PQT – Naming Your Podcast with Dave Jackson

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Naming your podcast is kind of a big deal. Yet some people might just jump into it without ever asking anyone if the name is any good or more importantly, makes any sense? I know I did, oops.

Podcast Quick Tips

Yes, some podcasters will start a podcast with a name that tells you nothing about the content and do quite well but wouldn’t you rather have a show with a name that told everyone who heard it, in just a few words, knew exactly what that podcast was all about? Hint: your answer should be yes;)

Having a name that clearly relays the subject of your podcast is going to be, for the majority of us, a great way to help capture a potential subscriber (one who listens week after week whether or not they technically “subscribe”).

When someone is searching for your content on iTunes there are very few opportunities to capture their attention. The name of your show is one. A big one. In addition, iTunes can better direct those people to your content if they know what search terms best fit your show. And trust me, with iTunes, it’s ALL about the title of your show.

Guest host Dave Jackson (a personal podcasting mentor of mine) from The School of Podcasting takes over the mic to share a great tip that will help you be more effective when deciding a name for your podcast.

The answer is pretty simple, tell someone the name you’re considering and see if they can tell you what your show will be about?

This simple technique will give you all kinds of insights into the podcast you are getting set to launch.

Have fun and let me know in the comments how you chose the name of your podcast.

About Ray Ortega

Full-time podcast producer and host of The Podcasters' Studio and Podcasters' Roundtable, I enjoy sharing my ten years of experience making podcasts to help others improve or start their own show.

Comments

  1. Perfect timing: I'm struggling with exactly this challenge for a podcast I hope to launch soon. Should I pick a plain, direct title that's descriptive OR something a bit more mysterious & potentially alluring? … Also: How much can you rely on the subtitle?

    I'd be curious if Dave (or Ray) could point to a few podcasts that (a) have a title that does NOT say literally what the show is about, and (b) does not rely on the name of a well-known host. Any examples pop to mind?

    Thanks in advance….

    • Thanks Alan. The subtitle can benefit a non obvious name in terms of search however when people are simply browsing show art then it's not as helpful. It's really probably more of a personal choice. The easy route is to name it something relevant so that you don't have to worry about it. I'm not thinking of specific example off the top of my head but I'll ask Dave to respond also see what I can find. Nothing in my personal podcatcher fits your specifications however I'm sure some of them started off in ambiguity and then became popular through great content and word of mouth. I also see a possible example that was built on top of someone else's already successful brand and that can be a good way to do it too. But certainly it's going to be a little tougher if you start off as an unknown. But it certainly doesn't mean that you can't grow it just as successfully as if the name was obvious. I think great content is becoming the new SEO and having a great blog will help greatly with discovery.

  2. Interesting stuff Alan. You'd definitely be fighting the nondescript title battle but a good subtitle would help that. And of course a great description cause I think that is where you'll grab your listeners. It seems very niche but that can do quite well. Unique for sure. Keep up the good work and let me know how it goes.

  3. stephaneirwin says:

    Hmmm. I just recently saw that movie (Roger and me) and how long ago was that amde (so it is an uphill battle). If I was going that route, I would be tempted to make it his full name (just for SEO juice, but then again how many Ruperts are there). I love the concept. Everyone loves the underdog (and a good story), so let me know when it launches.

  4. Struggling with this very thing and I'm curious if you have a blog or website should your podcast have the same name or variation of for branding purposes? Or, is it possible to do something say like xyz podcast by abc media (name of blog or company)? Thanks in advance.

    • Your podast name would be best served to describe the content on your podcast so people know what they are going to hear about by simply reading the title. If that fits your brand then that's great. You can also use subtitles to be more descriptive like XYZ Podcast – The ABC Guide to XYZ. Thanks!

  5. chrisbrakeshow says:

    Cool, thanks for the tips! We want to start a podcast network with all our friends' podcasts, and we're thinking of a name for a technology podcast. This information was helpful in coming up with a name for their new technology podcast. Thank you again!

  6. Thank you Ray and Dave. I'm about to refire up my podcast and wanted to ensure I'm going to be 100% happy with the name before submitting my podcast to iTunes. I still like "The Influential Woman Podcast," and it certainly get's noticed

  7. Thanks for sharing that. I am about to launch, but I am having issue with the naming. we came up with one, and I discovered someone else with the same name. I am in the middle of getting another one, but finding it difficult.

