Updated · Feb 07, 2023
The number of podcasts and podcast listeners is at an all-time high. While there have never been more opportunities, discovering new podcast ideas is the main difficulty.
If you’re considering starting a podcast, this guide will get you thinking in the right direction.
What is a Good Podcast Topic?
Like all entertainment, so-called good podcast topics are subjective. People have created shows on almost all conceivable interests, hobbies, and subjects. First and foremost, you should choose an area you yourself are passionate about. After all, you’re going to be spending time developing a podcast about it.
Yes, general popularity and other metrics will be important for your success. However, you’ll quickly get bored if you’re chasing listeners based solely on what the masses might be into. Listeners can tell if you really enjoy a topic. It comes through in your presentation and your knowledge of the subject.
That said, good ideas for a podcast usually involve something new. Even if it’s a different style or take on a subject already common in the podcast world.
How to Find a Podcast Topic?
Today, let’s explore how you can find podcast topics and discuss the other factors to consider before launching.
Analyze Your Interests
A good place to start is to jot down all your interests you think you could talk about at length. This could be:
- or even some obscure subject you know lots about
Do you collect lunch boxes? Do you know a lot about the 80s Yugo car from Yugoslavia?
Sometimes the wackiest ideas end up having the most traction.
Whatever you find fun or interesting could evolve into a viable podcast subject.
Check the Competition
There’s nothing new under the sun. Chances are, you don’t care about the Yugo and most of your interests have already inspired at least one other podcast. Still, there’s always room for more. There are hundreds of financially successful podcasts on all major sports, thousands battling it out, and new ones popping up all the time.
Checking the competition is important. Some questions to consider are:
- is the market saturated to overkill?
- or is there so much interest that you can ride the coattails and take some of that audience?
- if hardly anyone is covering your interest, is it because nobody else cares?
- or did you just stumble on an untapped podcast niche that you could dominate?
To get some answers, check the rankings on Apple, Spotify, and sites like Chartable. Furthermore, use a podcast search engine like Listen Notes to find the rough total number of podcasts on a topic.
Many podcasts also make use of YouTube, and sites like Social Blade give extensive statistics, including subscriber growth.
But what can you do with this data? One method of contrasting potential interest with the current podcast market is to compare keyword search data.
For example, Listen Notes finds over 1,800 podcasts covering WWE wrestling. Wordtracker, a tool that monitors search engines like Google, says there are over 2 million searches for WWE a month. That’s 1,800 podcasts to 2 million generalized searches.
In contrast, there are 2,200 podcasts related to Major League Baseball (MLB), but over 7 million monthly searches. Does this suggest there’s room for more baseball podcasts?
The trick is to find a topic that has a high amount of internet searches but a low number of podcasts. Of course, you don’t have to get this bogged down in numbers but it’s a useful way to find popular podcast topics with growth potential.
Find Your Unique Angle
Whatever the numbers say, you’re unlikely to find a truly brand-new topic. Instead, you should aim for a brand-new twist.
Depending on the size of the niche, look at the top 10 or 20 podcasts and note what they are doing. There will be some overlap and differences in the finer subject matter and presentation.
E.g., there are many true-crime podcasts covering infamous names like Ted Bundy, so it’s probably not worth retreading old ground. However, are there some obscure cases not yet covered? Similarly, is there an aspect of the Ted Bundy killings that have been overlooked or not explored in detail? This could be your unique angle, which will make for some great podcast topic ideas.
Presentation-wise, one interesting case study is that of YouTuber and podcaster Bailey Sarian. She took the topic of true crime and meshed it with makeup tutorials, creating a whole subgenre of true-crime makeup.
On paper, it sounds ridiculous and it garnered its fair share of negative publicity. But it was hugely successful and ‘any publicity is good publicity’.
The Last Podcast on the Left also took the serious subject matter of true crime and injected some dark humor from a nerdy male perspective.
Most good podcast ideas give an unusual take on a topic but also deliver the information in a unique style.
Determine Your Audience
Your audience can be a chicken and egg scenario. It can help inform your style, tone, and the content of the episodes. You will need to refine things as data comes in about the demographics actually listening rather than those you predicted would listen or attempted to target.
The audience for a podcast about the video game Fortnite is going to be younger. Logically, the show avatar and any graphics should be vibrant. This keeps in with the game’s own scheme. Moreover, your presentation style needs to be fun and teenage-friendly.
A true-crime podcast niche will have an older base audience that will expect thorough research and factual content. Presentation and branding will change depending on your unique angle, but dark imagery is to be expected, even if humor is present.
