Podcast segments are one of those Swiss Army knife tools for podcast creators. It’s one device with many applications. When you think strategically about how you break down your podcast with distinct, stylistic segments, you can build content, structure, and a signature brand for your show.
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Simply put, a podcast segment is a uniquely themed shorter piece of content within a larger podcast episode. It’s one part of an episode designated for a specific purpose or topic that can diverge from the main topic or expand on it.
Podcast segments add variety and break up episodes into easily consumable portions. They help you plan episodes, maintain consistency, and strengthen your podcast brand and identity. They give you a chance to let your personality and creativity shine. Plus, segments are fun for creators to make and for fans to listen to.
Whether you’re thinking about starting a podcast or are already well underway, it’s never too late to introduce a new segment. These podcast segment ideas are all different ways to draw in your listeners and add depth to your show. While this isn’t a comprehensive list, it gives you plenty of solid jumping-off points. Just like the podcast medium itself, you have the freedom to take your segments in whatever direction you want.
Q&A sessions allow you to engage with your listeners within episodes and give them an opportunity to participate in your podcast. There are different approaches you can take with Q&A segments. You can ask listeners questions to get their feedback or you can respond to their questions.
Give your listeners a question prompt within an episode, on Spotify, through the Q&A and polls feature to collect responses. Questions can be anything from “what do you do when you’re feeling stressed?,” to “what’s your favorite album of the year?” Ask whatever makes sense for your show, what your listeners would like to hear about, and what could give you good material for your segment. Even if you don’t have enough time to shout out every response you get from your listeners, you can still make them feel heard. Simply publish the responses by visiting the Interact tab in Spotify For Podcasters and everyone will be able to see them and feel like they contributed to the show!
If you’re the one answering questions, ask listeners to submit their questions through any of the same channels. You can use the questions for an “AMA or Ask Me Anything” or “listener letters” segment.
2. Pop culture reviews
Reviews of TV shows, music, movies, books, products, and other podcasts make for great segment material. You could spend a segment discussing your entertainment of choice from the week, new discoveries, trending topics in the media or any other angle you want to take. Convey what you took away from the topic and why your listeners should care about it.
You could also take the approach of highlighting other podcasts in one of your segments, which is a great opportunity for cross-promotion and building connections with other creators. By showing some love for podcasts you find relevant and interesting, those creators might even return the favor.
Games work well for segments because they are inherently fun and interactive, plus they offer a distinct divergence from your regular content. Games are an obvious choice for playful or funny podcasts, but can also be a nice palate cleanser for more serious podcasts when done at the right time.
Game segments work best for podcasts with multiple hosts, or episodes with guests. Some ideas for games include trivia, timed challenges, and quizzes. For example, say your podcast is all about reviewing books. You and your co-host could have a trivia segment on different genres each episode, like the classics, fantasy, horror, romance, etc. and through the polls feature on Spotify, get your audience to participate, too!
Podcasts are all about sharing interesting stories, so why not have a segment dedicated to that? A story segment gives you or a guest the chance to share your own personal experiences and perspectives about your podcast or episode topic. Or, you can crowdsource stories from your audience via Q&A and polls, or by asking them to send a voice message or send an email with a story that you can play or read during the segment.
The “Nosy Neighbors” podcast is made up of different story segments about weird and ridiculous neighbor encounters that their listeners submit or they find on neighborhood community apps. The hosts also share what’s happening in their own neighborhoods and sometimes share wild, unbelievable stories in a segment called “nosy neighbor confessions.”
5. News recaps and commentary
If you have a news-related podcast or talk about current events and trends, consider having segments that focus on current news categories, like top news stories of the day or week, politics, social justice, the environment, etc.
You could explore the latest news related to your podcast’s genre or theme. News segments connect your show to the greater world and give you the opportunity to present your thoughts on what’s going on in your niche.
Podcaster creators can sometimes be very much like newspaper columnists who lend their insights on particular topics and often develop a loyal audience. So, a “Dear Abby” style advice segment could work for many different podcasts. Similar to collecting questions for Q&A segments, you can post a question through the Q&A feature and invite your listeners to send their advice requests which you can respond to on your show.
You can also choose topics to advise on by sourcing them from conversations and interactions on social media. If you notice a pattern of common questions or concerns, that would be a great topic to address. On the “Money Moves” podcast, Lauren Simmons takes questions that her audience sends by chat or joining the recording.
A flashback segment is a fairly low-maintenance way to build more content into your episodes. If you have built a solid archive of podcast episodes, you could take your listeners down memory lane by playing clips from episodes on the same day or week or the year before.
You could also revisit past pop culture moments, news stories, and events related to your podcast niche for some historical infusion. Say you have a podcast dedicated to music and an annual awards event is coming up. A retrospective segment could revisit iconic moments, wins, speeches, and performances.
8. Sample bonus content
If you offer a podcast subscription, designate a segment for giving your unpaid listeners a taste of your bonus content. That could be clips from exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes commentary, or whatever paid content you offer. This can be a meta mini-episode inside of a full episode that simultaneously promotes your subscription. You can include a call to action for listeners to become subscribers within the episode.
9. Video segments
You can include any of the same segments in video podcasts as you can in traditional audio podcasts. But, you have the advantage and the challenge to find a segment that translates to a visual medium.
Examples of highly visual, video content that would make awesome segments include cooking demos, makeup tutorials, video game demos, and comedy sketches, to name a few.
Unlock the full benefits of podcast segments
The primary benefit of podcast segments is they provide quality, fun-sized content for your listeners. You can have one segment per episode or multiple segments—it’s up to you. When you have segments that delight, intrigue, fascinate, or otherwise entertain listeners, it causes a ripple effect of additional benefits. Some of those include:
- Create a repeatable structure and framework for your show. Coming up with fresh, new content on the regular takes time and effort. A segment(s) for each episode gives you a kind of foundational template or podcast format that can ease the production process.
- Keep listeners engaged. Sometimes predictability is a good thing. Segments give your listeners a consistent episode structure they become familiar with and look forward to. The anticipation of a segment may help reduce listener dropoff and attract more listeners and downloads. If you have a segment based on listener participation, that’s a more direct opportunity for listeners to engage.
- Provide share-worthy social media content. Short, engaging segments provide perfect clips for you to repurpose and promote on your social media accounts. You can turn them into audiograms or post clips from your videos.
Whichever segments you make part of your show, connect them to your niche and audience. Whether you directly involve your listeners in segments, or tackle topics specific to your show, ensure it’s consistent with your overall podcast brand and theme.