Finding a podcast topic and format can sometimes be difficult for new podcasters. I had the same problem when I started podcasting. Here are some suggestions to help you find the right podcast format and topic.

The best topic will be something you are passionate about. You want to find something that gets you excited. Is this a topic you have been interested in for a long time? Will it be something you can talk about to others for years into the future?

Have you ever been to a themed convention? If you are willing to spend time and money to attend a convention you might have found your podcast topic. That subject is something you are definitely passionate about.

"But there are already other podcasts about my subject." That's fine. Can't the industry support one more? Don't be afraid to do a podcast similar to someone else. Actually having other podcasts in your topic gives you a potentially pre-built audience. Obviously you don't want to copy someone else's show and format exactly, but you have a personality that you can bring to the subject that is unique.

One of the biggest advantages to podcasting on a topic that others are already covering is that you can usually do some great cross-promotion on the other shows. Get involved in leaving comments on their website or forum. Become a friend to the other hosts in your genre. You can offer to interview them on your show which exposes them to your listeners and they may have you as a guest on their podcast. Just like there are many websites dedicated to certain topics there can be many podcasts on the same topics. Use other shows in your genre to help you learn what the listeners would like to hear and to give you good ideas for launching your own show.

I actually decided on my podcast topic one day while listening to another podcast. I patterned my show on the format of the show I was listening to. The difference is that the host was interviewing athletes while I interview missionaries. A simple genre change and I had my show already laid out before me.

That brings us to finding your format. You want to listen to other podcasts to get an idea for your own show format.

Suggestions for format types are:

  • Round-table discussion with other permanent hosts
  • Round-table with guests
  • Interview people in a certain industry
  • Solo host commentary
  • Scripted
  • Free-form
  • Short or long format, or a mixture of both

There are many other show formats that you can use, this is just a small list. These formats will work with either video or audio podcasts. Whatever format you choose, make sure that it is something that you can continue to do throughout the life of your podcast. For example, if you choose to interview people within an industry, check to see that there are enough people who are accessable for interviewing. Solo host podcasts are easier to edit and produce, but the host will need much more energy to keep the audience engaged.

If you already have a website you can start generating a podcast based on that site. Even if it is not the podcast you want to do, any experience you can gain on a smaller scale will help you hone your podcasting skills. It will help you learn how to use your recording equipment and editing software. It will also give you experience in editing your blog posts and formatting them so that they are appealing to your listeners. When you decide on a topic and format you will be ready to launch your new podcast and associated website with confidence.

After you have chosen your podcast topic don't forget to pick out a good microphone for podcasting.