Doing solo podcasts is exciting, since it means you can control everything in the episode. From idea generation to recording, and to post-production, your monologue is what holds everything together.
This is also why, however, that some may find it challenging to pull it off.
But as the saying goes: ‘The more difficult the goal, the greater the achievement.’ In solo podcasts, you get to be the star of your own show. You will be the person who owns the spotlight.
The great news is that many podcasters out there have achieved immense success through solo episodes.
In this article, we will explore the 5 keys to hosting a successful solo podcast, and the best-in-class examples that you should definitely take notes from!
What are solo podcasts?
Solo podcasts refer to podcasts with only one person. Contrary to solo podcasts, podcast interviews are podcasts in which the host invites guests onto the show and conducts recorded conversations.
For tips on what questions to ask your guest, check out our 50 Best Podcast Interview Questions to Ask.
There are also podcasts with two or three co-hosts. In this case, the co-hosts appear on the podcast regularly and take part in conversations on specific themes and topics.
Podcasts with co-hosts can still invite other guests onto the show, which usually differ from episode to episode.
The characteristics of solo podcasts are:
- It features only one voice 🎤
- The host elaborates on a topic that they have expertise on 🎓
- The host speaks directly to the audience 🗣️
Why might solo podcasts be good for you?
Solo episodes come with its own benefits that other types of podcasts do not have. Since you’re flying solo, you do not have to worry about anyone else but yourself, and you can work to your own schedule with a lot of flexibility. There are also some other major benefits if you’re working solo.
💛 It connects you with your audience on a deeper level
There are no better ways to connect with your audience than addressing them directly in your monologue and making them feel present.
Speak to your audience in a friendly tone and make them feel like they are in a conversation with you. This creates a more intimate relationship and a deeper bonding between you and your audience.
For example, in the The Mark Groves Podcast where Mark, a Human Connection Specialist, usually conducts interviews with people from all walks of life, have solo episodes where he explores intimate topics such as love and commitment, and shares with the audience his experiences from his personal life.
Having a solo podcast is a good way to create personal branding and connect with your audience. As many podcasters do, you can also share snippets of your solo podcast on your social media channels to engage with your followers.
The reason why it is important to share your podcast snippets on social media is that your target audience likely lives there. According to a survey by Ofcom, the UK's communications regulator, social media sites come top of the list of ways to find new podcasts in the country as of 2022.
However, many podcasters are quite clueless as to how they could share their audio content on social media platforms without using too much time in creating a video. We know how busy you all are!
This is why Jupitrr has created an easy way for you to create visual content in just a few minutes. Make your own audiograms, which are shareable snippets of your podcast consisting of a static background, an audio waveform, transcribed captions, and an audio voiceover.
If you have a solo podcast already, just upload a clip and try generating an audiogram with Jupitrr - it just takes around 3 minutes!
Upon creating an audiogram, you can share it on your social media profile to engage your followers. It is great for generating hype around your solo podcast episodes, and perfect for personal branding. Try it out now!
🕹️ It gives you complete control
When you have a guest on, you have to make them a priority. While this is not a bad thing in itself, it may divert your audience's attention and make it harder for you to control the messaging of your episode.
Many podcasts out there are associated with businesses and the podcaster might want to promote a certain project and drive traffic to those things in your business. In that case, having a solo podcast gives you complete control on what you want to focus on.
⚠️ It saves your downtime
Even if you want to do podcast interviews, there could be an empty spot down the line. In that case, having a solo episode can save you once in a while, and fill the gap in your calendar. It might also freshen things up a little bit, and let your audience really get to know you better!
5 Best-in-class Examples
Before we dive into the 5 keys to a successful solo podcast, let’s first look at some best-in-class examples that you might find useful to refer to.
Have You Heard George’s Podcast?
Narrated by George the Poet, an award-winning rapper and spoken word artist, the award-winning podcast series delivers a fresh take on inner city life through a mix of storytelling, music and fiction, now hosted on BBC. The solo podcast format allows George to share his unique perspective and connect with his audience on a deeper level, creating an immersive and engaging experience that brings his words to life.
About Last Night Podcast
Comedian Adam Ray shares crazy stories from the road with his fellow comedians, covering diverse topics from sex, to sports to booze. He has regular solo episodes where he shares with the audience his personal experiences. By sharing his own stories and insights, Adam's solo episodes add a unique and valuable perspective to the podcast, making it a must-listen for fans.
