Yes, There Are Still Big Podcast Ideas To Be Had
In another article on what to consider before starting a podcast, the most central question of all came up: Why would a person want to listen? Unless you’re getting into podcasting purely for fun, this is a question you simply need to ask yourself. And as the podcast arena grows more and more crowded, the answers can be somewhat discouraging!
What I mean by that is that with so many podcasts out there today, it’s hard to feel like your idea is offering something new. If you want to launch a podcast discussing the latest film releases for instance, you’ll quickly find 20 other pods doing the same thing — which complicates the question of why anyone would listen to yours specifically.
One way around this problem is to focus on the quality of your podcast rather than its pure content. If you have a unique voice and a few fun ways of doing things (as well as some marketing savvy), you may just become the go-to for conversations about the latest film releases, even in a crowded category. I say give it a shot! But if you’re still in the brainstorming stage, you can also strive to come up with a topic that has wide appeal and hasn’t been beaten into the ground yet.
Just to illustrate that such topics do in fact still exist, I want to point out a few examples of possibilities you might consider.
If your concern is that every idea in podcasting seems to be taken, news might at first seem to be the very worst place to look. It’s one of the most crowded categories in the medium, and what’s more, the best news-related podcasts tend to come from major publication and media companies. And yet there are some gaps in the coverage, and one simple one that I’ve noticed is that of quick-hit, international stories.
Having looked into the topic a bit, I might point to NPR’s “World” section, which includes little audio snippets of the latest news from all around the planet. These aren’t exactly podcasts in the traditional sense though (despite NPR’s prowess in the medium), and the truth is there really isn’t a definitive, go-to pod for this sort of content. So the idea here is simple: Start a podcast that delivers brief, daily update on a major news story from anywhere in the world. It could be marketed as a news podcast, but more importantly as one that would broaden people’s perspective and expose them to international events.
Slot Machine Updates
As with news, gaming represents a very busy category for podcasting as well. However, the online casino branch of the gaming industry is relatively underserved by comparison. And slot machine games in particular — which are enjoyed by droves of gamers worldwide — make for surprisingly engaging, regular, and relevant material. This is for the simple reason that this category is constantly being updated with new games and themes, to the point that it’s difficult for even avid casino players to keep track of all the changes.
The dynamic nature and range of this category is best represented by the slots on Gala Spins — which as you can tell with one glance include individual experiences from the traditional “Big Banker Slot,” to the much-hyped “Starburst,” to historically-themed reels such as “Atlantis: City Of Destiny.” These are just a few of many examples on a single platform that strives, as Gala puts it, to be a “one-stop shop” for gamers seeking all kinds of slots.
But just looking through this collection, you can get a sense of how dizzying this popular gaming category is. Generally, it’s hard for players to recognize which games are new, which ones contain certain features, and even which sites are hosting different favorites. And there you have it! This is subject matter for a popular podcast with an expansive audience, even within the crowded space of gaming pods.
Retro Gaming Nostalgia
To further the point that there is space even in crowded categories, we’ll stick with gaming for this idea as well. While there is a ton of podcasts in this category, it’s fair to say that the vast majority of them concern news, opinions, and advice relating to the current state of the industry — or in some cases to specific games. There isn’t quite as much attention in podcasting paid to retro games, despite the fact that retro gaming is extremely popular.
That isn’t to say that non-gaming podcasts cover the video games of the past. In fact, there are several podcasts that essentially go game by game covering classics of past eras. But for the most part, that’s the extent of the approach, and there is so much more that can be done delving into video game history.
With a fresh angle, you have the opportunity to really tap into what audiences loved about different games. That fresh angle might mean focusing more on characters than games (for instance, with a 25-episode countdown of your top-25 gaming characters of the ’90s). It might mean comparing retro games, perhaps hosting debates between two titles at a time, or between one retro game and a modern counterpart. Or you might simply go game by game but do more of a deep dive on each one than the typical podcast will do.
Any of these ideas can result in a podcast that will stand out both in the retro gaming niche and in video game podcasting more broadly.
Small Business Spotlights
There are also a lot of podcasts about business already out there. In fact, depending on where exactly you draw the lines around this category, it might be about as expansive as any. And yet most of the podcasts in the category concern one of a few themes: interviews with business leaders, updates on large, established companies and industries, or actual business advice. There is a surprising gap when it comes to shining a spotlight on smaller businesses.
That isn’t to say no such podcasts exist. But consider this: according to recent data (in this case pertaining to the U.S. specifically), nearly half a million new businesses have opened during the pandemic. This, combined with the spike in new ventures many expect to see after the pandemic, makes for some intriguing opportunity. There is undoubtedly space for an engaging and well-researched podcast telling the stories of new and emerging small businesses around the world (perhaps with interviews where possible).
Whether or not these are the specific ideas that move you, I hope the examples have gotten the core point across: There are still major podcasts in major categories that are just waiting to be launched, even as active as the business has gotten. With the right angle and the right voice, you have a chance of carving out space in whatever area most interests you.
In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for the latest updates from the podcast world right here. You never know when something you read about the industry might inspire you to get your start.
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