Podcast Content Ideas to Breathe New Life Into Your Show
As interest in podcasts grows, more and more businesses are adopting this popular medium as part of the marketing strategies. Branded podcasts allow firms to tap into usually inaccessible demographics that consume content from this format regularly. The main reason is that they can fill a prominent slot in any content marketing strategy. In addition, they are cost-effective, create an authoritative brand presence, increase audience reach, and boost brand awareness and loyalty.
For the brands already reaping the benefits of a podcast, regularly coming up with engaging content can be a challenge.
Pick a Theme That Works For You
Treat your podcast like a business. To formulate a decent content plan, you must pick a theme. A consistent theme throughout will help generate audience loyalty with the people who either know about or want to learn about the topic.
Your podcast team should aim to answer a few fundamental questions about WHY you're creating a podcast. Once you understand why you're creating a podcast, establishing your theme becomes easier.
- Are you looking to sell more products?
- Do you want to be seen as an industry expert?
- Are you looking for sponsors?
- Are you using podcasts to drive traffic to your website, generate leads, etc.?
- Are you podcasting as a method to reuse content for brand awareness purposes?
For example, let's say your brand revolves around career coaching. The goal for your podcast will most likely be to draw in new leads by nurturing trust. With that in mind, the ideal theme can focus on something like How-to's and best practices for career changers and job seekers.
Brands should always look at podcasts as another marketing tool, so try to find themes that work in tandem with your other marketing efforts and goals.
Brainstorming is the process of searching for ideas, with no harsh boundaries and relative freedom. The free-flowing nature during these sessions, where no idea is invalid, can feel like you are missing the mark. But never fear! More often than not, these spur of the moment ideas can eventually blossom into marketing decisions later on. The goal of this process is to push past the usual perceived "best practices," and encourage creativity and playfulness.
Nothing is more motivating than a deadline, so strive to keep the sessions to 22 minutes - although a few minutes over won't kill anyone, it['s best to keep a time limit to push attendees for a quick succession of ideas.
Coming up with new topics every week can be tricky. But, by keeping your theme in mind, you and your team can take the time to brainstorm a selection of topics you know that your audience wants to hear about. For the most part, we find that the topics that touch on resolving theme-related challenges and issues work well.
For example, a career coach could tackle topics such as:
- How to Effectively Search for Jobs
- What Matters Most When A Recruiter Looks at Your Resume
- How To Stay Positive During A Career Change
- Tips for Standing Out in a Crowded Field of Candidates
- How to Network To Find Your Dream Job
Collaborative Brainstorming Sessions: The Hive Mind
Brainstorming combines an informal approach to problem-solving with lateral thinking. These sessions encourage teams to voice thoughts and ideas. We suggest having a collaborative brainstorming session once a month. While these sessions are aimed to be a creative outlet, try to keep the four points below in mind.
Why are we making a podcast?
Who is your ideal audience and who is it going to serve?
What role will your podcast play within your brand strategy?
What does success look like?
Before you kick off, establish some traditional brainstorming ground rules:
- #1: Focus on quantity: Get lots of ideas down
- #2: Withhold criticism: No idea is off limits
- #3: Welcome creative and "out of the box ideas.
- #4: Bank similar idea together
- #5: Bin "bad" ideas if you realize they won't amount to anything save time
Before each session, identify your goal and encourage each person to enter the session with at least five ideas.
Think About Your Audience
A show for everybody is a show for nobody. Content marketing is about attracting and encouraging the right audience—those relevant people who are most likely to engage with your brand. To focus solely on what you want to say rather than address what your audience needs to hear is a cardinal sin of marketing.
Sit down with your podcast marketing team and create a listener persona- the ideal listener who will be best served by your podcast messaging. You'll want to consider psychographic and demographic information to help shape the exact kind of person you want to be aiming your content towards.
- Ask yourself what they want and need. What would be valuable to them? Are there any questions you could be tackling that no one else is? Or are there uncharted industry topics you should be covering but aren't?
Utilize the data provided to you by directories such as Spotify. For example, you can monitor specific age, gender, and location data to help you make better content decisions.
By reestablishing precisely who your ideal audience is, you can focus on their needs and start to generate ideas that will tap into what's valuable to them.
Create Content That Hits Your Business Goals
One of the most critical elements of podcast content creation is that you have to ensure that what you create is clear, measurable, and has your business goal in mind. Branded podcasts need to drive actual business results.
Simply 'getting downloads' isn't a complete podcast business goal. Instead, consider how your podcast content can serve your overall marketing strategy and create pieces that constantly tie back to that.
