As a podcast host, you’re constantly looking for new ideas to bring to your show. But do you ever feel like all of the ideas that once seemed so fresh and exciting have been exhausted? The idea pool has just dried up? Or, perhaps, you’re having a bad case of writer’s block?
And that is no fun place to be! Not only can it be disheartening for you personally, but you feel the pressure, as a podcast host, to keep coming up with fresh ideas for episodes that will keep listeners entertained. And when you feel you’re not able to keep up with demand, your confidence and motivation quickly derail.
We’re here to help!
In this blog post, we will share 12 quick ways to get those creative juices flowing and help you tap into some great new ideas for your podcast.
1. Brainstorm Sessions
Brainstorming is one of the top methods for coming up with new ideas. And just brainstorming for a few minutes can breathe new life into your creativity! Clear a spot in your schedule, grab a clean sheet of paper, or your favorite notebook (everyone has a favorite notebook, right?) pens, markers, or highlighters – however you brainstorm best – and let the ideas flow!
If you’re part of a podcasting team or have podcast friends, make your brainstorming session a group activity. Collaboration can lead to some brilliant ideas as you bounce thoughts off of each other or let suggestions lead you down totally new paths. Involving people you trust, and in particular, those who have the same passion as you, in these brainstorming sessions will help bring many different perspectives into the discussion and you never know where that spark of an idea might come from!
But a word of caution…
Brainstorming is way more beneficial when used preemptively, as opposed to using it when you’re completely out of ideas and entering Panic Mode. Stress is no friend to the brainstorming process! Rather, make brainstorming/idea generation a part of your podcasting schedule. That way, you’ll never be left high and dry when it comes to new ideas for your podcast.
2. Try Freewriting
Similar to brainstorming, freewriting is another effective, quick, and easy way to come up with new ideas. Freewriting is simple. You block out some time in your day to sit and write continually for a specified amount of time.
Freewriting is a great way to loosen up your mental pathways, unclog any writer’s block, and is just a quick way to get your creativity flowing.
And while you can free-write about whatever your heart desires, if you’re looking to use this technique to generate ideas for your podcast, simply start with that goal in mind. Try prompts like, “What I love about [insert niche topic here] is…” or “I feel the most in my podcast zone when…” and just see what follows next!
As with brainstorming, this idea generation technique is most effective when you’re stress-free and free from distractions. But the best part is that it doesn’t take very long at all to get the ball rolling. 15 to 20 minutes as you start your day, over lunch, or in that evening quiet is all you need.
3. Take It Easy
One of the biggest obstacles to idea generation is stress! So take it easy! And do something that relaxes you. Meditate, run a bath, take a shower, go for a run, or find a comfy space to lie down and listen to some calming music, (or whatever music inspires you – it’s Hans Zimmer’s film scores for me!) and you may be amazed at what great ideas strike you!
And if you’re thinking, “Well, this sounds like a great idea in general, but I don’t see how it’s going to help me generate new ideas for my podcast!” You’re wrong! And I’ve got the science to prove it! Research shows that when we do the things that relax us, our dopamine levels are increased. And there’s been a proven strong link between increased dopamine and improved creativity!
But that’s not all there is to it.
This strategy also throws in the art of deliberate distraction. Purposefully taking your mind off what you’ve been intensely focusing on, in this case, trying to find new ideas for your podcast, can help unblock your thought patterns and lead you to some amazing new ideas! So take it easy the next time you’re on the hunt for innovative ideas for your podcast! It just might the be key to a mind-blowing new idea!
To find out more about the science behind this strategy, check out this fascinating article from Buffer: Why We Have Our Best Ideas in the Shower: The Science of Creativity
4. Keep An Ideas Notebook
Remember your favorite notebook? (If you don’t have one yet, get one!) You need to keep it close at hand at all times! And that’s because you never know when bright ideas will hit!
I don’t know about you, but more often than I care to count, I’m about to drift off to sleep, when an idea pops into my mind, and I think, “That’s great! I’ll write that down in the morning!” Guess what! I don’t remember that bright idea when I wake up! And it’s infuriating! But, it’s a great lesson to remember to keep that notebook on hand!
There are also some great note-taking apps if you prefer to keep things digital. Evernote, Google Keep, or Apple Notes are versatile, user-friendly apps that cater to all your note-taking needs. They also have options to record your notes audibly which is perfect for when your great ideas make an appearance when you’re on the move. And since we’re very rarely without our mobile devices, with these apps, you’ll always be ready to capture your moments of brilliance.
5. Read Widely
The next time you’re grasping at the idea straws, try simply reading widely on your topic, niche area, or just podcasting in general. The more you read up and do research, the more avenues for new ideas open up to you!
All that you read (or watch, YouTube is an incredible resource for this!) has the potential to serve as inspiration as all the new information and topics can lead down so many different idea paths.
Reading widely is an effective strategy because all the different resources will provide you with new perspectives which lead to new ways of thinking about your podcast and your niche topic. Look for blog posts, search Pinterest, find scholarly articles where applicable, read physical books, look for ebooks – really, the resources are plenty! – on all the topics related to your podcast, and you’ll have mountains of content to pull new ideas from.
6. Listen To Other Podcasts
And one of our top tips is to listen to other shows! Other podcasts are a great place to start for some top-notch inspiration. Take note of what some of your favorite podcast hosts are doing on their shows and see if there is scope on your show to do something similar.
By putting your own spin on those ideas, within your niche and with your own unique voice and point of view, you could have something fresh and new to include in your episodes.
