What Should I Podcast About? Find Your Why
I was chatting with a friend recently and she said, “I wish I had some friends around here who like to play video games. I wish there was a group for female gamers.” And I said, why don’t you create this? And she said “oh yeah.” It hadn’t occurred to her that she could be the leader.
What kind of community do you want to create? If you’re wondering what you should podcast about, that is a good question to start with.
Here are some other questions to help you develop your podcast’s theme and purpose:
If you were stuck on a desert island for the rest of your life, who are the people you’d want to hang out with?
If you started an online group, who would you want to chat to every day?
What would you want to talk about?
Why are you so passionate about this subject? What’s your experience with it?
Is there something you’ve been thinking about for years but have been afraid to talk about, and you think others might feel the same way?
Have you overcome a major life hurdle and want to inspire hope in others going through the same thing?
Do you have a hobby, like my friend who plays video games, and want to connect with others who love the same thing?
Does your topic give you enough material to work with to produce a weekly show, or whatever schedule you go with?
Podcasting requires a lot of time and commitment if you want to produce a show that listeners care about. If you’re in this for real, you need to be in love with your show’s subject matter.
There are about 660,000 podcasts out there right now (update: 700,000!), with thousands more coming out every week. That might sound like a scary amount of competition, but guess what? Most podcasts don’t make it past episode 7 or 8.
When people fizzle out like this, it’s called podfading. How do you prevent podfade? By producing a show you actually care about, that you put thought and planning into. In future episodes, I’ll talk about planning and time management. But the beginning of your podcast journey is the ‘why’ of your show.
What’s your why?
One of the biggest mistakes new podcasters make is not thinking about the purpose of their show or why people would listen. ‘Start With Why’ is a common phrase in business these days thanks to the book and Ted Talk by Simon Sinek. The same idea should be applied to your podcast. Why do you want to start a podcast, and why will anyone care about it? What's in it for them?
Maybe you want to publish a book someday and will use your podcast to build your brand. Maybe your podcast will help new customers discover your business. These are great goals. But listeners don't become loyal fans of you because you want to make money. They show up because they believe in what you stand for, and because you make their lives better in some way.
So what do you stand for? What drives you? What is your purpose? What do you want to be known for? Do you want to entertain, educate, or inspire your listeners? A combo of these?
To help you define your ‘why,’ I’ve included a helpful exercise in my free guide “8 Mistakes New Podcasters Make and How to Fix Them.”
Building a community around something you’re passionate about is one of the best parts of podcasting. AND if you’re dreaming of turning this passion into a business someday, you’ve already built up a loyal following of potential customers.
If you already have a business, your show could turn you into a leader in your field. This could lead to speaking engagements. Building your brand can attract new customers and sales. Listener feedback can help you develop new products. If there’s someone you’ve always wanted to meet or do business with, you can invite them on your show.
There are many ways your podcast can be great for your business or future business as long as you’re creating content to improve your customers’ lives and are not just pitching your services.
An example of a podcast that does this well is The Science of Social Media. It’s produced by Buffer, a social media management platform. The co-hosts, Brian and Hailley, have some nice light banter, but it’s mostly them sharing social media insight and strategies on how you can improve your marketing and social media. They’ll mention Buffer as a service if it fits naturally into the conversation, but they don’t shove it down our throats. It’s a win-win for them and their listeners (update: Brian and Hailley have retired! But they’ve been replaced by other Buffer colleagues — things change fast in Podcast Land).
And, by the way, podcast goals don’t have to be all about business and saving the world. Your podcast can simply be a fun, creative outlet for you.
I was listening to a BBC podcast the other day and the episode was essentially a day in the life of the people of Cardiff, Wales. The journalist was asking people on the street what they were up to. And so she starts talking to this group of young guys and they tell her they just finished recording a podcast.
And the journalist asks, “Oh, what is your show about?” And they say, “It’s a comedy podcast. We just want to make people feel good. There is so much stress and chaos in the world and we just want to make people smile” (I’m paraphrasing). This makes me smile! I absolutely love this! And honestly, can you think of a better reason to make a podcast? To give other people joy?
So think about why you want to create your podcast, and what your goal is. Be honest. We’re often afraid to admit our dreams even to ourselves. What’s your dream? Write it down. This can be just for you for now if you want. But telling someone your plans is a great motivator. Research shows that when we commit to doing something and we tell someone about it, we’re a lot more likely to take action.
If you’d like to share your podcast dream with me, head on over to Instagram. I’m @sarahmikutel and I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned.