Podcast Topics & Ideas: At-a-Glance
- Before you choose a topic for your podcast, think about what your aims, ambitions, and motivations are. Why do you want to podcast?
- Whether you’re podcasting as a hobby or as part of your business, it needs to be enjoyable and interesting for both you and the listener.
- Adding in a second layer of purpose and targeting will help your content to be original and stand out. This is good news if you have a few different podcast ideas floating around.
- Read on to find out more…
Pondering podcast topics? You’ve come to the right place!
First up, though, a bit of clarity. When folks talk about podcast topics, they usually mean one of two things…
- The overall topic of a podcast, as a whole
- The topics of individual podcast episodes
Podcast Topics Vs Ideas for Podcast Episodes
With the first part, we’re choosing the overall topic (or theme!) of the show. That could be anything, from horror movies or craft beer to playing the piano, or writing.
Then you’ll break that down into individual ideas for episodes. So your horror movie podcast might focus on a different film each episode. Or your author show might break down the process of writing a book, from planning to publishing.
If you’ve already nailed down your overall podcast topic, then you might want to check out our guide on how to come up with new and fresh episode ideas.
But even if you do have that main theme in place, there are tweaks and adjustments you can make that’ll help your show to stand out. So if you’re struggling to grow your podcast, read on to find out how tightening up your topic can help take things to the next level.
Podcast Ideas: What’s the Right Topic for Me?
The first stage here is to ask yourself why you want to podcast. What’s your motivation? What’s your ambition?
If you’re just looking to have fun, then your podcast topic should be something you talk about regularly. What are your hobbies and interests? And what unique spin can you put on them?
If you’re podcasting to market a business or service, then you might want to pick a topic that’s at least loosely associated with the industry you’re working in.
For example, the developer of a planning and organisation app might choose to do a podcast about productivity. Or, a sportswear brand might create a show focused around the history of the Olympic Games.
The bottom line is that the podcast topic needs to be interesting and engaging so that people will listen. And, it still needs to be something you are passionate about. If you don’t enjoy making it, then certainly nobody is going to enjoy listening to it.
It’s worth noting, too, that you can pick a podcast topic that has absolutely nothing to do with the business or service you’re trying to market. A famous example of this was General Electric’s sci-fi audio drama podcast The Message.
For more on this, check out our piece on Great Brand Podcasts.
Finally – you don’t need to get this right first time!
Many people launch a show with what they think is their ideal topic. They learn the ropes, then they realise that they’d like to start another podcast about something else entirely.
So don’t procrastinate over starting a podcast. If it ends up being a trial run, you’ll still learn a lot from it. And your next show will sound better right out of the gate as a result of that.
Once we have that big idea, though, what next? What if a thousand other podcasters have that same podcast topic in mind?
From True Crime & Movies to Personal Finance Advice: How to Choose Unique Podcast Topics
There are over four million podcasts out there today. And, whilst that number is minuscule compared to the number of blogs or websites, it’s still a busy space to go and create content in.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Far from it. It just means that your podcast topic idea needs to be less general, and more targeted towards a specific audience or “niche”.
The days of growing an “I’ll just chat about anything, and my show will be for everyone”-type podcast are over. Unless you’re already famous or have a huge advertising budget behind you.
So we know we need an overall podcast topic. But, even that alone isn’t enough.
Say, for example, you wanted to start a new ketogenic diet podcast. As you’d expect, this is one of the most popular podcast topics in the health space. So how can you avoid yours becoming another of many?
That’s where a second layer of targeting comes in.
Instead of just another ketogenic diet podcast, it could be “the ketogenic diet podcast for single parents”. Or “for pensioners”. Or, “for truck drivers”.
Yes, this cuts down the number of potential listeners, but it drastically increases the value for the show’s target audience. They see that podcast and think, “this is perfect – exactly what I was looking for. It feels like they’ve created this just for me!”
Other examples of this might be;
The travel podcast – for D&D players
The business startup podcast – for military veterans
The running podcast – for blind and partially sighted people
With this approach, you can create a show that’s unique, original, and has the potential to grow a hardcore fanbase around it.
