Strategies for Selecting Podcast Topics: Ensuring Your Audience Remains Engaged and Intrigued with Your Content cover

Strategies for Selecting Podcast Topics: Ensuring Your Audience Remains Engaged and Intrigued with Your Content

So, you want to start a podcast. Maybe you’ve picked out a title picked out or even ordered some equipment. While this is a great starting point, it’s important to not get caught up in the glamor and forget about why you’re there in the first place—to talk about the things you and your target demographic care about. What does your strategy for selecting podcast topics look like? How do you even know where to start? We’re glad you asked.

Establishing a clear, well-thought-out idea and strategy is critical to building a foundation of success for your podcast. Whether you want to share something you’re passionate about, build brand awareness, or share current information, you’ve got to know what you’re striving toward—and how you’re going to get there—inside and out.

Luckily for you, we’re going to pull back the curtains on curating a winning strategy for choosing podcast topics that will organically engage your listeners.

If you’re starting from the very beginning, check out our podcast starter kit for beginners and return to this article to keep building upon that foundation. Once you have an idea of your podcast topic, you can develop a strategy around it and get even more specific with your target audience by identifying your niche.

Identify Your Niche

What exactly is a niche and how do you identify it? Essentially, a niche is a specialized market segment for a product or service. For example, a broad niche could be a podcast for teachers, while a more specialized niche example might look like a podcast for elementary school teachers on how to use technology to make learning more fun and interactive.

Finding your niche is one of the most important elements of building a successful podcast. You identify your niche by starting with ideas that you’re curious and passionate about and then taking it a step further. Your passion and curiosity could very well overlap with areas that you have expertise in or general topics that you think need to be more widely discussed. These can include professional topics, relevant topics, or even personal interests and hobbies.

A general guideline for choosing a niche podcast topic is learning what resonates—what’s popular, what’s going to become popular (and stay that way!), or something that can actually affect the way people live their lives. Conversely, if you opt for a less popular topic, you’ll need to get creative with how to cultivate interest among people who already love what you’re talking about.

As you aim to have variety in your podcast, be sure to maintain balance with consistent niche content. Listeners associate the podcaster with the topics being discussed, and you want that association to be as memorable as possible. For example, if you have a podcast on baking, try to stick with topics that relate to baking. You could branch out a bit by doing a special topic for variety like interviewing a local home baker or a recent culinary school graduate that studied pastries, but baking should always be the central theme.

It would be confusing to listeners of that same baking podcast if one week the podcaster interviewed a home baker and the next week the segment covers vintage crocheting patterns. Listeners might even wonder if they were listening to the same podcast! If a podcast host can find someone who crochets vintage patterns and is also a baker, the audience might be more interested in the intersection of the two topics. There is already a natural association with the baking topic, and the hobby of crocheting is a unique angle. The topic of that podcast might be “How Having Hobbies Can Improve Your Mental Health as a Baker” and would be more fitting for a home baking or side hustle niche.

After you’ve identified your podcast topic, narrowing your niche down helps you to better channel your efforts and help your audience find you. If a member of your audience can find you and shares your interests, they’re more likely to engage and become a returning listener. This is the foundation of a long-standing podcast.

Photographer: Dillon Shook | Source: Unsplash

Research Popular Topics

Identifying your niche will inevitably provide you with the clarity and direction you need to research popular topics. Start by taking a look at different podcast topics within your niche. Simultaneously, consider what podcasters in your space are discussing. This can help you to see what’s new, what’s popular, and what unique take you can offer on a subject. You can even see what gaps exist and how your unique content can fill them.

From a business perspective, reaching popular podcast topics will give you an idea of what competition exists. Seeing competition shouldn’t be discouraging–it’s a sign that there is an audience out there for you! You don’t need to compete with these podcasters, however, seeing what is out in the podcast world can give you a better understanding of what ideas you should work on and what might be over-saturated.

As you're researching, how can you determine what podcast topics to consider? Of course, you can check out podcasts on various platforms. One overlooked way is by joining podcasting communities. Podcasting communities are filled with podcasters in various stages of their podcast journey. Seeing what they’re doing can provide relevant insights into podcast strategies and podcast audience engagement.

