I want to podcast, but I don’t know what I want to podcast about. Where should I start?

You can start off by looking at what podcasts are already out there by checking the Podcast.com directory. Think of an interest you have, or a special “in” you have to a certain profession, industry, hobby, or other subject. If you have a vested interest in what you’re creating, it will be easier for you to continue producing a podcast in that subject area. Start off by thinking of subjects that you think others would want or like to know about. If you want to do a show about a certain subject that other podcasters have already covered, think about what you could do to make a better podcast than what’s already there. Choose one subject that your podcast will always be about (technology, news, music, etc.), and create your podcast episodes from there. That way you aren’t necessarily tied to one subject but you always have that subject to come back to if you are running out of ideas for your shows.Beyond the medium, you can also decide who is going to your content. Maybe you want to be the one and only ‘talent’ on your show, maybe you want to have a conversation with guests, or maybe you want to have your guests run your show entirely while you record it. If you have other talent on your show, are they guests you pre-select to join you, or do you interview random guests or callers, like on a radio call-in show? Answer that question and you’re well on your way.

Then you should decide what kind of podcast you would like to do: audio or video (or both). You can always experiment along the way, but generally you make it easier on yourself if you have a narrow idea of how to create your podcast.

This directly relates to your next decision, and that’s how to record your content. Do you want to sit in your home studio and record yourself or others talking into a microphone, or do you want to be ‘mobile’, to go out to record content? Again, you don’t have to be tied to one or the other, but it’s good to always have one method to fall back on.

Next, think about how often you want to create a show (weekly, monthly, etc.) and how long the show should be (5 minutes, 25 minutes, etc.). If you plan to do a podcast in which every episode is the same length, and you want to finish and distribute your episodes on a regular basis, don’t make the show longer than you can handle. Make your show manageable for you, and don’t overestimate your abilities — it will make your podcast suffer, and your listeners/viewers will notice.

Since the day podcasting was born, the single biggest threat to the podcast industry has been something podcast producers have called “podfading”, or losing interest in producing your podcast after the initial excitement of being a podcast producer has worn off. You’ll find it easy to produce a few episodes in your podcast series, but after that it commonly becomes harder and harder for you to come up with fresh ideas for shows and to maintain that energy and excitement around producing something new on a regular schedule.

In summary, here are some quick and easy rules to always fall back on as you create and maintain your podcast series:

  1. Choose one subject or group of subjects you will always cover in every podcast episode you produce.
  2. Choose who will be on your show (you only, you plus guests, guests only)
  3. Choose one medium (audio or video, or both)
  4. Choose one production style (in the studio, over the phone, on the street, with or without guests)
  5. Choose your schedule (how often and when to release new podcasts).

By outlining your podcast in this manner, you ensure you aren’t allowing the technology you have access to to decide how you are going to podcast. After you’ve gone down this checklist, you are ready to gather and set up the technology for making your podcast.

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