What Makes a Good Podcast Name?
Naming your podcast is probably the most fun, second only to the artwork and branding steps, that you’ll have in the pre-launch process of podcast creation — but it’s also going to be a little stressful. Picking a name is a big deal! Along with the artwork, your podcast name the very first opportunity you have to convey what your podcast is all about to any potential listener. Here are some suggestions you might find helpful.
Here are two examples of what you SHOULDN’T do:
If your podcast is about the wonderful sport of Cricket, don’t call it “The Jim and Jeff Show”. The Jim and Jeff show sounds like a talk show and people will click on it expecting a talk show about *who knows what* but will wind up hearing a talk show about a very specific topic and be like “This sucks” (if they don’t like Cricket, the fools) and may give you a 1-star review because their expectations were not met because their expectations were not set.
Shakespeare, from Romeo’s lips, once quipped that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” — I’m here to tell you that Shakespeare would have had a great podcast but no one would have listened to it because he would have named it The Bitten Thumb and people would have mistaken it for a podcast about cannibalism and… eww. You want to stay away from terms that people less familiar with the content might not know.
It’s all about the niche content these days, truly. Your Cricket podcast is exactly the way to go because it’s an opportunity to build your brand around your specific passion and expertise. You don’t go to a plumber to have your suits tailored, that’s not what plumbers do, plumbers plumb. So when plumbers communicate their business to others they don’t do it by offering a myriad of services in addition to plumbing, they just offer plumbing. Plumbers are a niche service — most successful professions are this way (Amazon and Walmart notwithstanding).
There’s a tendency, however, when you’re specialized and niche, and I’m talking about in the podcasting world specifically now, to name your podcast using language that is easily translated by others already aware of the niche. This might seem like a good strategy because you want to attract people who “get it” and will easily recognize the purpose of your podcast by its name (and, to be fair, if your artwork adds clarification it really can be), but in reality, this sort of titling flies right over the heads of people who don’t understand the language because they’re either new to the topic or aren’t yet aware of their interest in the topic.
Back to our plumber analogy: if Mike has a plumbing business it doesn’t behoove him to title it “The Arkansas King of Augers and Hose Bibs” — maybe if he was a B2B distributor of those parts, but not if he’s a B2C plumbing service. Mike is way better off calling naming his company “Mikes Plumbing Solutions — Clogs, Leaks, and Drainage Issues”.
In the same vein, you’re better off calling your Cricket podcast “The Cricket Cast” than you are calling it “The Attacking Field”. The Attacking Field does sound cooler and would-be listeners who already know the sport will definitely get it, but someone who doesn’t get it might think it’s a podcast about war or self-defense and will be disappointed when they listen because you’ve not properly set their expectations or managed their first impressions. Add a green and yellow logo or cover art featuring the silhouette of a player in mid-action and yes, for sure, it will be more understandable, but even then, not as clear as a precise label.
Here’s what you should do
Name your podcast with a priority on obviousness — then add some quirk. But obviousness first. Here’s a great example:
I’m not a Fantasy footballer myself but is it not immediately and completely clear to you what this podcast is about? Imagine the same podcast if it was called, “Football: The Game” or “Highlights Reel” or “Tim, Susan, and the Gridiron” — those names don’t really tell you what the show is about, only that it’s related to football in some way, and only if you know those terms or can discern it from the artwork! Which in this case you wouldn’t be able to. So this artwork with this title, it’s a one-two knock out. Perfection!
Let’s look at another example:
Sleeperwire? What the heck is that? Is that red thing a football? Is that wiggly line an audiowave? To me, an outsider who has never heard of Sleeperwire but who is looking for a Fantasy Football podcast, this gives me no way to know what the program is about. And that’s a shame because, based on the 4.5-star rating, it’s probably a really good program! But no one is going to scroll through search results on iTunes and even notice this name or artwork.
To be fair to Sleeperwire, maybe they are a Fantasy Football service of some kind and their purpose for publishing this podcast is solely for the enjoyment of their existing customer base but think of how many Fantasy Footballers aren’t learning about their service through their podcast because they don’t see their podcast and immediately associate it with Fantasy Football! What a waste of a potential marketing funnel!
So, what’s in a name?
Everything! Make sure your name is concise and obvious.
This is an excerpt from our online course Podcasting: Concept to Launch and is available, for free, to podcasters living in the state of Maine by joining The League of Maine Podcasters.