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 their marketing strategy. Branded podcasts allow firms to tap into usually inaccessible demographics that regularly consume content from this format.
The main reason is that podcasts can fill a prominent slot in any content marketing plan. In addition, they are cost-effective, create an authoritative brand presence, increase audience reach, and boost brand awareness and loyalty.
For brands already reaping the benefits of a podcast, regularly coming up with engaging content can be a challenge. We've put together a bunch of tips and ideas to make the process easier. We'll start with some basics and then move onto our top podcast content strategy ideas. Let's dive in.
Pick a Theme That Works for You
Treat your podcast like a business. To formulate a decent content plan, you must pick a theme. Having 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. Learning how to brainstorm podcast topics might take a little time, but it's definitely worth the effort.
Coming up with new topics every week can be tricky. But, by keeping your theme in mind, you and your team will be able to brainstorm a selection of topics you know your audience wants to hear about. For the most part, we find that 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 resumé
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 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 brainstorming ground rules:
Focus on quantity: Get lots of ideas down
Withhold criticism: No idea is off limits
Be open: Welcome creative and "out of the box" ideas
Segment: Group similar ideas together
Be realistic: Bin "bad" ideas if you realize they won't amount to anything to 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 re-establishing 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 content creation is ensuring that what you create is clear, measurable, and has your business goal(s) in mind. Remember, branded podcasts need to drive actual business results.
Simply 'getting downloads' isn't a complete podcast business goal. Instead, consider how your content can serve your overall marketing strategy and then focus on creating pieces that consistently 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 (as we discussed above) and think critically about how your content can best serve that group.
Make use of podcast tracking and 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.
11 Podcast Content Strategy Ideas
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 continually come up with creative podcast ideas that keep 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 a few content strategies to help you breathe some life into your show.
1. 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 in getting people to act on your calls to action.
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 efficient commercial holdings, your content should revolve around environmental advice and provide important information that other potential business owners need in order 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.
2. 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 ideas notebook can serve as a place to collect 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 thoughts from other essential tasks. Second, there's a good chance you'll 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. That way when it comes to brainstorming sessions, you'll be able to contribute these thoughts and develop them further with your team.
3. 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 annually across a wealth of different categories, so there is something for everyone to tune into—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.
Pro tip: 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.
4. 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 and deliver it to new audiences that haven't come across 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 segment the episodes into professional 60-90 second digital animations?
Joe Rogan is the master of breaking up 3-hour interviews into topic-specific short videos and podcast audio episodes.
5. 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 back to your catalog of content and making sure that the updated episodes are relevant for your listener today.
6. 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, listen for new soundbites you forgot existed, and then 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.
7. 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 an hour in length.
Or, why not create new content specifically for these shorter episodes? You might want to consider three podcast formats that are ideal for shorter episode lengths:
Focus topics: In this format, hosts explore a single topic in each episode, typically narrated as a monologue.
Q&As: This approach has hosts answer a question submitted by listeners
Bonus content: Share bonus content with your existing audience (e.g. behind the scenes, industry news, highlights from the week, etc.)
8. Ask Google
Having access to the internet means having access to an infinite number of ideas to create content around. What's more, you can pretty much read people's minds (not in a creepy way). How so?
Simple. You take advantage of Google's auto-complete search function. Enter a keyword or phrase into the search bar and take note of all the options Google offers up. It's fascinating, not to mention incredibly useful when you're looking for inspiration.
You could start at a super high level and run through each letter of the alphabet, but a more focused approach would be to use phrases or questions pertaining to your niche. For example, if your focus is vegan food you might type "easy vegan" or "what vegan" and see what comes up. Based on the initial response, you can adjust your search queries for even better results.
9. Answer the Public
Neil Patel's Answer the Public is another idea-generating tool worth checking out. It costs around $99 per month, but not to worry, they have some free options available. If you simply hop onto their site you're allowed one free query per day. But, take a few seconds to sign up for a free account and they'll up that quota to three free searches per day.
Provided you have a basic idea of what you'd like to search for, three is plenty. In fact, even one is more than enough. All you do is enter your keyword (they advise to use only one or two words), and then choose the country and language you're targeting. What it spits out is nothing short of mind blowing.
Along with the various questions people are asking around a specific subject, the tool also offers up a host of suggestions related to it as well. Even better, the data then reveals how searched your keyword is. That way you know right off the bat whether it's worth focusing on a particular question or idea or not.
10. Tap Into Seasons and Holidays
If there's scope for it within your chosen niche, why not give an episode a seasonal theme? There are four seasons a year and countless holidays to tap into. Think about the time of year or holiday(s) that really speak to you and compile a show (or two) around that.
It could be fun and cheezy, warm and fuzzy or deep and meaningful. It's up to you, really. That said, it's obviously prudent to do something in keeping with the general mood and tone of your show and offer your audience something you know they'd appreciate.
11. Take it Outside
If you have the wherewithal, another fun idea is to take your podcast elsewhere. This idea ties in nicely with tip #4, because it's another opportunity to introduce video to your content strategy. There are two ways to approach this.
The first is to do your podcast in another part of the country or world. Let's say you're planning a trip to Bali. You could find a local to interview or feature on your show and record a video of the experience.
Another option is simply to head outside and record some vox pops. Make sure you have a general idea or theme in mind and then ask people you meet on the street what their take is on the subject.
Done well, it'll leave you with some great video content as well as the basis for a future podcast episode. This route also means you have additional material to cut into the segment as you unpack the responses you received from everyone you spoke to.
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 podcast topics you need to increase your subscribers can be tricky, but with creative adjustments, brainstorming sessions, and revamping older content, you can create a valuable podcast that your listeners will feel compelled to engage with.