Ideas for Podcast Segments to Give Your Show Variety
One of the biggest challenges podcasters face is keeping listeners entertained and engaged. Although there should always be an emphasis on producing quality content to overcome that hurdle, there are other ways to keep your audience listening.
Podcast segments are individual offshoots from the main content within an episode. When used well, they are a seamless way to help break an episode up into more consumable sections.
If you want to reduce listener drop-off or make your content easier to consume, it's worth splitting it into smaller, more digestible chunks. We've got a list of podcast segment ideas further down. Take a look and see how you can incorporate them into your show.
The podcast intro is one of the most obvious segments you can adjust and play with. Intros are the ideal spot to get listeners excited about what to expect and the content you are about to cover.
Within this opening segment, you can tease what's coming next with some episode audio (known as a cold open), introduce the topic, tackle any unanswered questions from a previous episode, introduce guests, and add sponsor messages—the possibilities are endless!
The Body of Content
Most of your episode's content will be positioned between the intro and outro, in what's referred to as the "body" of content. This section contains the main points that make up your podcast episodes, such as the central interview, discussion, or story.
You can be relatively creative with this chunk of content. Podcasting is a highly creative medium, and there are very few rules regarding how your post is structured. So, you can try breaking up your podcast content into one or two smaller segments—something we'll outline later.
Your podcast outro or conclusion is where you tie everything up. It's the point in a podcast where podcasters can tease upcoming episodes, add a call-to-action, reiterate any key takeaways from the discussion, or mention any sponsors.
Ideas for Podcast Segments to Give Your Show Variety
Since humans are primarily creatures of habit, many podcasters like to stick to the same segment formula for every episode. It's excellent for your overall show productivity because you get into a rhythm.
But, if your episode consumption metrics aren't looking very healthy, and you start to see that listeners aren't engaging with your content like they used to, it may be time to mix things up a bit.
Alternating different segments from episode to episode to add variety is a great way to keep listeners tuned in. We've outlined eight ideas below, but why not brainstorm and see if you can come up with some others, too?
If your podcast's format is based on the narrative storytelling style, a great way to segment your podcast episodes is to have individual chapters. Along with giving narrative podcasts direction, chapters can also help create helpful audio signposts for listeners.
The hit docu-series The Unicorn Launcher is a business podcast with a unique and captivating way of telling its start-up story through named chapters. Chapters help listeners understand that the topic is changing, the story is moving on, and they need to pay attention.
Answer Listener Questions
Podcasting can feel like it's very much a one-sided conversation. But it doesn't have to be. For most podcasts—but especially technical shows—listeners often have questions.
Adding a segment specifically designed to tackle those burning queries is ideal for bringing an added layer of value, trust, and community connection to your podcast.
If you have a guest with specific industry expertise, you can tailor your call to action to mention that. For example, "Next week, we will be speaking with [XYZ], an expert on [industry/topic]. If you have questions about [insert topic], send in your question [insert contact method].
Include a call to action within your podcast, asking listeners to send in their questions. Ensure you outline how they can get in touch (via email, social media, SpeakPipe, etc.) and that you will answer those questions in the upcoming episode.
Product Reviews and Recommendations
Trust is one of the cornerstones of podcasting. Once you build up a loyal audience, trust naturally increases. If your format allows it, dedicate a segment to reviewing and recommending products or services. Listeners will appreciate a relevant and honest recommendation.
So, if marketing SaaS software is your forté, and your podcast is dedicated to marketing best practices, you could review the latest releases or review new software. Why not set up a debate and review session if you have a co-host? The more disagreement between hosts, the better.
Conflict in interests and points of view creates intrigue. Conversely, if you're constantly in agreement, it can become stale for listeners.
Highlight Current News
Edison Research recently brought out a survey that showed the "news" category to be the second most popular in the world. While comedy took the top spot, it still shows how hungry people are for up-to-date news on various topics.
A segment dedicated to industry news taps into that element that many people crave—knowing and understanding what is new. Search for current news related to your podcast topic or industry, and take a few moments to talk through it.
Offer Tips and Tangible Takeaways
We all love free stuff, especially if it's beneficial. So break up your podcast by offering something valuable that can be applied to your listeners' lives.
For example, include free tips or short tutorials in each episode, such as helpful tech hacks, business advice, software to make life easier, a lesson you learned the hard way, etc. Free, practical advice is a beautiful way of fostering trust among listeners.
At the end of an episode, as you are wrapping up, some podcasters will recount the takeaways from their discussion and advise on how someone could use that in proactive ways.
Repurpose Older Content
Old episodes are a treasure trove for new content. If a topic you are touching on could use some added context sometimes repurposing your content, by diving into past conversations, cherry-picking related points, and inserting them into your current episode, is a great way to help bolster a point.
It also allows you to update outdated information and add a new level to the soundscape of your podcast. Keep a spreadsheet of your podcast episodes.
In that spreadsheet, ensure you have columns dedicated to keywords that would best describe the topics you covered and the timestamps at which you discussed them. That way, should you need to grab a piece of audio to insert into a new episode, you can quickly search the sheet, and insert the audio where you want it.
Invite Guests Onto the Show
It may seem obvious, but guest interviews can be a great way to break a podcast episode into interesting and digestible pieces. Moreover, contrary to what many podcasters think, these interviews don't have to take up a whole episode.
In fact, they can be sound bites from multiple interviewees that last only a few minutes and don't necessarily need to be a regular feature on your show.
Similarly to repurposing your podcast content, keep these interviews in a spreadsheet with keywords and timestamps, so you can dip into them when you need to add an extra layer to an episode.
Jazz Up Your Music
Never underestimate the power of music. So while most of this article is dedicated to the various kinds of content chunks, having a way to break up these segments can be especially useful.
Music adds dimension to a show. Whether in the intro and outro or at the beginning of a segment change, music can make a podcast memorable and give it its unique identity.
A podcast should always strive to provide something that other shows don't offer. For example, adding multiple segments can help break up an episode and keep your audience engaged. (Once you've found your ideal podcast listener, you want to make sure you keep them back.)
Whether you incorporate an interview from a special guest, answer listeners' questions, or revamp your intro and outro, having audio variety matters. Remember, the way your podcast is now shouldn't be the way you do it forever!
If something isn't working, or you want to try a new direction, then tweak and make improvements as you go. Know that your podcast is a forever-evolving entity, so experiment and, above all, have fun! Happy podcasting.