How to write great episode titles for your podcast


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How to write episode titles that will make people listen

Your podcast episode titles are like the headline of an article… it’s the thing that can make people click.

So, you need to pack as much information as possible into a small number of words.  But you also want to be truthful.

The rules of click-baiting apply here just as they do on blogs and websites…don’t do it, unless you want to suffer the consequences.

If you want listeners to keep returning to your show, week after week, you have to build a relationship with them.  And just like in real life, the best way to build a relationship is through trust.  And that starts from the moment they engage with your content.

So if you’re promising to deliver something, you’d better dish it up.  Otherwise, your audience won’t stick around for long.

So what do you put in your episode titles to make people want to press play?

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Shorter is always better

Keeping your titles short isn’t just about saving people time it’s also because they might not see everything you’ve written.

A lot of podcast apps cut longer episode titles off so if someone is looking at your show on their phone and your title is too long they might only see a portion of it.

Ideally, you want a title that will catch people’s attention as they’re scrolling though, so try and be as succinct as possible.

You also want to get the most important stuff up the front so if your title does get cut off there’s enough there to get people excited.

How to come up with a great podcast name


Don’t forget to use keywords

Including popular keywords in your niche will help people recognise content they’re interested in when they’re scrolling through their podcast app.

It’ll also help your show pop up in search results.  Especially if you’re including those keywords on the show notes pages for each episode, which can be a great way to get your show noticed even when you’re small.

Since you probably won’t be able to compete on the podcast charts, putting keywords in all the places they need to be will increase your chances of being found.

A beginner’s guide to podcast SEO


Don’t waste space with words like “episode”

I’m not sure a single person has listened to a show because of an episode number in the title.

You want to make sure you’re kicking things off with killer content not administrative details.  And this isn’t just best practice from a user perspective, it’s also the approach Apple Podcasts recommends.

If you want to add information about the episode number or whether it’s a bonus or trailer you can do that in the back end of your podcast host…

Under “type” you choose full episode, bonus or trailer.

A full episode is a regular ep, a bonus is a piece of additional content or something your listeners weren’t expecting and a trailer is audio you might drop before the launch of a new show or season to give people a taste of what’s coming up.

Highlighting the type of episode in your podcast host is a much better approach than writing words like “episode” or “bonus” in the title.

If you’ve got multiple seasons and you want to highlight this you can do that by clearly labelling the trailer for each season and then people will know episodes after that correspond to that season.

If you absolutely must put this detail in your titles because it will help your audience then make it short e.g. “S1 E1:” instead of “Season 1 Episode 1:” so the majority of your title isn’t taken up with admin.

Should you include episode numbers in your podcast titles?


Should you be descriptive or clever?

This will always come down to personal preference and will depend on the vibe of your show.

For my interview series, You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere, the main thing people are interested in is who my guest is.  Especially since the premise of each episode is the same…I’m chatting to people about how they managed to build a successful career in the entertainment industry.

So in my episode titles, I just give the name of my guest…

Sometimes if you’ve got a guest on your podcast you might want to introduce a bit of tone into the title so listeners know who you’re talking to but also what to expect…

For other shows, especially when you’re talking about multiple topics in one episode, it might be best to pick one stand-out moment and highlight that so people are keen to hear more…

Or, you might want to highlight all the topics you cover if your show is more focused on giving advice…

And finally, if you’re doing an educational podcast like my show, PodSchool, it’s best to be descriptive because that’s what people will be searching for…

The right way to write your titles will depend on your content and your audience but these are a few examples from shows I either host personally or have overseen the production of in my role as Head of Podcasts.

All you need to remember is that you’re trying to get people to press play on something they may have never seen or heard so keep that in mind when you’re writing your titles.

How to write great podcast descriptions


Make each podcast episode title unique (unless it’s part of a series)

You want people to scroll through your episodes and feel like there’s a range of content, not like they’re getting the same thing on repeat.  So think about that when crafting your episode titles.

Ideally, you want people to look through your episodes and feel like the context mix is creative, interesting and diverse.

That’s what will make them stick around and keep diving into new episodes.

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

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Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!