How to Come Up With the Best Podcast Ideas & Topics for podcasts
According to statistics, as of 2021, there are over two million podcasts and millions of their episodes available to listen to online.
This form of media has been around for a while but it gained immense popularity in the last couple of years.
People love listening to podcasts, whether it’s on their commute while hanging out at home or while doing something else. And, they also enjoy creating them.
With Spotify and every other streaming platform incorporating podcasts in their repertoire, users can experience this world with just a touch of their fingertips.
Launching a podcast can become a lucrative action, and various types of people want to do it, from creatives to business owners.
It may seem like there are already countless podcasts that this sphere is oversaturated, but there are still numerous themes to be examined.
It might seem arduous, but we’re here to encourage you! In this article, we’ll clarify what podcasts are, what are the most prominent genres of podcasts and examples of them, give you tips on how to launch and grow a podcast, how to choose the suitable podcast idea, and also supply you with a list of 25 great podcasting ideas for beginners.
First podcasts appeared at the beginning of the 21st century, but their popularity skyrocketed in the past couple of years. Now, podcasts are a venue for creatives, business owners, educators, brands and numerous distinctive people to produce content and present it to the world.
A podcast is a program in audio format, comparable to radio shows. However, podcasts are available online, have multiple episodes, and you can subscribe and listen to them whenever you wish.
The term podcast refers to the concept as a whole, and it’s formed out of multiple podcast episodes. Podcast episodes are distinct recordings that add up to the entire podcast.
This art of spoken word can be long-form or short-form. Every podcast has a different duration of episodes. Some consist of episodes that are only minutes long, while some can last up to a couple of hours.
Some podcasts release new episodes every week, while some do it monthly. There are even cases where episodes are released each day or every other day, and also ones where fresh content comes out bi-weekly.
Of course, it all depends on the podcast’s subject and there are plenty of various ones.
Podcasts permit more freedom to the creator than ordinary radio shows accomplish, and that’s why it’s gaining so much acclaim both for listeners and for creators.
Most podcasts have one particular subject or genre that they pursue. Every episode they make is associated with that subject and handles a specific segment of it.
The subject of the podcast can be anything. And we mean it. Anything. As long as you can make a conversation about it, it can be turned into a podcast. Podcasts can handle any theme, from celebrity interviews to gardening.
When comparing radio shows and podcasts, we can see how the other explores more original themes and approaches.
Some podcast content handles extensive themes with many engrossed audiences, while some fixate on niche subjects. No matter what someone’s into, they’ll find a podcast about that topic. Or maybe they’ll even produce one.
Some podcasts are elementary, with just one presenter speaking into the microphone and posting the audio online. On the other hand, some are immersive storytellings with high production, original music and multiple voice actors. And both types are equally popular with listeners.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an amateur or a pro. There are significant chances that you’ll accomplish something in this business.
There are also disparate styles of podcasting, generally depending on the number of people involved. We can differentiate a couple of formats:
- Storytelling — this format handles a story, split into several episodes, or each episode can be about a distinct narrative. These can be both fiction and nonfiction, but they’re both intense and immersive, which is why they’re prevalent. They can be about anything from original fantasy tales to investigative journalism and have many hosts.
- Solo podcasts — solo podcasts are created by just one podcast host speaking about a topic they’re educated about or interested in. This format relies on the host a lot, and they frequently develop into the brand of the podcast.
- Co-hosted podcasts — with two hosts, this format establishes a compelling and immersive atmosphere. Hosts can share their knowledge or perspectives on any subject that the podcast handles. It’s highly dependent on the communication between the hosts.
- Interviews — predominantly done one-on-one, interviews are another leading podcasting format. It’s comparable to co-hosting, but the attention is fixated on the guest. This type is customarily more sophisticated to coordinate and arrange since creators have to schedule every interview when they and the interviewee are available. Still, it’s a remarkable way to establish connections with niche experts.
- Panel discussion — with several co-hosts and maybe even guests, this format creates the feeling of a lively conversation. It’s exceptionally popular with listeners but also complex to arrange, just like the conventional interview format.
- Hybrid podcasts — just because a podcast conforms to one of the formats listed above doesn’t mean it has to align with these definitions unconditionally. There are numerous prosperous examples of the so-called hybrid podcast where, for example, a typical solo podcast can be done with an interviewed guest or something similar.
