How to Choose a Podcast Topic in 10 Steps

Most people have many thoughts they would like to share with the world, and the idea of starting a podcast can seem like the best way to do so. However, it’s one thing to dream about what you’d say on a random topic and something else entirely to narrow down your focus and pick only one theme to talk about. Finding exactly what you want to discuss can seem challenging. Thankfully, we’ve put together a guide on how to choose a podcast topic and idea in 10 steps that you can use to help you decide.

1. Start from something you know and love

Although you can pick up a lot of knowledge along the way, it might be best to take a moment and think about the subjects you already know a lot about. Try to choose an idea for a podcast among the topics you have knowledge and skill in. Sometimes it can be enough to be passionate about a subject, and you can learn and develop your skills as you go. This is a much better approach than just picking something that’s currently popular. Trends come and go, and if you pigeonhole yourself into a niche you don’t care about, you might get tired and bored quickly. 

Try to do a brainstorming session, write down many podcast topic ideas, and then weigh the pros and cons of each. Obviously, you don’t have to talk about one topic, but a variety channel can be harder to get off the ground. You can have trouble attracting a regular following if you are constantly changing the subjects you talk about. That’s why we recommend finding one topic and sticking to it, at least until you get the ball rolling. Take as much time as you need on this step since it’s arguably the most important one, and we will continue narrowing down the choices as we go.

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2. Define your personal goals

Be honest with yourself and ask yourself why you want to start a podcast in the first place. People can have different reasons for undertaking new ventures, and it’s good to be realistic about your goals and motivations. This can help you eliminate less profitable or popular topics. On the other hand, you might be doing this for your own pleasure and not care about how many people will be listening.

Common goals for starting a podcast:

  • Hobby. You might want to start a podcast purely for the fun of it. This way, you can focus on whatever you like and not care about how well your podcast is performing.
  • Expand your knowledge. Perhaps you want to learn something new, and you have decided to document your journey and share it with others. A podcast can be a great way to share your thoughts and interact with others from your niche.
  • Connect to other people. If you want to connect to the global community, a podcast may be the perfect way to gather like-minded people and exchange your podcast topic ideas with them.
  • Use it as a platform for something else. Use your podcast to build a large following and then leverage those numbers for other business or marketing purposes. You can use a podcast to supplement other activities or business ventures.
  • Make money. Your podcast can represent an additional stream of revenue. Once you have become popular enough, you can even make it a full-time occupation.

Now that you are already toying with some ideas and concepts for your podcast, it’s time to start going into details. Unfortunately, we have to talk about the elephant in the room, and when it comes to podcasts, it always comes down to money, brands, and sponsorships. Once your podcast becomes popular enough, you shouldn’t have any problems landing a sponsorship. However, it won’t hurt to have a plan from the start. Check who the leading brands are for the target demographic you’re considering running a podcast for. What do people spend money on, and what are the most popular and expensive products? Knowing where the money is can help you choose a podcast topic idea and let you appeal to the most prominent product manufacturers on the market. That’s an excellent way to get a lot of attention from both viewers and brands.

4. Do you plan to monetize, and how?

Knowing that money exists within a particular niche is one thing, but knowing how to get a hold of financing for your blog is something else entirely. Before you choose an idea for a podcast, you should have a good sense of how financing works and how podcasts make money. Fortunately, there are several ways to earn revenue from your podcast, but that’s something that can influence your decision, so it’s best to do some thinking in advance.

5. How deep is your niche?

Although you might feel that certain topics are an endless source of inspiration, once you settle into a stable routine, you will probably find that creative ideas are hard to come by. Try to assess how deep a certain topic is and how much there actually is to talk about. Generally, the safest way to produce content is to create a mix of both evergreen and topical pieces.

Evergreen content can keep providing value over time, even well after you have edited and published a particular podcast episode. On the other hand, if you are covering topical subjects, you’ll be able to get a lot of traction from trending events. Covering the latest news is always a good draw and will help you grow your audience quickly. Unfortunately, the news cycle is ruthlessly fast, and current events can go stale faster than you are able to produce content around it.

6. Take a look at what other people are doing

You’ll need to roll up your sleeves and do some serious market research on the topics you want to cover. Find out if someone is already covering the topics you are interested in. The internet is a vast place, and you shouldn’t feel discouraged if you find that someone is already talking about the same subjects. You can actually learn a lot from their example by looking at their audience and using that to estimate the size of your future audience. 

Obviously, you’ll need to find a way to stand out, so it’s a good idea to do some soul searching to find out what makes you unique. Think about what kind of approach you will take and start developing a public demeanor that will be easily recognizable.

7. Think about what the users need

The best products always solve some problems the users are having. So, what current need is unmet and waiting for you to tackle it? 

  • You can take a look at the products that are coming out and do reviews. This can tie in nicely with affiliate marketing and represent an opportunity for monetization.  
  • If you have enough knowledge and expertise, you can offer guides and explanations. People are always looking for streamlined solutions to common problems. 

8. Calculate how much work is required

Certain topics are simply more technical than others. Before you choose an idea for a podcast, try to determine how much work you’ll need to make something like that happen. Will you need to spend a lot of time on research and preparation, or is it something you can improvise on the fly?

Try to plan out what your daily schedule will look like and how much time you’ll need to get the podcast up and running. It’s also a good idea to estimate what kind of hours you plan to regularly devote to the podcast since this can also depend on the complexity of your chosen topics. Do you plan to upload complex essays or just casual conversational material?

9. Are there any celebrities or influencers you can collaborate with?

Podcasts are the perfect platform to host a conversation with guests. Is there anyone prominent who you think would be open to attending one of your podcasts? You can check social media to see who the most popular influencers are and ask them to collaborate. Many businesses are also open to the idea of sending a representative to feature as a guest on a podcast, and LinkedIn is a great platform to search for professionals who you can contact about attending your podcast. However, it might be best if you have a few episodes of your podcast already uploaded before contacting others on LinkedIn for guest appearances.

10. How expandable is your initial podcas topic idea?

It’s perfectly fine to have a humble beginning, as long as there is enough room for you to grow. Unfortunately, certain ideas don’t really scale well. You should keep this in mind and try to choose an idea for a podcast that can expand into different business avenues. Where do you see the podcast in 2 or 3 years, and how do you plan to develop it further? Can you do something that complements the podcast alongside it? Perhaps you could write articles and eBooks or offer training and courses once you establish yourself as an expert in your chosen field.

Your Podcast Topic: The bottom line

Although you can run a podcast on any number of topics, to build something that’s sustainable in the long run, we recommend that you take some time to carefully think about what you want to cover. We have given you the framework to choose an idea for a podcast in 10 steps. Now it’s time to do some research and figure out which ideas are worthwhile. So what is your podcast topic going to be?

Avery Simmons is a freelance writer who likes to dabble in anything relating to online communities
where people gather to exchange ideas and opinions. Being a passionate speaker, podcasts were
instantly appealing to him, and he is a frequent guest on podcasts that cover politics and current events.

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