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PodSchool Podcast | How to choose your podcast name

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Post-it note with podcast name ideas on it

So, what are you gonna call this thing?

Naming your podcast can be tough.

It’s the first thing potential listeners will see so the pressure’s on to pick something they’ll want to click on.

Plus, you have to choose a name you’ll be happy shouting from the rooftops for the life of the show.  That’s easier said than done.

So how do you pick a winner?

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First…why is your show name so important?

Think about your podcast artwork and the name of your show like the cover of a book.  When people are choosing what to read the front cover and the title are the first things that impact their decision.

The same goes for your podcast so you need to make sure your show title grabs people’s attention and gives them just enough to entice them to give it a try.

You haven’t got a lot of words to make an impact so you need to get as much information across in as few words as possible.

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If you’ve got an existing brand, use it

If you’re starting a podcast as an extension of a blog, business or website that already exists, it makes sense to keep consistency between that and your podcast.

This obviously makes your decision around what to name your show a lot easier.

Take my show for example.  I’d created my online podcasting course PodSchool, so when I started a podcast to accompany that business it made sense to call it PodSchool as well.

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

So, if you’ve got an existing brand look at whether that show would translate nicely across to a podcast and voila!  An instant podcast name.

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Don’t choose keywords over creativity

Since iTunes is a search engine, using keywords in your title will help surface your show but you don’t just want people to find you, you want them to subscribe.

This means, you need to catch their attention and usually keywords aren’t the way to do this.  Unless your keyword is razzle dazzle.  Which I highly doubt.

There are plenty of places you can optimise your show for search so don’t 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.

Remember when you’re setting up your podcast you’re going to choose a category and that can actually do some of the heavy lifting for you.

What I mean by this is that if your podcast is a business podcast it’s going to be in the business category.  That means people looking for business podcasts are going to be searching that category so you probably don’t need to have “business” in the title.

How to come up with your podcast idea

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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 you should 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.

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 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 that’s where your audience will come for more information.  It’s also where new listeners will find you if they’re searching in Google.

You want your website name to match up with the name of your podcast so if you can’t get the URL you might need to look for something else.

A good way to get around this, if you REALLY want that name, is to add “podcast” to the end of what you’re searchng for e.g. PodSchoolPodcast.com. Or you can just start again and find something unique.

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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 will 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.

Search for books in your niche on Amazon

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.

This is a great source of inspiration.

Search other podcasts in your niche

Again, use this for inspiration rather copying and pasting what other people have done.

Take note of what you like, what you find annoying, what you think is clever.  Then use all those feelings to adjust the ideas you’ve got.

Do you need to find a niche for your podcast?

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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.

The more personality you can get in there the more likely people will give it a try.

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.

Add keywords after the title

While you want to keep the name of your podcast short you can add additional keywords after the title.

For my podcast, PodSchool, I’ve listed the title as…

PodSchool | Professional podcasting tips to help you create a kick-arse show.

That’s a sneaky way to get more keywords in without sacrificing your creativity.

So, there you have it!  Remember you’re trying to catch people’s attention so make the most of that small amount of real estate to entice passers-by to check you out.

Got a burning question you’d like answered on the podcast? Send me an email.

Need some help getting started or setting up your home studio?  Download my free podcasting guide.

Read full show rundown

Hello and welcome to the show. Today I'm going to be talking about naming your podcast…what a responsibility that is. Of course, if you decide halfway through your show that you want to change the name nobody's going to die or go to jail. The consequences aren't going to be that dire but it will be darn confusing so ideally you are going to pick a show name that is going to not only give your potential audience an idea of the tone and vibe of your show but also explain what it is about. It’ll also be something that you'll be happy to tell people for a long time to come.

That's a lot of things to think about so I'm going to take you through a few ways you can come up with a great idea and also encourage you to take time to sit with your idea. I don't think enough people during the idea generation process, marinade on their ideas. Sometimes an idea you have today, in two weeks you'll think “man this stinks!” So, you want to make sure you leave a bit of time for something to really sit with you so you can work out “is this the right show name for me?”

First up I want to talk about why your show name is so important. If you think about going in and buying a book your show title is one of the first things that potential listeners are going to see. That and your cover art. This is where it's really important to try and shove as much as you possibly can into a very small amount of words. You want to try and get some kind of essence of your show into that podcast title which can be tough. But you want people to really understand, from the combination of the title and your podcast description, what they’re going to get.

Remember it's not like you've just got these five words to play with, you also have the description. With the combination of both these things you want people to get a sense of whether this show is for them. You also want them to understand what they're going to get out of it.

There are a lot of different approaches you can take and I'll take you through a few of them and also give you my tips on the best way to go about it. T

he first thing to think about is - do you have an existing brand? If you are starting this podcast as an extension of something you already do it’s probably best to line that podcast name up with the brand you currently have. A good example is this show right here. I had my online podcasting course PodSchool so it made sense that my podcasting tips podcast would be also called PodSchool. Of course, for SEO purposes and shoving keywords in everywhere, as everybody likes to do, it would have made sense to name it the “Podcasting Tips Podcast” or “The Podcast Show” or something like that but it doesn't really have much sparkle.

There are plenty of other places for you to help your podcast out in terms of SEO that mean you don't have to put your key word in the title. So, if you’ve got a brand already I’d argue it’s best to match your show name up with that brand.