Podcasting was created as background content for people to listen to while doing something else, but it’s far from useless. There are plenty of educational podcasts that people listen to with a lot of attention to gain knowledge of some new things.
Subjects that numerous podcasts explore can be intriguing and thought-provoking. However, whether listeners enjoy a podcast also highly depends on the host or hosts.
According to the survey, most people listen to podcasts at home, while commuting or working out.
To listen to podcasts (and create them), you’re required to utilize some podcast streaming services available online. The ones predominantly used right now are Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, but there are numerous others.
There’s a lot of freedom in this variety of media. That being said, various podcasts can be listened to, but they also include a video version for those who like to watch. The focus is still more on what’s being said than what’s shown, though.
Even though podcasts explore so many subjects that everybody can discover something that they appreciate, some genres of this audio media stand out from the rest.
Some themes are more renowned than others but don’t worry about creating a podcast yourself because everyone has different tastes. Also, keep in mind that trends tend to come and go.
For example, true crime podcasts weren’t always as popular as they are today.
According to data from 2020, the most popular podcasts genres in the United States included comedy, news, true crime, sports and health-related ones.
We’ve prepared some short explanations about each of these for you.
Comedy, in general, is a trendy genre, specifically in this audio entertainment industry.
People love to be entertained and listening to funny people make jokes while speaking about anything from their day to trending topics can better anyone’s mood.
This genre of podcasts ordinarily includes two or multiple hosts, as the jokes particularly seem more genuine that way. However, there are also a lot of solo podcasters pursuing comedy and being exceedingly prosperous at it.
Starting a comedy podcast is always a superb notion, but this genre depends on hosts significantly. Sure, you can establish a popular podcast, but you (and your potential co-hosts) must be compelling to the audience.
New podcasts are successful because it’s ordinarily more straightforward for listeners to educate themselves about world events via audio.
They can be created as any podcasting format that we listed earlier in this article, from solo podcasts to panel discussions.
If you opt for this genre as your core concept, you have to be informed before anyone else and be flexible and efficient while publishing episodes. That’s why this is conceivably the most tedious content to create. Your audience won’t want to listen to the news already a week old and that they heard everything about.
But if you’re interested in it, you should go for it!
True crime podcasts are one of the more exceptional genres on this list. Well, at least they used to be exceptional. An enormous boom of unique podcasts and the rise of popularity of this genre resulted in even more podcasts with this subject being created. This genre deals with reporting and commenting on true crime stories, whether solved or unsolved, with finished stories or ongoing research and trials.
This is another type that can be done in any format. People are interested in this type of content, even though some can go into grueling details when reporting on crimes committed.
Sports podcasts are primarily similar to news podcasts. To be more specific, they cover subjects from the world of sports or any sports news that may occur.
They can also handle interviews, panel discussions, and co-hosting. Again, this is another subject where you have to always be in the loop about what’s going on.
If sports are your passion, creating a podcast about that can be an excellent judgment.
This genre is also achieving popularity with listeners, especially during the pandemic in 2020, when many people couldn’t leave their houses.
There are numerous podcasts of this genre that fixate on mental health and discuss themes like working out in general. Even though this genre is distinguished, it’s still strangely niche.
Also, you have to be an expert in the field that you’re speaking about if you want to be taken seriously.
All in all, a healthy body and a healthy mind are connected, and this is a great genre to choose if you know enough about these themes.
There are numerous podcasts with thousands of listeners every day, but we made a list of all the most prosperous ones based on the previously mentioned list of favorite podcast genres.
Comedy podcast – The TMG podcast
This podcast started in late 2017. It’s a comedy podcast created by two comedians and internet celebrities, Cody Ko and Noel Miller.
They already possessed an audience because of their previous endeavors, but people enjoy listening to them because of their exceptional communication.
Their description of the podcast says that they’ll (hopefully) make you laugh. They have their brand of humor and in their podcast, they share their opinions and jokes on subjects like pop culture, trends, internet celebrities, etc.
News podcast – Global news podcast
The BBC manages the Global news podcast and it obtains and distributes relevant news stories from all around the world. It has multiple people working on it at all times, and it’s a type of the more high-production podcasts published.
Listening to this podcast is an excellent way to educate yourself on today’s most prominent events from all over the planet.