To truly understand your audience beyond the obvious will take several episodes. Remember to:
- monitor social media
- read the comments
- use the metrics and tools available to you to determine how your demographics are evolving
Furthermore, interacting with your audience directly and building a relationship is one of the best ways to create loyalty and respond to their needs. Many podcasters ask their audience what future episodes should be about via comments and polls.
Check for Monetization Opportunities
Many people podcast because it’s a fun hobby — not for financial gain. Moreover, even the most successful podcasts do not necessarily make a lot of money. However, whether you’re looking for a bit of extra change or striving to reach the financial heights of Joe Rogan, there are many monetization opportunities for podcasters.
Depending on your list of interests, the financial aspect could also help narrow down your podcast themes and ideas. For example, a technology podcast has the in-built potential to make money promoting tech products. On the other hand, a more general podcast about current events or pop culture might find it harder to secure targeted ads.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t money to be made, but it might not be as easy.
Here are some of the most common ways to monetize podcasts:
- General Advertising – Sign up to an ad network such as PodGrid, Midroll, Podcorn, or AdvertiseCast. Ads are usually generic, and you will be paid a small rate per 1,000 listens.
- YouTube Monetization – If you host your show on YouTube, become a partner and turn on monetization to earn Google AdSense revenue.
- Sponsorships – The bigger the podcast, the more opportunities for sponsorships.
- Promote Products – Got a fishing podcast? Promote fish products or fishing gear.
- Sell Merch or Products – Sell branded T-shirts and other merch directly or offer products related to your niche.
- Premium Content – Use sites like Patreon to sell subscriptions for bonus episodes, episode archives, or ad-free shows.
Remember, the main metric for making money is how many listeners you have.
Is There Longevity?
Your topic should have enough depth that you can generate many individual podcast episode ideas. For example, true crime has a never-ending well of content because new crimes are always being committed. Similarly, any given sport has regular games, competitions, and newsworthy events to discuss.
Your podcast could have a visible end date, i.e., when reviewing a specific TV show or taking a deep dive into a single high-profile crime. But there needs to be enough longevity for an audience to become invested and for listener figures to grow.
In the same vein, evergreen episodes are episodes that can interest a viewer at any time. This approach is useful because people might discover your podcast months later and go back to listen to past episodes. Over longer periods, someone might even listen to the same episode more than once.
News, current affairs, and trending topics certainly have their place. But if it fits your theme, you should also consider evergreen episodes that stand on their own.
Podcast examples that focus on evergreen content include:
- how-to guides
- generalized interviews
- high-profile true-crime cases
The latter can take an episodic approach, with several episodes spanning the story.
50 Podcast Ideas for 2022
Still struggling with ideas to get you started? Here are 50 quick formats and podcast topics in 2022 to spark your imagination.
The best part about trending topics is that they come with an inherent public interest. You can find some trending topics by checking out:
- Google Trends
- viral videos
- what’s buzzing on Twitter
- or even the traditional news cycle
Why not filter these trending podcast topics down to an overall theme to maintain your podcast’s subject matter?
Podcasting is traditionally associated with audio rather than video. However, a lot of the most successful shows are filmed. With today’s easy access to technology, it’s now simple for the everyday person to produce video podcasts.
There’s some debate over what separates a YouTuber or streamer from a podcaster, although this is often semantic. If you film yourself and call it a podcast, it’s essentially a podcast. However, technically you should make the content available as a downloadable audio version to be more in line with the original podcast concept.
The main benefits of video podcasts are:
- the ability to engage your audience visually
- more scope for introducing yourself and putting your personality in the spotlight
- new revenue streams, such as product placement
Many podcasters use video platforms to promote their separate audio podcast, and vice versa.
Question and Answers (Q&A)
Listener participation is a great way to build a relationship with your audience. The Q&A format lets your listeners ask questions for you to answer on air.
Pick the questions around your main topic and you could be on to a winner. You might do Q&As every couple of episodes or use them as one of the segments in every episode.
Remember to choose only good podcast questions that are entertaining and that you know you can answer well.
If you do your podcast on a platform like YouTube, live chat is already built in.
The Solo Approach
Solo podcast ideas are just as easy to come up with as multi-person shows, though your approach will need to be different. It’s more difficult to be engaging when there isn’t at least one other person to have a conversation with.
Instead, it is common to script some of the text. Then, include soundbites and other media to help convey your story without going into a boring monologue.
Solo podcasters could spice up their content with the occasional cohost or guest. One winning formula is to take on the role of interviewer, inviting experts or authorities in your niche.
