Over that last year, podcasts have exploded in popularity. While that’s great for the brands and individuals producing them, it can present a little bit of a problem for podcast listeners. With so many podcasts out there, how do you figure out which ones are worth listening to? As the late rapper The Notorious B.I.G. once said, “Mo podcasts, mo problems.” (I may have taken a little liberty with that quote, but you get that point.)
To help you figure out which podcasts you should actually listen to, we polled our team here at HubSpot. Below are eight awesome podcasts we'd recommend you check out.
Bonus: We'd be remiss if we didn't recommend our own podcast, The Growth Show. Subscribe on iTunes to hear from marketing and business leaders at brands like BuzzFeed, Patagonia, Warby Parker, LEGO, and Google.
StartUp documents Alex Blumberg’s quest to start a business. Best known as the producer of NPR’s This American Life and Planet Money, Blumberg describes StartUp as a podcast series “about what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one.” After you listen to him botch a pitch to legendary Silicon Valley investor Chris Sacca in the first episode (aptly named “How Not to Pitch a Billionaire”), you’ll be hooked. (If you want to hear more from Alex, check out his interview on The Growth Show.)
2) Grow the Dream Show
These three marketing and communications pros all have one thing in common: They love small business, and they love marketing. Okay, that's two things. Grow The Dream Show also hosts some A+ guests, like marketing star Jay Baer. One of the younger podcasts on the list, it's one to keep an eye on.
This was the podcast that got everyone talking about podcasts in 2014. Despite the first season ending in December, Serial still sits at the top of the iTunes charts in terms of popularity. Host Sarah Koenig spends the season unraveling a real-life mystery -- and even she doesn’t know how it will end. We won’t reveal too much more about the plot, but if you haven’t already listened, Serial should be at the top of your list.
4) The B.S. Report
The B.S. Report is hosted by ESPN’s Bill Simmons and has been among the most popular podcasts for sports fans since 2007 (yes, there were podcasts before Serial). A few times each week, Simmons brings on a guest from sports and pop culture to talking about everything from the upcoming NBA Playoffs to who got snubbed for a Grammy to what happens behind the scenes of Saturday Night Live. If you like sports and pop culture, this should be your go-to podcast.
5) The Mortified Podcast
Imagine someone found your journal from your teenage years and made you read it on stage in front of hundreds of people. That’s the Mortified Podcast, except the readers are willingly sharing their memories. The podcast is the audio-only version of the popular documentary Mortified Nation, which features random adults sharing their most embarrassing, private childhood writings in front of an audience of total strangers. Each episode is less than 20 minutes, which makes it a fun and easy-to-listen-to option in your podcast roster.
6) 99% Invisible
Roman Mars’ 99% Invisible is all about the hidden features in design and architecture -- the 99% invisible activities that shape much of our world. The podcast has been downloaded of 30 million times, making it one of the most popular shows on iTunes, andFast Company named Mars one of 100 Most Creative People in 2013. If you’ve ever wondered why a calendar is designed the way it is or wanted to learn about people who enjoying putting together IKEA furniture, this podcast is for you.
7) This Week in Startups
Jason Calacanis publishes two episodes a week: a news roundtable with one of today’s top tech journalists on the week’s most pressing items, and a fireside chat style interview with one of today’s top entrepreneurs. If you are interested in tech and startups, This Week In Startups is a great podcast to add to your repertoire. Previous guests have included Uber founder Travis Kalanick, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, and venture capitalist Fred Wilson.
NPR’s Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel host Invisibilia (Latin for "all the invisible things"). Previously, Miller and Spiegel played key roles in the developing other popular NPR podcasts like Radiolab and This American Life. With Invisibilia, they aim to try and understand “our dark, disturbing thoughts and whether those thoughts say anything about who we are; our fears and how they shape our actions; and our need for belonging and how it shapes our identity and fuels our emotions over a lifetime.” If that doesn’t get you interested, this will: In the fifth episode, “Entanglement,” they talk to a woman who can physically feel what she sees others feeling. Whoa.
What other podcasts do you love listening to? Share your favorites with us in the comments.
Originally published May 4, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017