True crime podcast – Serial
This genre stands out from the rest listed here. Created by Sarah Koenig, Serial is one of the first and most famous true crime or investigative journalism podcasts ever produced. It’s the first one that went viral and introduced people to this strain of content.
Every season follows a new narrative, and listeners are immersed in this world from the beginning as soon as they follow the plot and the characters. Serial is considered the holy grail of true crime, but it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Sports podcast – The Bill Simmons Podcast
The Bill Simmons Podcast, hosted by Bill Simmons, is the most downloaded sports podcast. This podcast doesn’t follow any of the previously defined podcasting formats — it’s a hybrid.
Sometimes the show is done as an interview with prominent people from the sports world, while sometimes it’s done more as a co-hosting show or a panel discussion. The theme of sports is consistent though and every episode is about a trending topic.
Health/fitness podcast – Happier with Gretchen Rubin
This podcast is managed by a bestselling author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin, and her sister Elizabeth Craft. It discusses mental health and making yourself better.
Every episode is intended to provide you with advice about happiness and good habits. It’s a positive breath of fresh air for anyone who wants to start a new chapter in their life.
Starting a podcast can seem perplexing, but we’re here with some advice to support you in setting up your podcasting business accordingly while also making it sustainable.
Before we get into the more meticulous suggestions, we should point out that for podcasting, you’re going to require an excellent microphone and a laptop or computer for recording, editing and posting.
High sound quality is crucial for podcast listeners. Your microphone doesn’t have to be terrifically expensive, but it should block out most background noise and make your voice coherent and pleasant to listen to.
But even though high-quality equipment is excellent, that’s not what podcasting is about. If you don’t follow the advice we’ll give you, your podcasting business won’t prosper.
This is a measure that determines your whole brand. It’s the first action that you need to take and it’s the most imperative one. This resolves your inspiration and motivation behind establishing your own podcast.
Of course, determining a podcast topic ordinarily isn’t something you can do immediately, so don’t be afraid to take your time.
There are numerous aspects to electing a subject for your podcast, and we’ll go into more detail about it later in the article.
To put it short, you need to identify a subject that you’re enthusiastic about speaking, that you know something about, that’s also engaging to a group of people, that drives your brand to stand out from the rest and that you’ll hopefully one day be able to monetize.
After the first step, the best way to get a sense of what you’re supposed to complete next is to investigate your competitors.
Inspect any of the podcast hosting services you use or know to search keywords about your desired subject. After you find a couple of podcasts comparable to what you had in mind, research them.
Are they successful? Do they have a considerable fanbase? How do they title their episodes? What subjects do they speak about in each episode? How do they structure their podcast?
Investigate how often they post, the duration of their episodes, what social media they utilize and how they format their podcast episodes. Procuring this information can help you immensely in publishing a successful podcast.
Besides the equipment mentioned at the beginning of this part of the article, there are also tools and software that you can utilize to make your podcasting experience more prosperous and to enhance your possibilities of assembling an audience.
The first step is designating the appropriate streaming platform. You can use a separate website for this, but the problem with websites is that they aren’t optimized for podcast listeners. Also, podcast files are big and long, and they could potentially make your website crash.
There are plenty of streaming platforms to choose from and the good news is that you don’t have to pick just one. Although, it’s better to select those with more users. Platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts are the most famous ones, but there are also ones like iTunes, PodBean, BluBrry, Transistor and Smart Podcast Player.
Optimized subscriber experience is what you should base your choice on.
Other tools could help you with content creation, like SEO optimizing websites or theme generators.
Having an excellent plan to follow is a fundamental aspect of every successful digital marketing campaign. So, before you start recording your podcast, you have to make a plan and stick to it.
Taking care of things like SEO and ads isn’t as simple as you think. This is why we advise you to have a ready posting schedule for about ten episodes in advance before you create a podcast.
Creating a marketing strategy generally involves having a theme for the whole podcast, making up themes for each episode, creating titles and rough outlines.
You also need to plan the time that you’ll spend creating each episode. Do you need time to research the theme of the episode in more detail? Do you have to prepare a script?
How much time will it take for you to record and edit afterward? How long should each episode be and how often should you release them?
Of course, if you opt for the interview format of podcasting, you’ll also need to schedule them so that it suits both you and the interviewee.
