The podcasting industry continues to grow from strength to strength. And we’re here for it! We love seeing the number of new shows grow, almost by the day! And we love seeing podcasts influencing mainstream entertainment! (Check out this list of The Best TV Series That Were Originally Podcasts!)
But with the huge number of shows in the ring, and with some massive entertainment powerhouses like Amazon and Netflix getting in on the action, you may be wondering how you find your place under the podcasting sun. You start with the basics, that how! And what could be more basic than finding the right topic for your podcast? But this is often easier said than done. Sometimes, that dazzling idea smacks your brain in the middle of night, with no real effort or thought. But in most cases, you’re going to need to do a little brainstorming, refine those initial ideas, and maybe even some more brainstorming before your ideas become “the one.”
But if you’re struggling to even find the glimmer of a good idea, let alone undertaking the task of conjuring up this “great topic,” what steps can you take to head in the right direction. What strategies can you follow to help you find what your podcast should be about or to find that angle of your topic that people are interested in?
Wonder no more, just keep reading! We’ve got seven strategies to help you hone in on that perfect podcast topic that’s the right one for you! Let’s check them out!
1. List Your Passions
Starting off by listing your passions may seem a little obvious, but it’s a critical first step in the discovery of the podcast topic you’re after. Get your pen and paper ready, or open your favorite note-taking app and start listing those passions!
Ask yourself, “What do I enjoy?” and list everything that comes to mind. And we do mean everything, as you never really know where, in this midst of your passions, your podcast topic lies in wait. Think about your hobbies, your pet topics — those subjects that if someone gets you started, you just can’t stop. Write these all down.
This list may be extensive, but it also may be a little limited. If the latter is the case, try thinking about your passions from another angle. What are you curious about? What have you always wanted to know, or learn, or be able to do? What questions do you wish you had answers for? What topic always gets a reaction (good or bad) out of you? These could all be passions you just haven’t discovered yet! Write these all down, and you’ll always be able to refer back to them whenever you wish.
2. Determine Your Audience
This is a multi-faceted question. You may have many potential audiences, depending on the topic you choose. So how do you navigate this? You list them all! Take each passion you’ve listed, and think about any defining feature that could be used to describe your audience if that passion was the topic of your podcast.
For instance, if you stated that one of your passions is learning more about urban farming, you might list other alternative farmers as part of your audience, as well as city dwellers, millennials, or people interested in sustainable living as part of your potential audience.
Answering this question helps give you some ideas about the amount of reach your podcast could potentially have. It may also help eliminate some of your passions as possible podcast topics.
Related read: Growing Your Podcast Audience Through Email Marketing
3. Understand The Problems Your Audience Has
The next strategy for finding that podcast topic that’s right for you is to take your analysis of your target audience even further. So you’ve thought about who your potential audience could be, now you need to think about what problems they may have and how you could position your podcast to meet their needs. This line of enquiry is an effective way to narrow down your topic choices, as well as being a super insightful way to find a unique angle on your potential topic.
Finding even some of the answers to these questions can help mould your approach to your podcast topic. Would your audience want guidance in relation to your topic? Do they want to learn something new? Do they want to be entertained? By asking these questions, you can position your podcast to be an answer, thus also helping you narrow down your potential topic.
4. List Your Unique Selling Points
This next strategy helps you hone in and get another step closer to your right topic. You now need to list your unique selling points – all that you bring to the topic that makes you different and makes your viewpoint unique. This is a particularly important strategy if the topic you’re leaning towards is one that is quite crowded with similar podcasts.
You will need to be able to distinguish yourself from the rest of the podcasts in your niche. This step is simultaneously both simple and complex to execute. It’s simple in that the ‘thing’ that will make your podcast different from other similar podcasts is you. Your views, opinions, and thoughts are uniquely yours, distinguishing you from your competition. But effectively answering this question can also be complex, on the other hand, in that you will need other, more tangible, ways to distinguish your podcast topic and specific angle from all the rest.
