Fresh content is key in running a successful podcast. Your loyal listeners want to hear more of you, and new content helps attract new listeners who don’t yet know how great you are!
Unfortunately, just like writer’s block is very real, running out of podcast episode ideas can plague even the most chatty podcasters.
When you’re stuck and can’t think of what to include in your next podcast, try one of these proven ways to come up with ideas that are sure to delight!
1. Ask Your Audience
What does your audience want to hear? Not sure? Ask them!
Use the platforms where you engage the most with your listeners — whether that’s Instagram Stories, Twitter, your website, email, etc. Ask your listeners what they’d like to hear about next.
To ensure you’ll get helpful responses, keep your request laser focused.
For example, if your podcast is about marketing for small businesses, ask your listeners what their biggest challenge is in getting qualified leads. If your podcast is about parenting kids with disabilities, ask your listeners about the challenges they’re having with their children in school.
From there, you’re sure to get at least one — but probably several — excellent topics that will not only keep you talking, but will be keeping your audience engaged!
2. Do a Focused Google Search on Your Audience
When it comes right down to it, your podcast is going to succeed only when your audience is engaged. That means that getting really specific about your audience is critical.
If you haven’t already, write down descriptions of who your ideal listener is. Is your listener male or female? Old or young? Parent or not? DIYer or someone who hires help? Entrepreneur or employee?
What emotions does your ideal listener feel? What are their political beliefs? Fears? Hopes?
From your descriptions, you’ll likely gain some specific keywords you can use for a Google search to inspire you.
For example, a Google search of the keywords “DIY cabinetry” brings up topics like:
- How do you make a small kitchen look bigger?
- Building Built-in Wardrobe Cabinets in Walk-in Master Closet
- DIY Cabinets for a Garage, Workshop, or Craft Room
You can speak directly to these topics in a podcast episode, or you can even break them down further. (i.e. “The Exact Materials I Used in My Garage Cabinet Remodel”, “How to Incorporate Both Form and Function Into Your Workshop”).
3. Browse Amazon Book Reviews
Read #2 above about keywords, and then use those same keywords to search for books on Amazon. You’ll get great ideas from the book titles that show up in your search, but go even deeper.
Read the reviews of the books, and see if you can find something within them that could lead to a podcast episode.
For example, a reviewer of a parenting book might comment on how they like that the book addresses parenting priorities. There’s a topic for you! Or maybe a reviewer is frustrated that the book doesn’t delve deep enough into how to connect with kids of a certain age. Boom – there’s another topic idea!
4. Listen to Others in Your Industry
We would never recommend copying anyone, but reading or listening to other experts in your industry can give you a good feel for topics your audience cares about.
Think about how you could put your own twist on a hot topic.
Can you go a little deeper, or show a new perspective on something that someone else has discussed?
5. Rework Old Content
Sometimes your best place to look for content ideas is within the topics you’ve already covered.
Look back over old episodes you’ve recorded or old blog posts you’ve written. Have you learned anything new since releasing it that you wish you would have shared? Share it now!
Some people refer to this method of ideation as a brain dump. You start by setting a timer, and a blank piece of paper or word processing document and simply write until the timer goes off. Take 15 to 20 minutes and just let er’ rip!
Don’t think about it, and don’t try to think of specific episode ideas. Simply write anything and everything that comes to mind. It’s okay if what you end up writing has nothing to do with your podcast at all. Sometimes the act of just writing down everything in your head will free up the mental space to come up with new ideas for your show.
7. Go to the Library
Look at the books related to your subject. Read the magazine articles and newspapers that mention your topic. Go in looking for write-ups that offer new perspectives and fresh angles.
Perhaps you have recently covered a topic, but the most recent copy of the magazine or journal in your industry presented a new theory or way of looking at things that could open up an entirely new discussion.
8. Indulge In Something That Has Nothing to Do With Your Topic
It’s a funny thing that happens when we get so engrossed in our niche – we end up with blinders that seem to all but close us off to new ways of thinking about the subject. Maybe the reason you’re stuck in your efforts to come up with podcast ideas is you’ve been too focused on it for a while.
Listening to another niche, reading fiction, or just binging on your favorite show can sometimes get the creative juices flowing simply because you’re not trying to force the creation of anything.
Doing something fun can actually boost your creativity and productivity.
You never know when inspiration might strike. You might see something in a sitcom or movie that instantly inspires one, two, or an entire season of episodes!
9. Follow Specific Hashtags on Social Media
Are you following the most popular hashtags related to your niche on social media? It’s not only a great way to keep up with the latest trends, but it’s a gold mine for episode ideas.
While you’re on social media, join some Facebook and Pinterest groups related to your niche to see what people are talking about. What are the most common questions they have? What threads get the most attention?
10. Read Forums Like Quora and Reddit
People that are interested in unique and fascinating topics will ask equally fascinating questions that generate the wildest of answers as well as present you with even more questions.
On Reddit alone you can find threads and forums related to topics as wide as finance, or as niched down as how to date in the time of coronavirus.
11. If You’re Not Doing Interviews, Start
While it might not be a good idea to start interviewing guests on every episode of your podcast if you have never done it before, you could at least add it to your rotation of episodes to spark some new juice into your content calendar.
If nothing else, do a couple of bonus episodes, and see how your audience responds. Conversely, if you only do interviews on your show, perhaps you could do a few episodes without a guest and just share your own thoughts about your topic to change things up and breathe new life into your content.
12. Start an Ask Me Anything Series
A great way to give your audience a chance to give you content ideas is to start doing an “ask me anything series,” also referred to as AMA. This can either go live on your podcast, or you can create it on social media.
The way they work is you tell your audience they can ask you anything they want that is related to your topic. You can announce this AMA session as a cattle call in an episode, post it to social media, or send it out to your email list.
What sometimes happens when hosts ask audiences to tell them what they would like to hear on the podcast is people don’t know exactly what to say. With an AMA series, it feels more like a conversation where they will get something out of it.
As a result, listeners are a little more willing to engage for the chance to have their questions answered live on your show or on social media.
Event More Ways to Get Podcast Ideas ...
13. Start your episode with a quote and explore it from the perspective of your niche.
14. Share a brief bio of someone famous in your niche or at least related to it in some way.
15. Begin sharing facts, figures, and news in your episodes that your audience might be interested to hear.
16. Tell your own backstory about what got you interested in this niche.
17. Break apart your longer episode ideas into two or multi-episode series where you dive even deeper into the things you’re discussing.
18. Go back to school or take a course on your topic and give a digest of what you’re learning.
19. Explore other courses related to your niche that you are considering taking and share details about them with your audience.
20. Discuss novelty products and goods that are for sale related to your niche (bonus points if you can find an affiliate partner to make money from that content).
21. Host a virtual party with your audience on Zoom and do a Round Robin where listeners get to introduce themselves and talk about why they like your niche – record it and take notes of all the awesome things they bring up.
Once you start thinking outside of the box, it becomes much easier to come up with podcast ideas. Remember, the goal is to entertain.
By trying out one or more of these ideas you should be able to generate countless episode topics that will fill your editorial calendar for months or years to come!