    • It can be tough especially these days with many names and domains taken. It’s a good idea to see if the URL is available before you settle on a name because people will try typing in your show’s name to get to the website. If it’s short enough, you can consider including the word “show” in it so that you can get the domain. Good luck!

  8. Thank you for all of the great info! I am wanting to start a podcast, but am having a couple of issues getting going. My goal is to help educate and empower people as to how to get out of, heal from, and then avoid, relationships with Narcissists.

    My first challenge is “Narcissist” isn’t easy to spell, so I’m wondering if I should do a different name for my podcast, and second, my audience would like me to touch on a couple of different topics within Narcissism (healing, QandA, and special guests). I don’t know how to segment my show in a way that would be easiest for everyone to keep up with the different topics.

    Any direction or thoughts on the matter would be much appreciated.

    Thank you 🙂

    • Thanks! Hard spellings can be a challenge but you can buy multiple domains to include the most popular misspellings of the word. Whatever you go with, try and make the title of your show the same as your website if possible. So see if the domain name is available first. As for segmenting your show, that is something you can handle with segments that you establish in each episode. You can then fine tune it with audience feedback as you go along. You may find that they want you to drop one segment all together, arrange them differently or add more. Experiment, let the audience help guide you and have fun.

  9. I am looking to start a podcast however, I am having that though.
    My first problem is naming my podcast. My goal is to boost people’s confidence and let them know that they have a voice but I don’t want people to know who I am because I am extremely shy, so I don’t want my podcast name to reveal who I am.
    My second problem is how my voice will reveal who I am. For example, that Disney kids movie, Radio Rebel, the main character uses a voice modulator to mask her voice and her name, Radio Rebel, masks her name. I do ‘m it in now how to get a voice modulator and I don’t know what name I should use to mask my name.
    Lastly, I don’t know how to segment my show.
    Thankyou

    • Hi Jane, a podcast name is something to test before you settle on an official name and Dave discusses a good way to do that in this episode. But also see if the domain name is available first, the .com because it makes things so much easier when people can type in the name of your show using the .com and find your podcast online. Most editing software will allow you to apply effects that will disguise your voice and there is no need to use your real name if you don’t want to. For segments, simply break your podcast into 2, 3 or 4 separate sections which all have little intros or some kind of marker that you mention like a mini intro/transition into the new segment. Just something that lets the listener know that you are entering a new segment.

  10. This is great info! My friend and I are doing a podcast based on our experiences living abroad…. We had our name picked out as “2 Broads Abroad” but alas, a quick Google search determined this title is not only a published book, but a you tube channel, a Facebook page, and much more…. Back to square one… Your great info reinforces what we thought to be true, it’s all about the name!!

  11. Michael Pallas says:

    I am doing a sports based podcast on the New York Jets. Is it cheesy to used titles that are using word play. For instance, one of the weekly episode titles is going to be “The Flight Plan,” as it will go over the best ways for the Jets to win that Sunday.

    • It’s tempting to have fun with titles but what you lose is the SEO benefits on both the web and inside iTunes. In iTunes, titles are everything when it comes to search. People certainly won’t be searching for titles that are a play on words. On your website there are some SEO tools that would let you use titles like that and still have the robots (crawlers) see a title that is optimized for search. As well, you can use a plugin like PowerPress and their SEO features to give you iTunes specific titles. Going with the most obvious titles isn’t always the most fun but is often better for your show overall.

  12. What do you think the podcast “You Tarzan, Me Dr. Jane” is about?

  13. Kai Sosceles says:

    Making your podcast name descriptive to what your show is about sounds like great advice, especially in the fast-scrolling environments, but can we talk for a second about how many of the top podcasts today don’t employ this strategy? Here’s a few off the top:

    Invisibilia
    99% Invisible
    This American Life
    Welcome to Night Vale
    Serial
    Radiolab

    Not to say there aren’t just as many that do use descriptive titles (Stuff You Should Know, Planet Money, Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People and more), but it’s a solid split down the middle of Descriptive vs. Random NonDescript Name and with so many “cutesy” named podcasts (Reply All comes to mind), this advice seems like a coinflip.

    • Hi Kai, thanks for the insights. The bottom line is that for any show that goes with a catchy but nondescript title, they are starting off in a harder place, in terms of search, clarity and discovery, than one that does not.

