There comes a time in every podcaster's life when they stare at a blank screen, unsure what their next episode should cover. If that's you right now, this post is here to help—no need to brainstorm by yourself.

In this blog, we’ll suggest 23 formats to inspire your next podcast episode’s topic idea. To make it as useful as possible, we’ve only collected topic ideas and formats that can apply to almost any genre or niche.

We’ll assume you have a podcast in a specific genre related to your hobby or interest.

But these formats can be tailored to your podcast no matter what specific niche your content is focused on—films, technology, marketing, sewing, lockpicking, MMA, or even standup comedy.

Let’s dive in!

The Best Podcast Episode Formats For Your Next Episode!

1: Reviews

Reviews offer a win-win situation. They help listeners make informed decisions and provide you with versatile content. When you review products, services, or content relevant to your podcast's focus, you're acting as a consumer advocate, providing valuable, in-depth information that your audience can use to make smart choices.

Let's say your podcast focuses on technology. Your subject for a review could be the latest iPhone model.

  • Start by discussing its key features. Explore the new design, improvements in camera quality, battery life, and changes in the user interface.
  • Next, provide a comparison. How does the new model stack up against its predecessor? Is there a remarkable difference in performance?
  • Also, compare it with competing brands. Your audience will appreciate a balanced view that weighs the strengths and weaknesses of all options.

Get personal. If you've used the product, share your experiences. Was the device user-friendly? How impressive is the battery life in real-world conditions? Have you noticed any bugs or issues?

Give your honest verdict. Is it worth upgrading to the new model, or are users better off sticking with their current device or considering another brand?

By conducting comprehensive reviews, you not only become a trustworthy source of information for your audience but also keep your content fresh and relevant.

2: Reaction Content

Reaction content puts you right at the center of ongoing discussions, keeping your podcast dynamic and up-to-date. It provides an opportunity to discuss timely topics, developments, or trends in your niche, making your podcast a go-to source for recent updates.

For instance, if you're running a makeup podcast, you might react to a new product line released by a celebrity.

  • Begin by giving an overview of the product line: What does it include? What are its distinctive features or claims?
  • Next, delve into the specifics. Analyse the product quality, branding, price points, and compare them with other beauty products in the market.
  • Does this line bring something new to the table, or is it following established trends?

Don't hesitate to share your personal opinion. Do you think the line lives up to the hype? Would you personally use these products?

Finally, stimulate listener engagement by asking for their thoughts. Encourage them to share their own reactions on social media or via email.

By producing reaction content, you spark conversations, fostering an interactive community around your podcast.

3: The History of [Podcast Topic/Niche]

A journey into the history of your podcast topic can make for an absorbing episode. It gives your audience a deeper understanding of the subject and makes them appreciate its evolution.

For example, if you're hosting a podcast on video games, create an episode dedicated to the history of a popular gaming franchise like Nintendo.

  • Begin with the humble beginnings—discuss the company's early days, its founders, and the vision behind it.
  • Then, chart the progression. Talk about the creation and growth of flagship characters like Mario or Zelda.
  • Discuss the development of the gaming consoles, from the classic NES to the portable Switch.

Highlight the challenges and victories. Was there a game that saved the company from bankruptcy? Was there a product launch that was a massive failure? How did these milestones shape the company's trajectory and the gaming industry at large?

Why does this format work?

  • Episodes like these offer a nostalgic trip down memory lane.
  • But they also educate your audience, increasing their engagement with your podcast.

4: The Future of [Podcast Topic/Niche]

Speculating about the future can make for fascinating content. It sparks curiosity, fuels debates, and encourages your listeners to think critically about the direction your niche is heading.

For instance, if your podcast is about renewable energy, you could create an episode on the future of solar power.

  • Start by discussing the current state of solar technology: how it works, its efficiency, and its cost.
  • Then, introduce the cutting-edge research happening in this field, such as the development of perovskite solar cells or solar windows.

Engage your audience with possibilities. How could these advancements change the energy sector and our daily lives? What obstacles do they need to overcome to become mainstream? You might even bring in experts or researchers for an interview to offer their insights and predictions.

End the episode with your own views on the matter, and invite your listeners to share their thoughts.

Future-focused episodes help your podcast stay relevant, showcase your expertise, and make your content more thought-provoking.

5: Interviews

Interviews provide a platform for other voices and perspectives to enter your podcast, creating a more diverse and engaging listening experience. The key to a great interview is to choose guests who are knowledgeable and passionate about your niche.

Imagine running a podcast on entrepreneurship. Inviting a successful entrepreneur to share their journey could make for an inspiring episode.

