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How to come up with a great podcast name

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Post-it note with podcast name ideas on it

What are you gonna call this thing?

Your podcast name is the first thing potential listeners see when they stumble across your show.

So how do you pick something that makes them want to listen?

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Why is your podcast name so important?

I know we’re all told not to judge a book by its cover but the truth is, we do.

When people find your show in their podcast directory it’s often the combination of your podcast name and podcast logo that will entice them to give it a try.

You haven’t got a lot of words to make an impact so this isn’t an easy task.  But ideally, you want to give your podcast a name that’s going to stop people scrolling by.

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If you’ve got an existing brand, use it

If you’re starting a podcast as an extension of your blog, business or website, it makes sense to keep things consistent.

When I created a podcast to accompany my online podcasting course PodSchool, it made sense to call it PodSchool as well.

Of course, if my priority was shoving keywords in as many places as possible I could have named it “The Podcasting Tips Podcast” or “The Podcasting Show” but that’s kinda boring.

So if you’ve got an existing brand look at whether that name translates into a good podcast name and voila!  The thinking is already done for you.

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Don’t choose keywords over creativity

Since iTunes is a search engine, using keywords in your title will help people find your show if they’re searching in your niche.  But you don’t want people to just find you, you want them to listen and subscribe.

That means you need to catch their attention and keywords often aren’t the way to do that.  Unless your keywords are razzle-dazzle.  Which I doubt.

There are also plenty of places you can optimise your show for search like show notes, your podcast description and your podcast category.  That means you don’t need to cram your title full of keywords at the expense of a more interesting name.

For example my interview show, You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere, could have been called “The Celebrity Interview Show” or “Celebrity Interviews with Rachel Corbett” but that’s not terribly engaging.

Try and come up with a name that gives a sense of the personality of your podcast.  If that includes keywords, great!  If not, it’s not the end of the world.

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Warning: Don’t sneak keywords in after the title of your show

This used to be a way to get more keywords into your title without compromising the creativity of your podcast name.

In the back end of your podcast host, you’d add a few descriptive words in the podcast name field e.g. PodSchool | Professional podcasting tips to help you create a kick-arse show.

Unfortunately, iTunes started cracking down on this and was taking podcasts off Apple Podcasts if it appeared they were keyword stuffing their titles.  So just come up with the best name for your show and leave the keywords for your show description.

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Brainstorm as many ideas as possible and give the good ones time to sink in

When you start thinking about your show name get out a piece of paper and scribble down as many ideas as you can.

Don’t think too much about it and don’t judge what’s coming out.

Then once you’ve got a bunch of ideas pick your favourites and sit with them for a while.

Give yourself a couple of weeks.  Tell people whose opinion you respect and see what they think. Also, take note of how you feel when you say the name(s) out loud.  If you like it and want to tell people, that’s a good indication you’re onto something.  If you get nervous or you’re unsure of yourself that’s probably a good indication you need to go back to the drawing board.

When you share it ask people what they think the show is about.  If they guess something pretty close that’s fantastic.  If they’re way off you might be a way off too.

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Check whether the domain is available

This can be a quick idea killer.

It’s always great to have a website for your podcast because if people like your show they’ll want to find out more about you.  It’s also how new listeners will find you if they’re searching in Google.

Ideally, you want your website name to match your podcast name, so if you can’t get the URL it might be a good idea to look for something else.

If you’re 1000% set on your name and you can’t get the URL you can always add “podcast” to the end of it and see if that’s available e.g. PodSchoolPodcast.com.

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Get inspiration from idioms and synonyms

Searching for your keyword on idiom websites or thesaurus.com can be a great way to get your creative juices flowing.

These sites also help you come up with ideas that are a step or two away from the basic keyword e.g. You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere.

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Search for books or podcasts in your niche

Amazon is a great search engine and if you type your niche into the search bar it’ll often turn up a bunch of books on your topic.  These titles might give you some inspiration for your podcast name, but try not to copy someone else’s idea.

Searching podcast directories for podcasts in your niche is another great way to see what other people are doing too.

Take note of what you like, what you find annoying and what you think is clever and try and put the best of what you see into a podcast name of your own.

Does your podcast have to be niche?

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Don’t forget about tone

You might only have a few words to play with but if you can get a bit of tone into your title it’ll help listeners understand the vibe of your show.

For example…

“This American Life” could easily have been titled “American Stories” or “Stories From America,” but neither of those options are very interesting.  Instead “This American Life” gives the sense of what it’s about but in a more creative way.

“Startup” by Gimlet is another show that could have been called “The Startup Podcast” but “Startup” is punchier and has more tone.

“The Teacher’s Pet” is another great example.  This idiom is familiar to most people but it’s used in a different, less sinister way than the podcast creator is using it here.  That makes it immediately interesting and draws you in without hearing a word of the podcast.

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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GET MY FREE PODCAST GUIDE

WANT TO START A PODCAST BUT HAVE NO IDEA HOW? THIS GUIDE TAKES YOU THROUGH ALL THE TOOLS AND TECH YOU NEED TO GET GOING!

SEND IT TO ME!