Having the right plan is what’s going to keep you accountable. If you go in without a project, you’re more likely to get overwhelmed and give up on your perfect podcast.
Podcast shows give creators a lot of freedom when it comes to content formating. This is why there are no set rules with episode lengths.
Top podcasts in the world have episodes between a couple of minutes and a couple of hours long. It all depends on what you have to say and whether it’s interesting enough to be long-form.
The average length of a podcast episode is 22 minutes, as it’s what listeners will likely pay the most attention to. It’s neither too long nor too short. It all depends on the subject matter.
However, the right way to choose the length of your episodes is by investigating your competitors and seeing how they handled this part of podcasting.
Consistency is the key to success. And it also helps with algorithms.
Some podcasts release new episodes every week, while some do it once a month. There are also cases where new episodes come out every day or every other day, and those when new episodes are expected every other week.
There are no set rules, but it’s known that the more episodes you release and more often you do it, you’re more likely to gain new listeners and have people listen to your content.
However, quality is better than quantity. How much time do you need to make an excellent podcast episode?
Is podcasting a side hustle for you? Then you likely won’t have enough time to do research and post every day.
Once again, check out your competitors to see how often they do it, and choose the option that suits you.
Episode titles are what lures new listeners in. If you go for boring and simple episode titles, you can’t expect anyone to click on your podcast. Your episode titles are essentially the first impression that you leave on people.
Be creative and think outside of the box. Use keywords and SEO optimization to choose the right title for your episode titles, and also check out competitors to see how they do it and what seems to work.
Building an audience is one of the most crucial steps in making your podcast sustainable.
Involving your audience and making them invested in the podcasts helps you gain loyal listeners. They become interested in your work and what you have to say because the experience is immersive.
One way to do this is by utilizing social media. Make accounts for your podcast on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and use them both to get in touch with your listeners and advertise your content. Use hashtags and influencers to promote your work. According to the survey, most people discover new podcasts through social media.
Another way to make your podcast sustainable is by creating communities for your followers to join on GroupApp.
GroupApp is a membership-based platform to build a community for yourself and your followers and make money from it. Here you can post exclusive content related to your podcast, like posting your episodes a week early just for them or adding some bonus episodes.
It’s also a place where you can communicate with your audience and they can communicate with each other, building a more substantial and more stable relationship.
A loyal audience is something that all of the top-rated podcasts right now have.
As mentioned before, this is the first and most crucial step to creating a podcast. That’s why we have some advice for you on making it work and finding a great podcast idea.
The first thing that you should ask yourself is, “What am I interested in?”
You have to enjoy the topic enough that you want to stick with it for a long time. It’s easy to start a podcast about a theme that’s seems trending right now because you think you’ll make funds of it, but that’s not making your business sustainable. It’ll make you lose your motivation soon.
Also, listeners can sense whether you’re interested in something or not no matter how well you act, and it’ll drive them away. So, why make it hard for yourself when you can simply make podcasts about a theme that you enjoy?
Also, besides interest, make sure that it’s a theme that you already know something about, considering that research about topics that you do not know of can take some time.
So, think about your goal. It will make you understand your desires and the results that you want to achieve.
And remember, no matter what you’re talking about, make sure that the listeners can sense that you’re interested because that will likely rub off on them too. The podcast hosts know how to grab the listener’s attention and hold it no matter the theme.
The smaller the audience, the more likely you’ll gain followers. However, you shouldn’t make it too niche because then you’ll have limited growth.
This doesn’t mean that you have to avoid popular genres. For example, you can still make a niche comedy podcast in some aspects and bring in new and involved listeners.
An excellent way to make your podcast niche is to have a target audience, a unique set of people, and a specific topic within your genre.
If you want to talk about seasonal topics like award shows and sports competitions, be careful when you do it as they aren’t always trending.
Browse online for trends and topics on Twitter, Quora, Reddit, and similar websites to get an idea of making your content more niche.
This is another crucial aspect of making your content exciting and sustainable. Even though you’re the creator, you have to remember you’re making a podcast for your listeners. You’re addressing their needs and requirements for entertainment or education.
What is your target audience? What are they interested in? Making a podcast isn’t just about choosing a theme you want to talk about, but also about which other people want to listen to.