  • Start by introducing the guest and explaining why you invited them.
  • Follow this with questions about their story: How did they start their business? What obstacles did they face, and how did they overcome them?

Don't shy away from asking tough or controversial questions. This not only keeps the conversation interesting but also provides your audience with a more realistic view of the topic.

At the end of the interview, summarise the key takeaways and thank your guest for their time.

Why does this format work?

  • By incorporating interviews into your podcast, you not only vary your content but also provide your audience with a wider range of insights.
  • You might even attract new listeners who follow your guest, expanding your audience.

6: This Week/Month/Year in [Topic/Niche]

Staying on top of the latest news is crucial for many podcast listeners, especially if your topic is always changing.

Consider a podcast about gaming. In the gaming world, new games, updates, and industry news come out almost daily.

Here's how you could do it:

  • For each episode, pick the top news stories of the week (or month, or year) in the gaming world.
  • This could be anything from a new game release, an important update to an existing game, or a gaming convention announcement.
  • You can also share your thoughts and reactions to the news.
  • Did a new game live up to the hype? Were you disappointed by an update?

Why does this format work?

  • Because it saves your listeners time.
  • They get all the important news from one source instead of searching the internet.
  • Plus, your reactions can spark a conversation and make your listeners feel more connected to you.

7: Case Studies & Success Stories

Listeners love success stories, especially if they can learn something from them. If you run a podcast about entrepreneurship, you could focus on successful entrepreneurs.

  • You might pick an entrepreneur who started a business in their garage and now runs a multi-million dollar company.
  • Share the journey of this entrepreneur, the challenges they faced, and how they overcame them.
  • Discuss what made them successful and what listeners can learn from them.

Why does this format work?

  • Because it's inspiring and educational.
  • Your listeners get to hear about a successful person in their area of interest and learn how to apply those lessons to their own lives.

8: Listener AMA/Q&A

Engaging with your audience by answering their queries can significantly enrich your podcast's community feel. For instance, let's assume your podcast revolves around the true crime genre, a realm teeming with mysteries, theories, and unanswered questions.

To execute this format, do this:

  • Gather inquiries from your listeners through social media, email, or your podcast's official website.
  • Then, allocate an episode to respond to these queries.

You could delve into the unsolved mysteries of a famous crime case, discuss theories surrounding a notorious criminal, or answer questions about criminal psychology and law enforcement techniques.

This format works well because:

  • It directly caters to your listeners' curiosity and fascination with the topic.
  • It validates your listeners' curiosity, makes them feel appreciated, and lends a more interactive aspect to your podcast.

9: Mythbusting Episode

Every field has its share of myths and misconceptions. Suppose your podcast topic is fitness. You could dedicate an episode to debunking common fitness myths.

  • You might talk about myths like "lifting weights makes women bulky," or "you can target fat loss in specific areas."
  • Explain why these myths are false and provide the correct information.

Why does this format work?

  • Because it helps clear up confusion and spread accurate information.
  • It's beneficial for listeners who might be new to the topic or anyone who wants to make sure they're on the right track.

10: Top Tips

Sharing tips or best practices about your topic is always a winner. If you host a podcast about learning languages, you could share your top tips for learning a new language.

  • You might talk about the benefits of immersion, how to use language learning apps effectively, or the importance of practicing speaking.
  • You could even share your favorite resources or techniques that you've found particularly helpful.

Why does this format work?

  • Because it’s practical and straightforward.
  • It gives your listeners useful information that they can start using right away.
  • It's perfect for helping your listeners improve their skills or knowledge of your podcast's topic.

11: Controversial Topics

Talking about controversial topics can create engaging conversations. Let's say you’ve got a podcast about environmental issues.

One controversial topic could be the debate around nuclear power as a clean energy source. Some people argue it's an effective solution to lower carbon emissions, while others are concerned about nuclear waste and potential accidents.

Here's how you can approach it:

  • Provide a balanced view, explaining both sides of the issue.
  • Discuss the advantages and drawbacks of nuclear power, bringing up credible sources to back up each side's arguments.

Why does this format work?

  • Because it encourages your audience to think critically about complex issues.
  • And it sparks engaging debates and helps listeners understand different perspectives, promoting a more well-rounded understanding of the topic.

12: Personal Stories

Sharing personal experiences can make your content more relatable. If you have a travel podcast, for instance, you can share anecdotes about your own travel experiences.

You could recount a time when you got lost in a foreign city, your encounter with a fascinating local, or the time you tried an unusual delicacy. Remember, it doesn't always have to be a big story. Small, personal experiences often resonate with listeners because they're real and authentic.

This format is effective because it adds a personal touch to your podcast. It allows listeners to connect with you on a deeper level and can often make complex or unfamiliar concepts more relatable through the power of storytelling.