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Researching popular topics also helps you to verify the validity of your niche. Podcasting about something that interests you is important, sure, but it doesn’t hurt to know that there are people out there who are as excited to hear it as you are to say it.

Don’t just stick to the world of podcasting for your research, either. Check out the potential of your niche market by seeing how it does on other social media platforms. This will be especially helpful when you start cross-promoting your content so more people can engage with your podcast. When you know your niche is valid, you can more easily build podcast strategies and begin thinking about who your audience is.

Listen To Your Audience

Many cultural stories emphasize the importance of listening. Listening to your audience is critical when developing strategies for podcast audience engagement.

On the various platforms where your podcast topic is found, get curious about your audience’s engagement–even if you don’t have a podcast yet! Look into their feedback, comments, and questions. Can you notice any trends? Consider these trends building blocks to get where you’re going that much smoother.

Some things to look for are responses and questions about what they want to learn, or what problems they’re experiencing. See what challenges audience members are having and ask yourself, how I can help?

As you build your own podcast, be sure to keep using this strategy. Take things up a notch and boost your engagement by engaging with your new audience. Chat with your listeners on social media, or through your podcast email if you have one. Even include in-person meet-ups for a unique take on discovering their interests and how your podcast can help.

Some things to consider as you listen to your audience to build better podcast strategies can include:

  • Encouraging listener reviews and sharing feedback
  • Asking general questions about your audience in a survey
  • Making it easy for your audience to reach you.

Stay Organized and Consistent

With so much content to create and platforms to engage with your audience on, it’s important to be consistent. Consistency and organization are mission-critical to a successful podcast, after all. Staying consistent and organized will help you to build trust with your audience by forging a unified brand voice.

You’ll be relieved to hear that consistency doesn’t even have to be hard. It can look like maintaining a schedule, providing high-quality episodes, and by achieving podcast longevity. Consistency isn’t about sameness–it’s about making the time and developing the strategies to support the results you want.

Two of the most helpful methods to stay organized and consistent with your podcast topics are by tracking your ideas and creating a podcast schedule.

Maintaining a consistent podcast schedule requires regular frequency—ideally releasing content on the same day and time every week. This has two benefits. It helps the podcaster to manage their time better. It also gives your audience something to look forward to. If your audience doesn’t know when to expect your content, your podcast audience engagement will likely drop.

Some overlooked tips to help you stay consistent with your podcast strategies can include:

  • Including passion in your podcast where it feels authentic and natural
  • Not making promises you can’t keep, be it about guests, services, or your schedule
  • Keep things simple and maximize your workflow.
  • Step away from perfection—aim to do things with good intention and quality instead
  • Don’t do everything by yourself—get help from trusted professionals and partners
  • Remember that you can be consistent!

These tips can help you get organized and stay consistent without getting lost in the details. Moreover, developing an editorial calendar can prevent your brand from falling victim to “podfading”, where a podcast loses such traction that it disappears completely.

Keep yourself accountable and avoid fading into the background by developing a release schedule. It’s important your schedule work for you and not be arranged around what you think you should do. Make your schedule around your lifestyle and availability now and use an editorial calendar to get a big-picture view of the episodes for your podcast.

Having this view will help you to see what publish dates you’re targeting, guests you’ll need to make arrangements with, and topics that may require further research before.

Best of all, you don’t have to be organized like everyone else. You just have to be organized like you. So, see what works for you. The end goal of podcast organization is peace of mind and clarity on the backend of things so you can foster better brand awareness, trust, and authority where it counts, after all.

Use Keyword Research

A keyword search can help you to identify podcast topics and see what people are searching for within your niche. Exploring keywords for your niche can help you to create relevant and engaging content that is easy to find for your audience.

So what is keyword research exactly? It’s simply placing words or phrases relevant to your niche in the search engine of your choice and seeing what results are populated. You can go a lot more in-depth with keyword searches using math and analytics, but you may not need this level of detail.

Thorough keyword research helps you determine what content people are interested in. You can further use these findings to create relevant content within your unique niche, with a specific angle that is sure to spark podcast audience engagement.

