According to estimates, there are more than 1,500,000 active podcasts worldwide. In addition, a record number of podcasters launched new shows in May 2020: over 95,000 shows were added to Apple Podcasts, according to My Podcast Reviews.
That’s a lot of available content and a lot of podcasts for the average listener to choose from. If you’re looking to join the crowd, you’ll need to stand out in a big way—and the best way to do that is by finding the right niche market.
Your niche helps you connect with interested listeners on a deep level, set yourself up as a dominant player for a target market, and grow your audience with relevant content. But finding one isn’t always as easy as it sounds! If you’re struggling with this major decision, here are a few steps to finding that all-important niche.
1. Identify Things You’re Passionate About
It’s probably obvious that if you want to make a successful podcast, it gets much harder when the theme is one you don’t really care about. Loving what you do—and loving it enough to learn more about it, day after day—can help you stay the course.
What skill sets do you have in your back pocket? What do you like researching in your free time? For what did you attend your school? What kinds of projects would you take on even if you won’t get paid for them? What problems do you want to solve? Questions like these can help you find your passions, but the next steps will help refine the idea a little further.
2. Figure Out the Size of Your Audience
The best content in the world won’t help you grow your podcast if no one’s around to listen! Finding a balance between content that interests you and the content that interests others; is the key here.
One tried-and-true way to do this is by checking for similar podcasts on popular platforms. If there’s a fair number of existing podcasts, the chances are good that the audience size is big enough for you to carve out a corner for yourself. If it feels like there are too many podcasts—especially in crowded niches like fitness or political podcasts—you may want to consider further narrowing your content to fit a more specific niche.
Another great resource, especially if you intend to make a profit, is the free keyword tool from Google Adwords. While it’s specifically geared for websites and businesses, playing with this tool can help you gauge interest in a search term, allowing you to understand whether searchers are looking for information in the niche you’re considering.
3. When All Else Fails, Find Your “Lens”
If you’re struggling to keep things narrow and you want to discuss anything and everything on your podcast, it may help to find a unique “lens” through which to approach content. For example, if you’re a longtime middle-school teacher who wants to discuss everything from reality TV to national politics, you could do so from the perspective of your background. The topics are broad, but the perspective is unique—and that’s what can help snare the interest of an audience.
Whatever you decide, don’t forget that you’ll always have room to broaden your niche over time. An initial niche market can help you grab the much-needed attention of a new audience. But as you build up an audience of loyal listeners, you’ll be able to diversify and expand your core content as desired. And for more insights as you get your podcast off the ground, don’t forget to check out our other posts!