Whether you’re a new podcaster or a veteran, it can be tough to come up with fresh podcast episode ideas. But if you want to keep your audience engaged, you have to give them something unique in each episode.
To help you produce amazing content, we’ve put together this big list of engaging podcast episode ideas. Use it to elevate the quality of your show.
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1. Host a Q&A session
Unlike a typical podcast interview, a Q&A session is when you source questions from your listeners to ask a guest. Obviously you will need to editorialize the questions a bit, but this is a great way to make your audience feel engaged.
2. Interview the attendees of a conference
If you attend a conference, convention, or other kind of event, conduct some on-the-spot interviews with other attendees. Try to ask unique questions that expose your audience to new perspectives and ideas.
3. React to live events
If something important or influential happens, your listeners probably want your opinions. You could create an amazing episode by simply watching the event unfold and reacting naturally. For instance, a football podcast host would comment as he watches the Superbowl.
Keep in mind, however, that you don’t want to violate anyone’s intellectual property, so don’t share anyone else’s content without their consent.
4. Experience it for the first time
Choose a topic that’s entirely new to you and podcast about it as you explore. Have discussions with guests who are also new to the topic. For example, the Potterless Podcast is one man’s adventure through the Harry Potter books for the first time, without any outside influences.
5. Focus on your sponsor
Host an entire episode where you focus entirely on one of your sponsors. You don’t have to make it a long advertisement, but you can get deep into their company, people, and how they are serving their mission.
6. Dig deep into something mundane
Pick a seemingly normal aspect of your podcast niche and dive as deep as you can. For instance, if you podcast about event planning, explore everything there is to know about tablecloths or centerpieces. If you podcast about exercise, explore the history of the pushup.
7. Get meta with your show
Explain to your listeners how you prepare for each episode. How do you choose a topic? How do you conduct research and prepare notes? How do you find the right guest? Your listeners would love to know how it’s all made.
8. Tell a story through someone else’s eyes
Whereas most episodes are told from your own point of view, host an episode by adopting the perspective of another person – perhaps the subject of the episode. This will give you a chance to show another side and practice your acting chops.
9. Link your episode together
Create a series of episodes that don’t seem to relate, but then tie them all together in the final episode. This is a great way to reward your listeners for their loyalty. For example, S-Town tells one continuous story across all of its episodes.
10. Summarize the news
There’s so much information out there these days that it’s impossible for a single person to keep up without making it their full time job. Give your audience the quick highlights of what’s going on in your industry. This could be a recurring episode where you list and react to the week’s headlines.
11. Get political
Host an episode that teaches your listeners how they can get involved in your topic or industry by participating in local, regional, or national politics. You might tell them how to contact their representatives, who to vote for, or how to volunteer their time to support the issue.
12. Narrate as you perform tasks
Instead of recording in your podcast studio, record while doing something active and narrating your progress. You might walk through a task, process, or skill. Encourage your listeners to follow along as you go.
13. Create a top 10 list
People love top 10 lists. It’s a succinct and organized way to present information. You could offer your favorite tools, favorite places, influential authors, or anything else. Keep in mind your top 10 list doesn’t have to be the best, you can also catalog the worst.
14. Create a holiday episode
People love the holidays, so creating content around them is a no-brainer. If a holiday is nearby, find a way to weave it into the topic of your show. For instance, a business podcast might ask entrepreneurs what they are thankful about for Thanksgiving.
15. Compare multiple generations
One person may see an issue one way, while someone from a different generation sees the same issue from an entirely new perspective. Bring several people on to your show from different generations and unpack a topic together. Uncover how their ages influence their feelings on the topic.
16. Interview other podcasters
Other podcasters in your niche are not your competitors. You can work together to help each other grow. Invite some other podcasters on to talk about what’s going on in your industry, the future, and how you run your podcasts.
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17. Learn a new skill
Record yourself as you learn a new skill or technique. Start from the very beginning and narrate the entire process for your listeners. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and fail. Document everything in your recordings. Add photos and videos to your episode show notes.
18. Change your location
Instead of recording your show in the usual place, switch things up by picking a new location. A change of venue can help you think differently and make unique connections. You might record in your guests’ office or in a public place or in a location that relates to the content of your episode.
If you record in a new location, make sure to describe it carefully to your listeners so they understand how it affects your content. Tell them what you see and hear. Use your physical space to affect the content.
19. Give control to a panel
Instead of leading a discussion, invite a few influential people on to your show and let them talk about whatever they like. Don’t guide the conversation in any way. Allow it to flow naturally as smart and passionate people talk about what they love. (Just make sure you invite people who are good at having conversations and don’t need their hands held.)
20. Produce some super short episodes
Change your podcast format a bit by releasing episodes that are considerably shorter than usual. For instance, instead of your typical 45 minute episode, release six five-minute episodes that focus on a micro topic; something that can be discussed quickly.
For example, NPR News Now is an extremely popular podcast whose episodes are only five minutes.
How to Come Up with Podcast Episode Ideas
If none of the podcast episode ideas on our list work for you, you’ll need to generate some of your own. Coming up with ideas is more of an art than a science, so you’ll need to find the method that works best for you. But we can help you get started.
Take lots of notes all of the time
If creative people have anything in common, it’s that they’re always banking their ideas somewhere for future use. This is called “capturing.” They might use a little pocket-sized notebook, a note taking app on their phone, or a white board in their office. Record anything you think will be useful later, especially your good podcast episode ideas.
Conduct regular research
It’s difficult to sit down and actively come up with podcast episode ideas, but you can allow them to “come to you” by spending a lot of time exploring your niche and other people who are part of it. This means you have to regularly visit places where people are talking about your niche.
Here are some accessible places where you should spend time exploring your niche. Whenever you browse, always ask yourself, “Would anything here make good podcast episode ideas?”
- Facebook groups/pages
- Twitter conversations
- Quora questions
- YouTube channels
- Amazon books
- Reddit forums (subreddits)
- Competitor podcasts
Get the bad ideas out
Undoubtedly, you’ll have more bad ideas than good ones. This is totally normal! Don’t feel like a failure if many of your ideas are boring or unworkable. Write them down and immediately cross them out to get them out of your head. You have to get through the bad ones to find the good ones.
Sometimes you can generate podcast episode ideas by considering the opposite of your current ideas. For instance, if you plan to produce an episode around the best vacation spots in the U.S., you might also consider the best stay-cation ideas (at-home vacations).
Don’t Stress Over Podcast Episode Ideas
Don’t worry if you can’t come up with something brilliant and unique for every episode. Listeners like some consistency so they know what they’re getting into when they open their podcast listening app to consume your content. But if you want something fresh, use this list of podcast episode ideas for inspiration.