This is the first step in a multi part series on How To Start a Podcast. We are going to start with coming up with a podcast idea. If you already have the perfect idea, then feel free to skip ahead. If not I will give you tips on how to come up with a podcast idea you can stick with.
6 Step Guide On How To Start A Podcast
- How To Come Up With A Podcast Idea
- How To Create A Great Podcast Title and Cover Art
- How To Record Your Podcast - Coming Soon
- How To Distribute Your Podcast - Coming Soon
- How To Launch Your Podcast - Coming Soon
- How To Make Money With Your Podcast - Coming Soon
Follow Your Passion
The first way to come up with an idea is to think about a topic you just can’t stop talking about. For some reason every conversation you have you end up bringing up this topic. It may be something your friends are sick of hearing about, but you still find it super interesting. Even though your friends may be sick of hearing about it there are thousands of people who are just as into the topic as you are and love hearing about it. Is there something in your life that you obsess over that could possibly be your podcast topic?
Another avenue for podcast ideas is to think about some of the media you currently enjoy consuming. Do you have a favorite TV show that you have rewatched 100s of times? If the show is still on air do you never miss an episode? Doing a podcast episode for each episode of a show is a popular podcast format. It also means you will always have something to talk about and to spark conversation. Maybe you aren’t a big TV fan, but you are a big sports fan. Same concept applies to that too. Have a weekly podcast talking about the latest happenings with your favorite team. Are they going to win the championship this year? How is the outlook looking week to week? The good thing about this variety of podcast is that you will always have a starting off point. Something new happened and you can focus on giving your take on how you thought everything went.
Tell A Story
If neither of these sparked an idea for your podcast you may want to try a storytelling podcast. This can be retelling of events that happened in the past like a history podcast. Want to relive day by day everything that happened during World War II, you could start a podcast that captures that story. You can take it to the next level by adding in live radio clips you find during that era, or the sound of tanks firing. Maybe you don’t want to retell something that already happened and have a creative story idea that has been in your mind that could be told in an audio drama. Come up with a story and play it out week by week in audio format. It is like an audiobook, but you can add an audio soundscape around the story for added effect. If you don't want to come up with a story completely on your own, you can get some friends together for a weekly Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Have fun recording the campaign with your friends as you create a story with the Dungeons and Dragons campaign to keep everything moving and flowing.
A Twist On Your Favorite Podcast
If creating your own storytelling podcast doesn’t appeal to you then think about some of your favorite podcasts to listen to are. I don’t recommend copying the concept of your favorite podcast straight up. Instead take some of your favorite podcasts and think about how you could add your own personal flavor to it. How could you take that podcast you love and make it your own with your own unique flair? Maybe your favorite podcast is “Stuff You Should Know”, a podcast where they break down a topic in each episode and tell you what you should know about it. You could take that concept and make it your own by creating “Stuff Nobody Knows”, and find science facts or mysteries that we currently don’t know the answer to.
How To Determine Your Podcast Format
Alright so you have the topic you want to focus on for your podcast. Now it is time to determine what podcast format you are going to use. There are 3 main podcast formats. Interview podcasts, hosts podcast, and heavily produced story telling podcasts. I will go over what each of these formats entails and the pros and cons of each different format. The format you choose to use can have a great effect on how well your podcast does.
We’ll start off with what I call the “Interview Podcast” or maybe “Special Guests Podcasts” format. If you are familiar with the Joe Rogan Experience podcast that would be the style of his podcast. This format entails having a special guest or interviewee for every episode that you converse and talk with. This is a popular format for a podcast that you will see across a variety of shows. This podcast is great for having unique and diverse content on your podcast. Each special guest will bring a totally different viewpoint to your show and keeps your podcast fresh. These podcasts are great because even if you have zero listeners to your podcast you still end up getting to have great conversations with a variety of people. If you can get a continuous stream of experts on your podcast you will learn a lot and your audience can benefit from this too. That does bring me to one of the cons of the interview podcast format. To be consistent with this format you will need to be continuously reaching out to people to get them to be on your podcast. If this is the format you choose, getting guests willing to come on your podcast can take up a large portion of your time. One of the keys to a successful podcast is consistency. If you are unable to find guests often and there are long gaps between episodes people will forget about your podcast and it makes it hard to build momentum.
Hosts Chatting Podcast
The next format that is popular is what I call the “Hosts Podcast”. This format is either solo hosted which is one person monologuing in every episode. Or it is a co-hosted or multi hosted podcast with the same group of people coming back to talk every week about a topic. An example of this format of podcast would be the “Stuff You Should Know” podcast. It is the same people talking every podcast about something related to a specific topic. One of the biggest benefits of this format is that you don’t have to rely on bringing in new people every episode. You set up a plan to either record yourself every week, or you and your friends get together every week to record. No scheduling and requesting people to be on your podcast. You just show up and turn on the mics and start recording. It is the easiest format of podcast to create for this reason and the easiest to stay consistent with. You could mix this podcast with an interview podcast. You could be a Host Podcast but when you are able to secure a good guest bring them on to have them join in on the fun.
Heavily Produced Podcast
The final podcast style I will bring up is the “Heavily Produced Podcast”. Think NPR podcasts like Planet Money, This American Life, Reply All, Welcome to Nightvale, or Serial. These are far and away the hardest podcasts to create. For these podcasts every minute of content on these podcasts can requires an hour or more to create. Some of these 20 minute podcast episodes have years of work behind them just for the single episode. These podcasts usually have a mix of background music, multiple interviews, soundscapes from different locations, long scripts, hours and hours of editing. If you are looking to win a Pulitzer with your podcast this is the type of podcast format that is required. Creating these podcasts can be extremely rewarding because the result is a beautiful audio story that engrosses the listener. If you are a brand new podcaster and you want to go this route be ready because it is a lot of work. You will need to be adept at editing and willing to spend hours to make one minute of audio sound great. If you are looking to work for a professional podcast company and learn the real intricacies of creating great audio content this is what you want to make. You have to truly love the audio format if you are looking to have this podcast format. It is by far my favorite format for a podcast to listen to and the more people making this format the better in my opinion. Staying consistent with a release schedule when producing this content will be tough.
Alright hopefully now you have determined what your podcast will be about and what the style of your podcast will be.
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