13: Comparison Content

Comparison content can be incredibly informative. Let's say you run a podcast about smartphones. You could compare and contrast two popular phone models.

In this episode, you would discuss the key features of each phone - the design, camera quality, battery life, and so on. You might talk about the strengths and weaknesses of each, who might prefer which phone, and why.

Why does this format work?

It helps listeners make informed decisions. Whether they're choosing between two phone models or understanding the differences between two concepts, this format can provide the insight they need.

14: How-to Guides

Detailed tutorials can be super helpful to your listeners.

Let’s say you had a podcast about how to create a new podcast! You could create a comprehensive guide on how to distribute podcast episodes to major platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

  • You can walk your listeners through the process, from the moment they finish recording an episode, to properly formatting it, and ultimately, uploading it onto the podcast hosting site.
  • Then, explain how to distribute these episodes to platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
  • You could sprinkle in tips and tricks such as how to write an engaging episode description, the importance of choosing the right podcast categories, or how to leverage podcast analytics.

This format resonates well with listeners because:

  • It offers practical, easy-to-follow instructions.
  • It empowers your audience by enabling them to apply the knowledge gained, potentially kick-starting their own journey — it borders the line between instructional and motivational content.
  • And if you explain your own process, you’re giving them a glimpse into what happens behind the scenes too.

15: Personal Challenges

Tackling personal challenges can make for riveting podcast content. Let's imagine that you're the host of a fitness-focused podcast. You've just signed up for your first marathon, a daunting task that has you nervous but excited. Your listeners are likely interested in fitness too, and sharing your journey with them could be a gold mine of content.

Start with the decision to run the marathon and delve into why you chose it. Discuss your training plan, the difficulties you face in your preparation, and how you plan to overcome them. Highlight your thoughts and feelings as race day approaches, including your concerns and strategies.

Then, bring your audience along on the big day. Share your observations, the adrenaline rush, the point where you felt like giving up but pushed through, and, finally, the elation of crossing the finish line. The aftermath, recovery, reflections, and plans for future races can also be part of your podcast. You can even set this up as “a day in the life” style content.

Why is this format so powerful?

  • It provides a personal touch. Listeners connect with the person behind the voice, rooting for your success and empathizing with your struggles.
  • It inspires. Your journey can motivate listeners to undertake their own challenges. Lastly, it's relatable. You're not a distant figure, but someone who grapples with difficulties just like them.

16: Trends

Discussing the latest trends in your podcast keeps your content fresh and relevant.

For instance, imagine your podcast centers on fashion. You could create an episode reviewing new seasonal styles, the resurgence of certain decades, sustainable fashion movements, or even fashion tech innovations.

To expand on this, dive into the details. Analyze specific clothing pieces, discuss where these trends might have originated, and how they evolved. You can also speculate on future trends, bringing your audience into a forward-thinking conversation.

Why is this format valuable?

  • It keeps your content fresh and in line with current happenings.
  • It creates a platform for discussions and predictions, increasing audience engagement.
  • Finally, this format positions you as a thought leader in your niche, enhancing your credibility and influence.

17: Event Coverage

Covering events in your podcast genre is a thrilling way to connect with your audience.

Imagine attending a big event like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) if your podcast is about tech innovation.

In your podcast episode, you might:

  • Share first-hand experiences, capturing the ambiance and energy.
  • Interview attendees or exhibitors for diverse perspectives.
  • Discuss standout presentations or showcases, making listeners feel they were there.
  • Share your favorite finds, whether it's the coolest gadgets or most inspirational speeches.

Why does this format work?

  • It provides unique, exclusive content.
  • It offers a personal perspective on the event.
  • It lets listeners experience the event vicariously, making your podcast a valuable source for niche events.

18: Expert Round-ups

Expert round-ups offer listeners a wealth of knowledge and opinions. For instance, if your podcast’s audience is business owners, you could do an episode on "Tips for Successful Entrepreneurship."

To make this episode engaging, you could:

  • Reach out to successful entrepreneurs for their top tips.
  • Compile their insights in a structured format.
  • Share your reflections on the advice given, and encourage listeners to share their thoughts.

Why does this format work?

  • It gives listeners multiple perspectives and advice in one episode.
  • It introduces listeners to new experts and voices in the field.
  • The variety of advice makes for a dynamic episode, keeping your audience engaged throughout.

19: Book Club

Starting a book club within your podcast is a fantastic way to engage with your audience on a deeper level. Suppose your podcast revolves around entrepreneurship. You might decide to read and discuss a popular book such as "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries.