For a deeper dive on this, check out What’s Your USP? How to Make Your Podcast Unique.
Combining Topics With Formats to Make Unique Content
No matter what potential topics you’re weighing up, there’s also your podcast format to consider. This goes hand-in-hand with your overall theme or idea to create something that stands out from the crowd.
Bringing Life to Interview Podcasts
A common podcast format is the interview show, though many interview shows struggle to stand out because they can end up sounding a bit “samey”.
There’s a tendency for new podcasters to think that if they just interview some famous or successful people, then the content will automatically be good. But this is a mistake. There still needs to be a unique angle or spin here to make it interesting.
So if you’re bringing guests onto your show, instead of just a generic walk-through their career or life, you might hone into a particular area that fits with your topic. Imagine a popular entrepreneur who does multiple weekly interviews where they’re asked, “so, how do you make money online?”
Then, imagine how refreshing it’d be for that guest (and their audience) to appear on a podcast to talk about things from a different angle. This could be anything from everyday life to funny stories, from relationship advice to pets or parenthood.
Guests not sharing their interview episodes is a common complaint of the interview podcaster, and this is one big way around it.
Length, News, & Time-Sensitive Content
There are other ways that your podcast topic marries up with your format to create something truly unique. Episode length is one, and this can can be anything from a short-sharp two-minute-long daily news show to four-hour-long epic conversations.
Evergreen or time-sensitive content is a big factor of your podcast topic, too. Are you following a sports team to discuss the weekend’s performance? Or are you going deep on a topic that’ll still be as relevant in ten years as it is today?
Podcast Ideas: Add a Bit of Seasoning
You can further categorise your podcast topics by releasing your content in seasons. This is where you add a third level to the mix.
- The overall topic of your podcast, as a whole
- The topics of your seasons
- The topics of the individual podcast episodes that make up those seasons
So, back to our earlier example, your ketogenic diet show sets the overall podcast topic. Then you might do a full season on keto-friendly desserts and sweet treats. Your individual episodes could then focus on one single dessert. For example, an episode on keto brownies, an episode on keto ice cream, an episode on keto chocolate chip cookies, etc.
This approach makes your show very listener-friendly, and easy to navigate. It has a lot more purpose and flow than if, one week, you were talking about blood sugar monitors, then the next week, you were talking about where to buy grass-fed beef. Creating content in this way makes it easy to repurpose, too. Your podcast seasons can become chapters of a book, for example.
For a deeper dive on this, check out how to do seasons-based podcasting.
Repurposing Seasons as Courses, Books, or Video
Another additional benefit of well-organised seasons is their “repurposeability”.
When you lay everything out in this structured, linear manner, your podcast becomes a framework for content in other mediums. The topics you cover in a season could also translate to an ebook, video series, or course that you can sell as premium content.
Summary: Choosing the Perfect Podcast Topic
To recap, then.
- You need to think about why you want to podcast. What are your motivations, aims, or ambitions?
- You have to weigh up your podcast ideas, and decide on your overall podcast topic – that’s the general subject matter your show is built around.
- Even if your goal is to market a product or service, you still need to be interested or passionate about your chosen topic.
- Your overall podcast topic then needs that vital second layer. Yes, it might be a cycling podcast, but who is it for? What makes this cycling podcast unique?
- You have your individual podcast episode topics, and you can consider organising these into seasons.
- We also have a guide on how to come up with podcast episode ideas.
- Ready to move forward? See our full step-by-step guide on how to start a podcast, which walks you through the entire process.
Need More Help With Podcast Ideas & Beyond?
Inside the Podcraft Academy, we do weekly live Q&A sessions where you can chat about your podcast ideas. You might still be weighing up a few options and possibilities for podcast topics, and you’d like some folks to bounce ideas off of. If that’s the case, it’d be great to work with you there. In the Academy, you’ll also find courses, tools, and downloadable resources. Basically, everything you’ll ever need to launch and grow a great podcast!