“How do you come up with podcast episode ideas ?”

Probably the most common question I get from newer podcasters. They have 3 or 4 episode ideas and then they run out. At that point they get the podcaster’s equivalent of writer’s block, because the harder they try the more they can’t come up with anything.

Let me give you a few tips and some ideas for podcast episodes.

3 Tips for Coming Up With Podcast Episode Ideas

Firstly, keep a list.

It is hardest to come up with ideas for episodes when you need one NOW. Instead keep an episode ideas list – I like to use Evernote – of possible episode topics. Then when you need one you can just go to the list. You add as they come to you.

Secondly, listen to other podcasts and media.

Some of these podcast epsiode ideas came from observing YouTubers because they have a similar release schedule to a podcast. There is nothing new under the sun, so steal like an artist. Don’t just copy, but look for inspiration that can be used in your context.

Thirdly, sometimes the idea is a person.

If you are doing an interview show, the person you are interviewing is the show subject. Instead of episode ideas keep a list of potential guests. I also made a standard question on the Photographer and Model podcast to ask guests who we should interview in future episodes. They may give you episode ideas you wouldn’t have thought of. They also might be your introduction to a potential interviewee.

I’m about to give you a list of a bunch of ideas, but one stands out above the rest.

Start With Avatar Pain Points

An avatar is your ideal listener. We give an introduction to avatars in our free webinar and go into depth helping you develop your podcast’s avatar in our Jumpstart course, so I won’t go into it here.

If you really want to get someone to listen to your podcast right now. You have to talk to their pain points. What frustrates them on a daily basis? Those are the things they are looking for solutions to right now and will act immediately to relieve.

Ask yourself how to solve the biggest problems your ideal listener has, then create episodes around them.

9 Almost Ready To Use Episode Ideas

Now for the moment you’ve been waiting for, the actual episode ideas you can use. One problem, every podcast is different. The topic of your show may or may not fit well with a particular episode idea. That’s why these are almost ready to use. You’re going to have to figure out how they apply to you and your topic. I’ll try and give you some varied example so you have an idea of how to modify them.

To make these easy to remember we’ve create a Cheat Sheet with a short version of each of them. Click here and we’ll send our 9 Podcast Episode Ideas Cheat Sheet to you.

#1 Features and Benefits

If you talk about a thing – a product, a TV show, etc – you can do episodes on the features and benefits of that thing. You can either do a single show on all the features and benefits or a series of shows on a particular feature.

For example, if you have a show about Tesla cars. You can have a show that is “All The Ways The Model S Is Better Than Any Other Car.” Or you could have a show on “Zero Emissions Is About More Than Clean Air, It’s Also About Not Having To Smell Exhaust In The Garage.”

Also understand the important difference between a feature and a benefit. The distinction can give you ideas all by itself. A Feature is something a thing does. A Benefit is why that thing is good/cool/important to the user. For example if you have a finance show where you talk about mutual funds. A Feature of a mutual fund might be its low fees. The Benefit of that is less drag on the growth of the customer’s money.

#2 What’s New

All news style podcast use this idea. Even if you don’t want to do news every week, you can still do it occasionally. Look at the latest things happening in your podcast’s topic and talk about them.

What’s new also applies to changes going on in your subject matter. If you have a Doctor Who Podcast and there is about to be a new Doctor, that’s probably a good time to have a show about it.

#3 Newbie Mistakes

Most podcasts will benefit from targeting the new guy or gal. But there are only so many ways to say, “Here’s what you need to know when you start.” Instead, talk about the mistakes new people make in your subject matter.

In something like fitness an episode entitled “5 Mistakes New Weightlifters Make” is pretty obvious.

How would you apply this some say our previous Dr Who podcast?

How about “New To Dr Who? Don’t Make These Mistakes.” Things like trying to watch every episode since 1965 before getting to the new stuff. Too many marathon binge sessions.

#4 What Isn’t Obvious

You can do an episode about what isn’t obvious to an outsider about your topic. The classic titles like “What they don’t tell you before you buy a fast car” or “What they don’t tell you before you start working out.” or “What I wish I’d known before I bought a mutual fund.”

This is also related to telling the secrets of your subject. Anything that isn’t obvious is a secret right?

#5 Important People

It is no secret people are important to an interview podcast, but people are important in any subject matter. If you do a show on Mac computers maybe you could do episodes about the Three Steves that founded the company. You might do an episode about Elon Musk for a Tesla show.

People that are important but not obvious are also great subjects. For instance, who is the fund manager for a successful mutual fund you talk about on your finance show? Who’s the executive producer of the TV show your podcast is about?

Give their history. Look for quotes about why they do what they do. What else are they a part of?

#6 History

History isn’t just about one person. You can do the history of an industry. The history of a TV show. The history of an exercise trend.

This also lends itself to the “Why we do it this way” kind of episode. Why does everyone thinking lifting heavy is good or bad? Where did that idea come from? How did it evolve over time?

You could also do history podcast episodes over pivotal moments in your subject. The story of that one time they made a Dr Who in America. The one year with the American team won at hockey in the Olympics. The days Tesla almost sold to Google.

#7 The Best Of

On Photographer and Model and EMS Newbie we had best of episodes where our editor found snippets all through a season and put them together into a best of episode. They were awesome and they give new listeners a great way to be introduced to the show. They are also labor intensive if you aren’t planning ahead.

A Best of Episode doesn’t have be from your show. You can do the Best Episodes of Dr Who or the Best Mutual Funds of the Year.

#8 Controversy

I used to say Photographer and Model was like a group of photographers and models were sitting around after a shoot talking about what they do. Well in those instances what are the arguments that come up over and over. Camera gear is one for photographers. Makeup is one for models.

Discussing these topics can make great episodes. Especially if you have multiple people arguing about it.

Do try and keep it good natured. Most people don’t want to listen to a fight.

#9 Turn It Upside Down

Sometimes it is cool to take a problem and turn the answer around. For instance when I wrote my article on Podcast Power Openers I gave lots of tips on how to open your podcast. But one of the most popular sections of that article was the one titled, “How to Get Someone to Completely Skip Your Episode.”

Instead of making an episode about what to do, make one about what to never do.

To make these easy to remember we’ve create a Cheat Sheet with a short version of each of them. Click here and we’ll send our 9 Podcast Episode Ideas Cheat Sheet to you.

Hopefully, these tips give you something to work with right now. Birth some ideas that can be added to your future podcast episode list right now. Do you have any other ideas to share? Leave a comment below.