It’s good to imagine your audience’s age, requirements and interests before starting a podcast.
Making your content unique doesn’t have to be done just through an exciting theme. You can make yourself stand out in other ways.
It can be anything from the format of your podcast to the length of your episodes. You can make them high-production if you want to. You can handle topics with unique angles and different approaches than your more famous competitors and still gain more listeners than them.
It can also be simple things like background music or just the tone of your voice. Figure out what makes you stand out from the rest and use it.
Most people go into podcasting with an idea to make money from it, which is normal. We all want to be creative and make funds by doing something we enjoy.
Think about whether the theme that you’re talking about in your podcast can be monetized. Can you get brands that will sponsor you that are somehow connected to that theme?
Whenever you come up with a topic, try to connect it to at least one possible monetization strategy.
You went through all of our advice but still don’t know how to start and choose a suitable theme. Have too many interests on your mind for your first time making a podcast? We’re here to help!
Brainstorming is a crucial aspect of creativity, so we made a list of good podcast topics for beginners. You can either choose to make a podcast about one of these themes if you’re interested in them or they can inspire you to brainstorm and come up with something on your own.
This is a broad subject, but you can interview anyone! They can be an expert in the field that you’re interested in or even a stranger on the street. The possibilities are endless. You just have to be a good interviewer and find enough people to interview.
If you’re interested in reading books, you can make a podcast that summarizes a book series or reviews it shortly. You can also post these on YouTube since the book-reading community there is pretty big.
If you’re interested in scary stories or paranormal phenomena worldwide, you can make a podcast telling these stories. A competitor that you can check out for this is Lore.
You can make podcasts that listeners should follow only at specific times, for example, morning motivation or a podcast that helps you fall asleep.
Podcasting outside gives you a lot of opportunities. You can sit in a place and record yourself describing everything you see or you can find random people to interview.
Make up interesting stories and then assign each episode to a different character and tell the story through their point of view. You can do this alone or with other people and it’s an exciting approach to storytelling.
If you’re a comedian or just think you’re one, you can make a comedy podcast out of anything—your anecdotes, trending topics or just any theme that makes you stand out from the rest.
If you travel or love to travel, you can make a podcast about different locations, educating other people or giving them advice on traveling.
If you’re interested in trending topics in sports, make a podcast about it! You can choose a specific sport to make it niche.
A lot of things that seemed incredible to us when we were childer are underwhelming or weird now. Find a movie that you used to like and see if you still feel the same way. You can also do this with TV shows.
Do you have a theme that you’re interested in or passionate about? Do you want to educate other people on it? Then create this type of podcast.
As mentioned before, news podcasts can be stressful to make, but if you’re interested in making short news summaries or recaps, you should go for it.
Make yourself stand out from the rest by creating short episodes. They can be up to 5 minutes long. Here you can tell a concise story, some jokes, or educate listeners briefly on some topic.
Make a podcast commenting on other podcasts.
This is a seasonal theme, but if you’re interested in any sports events or award ceremonies, you can do this.
Make a podcast just about things that you don’t know anything about, like DIY or history.
ASMR is a popular genre where people whisper into the microphone or murmur. Listeners seem to enjoy it.
Advise listeners on things that you know about.
Think about hypothetical scenarios like a volcano explosion or getting stuck in an elevator and educate people.
You can teach people basic skills like how to switch a light bulb or bake bread.
If you have a story you wrote and want to share, make a podcast narrating it.
Record yourself cooking, explaining each step, and recording the sounds.
You can make a podcast to interview people who have the same names as famous people but aren’t famous.
Go to a museum and describe what you see.
If you’re in a relationship, make a podcast about topics that you’re both interested in.
Hopefully, we helped you find out more about what podcasts are, how to start them, how to keep them going and gave you some ideas for topics that you can cover.
Remember that the best way to make your podcasting business sustainable is to gain a loyal audience. You can better your relationship with your audience by using GroupApp.
GroupApp is a platform for all creatives to build a community and make money from doing what they love. This website is an excellent choice for all podcasters because you can use it to host your podcast. There’s also compatibility with video, PDF, and text files that creators can publish for their community to view, among its many features.
By using GroupApp to host your podcast, you create a space where your audience can interact and get more involved in your work, and you can make money from it. Sign up for GroupApp to develop your community today!