I would argue it's always best if you've got a brand to line it up with that and keep it underneath the same umbrella. You want to link those two things together because you want people who check out your podcast and start searching you to find the business or the blog or website that show fits under. Of course, you don’t have to do that but it can make things a lot easier.

I mentioned their SEO, which everybody is always banging on about, and of course iTunes is a search engine. That means people go into iTunes search for certain terms and keywords. And if you've got your keywords in your title then you're probably going to show up for that. But there are other ways to optimize your show for search so you don't have to put a keyword in the title.

Ideally, what you want to do above all is come up with a title or that is going to excite your audience.

So, for example my interview show You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere, I could have named that “The Celebrity Interview Show” or “Celebrity Interviews with Rachel Corbett” but that’s not terribly engaging or interesting. Something like You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere is an idiom that people know and say. You can get a sense of what it is even though it doesn’t completely give away what the show is about. Some people might argue that's a problem but I think having a show name that’s interesting is better than having a name where it does what it says on the box just because you think that’s what you have to have.

You've also got to remember that when you're setting up your podcast you're going to be choosing categories for that podcast so that can do some of the heavy lifting for you. For example, if your podcast is a business podcast that's going to be in the business category. So, people looking for business podcasts are going to be searching that category and that means you probably don't need to have “business” in the show title.

When you get started, just like with any idea it’s always a great idea to get out the butcher's paper or a bit of A4 paper and a pen and just scribble down as many ideas as you possibly can think of. If you have a stream of consciousness brainstorming session and put everything down, you don't know what you are going to find in the midst the ideas that come out of your brain. That might lead onto inspiration for something else.

If you pick a few ideas in that process you like sit with them and let them soak in. Work out whether they are a show name you like in the long term. Give yourself a couple of weeks, tell some people whose opinion you respect and see what their reaction is. Also, sense how proud you are to tell people the name. If you really like it and want to tell people that’s a good indication you’re onto something.

The other thing to do when you tell people about the show name is ask them what they think the show is about. If they come back and say something pretty close to what your show's about that's fantastic. If they’re way off or they can’t pick it maybe you need to keep workshopping.

So, tell people that you care about see what their response is but also take note of your feelings feel because you want to make sure that you've got a name you want to shout from the rooftops.

The other thing that can often steer you away from the ideas you love is whether the domain is available. It’s always a good idea to have a website for your podcast so that you can have a place to house your show notes. Your show notes are where your audience will find additional information about what you talked about in the episode it's also the place where you'll put any links that they need to find. And it can be very helpful for SEO if your show notes are properly optimized. That means people can find your show if they’re googling something in your specific niche or if they’re Googling guests you have on your show.

So, having a website for your show is important and obviously, it's a good idea if that web site name can match up to the name of the podcast. An easy way to get around this, if the URL is taken, is to just add “podcast” to the end e.g. PodSchoolPodcast.com.

Having a website that aligns with the name of your show makes it much easier to push your listeners to it.

One of the research tools I use a lot no matter what creative idea I am coming up with are idiom and synonym websites. I’ll often type a keyword plus “idioms” into Google or type a keyword into Thesaurus.com and see what comes up.

These websites throw up a bunch of different ways of describing your keyword and can give you some more ideas to play with or just get your creative juices flowing.

Idioms can make great show titles e.g. You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere, or they can just get you thinking laterally about other title options. Thinking a step away from the keyword can really help you come up with something that’s not too obvious.

The other source of inspiration is Amazon. It’s a great search engine if you type your keywords in it’ll throw up a bunch of books on the topic and looking through other people's titles both in books or other podcasts can be great way to get you thinking about what's already out there. It’ll also help you find out what you like and don’t like. Just don’t be a copycat and steal the ideas you like

This exercise is really just to look at what other people are doing and sit in the shoes of your audience. Look at other people’s titles and think “what do I like about this?” “What annoys me about this title” and take that stuff on board when you’re coming up with the title for your show.

All this research will just help you add more ideas into the blender so you can come up with something you’ve thought seriously about.

When you're coming up with your name tone is also important. Sometimes it's a little hard, when your show name is 3-5 words long, to get tone in there but I’ll give you a few examples.

This American Life that could easily have been titled “American Stories” or “Stories From America” but that’s not very interesting. Instead This American Life does what it says on the box but in a more creative way so there's a bit more tone in that title.

Startup by Gimlet is another show that could have been called “The Startup Podcast” but Startup is a little punchier and has a tiny bit 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 that draws you in without even hearing a word of the podcast.

So, try and be creative with your show title and think about whether you can make it a little bit punchier than just describing something.

The other thing we should note, is when you're popping your title into your podcast host you don't need to just have the podcast title. I have a divider for this show and then it says “professional podcasting tips to help you create a kickass show.” So, there's PodSchool in the title but there's also the explainer of what the show does so if you've got a show that is teaching people something or is around your area of expertise that's often a way you can get more key words into the title. Or give your audience a little bit more of a guide as to what it is. Of course, you need to be mindful of the fact that on a smart phone that title will be cut off so you should keep the actual title of the show short enough to turn up in that.

I hope that's helped you think a bit more creatively and strategically about coming up with the right podcast title for your show. As always the show notes from this episode will be PodSchoolPodcast.com. Just type “title” into the search bar and they'll pop up. If you are finding this show useful, as always I do ask that you share it with anybody who needs help with their podcast or just leave a rating or review in iTunes or wherever you listen to the show. I'll see you next week and until then, happy podcasting.

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