Podcast Topics | How to Create a Show That’s Unique & Original
Your one-stop guide to nailing down an exclusive theme for your show!
Podcast Topics: 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 podcast to be original and stand out.
- 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
With the first part, we're choosing the overall topic (or theme!) of the show. That could be you deciding to do a podcast about anything, from horror movies or craft beer, to playing the piano, or writing.
Then you'll break that down into individual podcast episode topics. So your horror movie podcast might focus on a different film each episode. Or your writing show might break down the process of writing a book, from planning to publishing.
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 you might have a podcast about the ketogenic diet – that's the overall podcast topic. Then you might do a full season on keto-friendly deserts and sweet treats. Your individual episodes could then focus on one single desert. 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.
How to Choose Unique Podcast Topics
There are fast approaching 1 million “active” podcasts out there today. Whilst that number is minuscule compared to the number of blogs or websites out there, 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 needs to be less general, and more targeted towards a very 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.
For example, we've talked about a ketogenic diet podcast. But there are loads of them out there already. If you wanted to launch one, how would you avoid it becoming just another one of many?
That's where a second layer of targeting comes in.
Instead of it being 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 your potential audience, but it drastically increases the value for those who are the show's target listeners. 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.
What's the Right Topic for Me?
What we've talked about so far assumes that you have your wider podcast topic nailed down. But, that might not be the case.
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 that you find yourself talking about on a daily basis. 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 actually 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.
Summary: Choosing Podcast Topics
To recap, then.
- You need to think about why you want to podcast. What are your motivations, aims, or ambitions?
- You have to 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's 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 in seasons.
- Ready to move forward? See our full step-by-step guide on how to start a podcast, which'll walk you through the entire process.
Need More Help?
Inside The Podcast Host Academy we do weekly live Q&A sessions. 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 in there. You'll also find courses, tools, and downloadable resources. Basically, everything you'll ever need to launch and grow a great podcast!