How To Select The Best Topic For Your Podcast
Selecting the best topic for your podcast is always the next issue you have to address once you make up your mind to podcast. More often than not, a couple of ideas will come to mind. At the same time, having to choose between many podcast topic ideas can be baffling. At the end of the day, you may find yourself saying this aloud: “What exactly is the best topic to podcast about?”
What is a podcast topic?
To begin with, your podcast topic/subject refers to the focus/central theme of every content of your podcast. It is the 3 – 5 word summary of your podcast. For instance, the topic of Swiych Podcast “entrepreneurship for aspiring Nigerian entrepreneurs”; and you can perceive that in every single episode it has.
Why selecting a podcast topic is important
Indeed, podcast is not a platform where you talk about party today and talk about science tomorrow, well except if they have something in common. Every topic, every guest, every episode must have a connecting theme.
When you podcast, your primary goal is to build a community of like minds around the show. Talking about two or more different topics/interests will not help you achieve that. Not everybody is your market! That is like marketing 101.
So how do you select the best topic for your podcast?
Step 1: Brainstorm
The very first step in selecting the best topic for your podcast is to write everything down. At this stage, nothing is too dumb or too hard to podcast about. You are not to evaluate your ideas at this stage; you are to write them down. To put it briefly, think about everything and anything you can possible podcast about, and put this into writing.
Furthermore, I advise that you break this step into sessions. A maximum of three sessions is good. You do not want to spend the whole time on step 1 alone. After each session, take a break, a walk, or do something else; let your sub-conscious do the deeper search.
Step 2: Organise and weed
Once you are done with the brainstorming session, the next step is to organise your thoughts and weed out the superfluous ideas. Organising your thoughts is an informed process. At the same time, it can be fun and eye opening.
For instance, two ideas might point to the same theme. I advise that you do not cancel one out for the other yet. Compress them to one option/idea.
By a way of example, you may have written “coaching” and “teaching”. Instead of cancelling one for the other; just write “coaching/teaching”. When you do your keyword research for your location, you can then choose one. Google Trend or Wordtracker are useful tools that can help you make the wisest choice here.
How do you weed out the superfluous topic ideas? Answer these questions for each topic idea.
- Are you passionate about this topic/subject area?
- Will you still podcast about it if I do not make a dime from it?
If an option ticks “No” for any question, cancel it out. It is not worth podcasting about.
If there are no options left on the list, you will need to check yourself. It is either you have not done enough brainstorming or you want to podcast for the wrong reason.
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Step 3: Evaluate the topic ideas left
This is where the work lies. While this can be intuitive for many, it may not be so easy for others. For this reason, I have prepared a criteria to make your selection process easy.
It is important that you have between 2 – 5 topics from step 2. If there are more than five podcast topics to choose from, you should repeat step 2. Chances are that you are not answering the questions in that step honestly.
In addition to that, please do not use this technique on a topic idea that ticked “No” for any of the two questions in step 1.
Criteria to Consider:
In choosing your best topic to podcast about, you will have to take into consideration these criteria:
- Your access to quality content (Do I have access to quality content?)
- Your access to potential audience (Can my potential audience find my podcast with ease?)
- Size of your potential audience (Is the size of my potential audience large enough?)
- Unique Selling Point (Is there anything I can do to make my podcast on this topic stand out?)
- Your Personality (Does the topic resonate well with who I am?)
The topic with the highest and strongest number of “Yes” is your best bet.
Finding that balance
Podcasting, like many other things in life, is much more than the initial excitement and “gira gira” (“bragging” in Yoruba). Therefore, if you settle for passion alone, there will be problem the day you wake up and realise it is no longer fun. Like marriage, you can’t just marry because he/she is lively.
In addition to that, Access to content is very important, as it can be the difference between how easy or hard your podcasting journey will be. It can affect your consistency too. However, what happens when you pick a subject just because of access to content but you realise you don’t have access to the right audience or you are not passionate about the subject area in particular?
Furthermore, your personality affects the tone and style of your podcast. For instance, you cannot just go hosting a relationship talk show because “the ladies” say they love your voice. I have two quick questions for you: one, do you have a stable or enviable relationship? Two, how old are you? (Experience).
The size of your audience is equally important, but you cannot afford to be obsessed with it. If you do get obsessed, you will end up trying to podcast for everyone. At the end of the day, you would be unable to build a community of listeners.
Lastly, access to the right audience is very important too. Of what use is your podcast when the people you can reach have no idea what you are talking about? Worse still, they feel you are not experience or knowledgeable enough to talk about it. Finding the right balance between these factors is very very important.
NOTE: To get the best out of this whole process, be honest with yourself. It is pointless going to going through this process if you are going to lie to yourself.
Do not go with a one-word podcast topic idea. Chances are that there are existing podcast on it by big brands. Such an industry is always too broad and difficult to stand out in. For instance if you want to podcast about cars, you are better off podcasting about an aspect/brand of cars or better still podcast about cars in your locality. That way, you will be easily recognised as an authority in such a field.
Besides, chances are that you are the first, or among the very few talking about that podcast topic. To sum it up, never go for one-word podcast topic idea/area. You are better off with a two-word or three-word topic area.
Write down all the topic areas that come to you (including the ones friends and family might suggest), follow all the steps listed in this article.
Which of these topic areas satisfies the most criteria?
That is what you should be podcasting about. Now, go record your first demo podcast!
Samuel Adeoye (popularly known as “Se7en” or the “Startup Engineer”) is a Civil Engineer and the lead podcaster at Podlobe. He is also a big fan of Manchester United.