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Solo Podcasts 101: Ideas, Best Examples, & Easy How to Guide

Here is your ultimate guide to solo podcasts! Learn how to dive into solo podcasting with ideas, examples and a complete step-by-step guide.
Lisa Harroy
Creator Partnerships Lead
Published:
November 13, 2023
Last Updated:
January 15, 2024
12
min
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

Do you have an epic podcast idea that you want to share with the world? 

You don’t always need a co-host to get things off the ground. 

If you’re ready to get up and running, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we will cover how to create a solo podcast, plus share tips along with some of the best solo podcast examples to inspire you to get started with yours. 

What is a solo podcast?

A solo podcast is a show in which there is only one host. The majority of episodes will see that individual deliver all of the content. Of course, they could include guests or interviewees for special episodes. Often enough, the host will also be responsible for planning, scripting, recording, editing, and publishing the podcast. You might call it a “one-man band”! 

Why should you create a solo podcast?

Thinking of creating a podcast by yourself. Before we get into how to create a solo podcast, let’s talk about if and why you should do it. One-person podcasts aren’t for everyone, but they might be for you! 

Here’s a quick breakdown of the benefits and limitations of solo podcasts:

Benefits

  • Control. Since you’re not sharing the spotlight, you will have complete control over the podcast you create. You don’t have to compromise on anything. 
  • Ease. You don’t need to arrange recording sessions with your co-host. Instead, you can record whenever you please and work to a schedule that suits you. 
  • Connection. Rather than speaking to a co-host, you will be talking to the listener. This approach can help you to create a personal connection with the audience.  

Limitations 

  • Challenging. It can be a challenge to create a podcast on your own. You have to manage every step of the process by yourself which can be laborious. 
  • No back and forth. One of the reasons that podcasts with two hosts work so well is because of the back and forth. When you host a podcast by yourself, there is no conversation happening. It’s just you speaking to your audience. 
  • Energy consuming. Talking for 20-30 minutes by yourself is energy zapping. If you decide to launch a solo podcast, you need to prepare yourself to speak for ages. 

Solo podcasts can work exceptionally well in some cases. For example, if you are telling a story, leading a meditation, or speaking directly to the listener, you may choose this format.

5 solo podcast ideas to get you started on creating your own 

Now that you’ve got the basics of solo podcasts down let’s talk about how you can get started. 

Before you do anything else, you need a solo podcast idea. While there are many subjects that you could cover, we are going to look at five of the best to kick things off. 

1. Advice-based shows 

Are you an expert in your field? If you’re a therapist, a doctor, or a love guru, you might want to do an advice-based show. The solo podcast format may see listeners write in with their queries that you then answer during the episodes. Be sure to pick a topic with which you are familiar and in a good position to give advice on. 

2. Reviews 

Are you a movie buff? How about a music fan? Or a total foodie? Whatever your passion, you might choose to review it on your solo podcast. You can share your personal experiences of certain things — whether it’s a restaurant or a TV show — on the podcast. You don’t need to be an expert. You just need a ton of opinions and a means to share them.

3. Stories 

Fancy sharing a story with the world? You could read short stories, recount historical events, or even share snippets of your own creative writing. When it comes to this type of solo podcast, the format is relatively straightforward. You can introduce the story at the start of the episode and then start your reading. 

4. Pep talks 

Do you want to inspire and motivate your audience? If so, you could create snappy episodes sharing inspirational tips and advice with your listeners. This type of solo podcast sees you speaking directly to the listener. You often find these podcasts are only a few minutes long.

5. Investigations 

Investigative podcasts tend to be highly popular with listeners. One example of this is Serial, which was a huge success. For the first season, host Sarah Koenig single-handedly investigated the cold case of the Hae Min Lee murder. These types of podcasts see the solo host investigate and report on an event, crime, or historical incident. 

How to create a solo podcast step-by-step with Riverside

Riverside podcast recording software
Riverside

Riverside is an easy-to-use podcast software that makes creating your solo podcast a breeze. Simply sign up, launch your own virtual studio, and get started. 

Capture top-quality content in up to 4K video and 48kHz audio resolution without worrying about your internet connection. Riverside uses local recording so everything records directly on your device instead of relying on your internet connection. You’ll be able to record your audio and video separately, giving you more editing freedom and the choice to create a video and audio podcast in one shot. 

