1. Behind the scenes of an industry
Try making a podcast that explores the unknown side of something you’re familiar with, whether it’s the movie industry (or even the making of a particular TV show), the publishing industry, or the goings-on at a particular Silicon Valley startup.
2. Take your listeners on a journey
Are you thinking about writing a novel, learning to skydive, or traveling across a continent? Document your experience as you go.
3. Clueless newbie
Explore a topic that you know nothing about. Watching Star Wars for the first time? Document your thoughts as you go. A great example of this type of hilarious premise is the Potterless podcast, where the host is reading the Harry Potter series for the first time as an adult.
4. Tell the same story from different points of view
Want to start a narrative podcast with a twist? Consider using a season to narrate a single event from the point of view of everyone involved.
If you want to really test your writing chops, try making it a fictional mystery audio drama and keep the audience guessing about “whodunnit.”
Let The Office be your guide; do a study of a workplace in your community. Interview bosses and employees, take candid recordings, etc.
Or, consider making an audio-documentary about something local to you. Interview your grandparents or someone in your town to get their perspectives of something that happened to them. Do background research to fill out the podcast.
6. Deep dives
Get into the nitty-gritty of your topic of choice by doing season-long deep dives. For example, the Ringer’s Binge Mode is beloved by fans for being an intensely-researched and deep exploration of the creators’ favorite franchises and book series, from Game of Thrones to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
7. A day in the life of...
Interview your mail carrier, boss, or friend to learn what a day in their life is like at their particular profession. Oddly enough, people love to learn about other people’s work, so this type of podcast could be a quirky hit.
8. Mystery theme
Want to keep your audience guessing? Have each season follow a secret theme. Tell seemingly unrelated stories and let the audience try to guess how they’re linked — until the reveal at the end of the season, that is.
Are you interested in entrepreneurial life? Use your own podcast to interview successful founders and CEOs and get tips for business success.
You might create an educational podcast aimed at people interested in learning more about business in the abstract, from supply-chain management to economic theory. Or consider something like Chris Guillebeau’s daily podcast, Side Hustle School, which tells a different story every day about an entrepreneur who turned their side hustle into a booming business.
This is a broad category that can be tackled from all kinds of directions. You might choose a topic that you’ll cover throughout the course of your show (such as gardening), or choose a different mini-topic for each episode.
11. How-To (but make it funny)
Or maybe you could approach the “How-To” podcast humorously, with anecdotal topics such as “How to fail at asking for a raise” or “How to fall off your bike in the most embarrassing way possible.”
12. Book club/book reviews
If you’re in love with books, consider starting a podcast book club with your best friend or a rotating slate of guests. You could even interview the authors themselves, if you can swing it.
13. Book recommendations
Or, take a page out of Anne Bogel’s book with a book recommendation podcast like What Should I Read Next? Take calls from listeners, find out what kinds of books they read, and offer suggestions for their TBR list.
People love to laugh! If you’re a budding standup, put your comedy chops to use with a new podcast. Invite different guests to try your jokes on, or discuss current events with a comedic twist.
15. Top 10 lists
Love to judge? Start a podcast rating everything you can think of! Each episode can be a different “Top 10,” from Disney movies to winter vegetables.
In the era of COVID-19, everyone is starving for travel. Capitalize on that by starting a travel-themed podcast!
Give tips for packing or traveling on a budget, or you could spend each episode interviewing locals in different tourist destinations for insider tips on what to do when traveling there.
17. Short stories
Do you like to write? Consider “publishing” your short stories by reading them on your podcast! Or read short stories and excerpts from books written by others, as LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow fame does on his hit podcast, LeVar Burton Reads.
Are you obsessed with all things music? Explore the life stories of your favorite creators, educate your audience on music theory, or perhaps take call-in guests and suggest new artists based on their current listening habits.
19. Movie or TV reviews
Everyone’s a critic! If you’re looking for an excuse to see everything that’s released in theaters, start a movie review podcast. Or start a recap series covering your favorite TV show as it airs, complete with predictions about what will happen next.
20. Nerdy stuff
Embrace your nerd self! What can you gush about forever? Odds are that you’ll find an audience as obsessed as you are. Whether it’s linguistics, coding, grammar, or Star Trek, find your nerdy topic and run with it.