If you can land a string of high-profile guests, listening figures are sure to surge. However, it will take time before your podcast is large enough for some interviewees to consider making an appearance.
The Roundtable Approach
On the other hand, podcasts with multiple hosts can be entertaining to listen to because you get differing opinions and fun rapport. Listeners often enjoy this format because it simulates being with a group of friends.
However, preparation is key, because there’s nothing worse than lots of people talking over each other and derailing the topic at hand.
In The Field
If you’re brainstorming creative podcast ideas, one underutilized format is being out in the field. There’s no rule that says you must be sitting at a computer or studio-style setup to create a podcast.
Technology is more mobile than ever, allowing you to choose an interesting new location for every episode. If your topic is something like food, music, or travel, then traveling to the sites, going to a concert, or recording from an eatery could give you the ambiance that other podcasts lack.
Distrust of the so-called ‘mainstream media’ and its antiquated television medium is at an all-time high. Perhaps you can get on the ground at a newsworthy event, capture content, and do your own podcast in a more relatable way. You could be the next big citizen journalist in the alternative media!
In an era of protest movements and political extremes, the public is yearning for the man on the street to tell and show it how it is.
Your Own Profession
Whether you’re a licensed therapist, practicing lawyer, or a plumber, your own profession is ripe for interesting podcast topics. You could give professional insight into a mental health disorder, explain why certain things are happening in a high-profile legal case, or help listeners get to grips with that one annoying part of their washing machine.
While a lot of professions already have podcasters, some have very few if any and are calling out for someone to become the authority on the matter.
Whether your topic is sports, music, or movies, there’s always audience clambering for the latest celebrity news. Especially if you can give it an interesting or entertaining spin. Set up alerts and news feeds, so you can be the first to podcast current events in this space!
Tails of grizzly murders, robberies gone wrong, or missing persons make for some of the highest-rated podcasts. It’s a saturated market. That’s why you should find something new or approach it with a unique style to get a piece of the true-crime pie.
Health and Fitness
If you are heavily into health and fitness topics, your routines and diet, mixed in with a bit of industry news and trends, could be just the things to talk about on a podcast. Everyone wants to improve their health, so the potential audience is massive. All you have to do is find your own niche.
If you are a bona fide sports nerd, you probably already spend much of your free time watching, debating, or even playing your favorite sport. There’s always room for a new podcast if you can entertain and inform your audience.
The internet is the modern public square, and any and all views will find their audiences. If you fancy yourself a political commentator, there’s no reason why you can’t join the sea of other voices. Is your hot take different from everyone else or are you passionate about a political movement? Get a mic and make your voice heard!
A history degree might help here. But if you have a knack for research and a love for history, retelling WWII or ancient Rome so others can learn can be a rewarding podcast theme. If you want to keep it short and snappy, an ‘on this day’ historical subject will give you more than enough content to work through.
Culturally Significant or Controversial
Culturally significant podcast conversation topics can be compelling too. Add an air of controversy and you hook the audience. Why not revisit the Columbine shooting, the LA riots in the 90s, Nixon’s Watergate, the Satanic Panic, or the rise of AIDS?
Why not create a podcast on philosophy 101 or ‘for dummies’. You could explore the works of Nietzsche, Plato’s Cave, or your own personal take on the meaning of life. People like to think and that’s the core of philosophy. “I think, therefore I am,” or perhaps not? Your podcast could explore just that.
Each one of us has overcome some kind of adversities in our lives. If you can tell your story in an inspiring way, you could start a rewarding podcast journey helping others in similar situations. Maybe you got out of financial debt or have learned to live with a debilitating injury. Interview others in similar situations and answer questions from listeners. Over time you could forge a community of positive success stories.
How-tos and Hacks
At its core, the internet is just a big compendium of information. People turn to Google for answers, but they get information from podcasts too. Can you teach listeners how to take care of their garden, bake, or change a tire?
Can you teach them to do so in a new and faster way? Lifehacks, which are simple tips to make life easier, are all the rage right now. Create a podcast with a new hack each week!
A Top 10 list is a versatile and engaging format. Not only does it fit any podcast subject but it also entices the audience to keep listening until the end so they can find out what tops the list. Using boxing as an example, you could countdown the top ten heavyweights, greatest knockouts, or bloodiest fights — the possibilities are infinite.
Mix that with debates between hosts and in-depth backstories, and you’ll never be stumped over what to talk about in a podcast.
People are always hunting for information on what’s good or bad about a product. You can use your own passion for something to review it and inform your audience.
Technology, TV & film, and video games are always good options. Yet, there’s perhaps even more entertainment value in reviewing obscure things. Knock-off Chinese toys are a fun example.