Some tips for starting with keyword research can include:

  • Brainstorming ideas for what keywords to search
  • Investigate search volume and keyword ranking
  • See what keywords the competition ranks with
  • Experiment with different keywords, search engines, and tools
  • Include keywords in the written podcast material
  • Think about the goal of your podcast and search for keywords around it

Performing well-thought-out keyword research can support you in making podcast strategies for timely content and having regular podcast audience engagement.

Be Timely

Being timely supports your brand awareness and credibility. It’s important to stay up to date on current events and trends within your niche. Granted, that can be a lot easier said than done even with our 24-hour news cycle. Stay up to date with current happenings and events by subscribing to industry-relevant news outlets or by curating summary articles of popular news stories.

So, start by creating timely content. Debuting podcast topics when they are most culturally relevant is how you can organically gain traction, clicks, and listens.

Incorporating timeliness into your podcast topic strategies helps to build natural growth. As more people seek information on current events with ranking keywords, the more likely your podcast audience engagement will improve and add new members to it.

Be discerning with your timing. Just because something has happened recently doesn’t necessarily mean you should talk about it. This may seem contradictory, but consider this. If a recent controversial event has happened that may upset a large portion of your audience, it may be best not to talk about it immediately, or at all.

Some podcast topics that might require a bit more consideration around timing can be related to politics, social issues, or events that are particularly violent or traumatic. Be sensitive to the needs of your audience and feel empowered to take a stand when it counts. Your audience will appreciate a timely, gentle, and intentional addressing of a controversial topic that matters to them.

In general, if it won’t be helpful to your audience to support your podcast vision, don’t talk about it, regardless of how timely it is.

Photographer: ConvertKit | Source: Unsplash

Guest Interviews

Guest interviews are a great way to stay timely. Having guests that your audience will be interested in encourages listeners to return to your podcast. Returning listeners are more likely to further engage with your podcast, comment on, and share your content. This all helps to build longevity and success for your podcast, broadens your podcast reach, and builds credibility.

Whether you include an up-and-coming guest in your industry or someone with a long track record of impact, having guest interviews can help to boost podcast audience engagement.

Consider including guest interviews in your podcast strategies that align with your podcast topics. Inviting guests who are experts in your niche to join you on your podcast. This not only further builds brand awareness, but also provides valuable insights and diverse perspectives for your listeners. Additionally, it can organically expand your network and reach a new audience.

Guest interviews can bring life to your podcast, but do require notable planning and preparation. Don’t get stuck in the thought of thinking that you have to have someone famous every time, either. The most important thing is that you invite guests who have unique perspectives and can offer the value your audience is after.

When interviewing guests, think about the flow you want your podcast to have and how in-depth you want your guest to speak about the topic. For example, if your guest is talking about their career journey, it would be pretty predictable to just start from beginning to end. That isn’t as engaging and your audience could lose interest.

Instead, think about the highlights that might be of the most interest to your audience. What parts of the guest’s career journey might speak to your audience’s pain points? Which might encourage them? Where are the life lessons to be found? Have specific points in mind that you’d like to discuss that support your niche and add to that unique perspective your audience seeks. Be sure to discuss these with your podcast guest ahead of time.

After you’ve covered the content during recording for your guest interview, prioritize an engaging outro just like you would an engaging intro! This is an excellent time to cross-promote each other’s podcasts while leaving your audience feeling engaged and understood. Also, encourage your audience to share the episode if they liked it or found something valuable.

Lastly, be sure to encourage your guests to share the episode on their platforms. If you’re the guest, be a gracious one and share the recording on your platform as well. Not sharing episodes is a major industry faux pas. You can avoid it and maintain a good reputation by sharing the episode you were so kindly invited on!


Experimenting with different topics helps to keep your podcast fresh and your audience engaged. Use this variety enough to add interest to your consistency. Think about using storytelling or including likable personalities in your lineup. And don’t just use one type of media, either. Get the most reach for your audience by using traditional print and broadcast media also.

Storytelling gives the person something to look forward to and takes your audience on a journey. When you tell a story, be sure to align it with your podcast vision and keep it short. The idea here is to add a supporting and engaging story, not to ramble on about a topic. It also provides your audience the context they need to understand you properly and better relate.

Furthermore, part of experimenting is building a multi-platform strategy. Determine what channels your audience prefers and make a point of fostering a presence of 2-3 of them. The name of the game doesn’t just lie in producing good content, after all—it also rests on meeting your audience where they are.

