Solo podcasting offers so much flexibility as a podcast format because you’re not tied to your guests’ schedules. You get to record whenever time allows and the mood strikes because you’re the star of your own show.
You also get to cover whatever topic you’d like, however you’d like to cover it. That means you’ll need a steady stream of solo podcast ideas that your audience will love—and that you’ll love talking about.
The great news is that inspiration is everywhere. That’s true whether you’re creating an entirely new solo podcast or looking to record an occasional solo episode to supplement your regular content calendar or your podcast subscription.
To prime your creativity pump, we’ve gathered a list of tactics that successful podcasters use to find interesting episode topics. And in case you’re thinking about starting a new solo podcast, we’ve also listed a handful of theme ideas to try on your show.
Solo podcast theme ideas for a new show
Once you’ve decided to be a one-person show, you’ll need to choose a theme your episodes will follow. A theme describes both the general topic of your show and how the information is presented. For example, your podcast coud be a “how to” about fixing cars. Or a “review” of new books.
With a consistent theme, your audience will know what to expect in every episode. And you’ll have an easier time planning your podcast schedule.
Since you won’t have guests to provide their own expertise, teaching something you know and are passionate about is a great option for your podcast.
There are limitless possibilities for “how-to” style podcasts. Health and wellness, DIY and repair projects, and learning to play musical instruments are popular. But don’t be shy about sharing more niche hobbies like painting figurines or beekeeping.
If you don’t mind being on camera, video podcasts are a good format for these types of shows. Sometimes it’s easier to show than tell.
Go behind the scenes
Ever wish you could get a peek behind the curtain of how a TV show is made? Or maybe see what goes into running a successful farm day to day? So does your future audience.
Insider explorations of how the world works are really interesting. So, if you have that knowledge and access, share it with your audience.
Document your experience
You don’t have to be an expert in something to have an engaging podcast. Try documenting your own journey and letting listeners follow along.
For example, if you’re in the process of paying down debt and learning how to invest, tell your audience what you learn as you do it. And if you happen to make a mistake or two, even better. You’ll help your followers avoid doing the same.
Think of this theme as a “before and after” transformation in real time, with detailed instructions others can follow.
Review things you love
Whether you’re a cinephile, bibliophile, or sneakerhead, many people would love to learn about the latest movies, books, or shoes before they decide to spend their time and money. Help them out by reviewing the newest releases.
Not only does this type of podcast offer a nearly endless supply of episode topics, but you’ll also get to experience the things you love—which is why you got in the podcast game to begin with.
Here’s a twist on this theme: review listeners’ work. If you’re a copy editor, music instructor, or teach a creative writing workshop, ask listeners to send in their masterpieces. Then record yourself giving constructive feedback.
Advice content has a long history in publication. From relationships and health columnists have helped many people with their biggest, and sometimes most personal, questions.
This type of solo podcast usually follows a listener question format, where you’ll reply to questions from the audience. But you could also weave in stories of your own experience if you’ve been through the situation as well.
Focus on failures
There’s a lot to learn from missing the mark, and a podcast that explores famous, or infamous, failure has the potential to provide a lot of value and even more fun.
Failure fodder can come from listeners sharing their stories via email, from historical figures’ wayward adventures, or straight from recent headlines.
Dive deep into a big topic
How did humans end up on the moon? What is sustainable energy? If you have some knowledge, or at least interest, in a big topic, break it up into episode-sized chunks and spend a whole season walking your listeners through it..
You don’t need a Ph.D. in physics or history to tackle these topics. Find multiple sources for each and recap or explain them to your listeners. Just make sure to cite where you’re learning from.
While these podcasts will require some research, the trade-off is easy calendar planning. Each episode will just tell the next part of the big story.
Solo podcast episode ideas for existing shows
What if you could read your listeners’ (or potential listeners’) minds to find out exactly what they wanted your next episode to be about?