Many podcasters think big but there’s always something going on in your local community. Moreover, it’s less likely to be covered by someone else. Think about:
- the local music scene
- food and restaurants
- tourist spots
- news stories and events
- or local politics
Getting your name out locally first could lead to a broader beat.
Podcasting typically starts with an idea and monetization comes later. However, if you already own a business, a podcast itself could be an avenue to drive more business. If you own a restaurant, a food podcast is a no-brainer. If you run a car lot, then who better to podcast about cars?
The trick to this approach is to focus on your passion first rather than making the whole podcast a giant commercial.
Audiences are no longer content with just consuming their favorite sport, movie, or TV show. They love to revisit them and learn about the actors, the behind-the-scenes goings on, and other people’s opinions on the stories or games.
One fun off-shoot is the watch-along, where podcast hosts view something in real time with the audience. It adds a new dimension to listener participation and can spark fun and heated discussions if you include live chats.
Similarly, reaction podcasts take anything from a viral video to a feature-length film and showcase the reactions of the hosts. This can be comedic or serious, depending on the subject matter. You could always add reactions as part of a broader show if you’re looking for podcast segment ideas.
Are you successful on the stock market, trade in precious metals, or is crypto more your thing? Sharing your secrets and tips for financial success could add a whole new revenue stream. Affiliate marketing programs for trading platforms are big right now and financial ads bring in more than the average.
Combine your love of pets with podcasting. Share your pet care tips, animal behavioral insight, and cute stories. We all know the internet loves cats, but you can bet there’s an audience for reptiles, fish, and even more exotic pets.
Aim to monetize with your favorite pet products and it could be a great side income.
A lot of people know about pets but what about wild animals? If you have expertise in wildlife, habitats, or conservation, you could become the David Attenborough of the podcast world. Your podcast could:
- interview experts
- share fascinating facts
- give a platform to the plights of endangered species
Fashion and Beauty
Do you have a flair for fashion and beauty? Impart your advice through a new podcast. There are many avenues to take:
- styling and makeup tips
- the best brands and shops
- the latest designs and products
All of these open up plenty of monetization opportunities.
The public has always been interested in myths, legends, the paranormal, and the supernatural. Subreddits are full of creepy tales and potentially real-life cases. If you have a knack for storytelling or genuine beliefs in these topics, there’s always an audience willing to listen.
The internet has been a breeding ground for conspiracy theories since its inception. They range from the wacky to the plausible, and sometimes they might just be real.
There are never-ending podcast topics to talk about when it comes to conspiracies. Moreover, depending on the subject matter and your own beliefs, you could take a light-hearted or a serious approach. Just don’t fall too far down that rabbit hole!
While many people are into the paranormal and conspiracy theories, there are just as many that find the scientific approach to these topics more appealing. If you’re tired of misinformation or think some topics have gone too far, flip it around and start a podcast that debunks old and new ‘woo’.
You could take a humorous or serious tone as you break down why that Bigfoot footage is definitely fake, or why 5G masts have no way of harming the public.
Funny podcast topics are not the realm of professional comedians only. Get your creative hat on and conjure up some fun games to play with cohosts that the audience could also take part in. This might be the basis for your podcast or part of a variety of different segments.
Although a well-trodden area, there are countless opportunities to do something new with gaming. From reviewing new or classic games and covering the gaming news to exploring the world of a single game you’re passionate about.
A little creative thinking could produce something no one is doing yet. Gaming is also one of those topics that have a lot of room for audience participation, which is always good for long-term growth.
Pick-up artistry and dating gurus may be cliché, but dating is still a popular podcast topic and there’s always room for doing things differently. After all, it’s tough to navigate the modern culture of dating apps and relationship expectations, and the quest for love is as old as time.
Your Favorite Vice
Perhaps you are a cigar connoisseur or brew your own beer. Or maybe you want to bring some vintage class to serious podcast talking points, sitting in a smoke-filled room with a little whiskey on the side.
Television is often cautious when it comes to advertising vices, but the internet doesn’t shy away from monetizing everything from alcohol to marijuana-related products.
The audio documentary has really taken off with the boom of podcasting. What’s more, access to royalty-free content and proper application of ‘fair use’ principles mean you don’t necessarily have to be on scene at a major event to tell its story.
Of course, if you have the talent to produce first-class content with your own source material, you’ll be on your way to the top of the podcast charts.
Whether it’s escapism or a genuine quest for a new way of life, people are enamored with alternative living. One recent trend is van life, the concept of minimalist living on the road. Do you live an atypical life or know people that do? Maybe you could be the podcast voice of an alternative living subculture.