If you love researching obscure historical facts, consider starting a history podcast.
You could do upbeat episodes on a running theme (such as the sports-scandal focus of Crooked Media’s Hall of Shame) or give general history lessons on oft-overlooked events (as seen on Stuff You Missed in History Class from How Stuff Works).
22. Daily scripture readings
23. Narrative podcast
Are you interested in true crime? Perhaps you want to tell a story (fact or fiction). This is your chance to produce a long-form spoken narrative of your own!
24. Focus on what’s local to you
Start a podcast for members of your community. You could cover local government news, events happening in your area, or even community projects and group events.
Explore art history and tell the life stories of famous painters and sculptors. Give art appreciation lessons. Or ask an inexperienced guest to describe a famous painting to your audience for comedic effect.
26. Personal finance
If you’re a money nerd, consider catering to audiences who are always trying to learn how to manage their own money better.
You could narrow down your podcast topic by making it about how to remodel your house on a budget or how to pay off your debt fast. Or, you could just give general finance tips and interview experts like the podcasting duo Josh and Matt do on their popular podcast, How to Money.
27. Guided meditations
Host a short guided meditation each episode. You could provide a different theme for each one, such as a meditation for the commute or before bed.
28. Guided workouts
Do you teach yoga? Are you a personal trainer? Put your expertise to use with audio-guided exercise sessions that your listeners can fit into their lunch breaks.
29. Podcast for kids
Create audio entertainment for children, using silly stories, puzzles, or fun facts. You might market your podcast as something to keep kids entertained in the car.
Interested in conducting a study of survivalists? Turn your research and interviews into a podcast.
On the other hand, you could start a podcast exploring (with various degrees of seriousness) how to prepare for different things, from a zombie apocalypse to your first year of college.
31. Pop culture
There are countless good podcasts that cover the latest developments in fashion, Hollywood, and the latest scandal on social media — but no one would approach them quite like you would. Find a unique spin — as the hosts of the insanely popular podcast Keep It do — and run with it!
32. Celebrity interviews
If you’ve got the connections, start a podcast interviewing famous people about their lives.
33. News and Politics
Are you a news junkie? Or perhaps you’re always subjecting your friends to long political rants. Turn that hobby into advertising dollars by starting a podcast discussing all the latest updates in news and politics.
As with the pop culture niche, there are plenty of podcasts already covering current events, so be sure to find your unique angle to set your podcast apart.
Do you love to crochet or knit? What about quilting, button-making, or scrapbooking? Whatever your area(s) of expertise, consider making a podcast dedicated to crafting excellence!
Are you one of those people who experience a tingling sensation from their scalp to their spine when watching videos of people whispering? This response is called autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), and it’s a growing trend. Consider creating podcast episodes with ASMR-inducing qualities (such as whispering, crinkling paper, or even stirring bowls of soup) to help people sleep or relax, as The ASMR Podcast does.
The marketing industry is booming, whether it be or social media, email, or content marketing (to name a few). Put your industry knowledge to use and educate your audience with actionable marketing know-how!
Are animals more your thing? Consider a podcast teaching your audience about basic pet care, or record interviews with owners of unusual pets.
Or perhaps offer a podcast for pets, with calming noises designed to help them feel better during anxious times (such as travel or being home alone).
38. Teach people random skills
Enjoy learning (or teaching others) random things? Consider creating a podcast that’s all about learning life’s basic skills, such as changing a tire or riding a bike.
If you’re a psychology buff, consider exploring the world of the mind. Your podcast could be about all things psychology, or you could narrow it down further into topics such as the psychology of eating, personality types, or phobias.
40. Relationship exploration
Hold conversations between parents and children, spouses/significant others, or even best friends. Do deep dives into relationship issues and ask your guests to give relationship advice to your audience.
Or if you’re a therapist, consider hosting real therapy sessions with anonymous audience members like Esther Perel does on her podcast, Where Should We Begin?
Entertain the do-it-yourself crowd by recording yourself building a table, remodeling a bathroom, or fixing a car. Give practical tips for how best to tackle each creative DIY project.
