Choosing a podcast topic is one the most important dercisions you will make. Podcast topics are getting more and more niche as time goes on, so we’re going to run through a few pieces of advice to help you choose a podcast topic.
Planning your podcast topics
Table of Contents
Topic vs Format
Although we’re going to focus on choosing a topic in this article, we wanted to touch on the option of not actually having any podcast topics at all.
As an example, you could have a podcast based around your unique personality and guests appearing every week. You’ve probably seen TheEllenShow or Oprah? Although they have a vague ‘popular celebrity’ feel, the shows can be random with people from numerous background apprearing as guests.What does stay the same every single episode is the ‘format’; a hosted show with guests apprearing.
So, don’t feel you have to have a topic as such, but you will need the format to hold things together if you don’t.
The ideal scenario is if you have a topic and a format nailed down. It makes things easy for your listners to undestand what’s going on and to settle in to a rhythm. If your audience understands whats going on, they’ll settle in and start enjoying themselves!
How to choose a podcast topic?
The importance of choosing a suitable topic right from the get go is to give you clarity before planning out your podcast. You will need to plan out a few episodes and verious other things, so nailing your topic early will be a huge benifit.
In order to find yourself a topic, the best thing to do is to find yourself a niche by using the ‘niche down approach‘. Try doing this with all your podcast topics.
What is a niche?
A niche is a term used to describe something that is fosuced or trageted. It is specific, with numerous levels that can get ‘more niche’ the more specific you go.
In podcasting terms, the word ‘niche’ usually corresponds with the area or topic that you have chosen to cover, and a topic that you know well. A niche can be other things, but it primerally corresponds to an industry of some kind, hence usually commonly hearing the phrase ‘ it’s a niche market’.
How to use the niche down approach?
The niche down strategy funnels down from your category into a more detailed section you can focus on.
The Niche Down Approach
Make sure that all your final podcast topics are niched down to the best possible focus point. A category can have many sub-categories, and sub-categories have many topics that come under them.
Lets look at an example, say we take ‘Health’ as our category.
- Category: Health
- Sub-category: Fittness
- Topic: Excersising in the home
- Angle: Best excersises to do inside the home
Your end niche doesn’t have to be super focused, but it does need to narrow you down into a topic that won’t be too broad for you down the line. A specific niche will allow you to really dive deep into your topic and explore everything there is to explore.
Some of your initial podcast topics may be sub-categorys already, so all you’d need to do is niche them down one more step.
Examples of Niches
- Springer Spaniel dogs
- PC Gamers
- Gap year students
- Budget DIY solutions
Will your topic be successful?
There are numerous reasons why choosing the right topic is both imprtant and difficult. As you debate and decide between your podcast topics you have many things to consider:
Will others be interested in your topic?
Unless you’re creating a podcast for reasons other than growth and gaining listners, choosing a topic that people will follow and come back to time and time again is very important.
There are numerous things you can do to assess wether your podcast topics have a following:
Check its search engine popularity – Use free tools to see what the search volume of your topic is by using a free SEO tool. If the search volume is high for your paticular topic then you might have a winner.
Check it on podcast aggrigators – This might take time, but take a look at podcast aggrigators such as Spotify and Apple Podcasts to see how many people are subscribed to the same kind of topics. If you can see your podcast topic and other podcasts doing similar things, then there’s a good chance that others will be interested in your podcast topic.
Ask a few trusted friends or family – You can ask a few trusted friends of family members what your think about your topic. Bare in mind that a topic won;t be liked by everyone, but they will be able to give you a just of how the general pubic will react to your topic.
Is the topic saturated?
The saturation of a topic goes hand in hand with interest and popularity, and the same tools can be used for both:
Check out the competition on search engines – Most search engines will give you a Keyword Difficulty rating which will give you an indication of how many others might be doing the same thing. The balancing act is finding a topic with a low Keyword Difficulty rating, but enough traffic to make it worthwhile!
The harder KD rating, the harder it will be to grab an audience as everyone else will be looking to attract the same audience as you.
Of course, accepting the challenge is your personal choice.
Are you interested in your topic?
Many forget to trully ask themselves if they’re interested in the category or topic that they’re thinking about choosing. This is not an issue for someone who is choosing their favourite past time hobby, but sometimes it’s too exciting to go after a #great idea’ that you’ve just had and not trully think it through.
Remember, you will be spending a lot of time with the podcast topic that you’ve chosen. Some podcasts are lasting years, series after series! Whatever you choose, could you spend that long living that topic? Planning, researching, interviewing or talking about it for an hour?
It’s a very personal choice as people have different drives and motivations, but make sure you’ve considerd it.
Do you know enough about your topic?
This question does depend on the format of your podcast.
