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  • Writer's pictureJosie Colter

The 5Ws of podcasting

Updated: May 18, 2021

Go from podcast idea to podcast opportunity in 10 minutes by following my 5Ws of podcasting worksheet. This is a simple starting point to kick-start your idea – helping you to identify if your idea has got legs.

#1 Why

This is your purpose. Identify your goals. Pick one primary goal to focus on – this could be brand extension, reaching a new audience, building a community around your business, championing an editorial focus, driving authority on a topic, creating thought leadership and conversation around your brand, driving traffic to your site, developing a new marketing channel for your business, dipping your brand's toe into audio, creating a space for nuanced long-form conversations. Ultimately – what do you want to achieve?

#2 Who

This is your listener base. Think about – who they are, what they care about, where you’ll find them, their tone of voice, why are they coming to you, their pain points, influences, what podcasts they like, and what podcasts they might be looking for. For example, is it wannabe make-up artists that are addicted to beauty but have a tight budget? OR home improvers who are renting so need temporary solutions, but love interiors. OR Doctors who are looking to level-up their private practice consultancy outside of the NHS. Get as granular and as niche as possible. It may align with your existing brand user base, or it might be a strategy to build allegiance with a new audience. Ultimately, who are they, what do they care about, and what influences them?

#3 What

This is your content and format. Think about the themes or topics you want to tackle and the editorial focus you want to take. What is your point of view, and what tone will you approach the topic with? What's your differentiating approach? Why would people tune in? How long will the episodes be? Is it scripted or interview based? This is where you might take a quick scan of the podcast charts to see what else exists around your topic. Scoping out your competitors will give you vital clues as to where the content gaps are.

#4 Where

This is your output. Will you take a more traditional approach and stick with iTunes and Spotify via a traditional publisher such as Acast or Buzzsprout, or will you make sure to film the episodes and publish it on YouTube? What territories do you plan to target? And how will you get seen by those audiences? You may want to consider where your audience spends time and how you will help them discover your show. For example, Youtube is the third top channel for people to find new podcasts, so you might want to make a showreel or blooper content to acquire new listeners. Or perhaps attending live events will help you to connect both with your audience and future guests.

#5 When

This is your production schedule. The best time and place for your conversation. Is it very topical so needs to be recorded and published quickly? Or is it evergreen and can live on very easily? Perhaps it's a conversation about travelling which might be best placed in January when people are booking summer holidays? Think about what you're talking about and what will resonate the best. How many episodes in a season, and how frequently will you publish (daily/weekly/monthly)?

What next?

To wrap up, here’s a checklist you can use to run your podcast sprint – this is by no means exhaustive, but it can help you get that initial brainstorming off the ground. Work through it at your own pace.

Podcast from scratch worksheet
Download PDF • 103KB


Let me know how you go on with the worksheet exercise. I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback, and what podcast ideas you're working on. Drop me a note at

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