One of the most obvious podcast suggestions is technology. It covers a lot of areas, so there is still a chance to narrow in on a certain type of tech. You can:
- cover upcoming releases
- review and compare new and old products
- share your experiences
Ultimately, listeners want to know what’s good. Why is it good and how does it compare to similar products? They also want to know how things work and how to effectively use these products.
Are you familiar with or have friends from different countries? Could you give Western audiences a different perspective on global events, culture, and ways of living? All of these could be stimulating topics for a podcast.
While you may have been taught how to fix and maintain things around the house, lots of others missed out or never had the time to learn. Impart your wisdom in a DIY podcast and save listeners money and frustration.
DIY is one thing, but what about those larger home renovations? You could share:
- how to carry out exterior work
- your own remodeling tips
- or ways of landscaping that garden into more than just a basic lawn
Retiring from work is a huge milestone for many but it’s also a big adjustment. If you’ve been there, how do you fill your time and make the golden years the most fun and fulfilling?
Mediation and Relaxation
The quick pace of modern life has created generations that cannot switch off and relax. Many turn to podcasts to wind down at night, so what better topic to discuss than the art of relaxation itself? Do you practice mediation, mindfulness, or other forms of centering the mind? You’ll find lots of listeners eager to learn these skills.
Lots of people travel and even more want to but never quite get round to it. Discussing travelling can make for some interesting podcast topics. Inspire listeners to hit the road or book that flight with your insight, destination ideas, and safety advice.
If you’ve settled in a foreign country, you know the effort and steps it takes to make the move. Start a podcast advising others looking to emigrate and sharing all the local info you only learned once getting there.
Let’s face it, we all burn out from serious news and politics. Instead, focus your podcast on the shocking, laugh-out-loud funny, and completely bizarre. Those stories that just make you go WTF!
Teach a Language
Are you fluent in a different language? You could mix typical vocabulary, pronunciation, and written grammar tips with cultural information. If it’s your native tongue, share interesting stories about your home and family.
If you are a working actor or are embarking on your own journey, others want to know how you did it. Did you uproot to LA, take classes, and face difficult auditions? You could podcast exploring your experiences and interviewing other actors.
If you’ve already started your podcast journey, thousands are looking to do the same. A podcast about podcasting might include equipment guides, where to upload and share episodes, and your own personal podcast tips.
Got any good ideas of your own?
Alternatively, you could discuss other shows. Give a weekly podcast recommendation or roundup of all the best episodes in your favorite niche.
So, there you have it, budding podcasters! We hope this guide has inspired you to get the ball rolling. It’s time to take your ideas, research the competition, and bring something new and exciting to the table. Could your podcast be the next big thing?
What topic should my podcast be about?
Your podcast should aim to find a sweet spot between something you’re passionate about and something others are interested in too. A popular topic without many existing podcasts is always good, but you can also approach a common topic from a different perspective.
How do I pick a podcast topic?
Picking an informative or entertaining podcast involves:
- analyzing your interests
- checking the competition
- and determining whether it’s viable for the long term
You also need to assess your potential audience and consider monetization if you hope to make some money.
What should I do for my first podcast?
Some of the most successful podcasts are, in part, down to the personalities of the hosts and the relationship the audience builds with them. While your first podcast should still focus on your chosen subject matter, it’s a good opportunity to briefly introduce yourself and outline your goals for the coming episodes.
How long should a podcast last?
The magic of podcasting is — there are no rules. Popular podcasts vary from 10 minutes to three-hour-plus marathons. Nonetheless, when starting out, it is wise to keep it short and snappy until you find your voice and the audience is invested in your personality.
Some topics will naturally require more time to explore than others. Moreover, podcasts with multiple hosts or interviews are likely to remain engaging for longer than solo podcasts.
Over time, it is a good idea to dig into episode statistics to discover the average listen time for your episodes. Using this data along with the lengths of your most listened-to episodes will show you the ideal time length.
That said, don’t cut short an excellent deep dive into a topic just because shorter episodes have been more successful. Some listeners will appreciate a longer episode and you shouldn’t alienate them or forgo quality content because it can be seen as too long.
What podcast topics are popular?
The most successful podcast topics fit into broad categories of interests. These include:
- true crime
- health and fitness
If you’re looking for new podcast ideas, there’s no reason not to dive into these universally popular areas. But why not try to come at it with a new approach?
A qualified journalist and longtime web content writer, Keelan has a passion for exploring information and learning new things. If he's not writing or pushing his own brands, you'll find him watching pro wrestling or trying not to rant about politics online.
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