How to Choose a Podcast Name

Last updated on December 4th, 2019

A podcast name should convey who you are and what the show is about in just a handful of words. It should be descriptive and creative, giving potential listeners a peak at what to expect as they dive into your latest episodes. On top of the creative hurdles, your podcast’s title must also consider a few technical components to ensure future listeners can discover the show.

The 4 Most Popular Ways to Name a Podcast

Before you start brainstorming a podcast name, it’s important to understand the four main categories of names. These are the most popular ways to name a podcast. You’ll find that most shows fit into one of these buckets. 

1. Make it Short and Sweet

Sometimes being simple and direct is best. Name your show exactly what it is so your listeners identify it immediately and never doubt what it’s about. 

Football Weekly, Making Beyonce, and The Property Podcast are great examples of simple podcast names that get right to the point. They also perform better in searches because they use keywords a potential listener would look for.

2. Use a Play on Words

Some podcasts use common phrases, puns, or plays-on-words in their podcast name. These can help you make a statement and stand out from the crowd when a potential listener is scrolling past hundreds of other shows. 

The Moth, for example, isn’t a show about insects. Their mission is “to promote the art and craft of storytelling and to honor and celebrate the diversity and commonality of human experience.” 99% Invisible is a show about “all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about,” which is hard to glean from its name.

While a clever podcast name could catch someone’s eye, you have to be careful. There’s a chance that listeners won’t understand an abstract name. This could make them immediately dismiss your show, especially if the clever name doesn’t relate to your topic or niche at all. 

An easy way to test your clever name is to tell it to a friend and ask them if they know what it’s about. If they can’t guess your topic (even if they see your cover art), opt for something a little more descriptive.

3. Use Your Brand of Name

If you or your brand already has an audience before you start a podcast, it’s often easiest to use the same name. This will help people associate your new podcast with your existing brand.

The Tim Ferris Show or The Joe Rogan Experience, for example, leverage the popularity of their founders. The names don’t tell you much about the podcast, but if you like their other stuff, you will probably like their podcasts as well.

Just look at how many podcasts in the New & Noteworthy section use existing brand names as part of their podcast name.

podcast name brands

If you want to include your personal name, you have to be clever here. At one point, you could tack on your name at the end of your show’s name, like “Top Tier Marketing with John Doe.” But Apple rejects names like that now. So your name has to be part of the show’s name, like Tim Ferris and Joe Rogan do. 

4. Convey the Tone

An effective way to set your podcast apart from the rest is to build your personality into your podcast name. Use descriptive words, punctuation, and even mis-spellings to convey the right tone to potential listeners. 

For example, Wardrobe Crisis is a show about fashion, but it also tackles big topics like culture, sustainability, ethics, activism, and the environment. The word “crisis” creates a more serious tone that sets it apart from other shows about fashion that are light and fun.

On 888-Barbara, host Barbara Corcoran answers life, relationship, and business questions. Here podcast name refers to the phone number you can call to ask your question. That’s a clever way to imbue personality and promote her show.  

How to Pick a Podcast Title

With all this freedom in choosing a podcast name, we gathered seven pieces of advice from our community to help you pick the right one. Keep these pearls of wisdom in mind as you brainstorm a list of perfect podcast names and ensure your show starts off on the right foot.

1. Be Descriptive, But Get to the Point

As potential listeners browse Spotify or Apple Podcasts, you only have a few seconds to convey exactly what your show is about. Users will judge your show based on a thumbnail, a package of the podcast name complemented with quality cover art. This is the first impression that decides if your podcast is worth exploring.

Quickly and effectively describing your show’s tone, content, and personality is the most important factor to consider when naming a podcast. This is not the time to be ambiguous or unnecessarily crafty. Stay relevant to the topic and skip the names that require additional explanation to get your point across.

A word of caution: Descriptive doesn’t always mean that a lengthier title is better. Pacific Content analyzed over 650K show titles and found 75% of all podcast names are 29 characters or less. While you may have 225 characters to play with, focus on concise names for a stronger punch.

2. Consider the Search-Ability

Podcasts are part of the digital media world so how easily a show can be found via keyword searches affects audience growth. The “search-ability” of a podcast’s name refers to its SEO value and whether it will appear as a result to a user’s query. 

Many podcast directories reference a podcast’s title and author fields when deciding if your podcast is related to a user’s search. In order to increase the likelihood of your show appearing in these results, consider including the keyword potential listeners will use when looking for information about your topic.

However, don’t over do it. Adding extra terms to your podcast title (called keyword stuff) to game the system won’t do you any favors. Apple Podcasts is strict and will reject or remove your podcast if it suspects any foul play. Learn from the experiences of The Audacity to Podcast where host, Daniel J. Lewis, describes how his own podcast was dinged and how to avoid his mistake.

3. Think About Word-of-Mouth Discovery

How many times has a friend suggested a new podcast you simply must to listen to? 

Word-of-mouth recommendations and marketing is an important piece of a successful show and something that can’t be glossed over. Think about how your listeners will talk about your podcast to their network. Think about if the name is difficult to spell, uses uncommon abbreviations, or is homonyms.

