Soooo you’ve decided to podcast!!!!
Great! Soooo what are you podcasting about?
Before you go nuts about what equipment you’re gonna get and where you’ll host your website or what bitrate to use for your mp3 files… You need to know what you’re going to be podcasting about.
This is not as simple as it sounds, as it needs to be a topic you can talk about at length over many episodes. You may not have 100 episode ideas lined up, but it’s good to start with a good bunch of ideas, and have a plan for how you’ll develop more ideas!
Getting this right will be great not only for you, but for your listeners!
Your podcast topic is the very reason people are tuned in to your podcast, so you can’t fluff your content or be unclear about your topic.
Ways of deciding:
These two ways of picking a topic will help you get started sooner than later.
Ask yourself…better yet, ask your friends which topic you are knowledgeable in. What is it they can trust your opinion on? Your friends are a great way to find out what you should be talking about, because they are already listening to you (hopefully) whenever you speak.
Another way of looking at this would be to think of what you know you’ve gained a lot of knowledge in, whether it is through studying the topic formally, or a really strong interest you have. Podcasts based on this approach tend to be advise-based and/or very technical in nature. So you’ll know that you’re targeting an audience that needs this advise.
Don’t try to be a hero and speak about a field you’re not prepared for, especially if it’s one that has a lot of people talking already. You’ll want to take a good amount of time preparing!
DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
Again…go to your friends, and ask them “what topics do I run my mouth about?” A better version is: “when do I start talking too much!”
Since you are hopefully going to be podcasting for a while, you could do a topic you know really gets you excited! This way, even if you’re not the most knowledgeable person out there, you’ll definitely grow in your knowledge as time goes on…simply because you’ll want to talk about it more!
Passion comes out in your voice, and it’s contagious. So that’s an added bonus when you podcast about a topic you love, because you want people to hear that this is something you are energized by.
Don’t be a boring podcaster!
This is my personal recommendation about how you should approach your podcast topic. It should be something you have good knowledge about, and also something you get excited about.
Even if you go with either approach, it will be good to bring in a bit of the other.
It’s good you’re knowledgable and/or passionate, but it can get tricky deciding what each episode of a podcast is going to be about. You can burn through your first ten episodes and then be shocked that you’ve run out of things to say.
Sometimes, it’s not the lack of content, but lack of direction: knowing what to say next.
So here are 3 ways that I’ve used to get clear on my episodes and how to come up with more.
(The headings for Evernote and XMind are also links to their respective sites)
I LOVE THIS APP! Evernote is extremely versatile, and you’re more likely to underuse it than you are to overuse. It can be used for notes, saving webpages, or articles online, and it is available on most platforms so it will sync to all your devices!
I’ve used the “Notebook” function a lot to separate what kind of notes go in there. If I see/hear something I think would be good for a podcast episode, I write it in there. Then I can come back to it later to flesh it out.
Personally, Evernote is open in front of me when I podcast. It’s how I keep track of what I should be talking about and what’s coming next, since I can go on rabbit-trails easily. Like the one time I was waiting for my pizza order and the waitress………..
Or whichever note-taking app you fancy honestly, as long as you can make notes quickly in it and have a way of organising them.
Mind-mapping is excellent for seeing all the possible options you can have in an organised format when exploring a topic.
My go-to app for this is XMIND. It’s free and has MANY templates and options for different kinds of mind-maps. If you’ve never used one before, this one has a bit of a learning curve to it, but is quite accessible if you give it time. There is a paid version that allows you to export the mind map to different formats like MS Office.
Here’s an example of a mind map:
I could come up with about 50 episode ideas once I combined Evernote and XMind. Having a written idea, then a place to think of all the possible angles, will truly make your life much easier.
This option isn’t really available until you have an active audience: one that not only listens but responds. What they ask/say is a great source of content that is immediately relevant to your listeners, because they are the ones telling you what they want to hear.
Here are some ways to get information from your audience
And if you are still starting out and don’t have any of this… ASK YOUR FRIENDS! They are a quick source of opinions.
***A word of warning though: not all your friends are your target audience, so be careful how you use their responses to you.
And that’s my Podcast Episode Technique (just came up with that)!
Talk about what you know, or what you’re passionate about. I recommend a combination of both.
And use a note-taking app (Evernote), mind mapping app (X-Mind), to develop content and ideas for your episodes. You’ll need to
Take note of what your audience is saying, and use that to determine what else you can do to add value to your podcast.
This isn’t for the faint-hearted. You’ll really need to commit if you’re going to stay in this game, and you’ll need multiple ways of developing new content that your audience will love!
Do you have any productivity hacks that work for you? What other apps can you think of that have helped your own process.
Let me know in the comments, or send questions/thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t just think about it. Do it!