Choosing to start a podcast is an exciting step, but it’s just one of the many decisions that needs to be made on the journey to podcasting success.
Deciding what your podcast will be about is the most fundamental decision you will make. For many publishers, this may seem like an easy or obvious decision, but it may require more care and thought than anticipated at teh start. Whereas you can make tweaks to the format as the podcast grows, core changes to the topic and structure, once it’s been established, are rarely a good idea.
A good place to start as a publisher is by thinking about the context of the podcast. Is it to enhance the content you already publish as an additional channel, or will it stand alone as another stream of content? Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but deciding this will perhaps narrow down some of the options below, and how much resource to commit to it.
But don’t just consider the obvious. Some of the best publisher podcasts have come about by the team looking at what audio can offer that print and online can’t.
One point to bear in mind when deciding on a topic is that 46% of people who listen to a podcast are between 18 and 34. This is a format which is heavily skewed towards the younger end, which in itself is a real opportunity for publishers looking to reach out to a younger demographic. However, this also influences which topics are likely to do better as a podcast.
Advice on podcast topics varies based on a publisher’s brands, so let’s have a look at some examples of different successful podcasts, and their relationship to the parent publisher.
1: Straightforward brand extension
The most common route publishers choose for podcasts is to talk on the themes their websites or magazines cover. One example of a publisher who does this well is WIRED UK. Their episodes are themed in a similar way to their features; exploring issues around technology and how we as humans interact with it.
The advantage of this method is that it aligns directly with the brand, and can use the expertise of the journalists who write the stories. WIRED‘s journalists enjoy getting involved, work together as a team, and see it as part of the mix of content they produce.
PILOT TV, from the team behind EMPIRE magazine, also do a good job of this. They discuss the hottest TV shows of the week, from the Handmaid’s Tale to Line of Duty, and will often have prominent guests from the TV world joining them.
The New Statesman‘s flagship podcast is another example where the podcast does exactly what you’d expect from the brand – a mix of opinion, features and reviews this week, but in a more accessible, informal tone than the title’s written content. The publisher then has a number of other podcasts, from SRSLY‘s weekly pop culture podcast to The Back Half‘s exploration of the New Statesman‘s arts and book pages, all exploring more niche angles on the main brand.