For example, say I have a weight loss podcast called “Fifteen Lbs. To Go.” It’s descriptive and concise, but may cause problems for word-of-mouth recommendations. “Did you say fifteen or fifty?”, “Is the number spelled out or just one-five?”, and “Oh, it’s L-B-S, not the word pounds?” are a few questions that will impact how easy it will be for the new listener to ultimately find my show.

As you consider ambiguity and your podcast name, try to reduce the obstacles between someone hearing about your podcast and how easy it is for them to type it out later on. You don’t want to miss out on engaging new listeners because they didn’t know how to spell the show’s title.

4. Check Domain and Social Handle Availability

We’re harping on how easy it will be for potential listeners to find your show because it’s crucial to your audience’s growth. Every successful show has a dedicated podcast website and social media accounts that are attached to the podcast’s name. As you brainstorm a list of podcast titles, do your homework to ensure the domain and social handles are available.

Avoid the headache of building out your show’s branding only to find you can’t secure the domain name because it already exists. Do Google searches, type the name into every podcast directory, and make sure it’s not already trademarked. You should also use Namecheckr and Instant Domain Search.

5. Say It Out Loud – A Lot

Have you ever said a phrase so many times in a row that by the end every word sounds like gibberish? Your podcast name will become one of these phrases. Think of each episode’s introduction, the calls-to-action, or how often you’ll plug the podcast in day to day conversation. All in, you’ll say your show’s name a couple thousand times.

As your narrow down the list of options, say each out loud a lot. Say it over and over again and throw out the versions you don’t consistently, clearly deliver. Avoid stumbling phrases that are hard to say off the cuff, ones that don’t flow naturally for you, or that are difficult for others to repeat.

6. Get Feedback from Your Network

Once you’ve settled on a shortlist, now is the time to start asking for feedback from your network. Poll friends, family, or co-workers for their first impressions and reactions. It’s easy to get to miss glaring issues because you intimately understand what you want to convey. By assessing other’s honest opinions, you’ll gain critical feedback in your title’s shortcomings or wins. 

7. Try a Name Generator

If you’ve wracked your brain and you still can’t come up with a suitable name, get some inspiration by using a business name generator. All you have to do is enter a few keywords and a generator will spit out hundreds of ideas. You may get lucky and find the perfect name. At the very least, it will point you in the right direction.

Here are a few useful name generators:

podcast name generator

Things to Avoid When Picking a Podcast Name

Now that you know how to choose a podcast name, let’s go over some common mistakes you should avoid. Make sure your podcast name doesn’t make any of these errors. 

1. A Name that Already Exists

If you give your show a name that already exists, you’ll just confuse your listeners and water down your brand. It might open you to legal challenges as well. Choose a unique name. 

2. Including “Podcast” in Your Name

Using “podcast” in your name is almost always redundant. It’s probably not necessary in most cases. If a potential listener comes across your show on iTunes or a podcasts app, they already know you host a podcast.

Furthemore, the word “podcast” doesn’t tell the listener much. It’s better to use a word that describes your show and exhibits your personality. For instance, instead of The Facebook Marketing Podcast, you might go with The Facebook Marketing Deep-Dive or Facebook Marketing Hackers.

3. Expletives and Offensive Words

It may seem edgy to use offensive words or phrases in your podcast name, but it doesn’t make you stand out from the crowd. In fact, it could backfire if Apple refuses to approve your podcast. Some older podcasts get away with using asterisks to substitute letters in expletive words (like sh*t), but new podcasts struggle getting approved with any word that may be offensive. 

4. Overly Long or Keyword-Stuffed Titles

It’s tempting to maximize your discoverability by filling your title with keywords, but Apple doesn’t like this. They will reject your show if you try to game their algorithm or otherwise make your podcast name hard to read for users. 

What do I do if My Podcast Name is Taken?

Have you chosen the perfect name, but it’s already taken by another podcast? If so, it’s time to go back to the drawing board, even if the other show doesn’t appear to be too popular. You’ll avoid unnecessary marketing confusion and sidestep potential legal hassles, setting yourself up for long term success. Your name needs to be unique to your show. Using the same name as another show is never a good idea.

Your first step is to contact the show host to see if the show is still active. If they no longer produce episodes, they may be willing to remove their podcast so you can use the name. Sometimes, however, they may want to sell it to you.

If you can’t get your preferred name, your next step is to swap out key words with synonyms. Sometimes a single word could set you a part. For instance, you could change “experts” to “gurus,” or “money” to “fiances.” You get the idea.

If you aren’t satisfied with that approach, your last option is to choose another name from your list. This is why it’s so important to brainstorm a number of options.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when you choose a podcast name. Use our advice to brainstorm a list of names and choose the one that best fits you and your show. Of all people, you have to love it. After all, you’ll look at it and say it more than anyone. 

And if in the future you decide you don’t like your name, there are always ways to tweak it a bit without straying too far from its original form. So don’t spend so much time on your podcast name that you never launch your show!

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