Dan Miesner at Pacific Content sums it up perfectly,
"Balancing the needs and desires of a listener with the needs and desires of the business producing a podcast is extremely tricky. Do it poorly, and you end up with a mediocre infomercial (or worse). Do it well, and you end up with happy listeners who are pleasantly surprised to learn their favorite show just happens to come from a brand."
Your audience's needs should be one of the top parts of the content creation funnel. With a podcast, simply crafting and publishing content isn't enough. Instead, you must identify your target audience (which we will explain in more detail below) and think critically about how your content can best serve that group.
- Use analytics to ensure your content can reach the right people with the right search intent.
Once you identify how to serve your audience best, think about how that content can tie back to the business. While it's essential that you craft quality content to help grow your audience, it won't attract prospects if it doesn't lead back to your business.
The gap for originality is growing ever thinner, and uniqueness within the podcast sphere is starting to wane– so much so that it can be challenging to keep coming up with unique content that keeps audiences listening.
But, sometimes, you don't have to pull out all the stops completely; you can take a simple idea and add your own twist that will keep the content interesting.
Here are some basic content ideas for you to breathe some life into your show.
1. Interview Another Podcaster Within Your Industry
Leverage someone else's expertise and inject new ideas and fresh perspectives into your show by interviewing industry leaders.
Having an additional outside voice can help make a podcast more dynamic. Naturally, this dynamism does depend on the interviewer and interviewee. So to avoid any dead air or audio blunders, preparing your guest beforehand is an absolute must.
It takes a lot of the pressure off you. By asking open-ended questions, your guests will be encouraged to do most of the talking.
It helps broaden your knowledge. Having experts on your podcast can help to increase your own personal knowledge, something that you can utilize within your business and inject into your other marketing content.
You can extend your reach. Most guests will share your podcast with their audience because being on a podcast helps build their authority and social proof.
NOTE: Microphone and speaking etiquette can be unfamiliar to most people. So to ensure you're having the most valuable conversations possible, you want find a guest who not only understands the podcasting medium but can hold a conversation, make insightful observations and give practical advice.
2. Solve a Problem
During the content outlining process, you have two primary goals: educating and solving a problem. While the overarching objective is to generate leads or steer listeners toward interacting with your brand elsewhere. You also want to establish your brand as a trustworthy source of information. Trust is essential to getting people to act on your calls to action.
So, every piece of content you're developing should solve a problem by either answering their questions or by offering valuable resources, tips, and external expert advice.
For example, if your brand offers to build energy efficiency commercial holdings, your content should revolve around environmental advice and provide important information that other potential business owners need to make positive decisions. You could discuss the latest developments in carbon-neutral building materials, speak with architects who work specifically with energy efficiency in mind, address how established buildings can upgrade their ventilation for better air quality, what brands can do to be greener (inside and out), and so forth.
3. Give Practical Tips
One of the main reasons listeners gravitate towards podcasts is to be educated on a topic they care about. This is where the phrase "Knowledge is power comes in." What your brand can offer is usually a lot of industry knowledge that they would find exciting or fill an information gap they could be experiencing.
Add practical tips to your podcast; that way, your show may be the saving grace listeners are looking for. Strive to provide listeners with the tools, tactics, proven strategies, and industry stories that are valuable for your listeners.
4. Go Behind the Scenes
Break the fourth wall and build a deeper, more intimate relationship with your listeners. For podcasters, human curiosity is a goldmine for content creation. And nothing seems to fulfill that need more than taking listeners behind the scenes.
Here are some methods for capturing behind-the-scenes content:
- Interview the creative voices that either work on your podcast or are a part of your brand.
- Take your microphone out of the studio and "onto the field" and capture the sounds and voices around you
- Tell the unknown stories- both the good and the bad.
- If you have the capacity, use video to help put faces to the voices and show your process.
Offering insights into how your brand or business works, including the culture, management, and everyday workings. This content will be solely unique to your podcast. It's a great way to pull listeners into your world and show them who you are and what you care about.
Vygo's brand new podcast, Unicorn Launcher, is a behind-the-scenes business podcast like no other. Raw and unfiltered, two ambitious Australian tech founders pull apart and rebuild their small company under the guidance of Silicon Valley super coach Matt Mochary.
5. Repurpose Your Content
Any marketing department will understand the importance of getting a brand seen in as many places as possible to help drive brand awareness. One great way to do that is to take the content from your other resources and repackage it to work within another channel. Again, it's about taking past content, grouping similar themes together, and adding more context.