Bill's Monday Morning Podcast
Hosted by the American Comedian Bill Burr, the Monday Morning Podcast is a twice weekly podcast where he rants about relationship advice, sports and interesting topics such as the Illuminati. With its solo format, the podcast offers a unique opportunity for listeners to get inside Bill's head and experience his unbridled, off-the-cuff commentary on the world around us.
Almost Adulting is a female-empowering podcast hosted by Violet Benson (not going to lie – it's my personal favourite!). Every Thursday, Violet hosts solo episodes every Thursday on love, relationship and personal development topics that lasts for around 40 minutes.
Jason Scott Talks His Way Out Of It
Jason Scott Talks His Way Out of It is narrated by Jason Scott on stories and topics that he cares about on technology and history, based on his own personal experience on the road while shooting documentaries. By drawing on his extensive knowledge and experience in the field in these solo episodes, Jason is able to offer a unique and informative perspective on a wide range of subjects.
Lore is an award-winning podcast about scary stories. In each episode, Aaron Mahnke, who writes and narrates Lore, examines a new dark historical tale each time for a full 30 minutes. The solo format of the podcast allows Aaron to take his time and fully immerse himself in each tale, creating a rich and detailed narrative that draws in his audience
5 Keys to a Successful Solo Podcast
1. Share your unique perspective 👀
In a solo podcast, there is nobody else but you in the room. As pressuring as it might sound, you have to be interesting and offer something that is value-adding.
In fact, we'll have to dive deeper than just your solo podcast episodes. What makes your podcast different? Even when other podcasters are sharing the same topic, what is it that makes your angle unique?
Capitalise on your experiences and make your podcast special to your listeners, especially through your solo episodes. It is the perfect time for you to build a brand identity for your podcast and find your USP (Unique selling point). u
2. Your Audience is your Friend 🫂
Even though you're on your own, it doesn't mean that you have to do a rigid and boring presentation. Speak to your audience as if they were your imaginary friend. Use a conversational tone, and speak to their pain points. What are they concerned about? What is it that drew them to your podcast? What are some of the common worries that you both share?
Your solo podcast episode is a chance for you to dive deep into your audience's pain points and speak directly to them.
3. Test innovative ideas 💡
Being the only one at the microphone, you are held accountable by no one else but you. Unleash your craziest ideas and do whatever you want in the solo episode!
But you may ask: What should I do then, if I have no ideas at all?
In this case, you can try using the Google Alphabet Soup Method, which is popularised by the Project 24 course at Income School and meant originally for SEO Keyword research around a certain topic.
Let's say that you are interested in talking about 'Meditation'. Simply type in the Google search bar 'Meditation', followed by a letter in alphabetical order, such as 'Meditation a'. Boom! What happens is that Google's autocomplete suggestions will give you a list of ideas that you can talk about: 'Meditation apps', 'Meditation art', and many more.
Of course, you could also make good use of AI tools such as ChatGPT to conduct your idea research!
4. Put it into a structure (or not)🧱
Speaking on your own does not mean that you should go as freeflow as you want. In fact, it's important that you create an episode outline and put structure into your talking, especially . Begin your podcast with a hook, and then slowly guide the audience into the discussion. Think about the TED talks that you have listened to - which are the ones that really captured your full attention?
That being said, some podcasters do make use of their solo podcasts to go wild with their ideas and format. For example, in the solo podcasts of About Last Night Podcast with Adam Ray, he simply follows his stream of consciousness and covers diverse topics in one go. If you’re confident enough and you think that’s your podcast style, just go for it!
5. Keep it short and sweet 🍬
It depends on your audience, but generally for solo episodes, it is better to keep it short and concise. According to a survey conducted by Statista, 15 to 30 minutes is an ideal length. Do not feel the pressure to make it longer, if you are feeling uncomfortable about talking to yourself without any interactions with guests.
If you are sharing your solo podcasts on social media and just want to highlight interesting snippets, you can always generate audiograms with Jupitrr. Simply upload your audio file and choose a design that fits with your branding, like the examples shown below.
Wrapping Up 💫
Solo episodes can add diversity to your podcast series and help you connect with your audience on a deeper level. Don't hesitate to try doing solo podcasts and explore the unique angle that differentiates you from other podcasters.
If you are interested in promoting your podcast on your social media, do not forget to use Jupitrr to create visually captivating audiograms. Start today!