You can also take some of their main ideas and brainstorm some angles or approaches that could be unique to you, and then use those as a jumping-off point in generating new content for your show.
Remember, the idea is not to copy other podcasts outrightly. You’re listening to these shows to find out what other hosts do successfully. This can be a great help in generating ideas for your episodes. So navigate to your listening app of choice, search your niche topic, and get listening!
7. Go Exploring
This strategy is a two-for-one special…
First up, get exploring outdoors. This doesn’t have to be the “real outdoors”. You don’t have to go on a solo camping trip in the wilderness! It can simply mean getting up from behind the mic and looking for idea inspiration in a different location. You can, of course, go off on a hike, but a trip to your favorite local cafe might do the trick.
Observe people, talk to your barista, explore a bookstore, visit an exhibition – you get the picture – just get out and see what’s happening in the world around you. The potential for inspiration is everywhere. You just need the eyes and focus to see it. Get out into the world, be present, and let the ideas flood your mind…and then your notebook!
But your exploring can also happen online…
You can take your hunting expedition further afield and look at popular Twitter or Reddit threads, YouTube channels, the latest Netflix buzz, or even the question-and-answer website, Quora.
These online expeditions don’t necessarily have to be niche or even podcast-related (the “Read Widely Strategy” takes care of that) to be effective idea generation techniques. Simply getting in on what’s happening in the world can quickly generate ideas.
8. Ask Your Listeners
Your listeners are another untapped resource when it comes to ideas for your podcast. If you’ve done the work to create a strong podcast community around your show, your listeners will be as invested in your show as you are. And more than likely would jump at the chance to share their input and help you generate new ideas to help make your show even better.
Use your call-to-action messages in your current episodes to reach out to your audience and ask them for their input. If you’ve built up a mailing list, reach out through that too! Be sure to make it easy for your listeners to get their feedback back to you, and you’re sure to have tons of potentially amazing idea sparks flooding your inbox.
9. Ask Your Followers
You’ve asked your listeners for their input, now put out an appeal to your followers on your social media platforms! Yes, they may overlap, but social media features make it incredibly easy for followers to share their input immediately. You can start by doing an Ask Me Anything story on Instagram. This creates a really fun, engaging opportunity for your podcast community interaction. Not to mention, the feedback is instant! Depending on how active your followers are, you can get input almost immediately after your story is shared.
Get your followers to suggest new topic ideas they’d love to hear you cover, or people they’d like to hear you interview, or perhaps they’ll just share some totally random ideas they have, which you could tweak to work on your show. Even if you just get inspired by the answers, different ways of thinking about your content will only help to make your show stronger.
You could start a Twitter thread asking for new ideas and feedback from your followers, or you could try a fun TikTok video and appeal to your followers for their input. Besides all the new ideas, these types of content are also amazing ways to build and strengthen your podcast community.
10. Use Social Media
Social media, for all its flaws, can be a great resource for sparking new ideas! Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and even TikTok are all driven by creative content, so tap into that and let your ideas flow.
Follow hashtags related to your niche on all the platforms you use, follow pages or accounts dedicated to your niche, check out related niches, or topics you think would be popular with your audience, and see what content other creatives are coming up with.
Again, you’re not looking to copy anyone, you’re just looking to open your mind to other possibilities that you are just not seeing at the moment.
11. Run A Survey
Surveys can yield a treasure trove of information you can use to help you generate new ideas for your podcast episodes. If you have an email list, a survey is a great way to capture new ideas from your audience. You could also run a survey on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter simply by sharing it with your existing network of fans and followers. The more people who participate, the bigger potential for good results this approach holds.
Surveys are also great as they give your listeners a way to communicate directly with you. And you can find out directly from your listeners exactly what they think about your show! Create a survey that asks questions concerning the types of topics they most enjoy, what topics they’d like to hear more on or guests they’d like to hear more from, what they love about your show, or where they think you can improve. Answers to all of the above are incredibly useful when you’re looking for new podcast ideas!
Related read: Want To Improve Your Podcast? Create A Podcast Survey!
12. Join Communities
One of the true blessings of the Internet is how it can bring like-minded people together! We’re talking about online communities! These are real gems when it comes to generating new ideas and inspiring new content.
Facebook houses some wonderful podcast communities you can join, but check out places like Reddit to find so many more! Some communities may just be for podcast enthusiasts, others are for podcast hosts in general, and you’re sure to find some that are specifically for podcasts within your niche. These communities are buzzing with enthusiasm for podcasts and are a space for people to discuss all things related to podcasting, those things which people in your everyday life may not understand.
And that makes these communities an incredible resource for finding new podcast ideas. You can simply reach out to others in the community and directly ask for help with new ideas for your show. You’ll find that in most of these communities, members are excited to be able to lend a virtual hand to their fellow podcast hosts. But even just spending time engaging with these communities can trigger great ideas. Because it’s an “all things podcasting” zone, you’ll be in the zone to come up with some exciting new ideas.
As a passionate podcaster, you’re always wanting to keep your podcast exciting, engaging, and feeling fresh. But with that, you may also feel the pressure of constantly finding ways to make your show stand out from the crowd.
But idea generation does not have to be a stressful process! Carve out regular spots in your schedule for you and your show, and the task of coming up with fresh, innovative ideas for your podcast will not be a stressful process! All of these strategies are easy, relatively quick to implement, and will help you build up that ideas bank and keep your podcast exciting for you and your listeners.