Old blogs and past YouTube videos can all make great audio content. However, we suggest that you shouldn't just take a blog post and read it on air. Instead, start by identifying recurring topics or themes from past branded content and grouping them together. Then, add new and updated perspectives, news, or information into the content and outline the episode as usual.
FURTHER READING: Repurposing old podcast content
6. Keep An "Ideas Notebook"
The best ideas strike at the most inconvenient time (usually when we're in the shower). So when you have a moment of inspiration, it's best to jot it down as soon as possible. An idea notebook collects random ideas and scraps of information that can be sorted later.
Two things tend to happen if you try to keep a thought in your head. First, you spend brain power trying to keep that piece of information in focus, which diverts your ideas from other essential tasks. Second, even then, you can still forget that golden nugget of an idea.
Jot down any ideas that come to mind at that moment. This could be episode titles, inspiration from a news article you read, points made in previous meetings, a topic a speaker covered at a conference you attended - literally anything.
Group similar ideas together, and when it comes to brainstorming sessions, you'll be able to contribute these thoughts and develop them further with your team.
7. Listen To Other Podcasts
If you're not already listening to podcasts, you really should be. As the audio space has expanded, the better and more diverse the content has become. Millions of podcast episodes are released yearly across a wealth of different categories, so there is something for everyone to tune in to - no matter your tastes or niche.
Find a category that best matches your brand's industry, browse the podcasts available and listen to the episodes that pique your interest. Researching what other podcasters are doing isn't about stealing ideas. Instead, it's to gain inspiration and keep a finger on the pulse of what kind of content is being created today.
- NOTE: If you are overwhelmed with the diverse spread of available podcasts, narrow your search. Look for the podcasts that share a similar audience to your target listeners by using free software such as Rephonic.
8. Latest News in Your Field
Presenting industry news is a great way to engage listeners. As a brand within a specific sector, there's a high chance that your team has specialist insight from within that industry that could provide a wealth of value for listeners. So, why not share it?
People want to be educated on specific topics. Throughout 2021, news features accounted for more than 10% of the overall downloads in the US- this means that daily news podcasts are one of the fastest-growing methods for media consumption out there today.
Be the go-to source for industry news and updates. You don't have to dedicate your entire podcast to this kind of content, but instead, create a section where you address any updates. Or, make a weekly or monthly rundown of the most important news and stories listeners need to know.
Browse social media groups, forums, and articles to discover new topics to discuss.
9. Make it a Video.
Draw listeners from other sources of content to your podcast.
Video is ideal for engaging audiences. Take your top-performing podcast episode of content and deliver it to new audiences that haven't seen it before. You can determine which episode has performed well via your podcast hosting site.
Then, consider how you can convey that information through video. Maybe a subtitled, animated video, or raw footage from your recording sessions? Perhaps you could break up the episodes into professional 60-90-second digital animations?
Joe Rogan is the master of breaking up 3-hour-long interviews into topic-specific short videos and podcast audio episodes.
10. Make Your Content Relevant
Updating older podcast episodes with new data or diving into how a particular topic relates to the market today, as opposed to when you originally published the episode, is a great way to keep listeners informed.
This tactic works beautifully because it opens the door to drawing attention to back catalogue of content and making sure that the updated content is relevant for your listener today.
11. Revisit the Raw Audio
Your raw interview audio can hold a wealth of additional content that may have wound up on the cutting room floor. Dust off the old tape reels and listen for new soundbites you forgot existed and archive them for future use. Create a compilation episode with multiple interviews and topics, or do a stand-alone episode.
For authenticity and transparency's sake, tell your audience that the episode is made up of never-been-heard-before archived audio. It adds that essence of exclusivity and will draw your current listeners in.
12. Cut Up That Content
People love to learn something in the shortest time possible. As a result, short podcasts are getting more popular. Turn your already existing content into condensed episodes for those listeners on the go. This works exceptionally well for shows that are over 1 hour in length.
Or, why not create new content specifically for these shorter episodes? You might want to consider three podcast formats ideal for shorter episode lengths: focus topics, Q&As, and bonus material.
Focus Topics: Hosts explore a single topic in this format in each episode, typically narrated as a monologue.
Q&As: In this format, hosts answer a question submitted by listeners.
Bonus Content: Share bonus content with your existing audience. This could be from behind the scenes, industry news, highlights from the week, etc.
Podcasting is a great asset for driving traffic to a brand's other content, spreading your brand's reach, and increasing your business' potential revenue. Generating the topics you need to increase your podcast subscribers can be tricky, but with creative adjustments, brainstorming sessions, and revamping older content, you can create a valuable podcast with which your listeners will be compelled to engage.