If you’re looking to start a podcast, the topic will be one of your most important decisions. Picking a topic that’s interesting to you and your audience is key to building an audience and keeping them engaged. In this article, we’ll walk through how to choose the right topic for your show (or podcast) that will help you get started on creating content consistently.
Figure out the goal of your podcast
Before you even decide on the topic, it’s important to identify the goals you want to achieve with your podcast. Here are some questions that you may want to answer before choosing a topic:
- Is your podcast a passion project, or would you like to earn money from it?
- Will it be informative, persuasive, or critical?
- Will I have guests, or will it be more of an audio blog?
- What do I want my listeners to take away from my podcast?
- How do I want my listeners to feel while listening to my podcast?
How many episodes? How long is each episode?
Podcasting is a marathon. You can’t start up and immediately expect to get thousands of downloads; rather, you need to start with a plan and work your way up. Many factors determine how long your podcast will take to produce episodes. The first thing you’ll want to do is think about how many episodes you want in total. This should be based on the length of time that works best for your audience and their listening habits. This goes a long way in helping you choose the right topic.
For example: if they’re short on time during their commute but have plenty of free time at home during the weekend, creating shorter episodes may be better suited than longer ones. However, if they’re always looking for new podcasts but don’t necessarily have a lot of spare time because they usually listen on their way from point A to point B (i.e., walking), then keeping things around 30 minutes or less would be ideal so as not to bore them out of their minds before reaching their destination!
Get a feel for your audience.
Knowing your audience and what they want to hear about is also important when you choose the right topic for your podcast. It can be helpful to ask them directly, but if that’s not possible, here are some ways you can assess the pulse of your potential listeners:
- Ask them what kind of content they want to see on your podcast.
- Survey/interview/poll your existing audience and potential subscribers and ask them what topics they are interested in hearing about from you. This will give you an indication of their interest level in the subject matter at hand and whether there’s enough demand for a show about it.
- Check out other podcasts in the same niche as yours (or similar niches) and listen for how often each host talks about certain topics—particularly those related to his or her expertise—and whether he or she tends toward exploring more controversial issues or sticking with the safer ground.
Create a list of topics you are comfortable discussing
Now you’re ready to start choosing a topic. You might think this is obvious, but sometimes we have difficulty putting our finger on why something appeals to us. Create a list of the things you’d be interested in talking about. You can start with your hobbies and interests but pay attention to interesting conversations you may have had at home and work.
Once you have your list of topics from above, prioritize them by importance. This will help ensure any podcasts created are relevant for listeners who want content on those specific subjects. If one of them feels like too much work or doesn’t feel enjoyable enough for regular use as a host, consider moving it down in favor of another option.
You should aim for approximately 10-20 items total here, depending on how many subtopics each one has within itself. From this short list, you should be able to choose a topic that feels right to you.
Make sure the topic is relevant to you
When choosing your podcast topic, you must consider how well it aligns with your brand and expertise. Remember that you’re spending a lot of time and effort on your podcast; make sure you care about the topic. Choosing the right topic means finding an interest that you also want to share.
Find you passion
It probably isn’t a good fit if you can’t talk about the topic for hours on end; the topic you choose has to feel right. And if you’re not passionate about your topic, it will be hard to convince listeners that they should be too. Think of some of the most popular podcasts: Serial is about true crime; This American Life is about storytelling and journalism; Stuff You Should Know is about history, science, and other topics that interest people worldwide. These shows have one thing in common – their hosts are extremely passionate about their subjects.
There’s no magic formula here – but think back to what makes you excited in life! Maybe it’s reading books on human psychology or watching documentaries on animals living in different parts of the world (I’m looking at you, Planet Earth).
Perhaps it’s talking with others who share similar interests as yourself when there’s no one else around. Whatever makes your heart skip a beat doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with what makes others’ hearts skip beats—but if something excites YOU enough, chances are good that someone else will find it equally fascinating too!
Deepen your angle
Another thing to consider is how much research you’re willing to do on your topic. To be able to deepen your angle, you’d need to be an expert or invite experts on your podcast. This means that your chosen topic should be something you’re willing to work on and spend time growing your knowledge base. It’s not enough that you’re interested in the topic and are passionate about it; you also need to be reputable and knowledgeable enough to carry a worthwhile conversation.
Review the content already produced for your topic
Now that you have a prospective topic take a look at what your competitors are doing. Check out how many downloads their show gets each episode. Note down what they do differently and what you think they do better. Take this into consideration when planning out your episodes.
It is also important to take a look at your target audience’s listening habits across other platforms. Review what they listen to and how long do they tune in for. This will help you gauge how long your episodes should be.
Figure out what makes you stand out from all other content creators working on your topic
The idea of creating content on a topic you are passionate about is appealing, but trying to stand out can be overwhelming. Here are some guide questions you have to ask yourself in order to tailor your podcast to your strengths:
- What makes you different from all the other people who are making content on this topic?
- Are there any things that make me stand out more than others?
- What do I know more about than most people in this field?
Don’t rush the process when you choose a podcast topic. The right topic aligns with the identity of your podcast
When picking a topic for your podcast, it’s important to pick something you can be passionate about. If you’re not excited about the idea of discussing it every week for years on end, then it’s probably not the right choice for your show.
Also, make sure that your podcast topic is something that will resonate with your audience. If people don’t care about what you have to say on a certain topic, they won’t stick around long enough to see what else may be worth hearing in future episodes of your show. Finally, make sure not to choose a trendy topic just because it’s easy. Those topics won’t necessarily be the best fit for the type of content listeners want from their favorite shows!
Remember, your podcast topic is integral to what makes it unique and gives listeners something new to listen to every week. If you don’t take the time to find the right topic for your show, then there’s a good chance that no one will listen – so don’t skip this step! With all of these tips in mind, we hope they will help guide you on your quest to find a fantastic topic for your next podcast episode!