Our platform is specifically for podcasters. You can use our media board to add sound effects in your show live, or go to our Editor where you can polish of your recording into a professional podcast. In the Editor, upload your intro and outro, then use our text-based editing to trim your recording by deleting text in your recording transcript. Finish off with styled captions, customizable backgrounds and automatic audio fine-tuning. You’ll have a professional podcast in no time!

And it doesn't end there. The Magic Clips feature automatically pulls out the best snippets of your podcast so that you can share them on social media. When you’re done recording, the platform’s high-tech AI software automatically generates transcriptions. You can effortlessly repurpose the SRT or TXT file for closed captioning, a transcript, or even a blog post. 

Step 1: Pick your subject 

Before you get started, you need to decide on a topic for your podcast. There are more than four million podcasts out there — you need to make sure that yours stands out from the crowd. Take a look at the solo podcast examples we share below for some inspiration. Also consider what subject interests you. What topic are you deeply enamored with and why? There are plenty of engaging solo podcast topics ideas from which you can choose. 

Step 2: Plan out the format 

When you know what subject you want to cover in your solo podcast, you need to start planning. What format will your podcast take? How often do you want to publish episodes? What research will you need to do? How do you want your podcast to sound? Will it have any sound effects, theme music, or other features? Answer all of these questions first.

Step 3: Draft a couple of episodes

One person podcasts work best when they follow a plan. While you may be able to ad-lib your way through them, having a draft or a script could make all of the difference. Write down a plan for a couple of your episodes. There are different elements that you may want to employ. For example, you could include regular features, a tip section, and an introduction. Try to have a clear vision of how you want your podcast to work first. 

Step 4: Get the right equipment 

After sorting out your format, it’s time to make sure that you have the right podcast equipment. While you don’t need to kit yourself out with a full studio, it’s important to make sure that you have the basics covered. That means that you should get:

  • a laptop, tablet, or smartphone
  • a quality external microphone, 
  • some headphones and 
  • an external camera, should you plan to create a video-based solo podcast.

Step 5: Launch your virtual studio

Next up, you need to join Riverside. There are plenty of plans available to suit your needs. Check out the selection and see which one works for your needs. Of course, you should make sure that you have set up all of your equipment in advance too. 

Launch a studio. Sign up to Riverside and click “+ New Studio” to launch your virtual studio. Set up your studio. Enter the name of the studio in the box provided. Choose either Audio & Video or Audio Only. Select your transcription language. Press Enter Studio.

Step 6: Record and edit 

Once you are in your virtual studio, you can start recording your podcast

Make use and set up built-in teleprompter if you’ve got a script. You’ll be able to keep track of everything in one place.

When you’re ready click the Record button to start recording. After recording, click Stop and wait for all of your recording files to upload. You can then Leave. You will leave the studio and enter the recordings page. 

When your recordings have uploaded, you can use the text-based editor to edit your content. Delete any parts of the recording that you don’t want in the final podcast. You can also use special features, such as background noise removal and level normalization. The editor makes everything easy — you don’t need to have any special skills to get it right. 

Step 7: Export and publish 

Once you are pleased with your solo podcast, it’s time to export it. Press Export and choose from the options in the drop-down. Click Export again to download your audio or video file. You can then publish your episode on your chosen podcast platform, for example, on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Note: You will need to sign up to your chosen platform in advance and enter your podcast details. This includes a podcast description and a logo as a baseline.

Bonus: Promote and share your podcast

You may think your podcast is published and you’re all set, but you’ve also got to promote your show. This is especially true if you don’t already have an existing online community. 

We’ve got a full guide on promoting a podcast, but a good start is social media. Create short, shareable highlights from your show and post them as Reels, TikToks or Shorts online. Short-form content is all the trend at the moment, and this helps entice your viewers into what they can expect should they watch your whole episode. 

The best part is that this doesn’t have to take you hours to create! With Riverside, AI will do the work for you. Our Magic Clips tool uses AI to identify key moments in your recordings and turns them into multiple short-form videos. Just like that you’ll have multiple videos ready to promote your show. 

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6 of the best solo podcasts to learn from 

Looking for one-person podcasts that will inspire you? We have you covered. The truth is that there is a broad array of solo podcast examples out there. However, we don’t have the time to take a look at all of them. Instead, let’s check out six of the best solo podcasts here.