While we can’t give you the power of telepathy, we can point you to the places your listeners are asking questions. With a little digging, you’ll strike a never-ending source of solo podcast episode ideas that get people excited about listening to your show.
Google is where people go to find answers, which means it’s also a great a good place to find out what people want to learn. Luckily, there are several ways to tap into this deep well of podcast ideas.
The first way to mine search engines for ideas is through the search bar itself. Try typing a couple of words relevant to your show and see what Google fills in.
Here’s an example. Enter “how to bake…” in the Google search bar, and the algorithm will add options like “…chicken,” “…chocolate cake,” or “…sweet potatoes.”
Those results are what Google believes are the most popular searches on that topic. So, they’re also the things your cooking-enthusiast listeners want to know.
Google People Also Search feature
When you search for something on Google, you’ll often get a list of additional questions in the results called “People Also Search.” This is a really handy way to find new ideas associated with a topic.
Let’s say your solo podcast is all about digital advertising, so you type “what are Facebook ads” into the Google search bar.
In the results, one of the related questions people also ask is, “are Facebook ads free?” This means many potential advertisers want to learn about the cost of Facebook ads. Or maybe how to score some Facebook ads for free.
You’re the expert, so you devote an episode to answering those questions.
Google Alerts are emails Google sends you when new results come up for a particular search keyword. So, if your show is about musical theater, you could tell Google to send you interesting stories about Broadway when they show up.
What’s great about this tool is that Google sends content in alerts that are popular on its search engine. That means it’s answering questions a large number of people are asking. So it’s likely to be popular with your audience.
To sign up for Google Alerts, just go here and enter the keywords you’re interested in.
Questions from discussion boards
If you want to see what burning topics your potential listeners want to talk about, search discussion boards like Quora and Reddit. Both sites have search bars you can use to find discussion on even the most niche of subjects.
Maybe your show delves into the history, repair, and love of classic cars. Type different versions of “classic cars” into one of the discussion boards to see what people are talking about. There could be questions like “what are the best classic cars for restoration?” or “why are classic cars increasing in value?”
Those are two great episode ideas you can dive into for your show.
Social media comments
Whether it’s on your own feeds or from the accounts of other people that talk about your show’s concept, social media platforms are a great place to find hot topics for your podcast.
If you already have a good-sized following on your pages, post a hot take on a relevant idea and see what people have to say about it. Or ask them directly what they want to hear, see, or learn.
You can also look through posts from accounts related to your show’s theme. Do you talk about politics? Look through the Facebook or Instagram pages of political activists and pundits to find posts with lots of comments and replies. Those are hot-button issues people will pay attention to.
Product Q&A on Amazon
This one works really well for “how-to” shows. Look through the questions and comments buyers and potential buyers leave on the product pages on Amazon.
Here’s how that works for a gardening podcast. Look for a product like summer herb seeds on Amazon. Click on one of the products, and about halfway down the page, there’s a section to enter questions. Try something like, “how much water do these need?”
Then look at the existing questions in the “Customer Q&A,” and you’ll see what other gardeners want to know about watering herbs.
Bonus tip: Do the same with product reviews. If several people have the same concern that a product isn’t solving their problem, turn that into an episode about how to solve that problem.
Poll your audience
This is an easy one, especially if you use Spotify for Podcasters already. Use the Q&A and polls feature to find out what’s on your listeners’ minds.
The Q&A feature is for open-ended questions like, “What topics should I cover in future episodes?” The polls feature gives listeners several options so they can pick their favorite.
You can also use feedback from Q&A sessions to add other voices to your show while remaining a solo podcast. As listeners to share a story or example and read it on a show. For example, if your podcast is about education, ask your followers to tell you about their most memorable teachers.
Not only will you get great solo podcast ideas, but you’ll also make your listeners feel like a part of the show.
Get your show discovered
With so many amazing ideas flowing for your solo podcast, the world is going to want to listen in. While you are the star of the show, you're also the number one marketer of it. Lean into the power of social media and other promotional tactics to grow your podcast audience.