How to choose a podcast topic?
To pick your podcast topic grab a piece of paper and write down the answers to these five questions.
- What are you passionate about?
- What are you interested in?
- What are you an expert in?
- What are you fairly knowledgable in?
- What would you like to be good at?
Is there any overlap between what you are passionate about and your expertise?
If not, is there any overlap between what you are interested in what you are good at? And if not then look for overlap in what you want to be good at and what you are passionate or interested in.
Now that you have a list of topics that intersects with your skills and your passions, look for ways to narrow your topics down to more specific niches.
And finally, you need to check and see if there is a commercial market for this niched down topic?
How to do market research on your selected topics?
Keyword ResearchTools like MOZ, SEMRush, Serpstat or Ubersuggest (free) will tell you how many people are searching Google for your topic.
I like to use Keywords Everywhere because you see search data as you are searching Google.
Amazon Book Search
If there are some best selling books in Amazon about your topic you know that there is a potential market.
Udemy Course Directory
Search the Udemy course directory and see how many courses there are covering your topic. See how many students have enrolled in the courses to see how big the potential market is for your topic.
While you are doing this research make a note of the suggested / related keywords, book names and chapter titles and course names and module/lesson titles. These are useful for episode ideas later as you plan your podcast editiorial calendar.
To do your podcast topic research you can use Chartable to see which podcasts are ranking in your category. Look at the top podcasts in the category that have podfaded.
You may be able to rank in this topic eventually as these ranked podcasts are not producing episodes anymore.
But keep in mind this won’t happen overnight because podcast rankings in iTunes / Apple Podcasts are weighted by total lifetime downloads of the show. So it will take some time for your show to catch up. But it eventually you should outrank these shows if your content is more current and relevant.
Evergreen content has staying power though.
Check out the competing podcasts in your niche? Which ones are successful? What made them successful? How can you stand out and be the best in the niche?
You don’t want to copy another show. Copying another shows format, style or name won’t help you succeed. You are checking out the top shows so you can bring something unique to the niche.
Find a new angle or different format that will allow your show to stand out from the crowd.
To read an in-depth post on this topic: Podcast Blue Ocean Strategy
A Note About Passion?
Do you need to have passion for your topic?
Some people say that you MUST have a passion for your topic or you won’t survive the 7 episode podfade zone.
Do you need passion? Cal Newport, author of Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You, argues that in your work life, passion is not a good way to go. He says that focusing on your skills is a much better option. If you are good at something you are more likely to enjoy it. Does this apply to podcasting though? If you are podcasting as a hobby, I don’t think so.
But it is food for thought.
Check out Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport to read more about the passion debate.
How to pick a podcast name?
Clever name vs Descriptive name.
Some podcasters come up with cool branded names for their shows.
Keep in mind that nobody is searching for your cool sounding new made up word.
A descriptive name with a popular keyword is better for discoverability. Although, now with 700 000 podcasts in Apple Podcasts, it is more challenging to rank even for your own podcast show name.
When Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner started his new podcast he called it The Social Media Marketing Podcast.
He could have named it the Social Jungle which ties in with his website branding but when people are looking for social media shows on Google, Apple Podcasts and other podcast directories they type social media marketing podcast.
And when they see his album art with the words Social Media Marketing Podcast on it, they know exactly what the content of the show is about. The Social Jungle isn’t as clear and only monkeys are searching for a social jungle.
Generally, a descriptive podcast name is better for discoverability and comprehension.
Once you have your potential show name(s) figured out you need to check for available domain names and social media profile user names. NameChk can check which domain name extensions are available and which social networks have that username available.