For a 'book club' podcast, you could:

  • Discuss the main takeaways from each chapter.
  • Share your thoughts on the author's viewpoint.
  • Highlight insightful passages and elaborate on them.
  • Invite listeners to share their views on the book's themes and arguments.

Why does this format work well?

  • It encourages audience participation.
  • It provides a structured approach to exploring complex topics.
  • It allows for a deep-dive into the material over multiple episodes, keeping listeners coming back.

20: Debates

Debates can be an exhilarating format for your podcast, allowing for dynamic conversation and diverse perspectives. Imagine a film-focused podcast where you debate whether "The Godfather" or "The Shawshank Redemption" is the greatest movie ever made.

Examples of engaging debate formats include:

  • Pitting two opposing viewpoints against each other.
  • Moderating a friendly debate between two guests.
  • Hosting a "devil's advocate" episode where you challenge the popular opinion.

Why does this format work well?

  • It allows for deep exploration of controversial or complex topics.
  • It encourages listener engagement as they pick sides or form opinions.
  • It provides a break from monologues and offers lively, animated content.

21: Failures and Lessons Learned

Sharing failures and the lessons learned from them can add a human element to your podcast. For instance, if you host a podcast on gardening, you might discuss an attempt to grow a notoriously finicky plant, such as an orchid, that didn't go as planned.

In such episodes, you might:

  • Share the backstory of the failure.
  • Discuss the mistakes made and lessons learned.
  • Give advice on what you or others could do differently next time.

Why does this format work well?

  • It showcases vulnerability, which can build a deeper connection with your audience.
  • It turns negative experiences into learning opportunities.
  • It encourages listeners to share their failures and lessons, fostering community engagement.

22: Listener Spotlight

Shining a spotlight on a listener or fan of your podcast is a fantastic way to build community. For example, if you host a fitness podcast, you might spotlight a listener who has made significant progress in their fitness journey.

In these episodes, you might:

  • Share the listener's story and achievements.
  • Discuss the listener's favorite episodes or insights they've gained from your podcast.
  • Conduct a mini-interview with the listener.

Why does this format work well?

  • It shows appreciation for your audience, fostering a sense of community.
  • It adds a fresh voice and perspective to your podcast.
  • It allows other listeners to relate and see themselves in the spotlight in the future.

23: Resource Recommendations

Sharing resource recommendations is a smart way to enrich your podcast. This format offers listeners more than just your episode content; it gives them practical tools and resources to explore. For instance, if you're hosting a digital photography podcast, you could recommend:

  • Books: "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson
  • Websites: Digital Photography School, Fstoppers
  • Tools: Adobe Lightroom, Skylum Luminar for photo editing

This format works well because:

  • It delivers added value: Listeners get actionable recommendations to dive deeper into the topic.
  • It encourages engagement: Listeners can discuss their experiences with your recommendations.
  • It helps generate new content: Feedback on your recommendations can inspire future episodes.

Speaking of resource recommendations — we have one for you: StreamYard. It’s a browser-based podcast recording software that’s perfect for creating studio-quality podcasts from home.

How to Choose the Perfect Podcast Topic Ideas for YOU

Building a great podcast isn't just about picking a great podcast topic. You also need to consider your target audience and your personal interests. Here's a guide to help you through this process:

  • Know Your Audience: One of the most important factors in choosing a good podcast topic is understanding your audience. Who are they? What are they interested in? What problems do they have that you can help solve? This can guide you to choose topics that will resonate with them.
  • Follow Your Passion: Your own interests matter as well. If you're passionate about a topic, your enthusiasm can shine through and make your podcast more engaging. Choose topics you're eager to explore and discuss.
  • Stay Current: Pay attention to trends or current events in your field. This can lead to relevant and hot podcast topics. Tools like Google Trends can help you keep up with what's hot in your niche.
  • Try Various Formats: Don't limit yourself to one format. As we've discussed, there are various types of podcast formats, from interviews and reviews to debates and book discussions. Experiment with different ones to add variety to your podcast and keep your audience engaged.

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. The best podcast topics for you will depend on your unique audience, niche, and personal interests. Keep these factors in mind, and you'll be well on your way to creating a successful podcast that attracts and retains listeners.

But Ideas Aren’t Enough — Production Quality Matters Too

While having great ideas for your podcast episodes is crucial, remember that the quality of your podcast production is important too. Excellent audio quality is table stakes now — every listener is expecting it.

That's why we recommend StreamYard, a podcast recording tool that makes it easy to produce great-sounding episodes.

Whether you're a solo podcast host or you have a co-host, StreamYard's user-friendly interface and powerful features simplify the recording process, leaving you more time to focus on creating great content.

Give StreamYard a try.

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