5. What Format Do You Intend to Use?
Deciding on the format of your podcast in relation to your podcast topic can be likened to the “What came first? The chicken or the egg?” philosophical question in that the topic you eventually pick for your podcast – the niche you align your content with – may only be possible, or may just lend itself more to a particular type of podcast formats. On the other hand, you may simply have the desire, the skill set, or even just the passion for hosting a particular type of podcast, that, consequently, only lends itself to particular topics or niches.
The best way to solve this conundrum as you inch ever closer to your podcast topic is to ask yourself all sorts of questions concerning the potential format of your show. What type of podcast do you envision yourself having? What sort of podcast do your potential topics lend themselves to? Finding the overlap of these questions will further assist you in narrowing down your options and finding your podcast topic.
Look at your list of passions again, now jot down what type of podcast format each specific passion would lend itself to. Would [insert podcast idea] work best as a scripted, story-telling-type podcast? Could it be an unscripted commentary on issues pertaining to the topic? Would it work best in a solo format or should you conduct interviews?
Answering these questions can help you find your topic by aligning your goals and vision of your podcast format to your passion and potential audience. These answers could also help eliminate options that may be good ideas on paper, but not so practical in the podcasting format.
Related read: The Top 10 Different Types Of Podcast Formats
6. Give Yourself Some Processing Time
The first five strategies for finding the podcast topic that’s right for you are practical and quantifiable. They involve lists and writing things down. The last two strategies are definitely not as easily quantified, and don’t yield immediate results, but we believe they are just as important when it comes to finding the topic that’s your best fit.
The first of these strategies is simply giving yourself the time to process all the information you’ve gathered. Look at the answers to the above 5 points, and they should give you some clear insight into what topic you should pick for your podcast. But! If your topic isn’t jumping out at you just yet, don’t panic! You just need to give yourself some processing time.
It’s Okay to Take a Step Back…
You may need to go over your list a few more times, narrowing down topics each time around, until you have made your decision. And as you work through your list for a second or third (or seventh!) time, that the perfect choice will become clearer. You may also find that many of the answers are interlinked and dependent on one another — as one idea evolves or develops, you will find that the answers to the other questions change along with it.
The art of finding the right podcast topic is, therefore, a dynamic process and one that can take time, as you’re looking for that magical intersection of what you love and what people want to listen to. If you imagine a Venn diagram, you’re looking for that podcasting idea that lies in the sweet spot where all the circles overlap. This is no mean feat, but when you find “the one”, the rest, as they say, will be history! You may just need to give yourself a little time.
Related read: How To Maintain Your Podcast Motivation In 2021
7. Remember It’s Okay to Change Your Mind
A really freeing piece of advice when it comes to finding that “perfect” podcast topic is to remember that it’s okay if that “perfect topic” turns out to be less than perfect somewhere down the line.
We can get so caught up aiming for perfection that we never start in the first place. In your bid to find that perfect topic, you run the risk of never even becoming a podcast host! So we’re here to give our final tip for picking the perfect podcast topic: it’s totally okay to change your mind!
If you realize, after a couple of episodes, or even after a few seasons that your topic is changing, or that it needs to evolve for whatever reason, you can! If you need to pivot slightly or do a complete 180 somewhere along your podcasting journey, that is a-okay too! It doesn’t mean that the topic you picked wasn’t the “right” one, it may simply mean it was the right one for right now, but now, something else is needed.
The good news is that this is a possibility! Using some solid rebrand or revamp strategies, you can certainly move your show in another direction, so be sure that this hunt for perfection isn’t keeping you from starting in the first place.
Related read: How to Revamp and Rebrand Your Podcast
Whatever your passions, if you have the desire to start a podcast, and the drive to get the ball rolling, we have no doubt that your perfect topic is out there somewhere! You just need to do a little hunting to find the one that’s right for you! And with the help of these guidelines, you’ll get your mental cogs turning, and you’ll be able to carve out your very own niche in the wonderful world of podcasts!
Just don’t let the hunt for the “perfect” topic keep you from getting into the game in the first place! Do your best to find the one that’s right for you, but remember, there are ways and means to change your topic should the need arise! So do the research, pick your best topic option, and get ready to launch your podcast today!