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How to write great episode titles for your podcast

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Episode spelt out in blocks

How to write titles that will make people listen

You should think about your podcast episode title like the headline of an article.  It’s the thing that makes 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.  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 title to make them want to press play?

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Shorter is always better

This isn’t just because people don’t have time to read your 700-word titles, it’s because they won’t see them.

Most people will be looking at your podcast on their phone and if your title is too long it’ll cut off or they’ll get that annoying “…”

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

How to come up with a great podcast name

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Don’t forget to use keywords

Including keywords people are searching for will help your episode stand out when they’re flicking through the feed.

It’ll also help your show turn up in search.  Especially if you’re including those keywords on the show notes pages for each episode.

This can be a way to get your show noticed even when you’re small.  Since you probably won’t be able to compete on the charts, if you’re putting keywords in all the places they need to be, you’ll increase your chances of being surfaced in a search.

This is also why it’s a good idea to play in categories and niches that are less overcrowded because the competition isn’t as fierce.

How to write great podcast descriptions

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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.

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 show, 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.

Should you include episode numbers in the title of each show?

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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.

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

For shows like our flagship show at Mamamia, Mamamia Out Loud, the podcast episode titles are much more in keeping with the tone of the show.

We put the details of what we talk about in the description and keep the episode titles more creative/interesting/intriguing…

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

There are plenty of places outside the title of your episodes you can place keywords, like your show notes.  So if a more creative title suits your show then go with that.

You want people to feel like the language you use in your titles matches the language you’d use in the episode.  So if you’re overly formal in your titles but really relaxed in your show, it probably won’t make sense.

Should you launch your podcast with episode 0?

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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 there, not like they’re getting the same thing on repeat.  So think about that when you’re crafting your episode titles.

Ideally, you want people to look through your episodes and for it to seem creative, interesting and diverse.  That’s what will make them stick around.

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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