The first order of business for anyone starting a podcast is to choose a podcast topic. While this may seem like an easy answer, if chosen poorly it can result in a number of problems from a fledgling audience to podfading. So here are 5 tips for choosing a podcast topic that will ensure success and longevity.
What are your interests?
Podcasting about something you have an interest in will help you in a number of ways.
? Your enthusiasm about the subject matter will reach your audience. ? You will be motivated to produce content. ? In the early stages of your podcast when your audience is growing slowly, podcasting about a topic that enjoy will get you through those weeks when you don’t always feel like putting in the time and effort. ? If you are not interested in the topic you are podcasting about, why do you think others would be interested in listening to it?
Choose a topic with depth
One pitfall that many first time podcasters fall into is choosing a topic that does offer any true depth of topics. You should be able to quickly think of at least 10 show topics for your podcast in roughly 5 minutes. If you can’t, then you have probably chosen a topic for your podcast that either does not have enough material to allow you to produce quality content for an extended period of time. You may be able to remedy this by broadening your topic a little bit.
Example: A podcast topic of reviewing coffee shops in your neighborhood will limit you to the 7 or 8 shops within a 5-mile radius. What if you decided to review all of the coffee shops in your entire city? By widening your category you may find a lot more to draw on when creating content for your podcast.
What is your anticipated release schedule? If you plan on releasing a new podcast each week then you need to make sure that you have enough material within your topic to create new, quality, content every week; and yes it must be quality content every week. If you have work hard to create new content for your podcast episodes, you will find that the time between podcast episodes grows from weekly to monthly or monthly to every 2-3 months and eventually the podcast will drop off altogether.
Does the topic have an audience?
Keep in mind that the goal of any podcaster is to have an audience listening to your podcast. This should definitely be taken into consideration when choosing a topic. There may not be a large audience for a podcast on insect species in South America, if there is an audience for that kind of podcast; how are you going to reach them? Reaching your target audience is something that I talk about in a number of posts under podcast promotion but you should be aware of it even at this early stage in the life of your podcast.
Does your podcast fill a need?
One of the best ways to ensure that you can attract listeners to your podcast is to find a topic or niche that is not already saturated with 10 other podcasts on the same topic. The less competition from established podcasts in the same topic the easier time you will have in growing your audience at a faster rate.
Do a little research, if you think that you have found a good topic then go to the iTunes podcast directory and do a search on your topic. See how many other podcasts are out there using the same keywords. If you find that there are 5-9 other podcasts then click on each of them and look at a few things.
? How many episodes have they released? Is it a new podcast? ? How often do they release a new episode? ? When was the last time that they released a new episode?
You may find that there are 5 other podcasts with the same topic but they have not released a new episode in a year or two. This could still be a good opportunity to fill a need in a market that has become a little stagnant.
If you are starting a podcast with the intent of generating some kind of income related to the podcast then this adds a new level of research to choosing your podcast topic. Obviously some types of podcasts are easier to monetize than others. A podcast reviewing the latest gadgets and gizmos may be easier to monetize through sponsorships and affiliate programs than a podcast in which you interview a different person in your high school class each episode. If making money is your goal with your podcast then make sure that you have a very clear plan of how you are going to monetize your podcast based on the topic you have chosen.
Once you have chosen your podcast topic, the excitement about your podcast begins to grow exponentially, but there is still a ways to go before you publish your first podcast.