      There’s an important point to make as well about the shows you listed. Most, if not all, have major promo machines behind them and/or brought very large audiences to podcasting that they had outside of podcasting. When you have the backing and marketing power of the likes of NPR etc., it’s much easier to start off with a name that is ambiguous. You’re ahead before you even start which is not the experience of the average podcaster who needs every single listener that may browse their show title/artwork etc. And at some point you are big enough that the marketing practically handles itself.

      So I would say it’s less of a coin flip than you’d think. If I was starting with an already established audience or a large marketing budget it might be easier to pull the trigger on a clever name but for the average, independent producer, choosing a name that is more descriptive is probably a better idea. That said, the beauty of podcasting is you get to make all your own decisions, great content will rise to the top and everyone has a chance to be heard. Thanks again!

  14. Oj Goncalves says:

    Hello Ray,

    My buddy and I are struggling to get our podcast up and running. We are 2 dudes from Boston that want to talk about of life and some of the things we do. We are trying to figure out a name for the podcast, how to get it on iTunes and the best mixer to buy. We have a lot of ideas but are stuck with getting started. Any help would be great.

    Thank you,

    Oj

    • Hi Oj, good luck with your show. Check out my episodes 50 and 51. Those are all the basics of starting a show but ignore the parts about “Feedburner.” I don’t necessarily recommend them anymore. There are better ways to create your feed beginning with using a host like Libsyn or blubrry.

  15. Starting one, managed to pick up “social podcaster” and will be uploading hopefully in the next few days, and will be found on blogger and through itunes (if all goes well). I wanted to work on social issues topics while not being bound to just social issues, say if i wanted to talk about literature or a new movie i was uber excited to see, so dropping the “issues”, just the social podcaster.

    • Hi Grace. Good luck with your new show and congrats on getting started! The only problem I can see is that people won’t really know what they are getting by just reading the title alone. However that is where a nice 3-5 word tagline/subheading can really help. You can do this so that it appears in your title in iTunes like: Social Podcaster – Your Descriptive Tagline Here. Stay well and let me know how the show goes!

  16. Just wanted to say ‘thanks!’ Got a lot of ideas and places to go from your article. I’ve always been about ‘creating a niche.’ Hopefully this will be the same with my podcasting!
    Donna

  17. Gabe Thomas says:

    Hey Ray,
    I’m hoping to start a geek-centric podcast discussing comic book, film and video game content. I would love some suggestions. Thanks in advance!
    -Gabe

    • Hi, Gabe. Best thing you can do is start. You’ll get better as you go but you have to start in order to get better. So get a little gear, at minimum pick up a decent USB mic like this: http://podhelp.me/AT2005zon and record into some free software like Audacity or better if you have it. Get some media hosting for your audio files at Libsyn.com, use code: podcasthelper on checkout to get the first month free and this will also be the best way to easily create your RSS feed for submitting your show to iTunes and beyond. Good luck!

  18. Hi Ray – thanks for the info. More than anything, I want to focus my podcast on interviews and hearing other’s stories (always loved to interview and ask questions). I’m not sure if I want to focus on a specific category of people though. I would love to run three names by you (through email) and get your thoughts?

  19. Hello there! I am a young geek fan trying to start my own podcast. It will primarily be about geek fandoms, such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Marvel movies, etc. I am planning on mainly centering on discussion and analysis of things related to this topic, particularly for a slightly younger audience than many shows that already exist for this topic aim at, or those who are still new in the fandom, with bits for even the most devoted fans. I am trying to decide on a good name for my podcast, and am struggling in coming up with one that is catchy, easy to remember and spell, and descriptive of the topic. I’ve considered “The Elven Padawan”, to communicate that the podcast is about both sci-fi and fantasy fandoms (primarily Star Wars and LOTR), as well as a younger or still learning audience. However, I’m a little worried that this title will tie me to just those two topics too much, since I also plan to include reviews, discussions, and possibly author interviews for books not related to either of those franchises, as well as other discussion topics relevant, yet not necessarily exclusive, to them (such as the place of female or child characters in such stories). How should I go about including all of these topics and still crafting a good name for the show? Though I really don’t want to let go of any one of these topics, would it be better to do so in order to hone in on the others?