1. Financial Feminist

Financial Feminist solo podcast

Host: Tori Dunla

Topic: Personal finance 

With Financial Feminist, host Tori Dunla is ready to empower women to take their finances into their own hands. The solo podcast — which does occasionally have guests — covered a wide range of personal finance topics. You can expect to learn the basics of working toward financial freedom. Aside from the main episodes, there are also exclusive mini-series episodes that follow a theme.

What to learn: You don’t have to stick to one format! Your main series may include a solid structure, but don’t be afraid to include special or exclusive episodes. 

2. Criminal 

Criminal solo podcast

Host: Phoebe Judge

Topic: True Crime 

Criminal is the flagship success from Vox Media Podcast Network. Hosted by Phoebe Judge, this is a true crime podcast centering on “people who’ve done wrong, been wronged”. Each episode recounts a sinister story straight from the criminal archives. While listeners come for the hook, they oftentimes stay for Judge’s soothing voice and storytelling prowess.

What to learn: Your hosting skills matter. Find whatever your niche is and strengthen it. 

3. Katherine Ryan: Telling Everybody Everything 

Katherine Ryan Telling Everybody Everything solo podcast

Host: Katherine Ryan 

Topic: Lifestyle 

Telling Everybody Everything is exactly what it sounds like. Host and comedian Katherine Ryan talks candidly to listeners about a wide scope of topics. You can expect subjects ranging from what’s happening with Lizzo to taking the family to the Diggerland theme park.

What to learn: Treat your audience like a closed community. Speak to them as you would a friend or family member and you will win their trust. 

4. The Daily Pep

The Daily Pep

Host: Meg Kissack 

Topic: Empowerment 

The Daily Pep! is a short and sweet podcast with episodes lasting between three to five minutes. In each one, host Meg Kissack gives listeners a quick pep talk to help them start the day. Subjects range from perfectionism and productivity to inner wisdom. The “rebel-rousing” daily installments serve up a fresh perspective for creative women. 

What to learn: Podcast episodes don’t have to be long. As a solo podcaster, you may choose to keep them short and to the point. 

5. Sleep Cove 

Sleep Cove solo podcast

Host: Christopher Fitton 

Topic: Sleep meditations 

Struggling to get some rest? Sleep Cove might be the answer. In each episode, host Christopher Fitton recounts relaxing sleep meditations, hypnosis soundtracks, and story. The calming voice of the host is often paired with sound effects and music to create ambiance.

What to learn: Think outside of the box with your solo podcast ideas. Your podcast may help listeners solve a specific problem, such as falling to sleep. 

6. Short History Of… 

Short History of... solo podcast

Host: John Hopkins 

Topic: History and crime 

Short History Of… takes a simplistic format. In each episode, host John Hopkins focuses on a subject — a historic figure or event — and recounts its history. The episodes take a creative narrative style and often start in the middle of the tale. While Hopkins occasionally has expert guests to add color to the stories, he is usually the only host of the series. 

What to learn: Engaging storytelling will always captivate an audience. If you are weaving a narrative, take the time to script it well in advance.

Best practices for creating a successful solo podcast

  • Plan episodes in advance. There’s nothing worse than starting a recording without a plan. When you want to create a podcast, you should always do the groundwork first. Take the time to script or draft each episode in advance. 
  • Choose a subject that you love. Spoiler. You will be speaking about your subject for hours on end. For that reason, you need to make sure it’s something you love.
  • Perfect your hosting skills. As a solo podcaster, the success of your show rests on your hosting skills. Work on your delivery and speaking voice. Make sure that you are always clear and that you use an engaging tone at all times. 

FAQs on solo podcasts

Is a solo podcast a good idea?

Yes! There are many highly successful solo podcasts out there. In this guide, we have covered some of the best solo podcast examples so that you can see how it’s done.

How do you talk on a solo podcast?

When you host a solo podcast, you need to make sure that it is engaging for the audience. Make sure that you show off your passion for the subject and use an engaging tone.

How long should a solo podcast episode be?

How long your solo podcast episodes should be generally depends on the subject. However, the average podcast length is between 30 and 42 minutes. You might want to keep this in mind.

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