People love to learn about how to hack their lives. Start a podcast teaching actionable hacks like quick productivity tricks, tips for keeping a tidy house with ease, or how to find great deals on airline tickets.
Who doesn’t love to eat? If you could talk about the culinary world all day, consider starting a food podcast. Interview chefs of popular restaurants, teach people how to make different dishes, or explore various cultural cuisines.
Technology is always changing, and there’s limitless potential for content in the tech niche. Keep your audience updated on the latest news in tech or recent security issues to be aware of. Or, teach people how to use their computer or phone better.
Or you could always blend the tech and psychology niches by giving your audience tips on how to make tech work for them rather than against them. Interview productivity experts for advice like setting your phone to grayscale and disabling addictive notifications.
45. Inspirational podcast
Everybody could use a bit of positivity and motivation, so make your podcast something positive to wake up to! Choose a different inspirational quote or story to reflect on for each episode. Or make your podcast a study of the happy life, like bestselling author and happiness expert Gretchen Rubin does on her podcast, Happier.
46. Involve your sponsor
If you already have a corporate sponsor or two, ask them for topic ideas for a new podcast. Ask to interview a representative for a series of episodes, or perhaps collaborate with your sponsor to come up with a game.
Be sure to hold on to the reins, though; it’s still your podcast.
Ask your followers to send in questions (or take live call-ins, if your podcasting software supports it) and answer them in your episode! Consider making each week a different theme, or invite guests to answer listeners’ questions about their lives or areas of expertise.
Give recommendations about whatever suits your fancy—or treat your show like an advice column. Take puzzling life advice questions and answer them on-air for the benefit of your listeners.
49. The gig economy
Create a podcast specifically designed to entertain Uber drivers. Take a leaf out of The Rideshare Guy Podcast host Harry Campbell’s book and interview delivery drivers and ask them for their best industry tips.
50. Social Media
Are you a member of Gen-Z and social media is second nature to you? Give your audience tips on how to use social media well, whether it be to network with friends or to market your business.
51. Scavenger hunt
Ask your audience to find and send in recorded sounds that match various topics (for example, recording birdsong, interviewing a parental figure, or reciting a favorite poem).
52. Adults watching children’s movies
Revisit your favorite movies from childhood and review them from an adult perspective. Which ones stand the test of time?
Study how habits are formed, give tips on building habits, or even chronicle your journey as you try to build a habit over 30 days.
Or perhaps you could focus on helping your audience improve in their own athletic endeavors. Give tips on running, weight lifting, or cycling. Interview trainers to get the best industry advice.
One of the most popular podcasts on running, Marathon Training Academy, has been on the scene since the earliest days of podcasting. Hosts Trevor and Angie Spencer chronicle their own running journeys, give advice, and interview experts and famous athletes.
Recap last night’s game. Interview athletes. Give history lessons on how a sport became popular.
Could you talk about hairstyles and necklines all day? Consider a fashion podcast where you document emerging fashion trends or give beauty advice.
57. Nutrition and weight loss
While we’re at it, what about a podcast that helps people eat better? Interview various nutritional experts. Give overviews on various dietary movements (like the Paleo diet, veganism, or the raw diet).
58. Daily business tip
Give short, actionable business and entrepreneur tips to your audience to get them motivated each morning—much like Ben Fewtrell does on his 5-minute podcast, Daily Business Tips.
59. Daily stock market updates
Love checking the status of the market? Include your audience by giving them daily updates on global markets data.
60. Break down a complicated topic in 5 minutes or less
Many podcast listeners love short, entertaining bites that they can ingest on a commute or quick walk around the block. Take a complex topic and condense it into a few minutes.
61. Game show
Channel your inner Peter Sagal (from his popular show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!) and host your own game show with different guests on each episode.
62. A podcast about podcasts
What’s more meta than a podcast about podcasts? Interview successful podcasters for their tips, discuss the latest tech and trends in the podcast recording world, or explore obscure podcast niches.
Which podcast topic will you choose?
And there you have it! We hope this extensive list of podcast ideas to try in 2021 has helped get you excited to get out there and start creating!
Remember: no matter what subject you pick, if you approach it with passion and quality production value, you’re bound to find an audience that’s just as interested in your chosen topic as you are.