    • The more you focus your show, the more likely you are to find an audience. It’s hard to gain an audience in a niche that caters to general sci-fi/fantasy cause there is so much of that. By focusing your show, you can more easily be found in search but it doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself. Find a way to dig into a subject and cover it well and then branch into others. But of course, if you’re just doing it for fun, don’t even worry about it. Talk about anything you want. You can give your show a name that is more general and for iTunes, in your rss feed, you can add in a subtitle that is more descriptive such as the Awesome Show of Stuff – A show about awesome stuff and Batman. Obviously a generic example but in there you have your vague title and then you have some descriptive keywords that you want people to find you for.

  20. How do I make sure that someone else isn’t already using the podcast name I want?

    • Search iTunes;) Or type in the name and then ‘podcast’ in google. Also check the domain name and see who is using it. But a search in iTunes will be most effective.

  21. I’m currently looking for a name for a podcast that is mainly about news and opinion, but delves into some other segments like competitions etc.

    How do you suggest we come up with a name?

    Many thanks,
    George A

    • You can give the podcast any name and then use a subtitle that is more descriptive. One sentence that has keywords you want to be found for. Also, using good keywords in the title of each episode will help you be found in places like iTunes.

  22. Thank you! I just renamed my Podcast!

  23. Jeff Ashe says:

    Hello Dan and Ray,
    How r u? I’m a rookie podcaster that is starting Thursday…I am very excited 2 be in the podcast bandwagon…I’m with a disability and I use an ACC device…I’m planning on using my camcorder as my visual guide 4 when I edit it in audio then I’m exporting it as MP3…I don’t know how 2 make RSS feeds but I got a free 30-day demo of an app…Anyways, I’m having serious trouble picking a title 4 my show that could be on ITunes or Utube or both..My plan of attack is 2 have my podcast be a combination of about me, my family, my adventures and passion for Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, my disability, what my life is being disabled, what r the life challenges with a disability, my dayhab program that I attend every day, and last but not least, My Youtube life…I wanna avoid calling it InTheLifeofJeff because I already have it 4 my other social media stuff…I want something kool, unique, catchy, and interesting 2 people…I’m a daily vlogger so this will be easy since I already have the talking skills down…
    Do u have any suggestions…Please feel free 2 email me if u have anything…
    Thanxs,
    Jeff A

    • Jeff, thanks for getting in touch. If you did name it the same as your social accounts then people would certainly find you everywhere easier;) But think about a few words that can summarize the most important parts of what you’ll cover, probably your disability and everyday challenges and passions. You can also go with something that is more vague that doesn’t necessarily tell me what your podcast is about but then you can add a subtitle in your RSS feed so that in iTunes, the podcast will have a more specific explanation of what it is about. So you can have your name – subtitle (which is maybe a sentence that specifies the focus of the podcast). Make sure to do titles of episodes that you want to be found for in iTunes etc. For example, do a show about exploring Disneyland from your perspective and make sure Disneyland and any other important keywords like “disabled” are in the title. This is another way to help bolster a title that is non-descriptive because you’ll found for these words in a search inside iTunes. As for creating an RSS feed, if you have hosting, you should be able to do it there. So if you use Libsyn it’s as easy as filling in some boxes with the correct info. If you are on WordPress you can use the PowerPress plugin to create your RSS feed in much the same manner as you would via Libsyn. If you don’t have hosting yet, you can get a free month by using code: podcasthelper

      Good luck and let me know what you end up with for a title!! Stay well!

  24. I was just throwing around names for a sports podcast I’m trying to launch, but everything seems taken…i came across the SportsGate but didn’t want ppl thinking it was all about cheating in sports ?.. Suggestions?

    • Sports can be tough cause there are a lot of shows but try to focus on what you’ll cover most. You might need to come up with something that maybe only the audience would know and then use a subtitle to be more descriptive. What is the show about specifically?

  25. Hi Ray,
    Thanks for the post, it has been very helpful. A friend and I are starting a podcast to tell authentic Cameroonian stories and we came up with the name “Cameroonically”. What do you think and how can we do better?

    • Hi, Glory. The name seems to fit but I’m unsure how well it will do in search. If you keep it, you’ll want to include a tagline such as: Cameroonically – Camerooian stories about ________. Something like that so that you can be found for your biggest keywords that someone who would be interested in the show would use to search in Apple Podcasts and beyond.

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