the ever-popular documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux, each episode of this culinary culture show is full of surprises.
6. Paranormal Activity
The allure of the supernatural is age-old. We love stepping into the unknown, hearing stories of things we can’t explain or that are beyond our understanding – which is why paranormal podcasts are having a moment. There’s a massive amount of paranormal phenomena to explore, and plenty of podcasts are now plunging into spooky topics such as haunted houses, goblins and pixies, voodoo, conspiracies, mysterious abductions, UFO sightings, vampires, witchcraft… the list goes on.
Popular podcast Supernatural With Ashley Flowers takes known supernatural phenomena and presents all the facts in a fresh and thought-provoking way. Delving deep into the most strange and surreal stories, this podcast is a great example of how to take an audience along for a suspenseful mystery ride.
To go supernatural in your next episode or show, try Paranormal by SilverHoof. This royalty-free audio track evokes the atmosphere of a paranormal experience, reminiscent of the X-Files theme or an electromagnetic field detector.
Another enticing topic perfect for podcasting is the intriguing concept of mythbusting. Made famous by the super successful TV show Mythbusters, this genre takes the most popular myths and urban legends and tries to debunk them. Mixing education with pop-culture and comedy, mythbusting content can be enjoyed by everyone.
For history buffs, the Professor Buzzkill History Podcast is a good place to start. Hosted by Joseph Coohill, a historian of modern Britain and Ireland with a PhD from Oxford and a Masters from the University of Melbourne, this show takes a look at the ins and outs of history that you might not know.
Setting the tone of your own mythbusting podcast is important, and this aptly named Solving Riddles audio track by tunestogo perfectly encompasses the feeling of the light-hearted pursuit of the truth on serious topics.
8. Arts and Culture
Covering everything from books, TV, films, music, fashion, art and more, the arts and culture genre is as entertaining as it is varied. Whether focused on people, creativity or exploring trends, there’s a tonne of arts and culture shows out there to feast your ears on. Great for casual listening, you can easily dip in and out of these shows depending on whether a particular topic takes your fancy.
The podcast Song Exploder is a great example of arts and culture done right. Each episode dissects one song, getting the artist to talk through the story behind it and how their songs came to be. With huge name guests like Fleetwood Mac, Bon Iver, Lorde and U2, it’s easy to see how this show has inspired so many listeners. Song Exploder also has a unique way of marketing each episode, with beautiful illustrations of the featured artists.
To get the illustrated look for your own podcast, Retro Instagram – Live Streaming & Podcast Cover by dannyaldana is a great option. These cover art designs are well suited to music, cooking, wellness or beauty content.
Podcasts focused around activism can be a great way to reach new audiences and drive support for a cause. Or, for those listeners already fluent in the discourse, this type of content enables them to keep up-to-date with the latest developments or explore some of the trickier questions around the issue.
Sustainababble, a weekly podcast with hosts Ol and Dave, is a show which sorts through the often-confusing world of eco-news in pursuit of the truth on how to save the planet. Another example is a podcast project from organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson called Pod Save the People. This show dissects news, culture, social justice and politics, with commentary and interviews from a panel of influencers, experts and leaders. In the feminism podcast space, there’s a lot of both new and well-established shows, such as Unladylike from journalism duo Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin.
If you’re dipping your toes into starting this kind of podcast, introduce both your topic and personality with an illustration that conveys your message to your audience at a glance. Born This Way by ddraw from Envato Elements is a good example of a cute, quirky illustration that communicates both playfulness and pride.
10. Audio Drama
Our final trend, audio drama, has been around since the early days of radio. It follows in the tradition of radio soap operas, such as the veteran BBC radio drama The Archers, which first aired in 1951. Audio drama podcasts are fictional stories which are often serialized and feature continuous narratives, spanning everything from musicals to horror.
Podcast The Truth does audio drama a little bit differently, offering short stories between 10 and 20 minutes long. Well-executed with a cast of theatre-trained actors delivering each episode, The Truth – and the podcast’s creator Jonathon Mitchell – are pushing the boundaries of audio to great success so far.
If you need a cover art font for your audio drama, try out Silk Remington by jadugarDS. This new typeface design gives the authentic feel of an old school typewriter, with seven styles to work with.
And that’s a wrap on our pick of the top ten podcast trends for 2022! If you’re looking for info on podcast hosting, or how to promote a podcast, you can find a tonne of suspenseful audio tracks, scene-setting fonts, thumbnail art and even podcast templates over on Envato Elements. Or, read up on 5 Biggest Music and Audio Trends on Social Media and these 9 Must-Try Marketing Trends for 2022.