As you experiment, notate any changes you make. This will help you realize what works and what doesn’t so that you can pivot accordingly before falling too far down the rabbithole.

Give these ideas some thought on how to experiment with your podcast:

  • Switch up your formatting. Is your podcast one long show without any breaks? Consider some thoughtful pauses to keep your audience‘s attention. Use this time to play some cool sponsored music for a minute or two, showcase a sponsor, or simply let the audience know you’ll together pause for 30 seconds and come back.
  • Try a survey. This is a great way to gauge the audience’s interest, experience with the podcast, and questions they may have.
  • Have shorter or longer episodes within reason. Consider longer sessions that cover a topic more in-depth, or shorter ones that add a lighter feel to a heavy or intense topic.
  • Alter the publication frequency. Instead of publishing once a week, get strategic on when to publish. It might be better to publish on a specific day of the week or publish more during certain times of the year.
  • Switch up interviews with speed interviews. Interviews can typically be 20 minutes to 1 hour. Switch up the pace with a speed interview. Rapid-firing questions for 5-15 minutes is a great way to keep things excited and listeners engaged. Add further variety by including a panel that has a short period to take turns answering a few questions each.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and ask for feedback to improve your content and keep your audience engaged.

Engage With Your Audience Beyond the Podcast

Engaging with your podcast audience goes far beyond the podcast itself. It includes any measure you can take to build meaningful relationships with your listeners. This can involve creating a consistent brand and social media presence, as well as leveraging email newsletters.

This can be supported by the cross-platform engagement we mentioned above. Chatting up your audience in the comment section, shouting them out during an episode, and responding to timely feedback all help.

Think about how to engage with your audience before they even press play by writing an enticing (yet realistic) episode description. You can do this by thinking about what will make someone click play and write that as your subscription.

One of the most popular ways to engage with your audience is on social media. Makes good use of the social media platforms you have. Be intentional about interacting with your audience and engaging with them by responding to comments responsibly. You may even choose to reshare some of their content if it’s relevant, timely, and aligns with your brand.

Social media is important but don’t forget your website also! Engaging on your website is social proof that your brand is relevant, impactful, and beneficial to your audience. Interacting with your podcast audience on your website organically boosts your page credibility and keyword ranking on search engines. Search engine ranking favors websites that have regular and consistent traffic from a variety of sources. A blog can help to boost SEO (search engine optimization), making the content you have easier to find.

Newsletters are another great way to engage your audience. Include these or something similar in your podcast strategies. You can spark listeners' interest with some next-episode Easter eggs, answer write-in questions from the audience, and even promote guest appearances. Aim to keep them short and all relevant information above the fold, or not necessary for your listeners to scroll down in the email. Listeners that read your newsletters want to support your podcast. Make it easy for them to get the needed information and encourage their continued support.

Get Started With Support For Your Podcast

Selecting podcast topics and strategies can be difficult, especially in a listening landscape of millions of shows. Fortunately, with the right tips, tricks, and experts on your side, it doesn’t have to be.

For example, identifying your niche early on and researching popular topics can give you the direction and clarity you need to build a successful podcast. Meanwhile, listening to your audience and using keyword research to narrow down your efforts can help your podcast grow authentically and increase brand awareness. It will also give you confidence that you’re putting out engaging and relevant content your audience wants.

Having an organized and consistent podcast is a manageable feat with a solid release schedule, content calendar, and people who can support your podcast vision. Who are those people, you ask? WriteFormMe, of course! For starters, take a look at these foundational ideas for podcasting and try incorporating them into your overall content strategy.

Ready to take it a step further? So are we—contact us to start leveling up your podcast game today.

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Andy Steuer

Andy Steuer

Andy Steuer is the Chief Marketing Officer at WriteForMe. Andy has been CEO, CMO, VP of Product for 8 fast-growing companies in his career. 3 of those companies became Top 10 Internet companies. Content Marketing has always been at the core to differentiate these companies from their competition. You can always schedule a 1 on 1 meeting with Andy by grabbing some time on his calendar here. List articles below that have Andy on the byline on the rest of the page. Here’s my calendar link: » More blog posts by Andy Steuer

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