If you’re going to host the show yourself, you will need to be able to talk about a topic from anything between about 20 minutes to 60 minutes for every episode that you record. Do you know enough about the topic to do that? Rmember, if you only vaguely know about your topic, your keen audience will know a lot more than you!
The other format consideration that mitigates this slightly, is if you’re going to invite guests on to you podcast. If so, they can easily take on your topic, and you’ll be able to ask question and keep things flowing.
There are numerous creative ways around this if you think it’ll be an issue.
Is your topic too broad or too narrow?
This brings us on to one of the more difficult elements of choosing a podcast topic.
If you choose a topic that’s too broad, you might find yourself paddling in the ocean when you get down to choosing episode angles. As well as this, people will find it easier to understand what your podcast is about if it’s quite focused. If they undertstand, they’ll be more prone to following.
Choose something that’s too narrow, and you’ll be ruinning out of things to talk about by your third episode.
This element of choosing a podcast topic comes down to finding your “Niche”. We’ll cover this in the Niche Down approach below.
What makes you different?
In the same way that there are only 7 story archetypes, your topic has probably been covered by someone else in the past. And that’s not a problem, if you can make your ‘story’ slightly different in some way.
Don’t head out of the blocks only to realise that someone else has done litteraly the same thing as you. That makes it a whole lot harder to gain a following.
But don’t forget, personality can play a huge part as well. If you have a strong, unique character, that could just be the difference you need.
Will it make any money?
This is the final question, and it won’t seem relevant to those who are just podcasting as a hobby, or those who just want to grow a following. And for most, this won’t come into the equasion.
But if your goal is to make money from the get go, then this element is obviously very important to think about early on. If you choose something that isn’t going to make you any money, then you’ll be very dissapointed down the line.
Even for those who don’t have money on the mind. If you’re serious about growing a large following and do a great job of it, you may find your circumstances changing down the line. As your podcast following grows there is a stong probability that the time you have to dedicate to your podast will also naturally increase. The snowball then begins to roll down the hill and you’ll be looking to record more podcasts and do more things involving your podcast. By this point you will have regretted not building in at least some form of monotization into your plans to allow you time and finance to do your podcast.
Remeber, this doesn’t need to be agreed and confirmed from the get go as you’ll take time to grow before being able to monitize. But it’s certainly something to keep in the back of your mind until the time is right.
Podcast topic ideas
If you’re still looking for inspiration, here are a few thingsthat might help you think of a few podcast topics.
Talk about something you enjoy
The most obvious one, yes. But take some of your favourite things and put them through the niche down approach. You might enjoy something that you can niche down into something that might be suitable.
Forget the topic, pick a format first
If a topic doesn’t come to you stright away, try thinking about your format first. Your podcast doesn’t have to be just you giving a speech on a topic for an hour. We’ll give you a few suggestions of other approaches to get you going:
Host show – Find someone else that’s interesting! Revolve your show around having guests on to talk. Just make sure you know enough interesting people…
Reviews – You might want to talk about products on your podcast.
Q&A – Find questions, and them answer them! Would be a great help if you had a following before hand for this one.
Topical news – News or gossip, find something that everyone follows or likes and start reporting on that topic. This can be a TV programme, a football league, politics and so on.
There are so many more!
See if starting to envisage the format will give you some great ideas as to what you could include within those formats.
What do you know a lot about?
You may not like this topic in paticular, or even seen it as a topic, but you know a lot about it. This could be films, home DYI, politics, gardening hacks you’ve come up with, life as a parent, something you do in work – and so forth.
Or course, if you really don’t like it, don’t do it! You’re going to have to talk a lot about this topic if you choose it for you podcast.
Are you a fan of any events?
Do you go to an event that happens once a year, or a few times a year? Talking about events and building your community around like minded people could be a great podcast topic.
Pick a place – could be your home country, your home city or village – then, turn it into your topic. Travel around, record your podcast in different places. Interview a few guests, try a few new things, go to places you haven’t gone before.
You could even travel the world!
There might be a topic that you know A LOT about. If so, could you turn it into a teaching session?
There are always people wanting to learn new things. If you know something very well, you could use it as the basis of a teaching podcast.
How to Create a Podcast (Compelte Guide)
So, take it away, make sure you give your topic a little bit more thought than ‘that sounds good’.
If you are a beginner and still completely lost, another option is to start off with a topic that you like and that you know well. That way, you won’t be distracted by your lack of interest or your lack of knowledge as you’re learning all the other things. You will have space to take in all the new pieces of information you’ll be learning as you embark on your journey. It will also allow you to make mistakes and to get away with things such as using budget friendly equipment and overall quality until you’ve got everything down.
Once you know exactly what you’re doing, feel free to get back to the white board again and see if there’s another topic out there that has more opportunities. Of course, unless your first topic was an incredible choice.