So you’ve decided to start a podcast - exciting! But before you can get going, you need a name for your show. For potential new listeners, your podcast’s name is the first impression they’ll have. That name could be the difference between scrolling past it in a flash, and getting hooked for life. With more than 1 million shows on Apple Podcasts, you’ve got to stand out. So having a great name matters.
But finding a good one is hard to get right. It should be something that entices listeners, while also giving them enough information to know what the podcast is about. It should be unique, creative, and descriptive. All that, in just a few words! Easier said than done.
Never fear though, we’re here to help. We’ve got a handy step-by-step guide you can use to come up with the fab name your podcast deserves.
Where Do I Start?
You want to spend enough time on naming your podcast to make sure you’re not short changing yourself with a bad one. But there’s a fine line between putting the work in, and obsessing so much that you’ve forgotten to leave any time for actually making the podcast.
Here’s a plan for you to follow so that you’re striking the balance right. It’s worth putting effort into a good name. But don’t let naming your podcast become procrastination! Follow these five steps and you’ll be well on your way to creating your new podcast.
1. Brainstorm, Brainstorm, Brainstorm
First thing’s first, you need some ideas. Make sure you know exactly what your podcast is about. Think about the subject, the audience, your purpose in making it. Once you’re clear about what your podcast is, coming up with names for it will be a whole lot easier.
Give yourself a week to brainstorm names. The key with this step is to write down every idea you have, even if you’re not sure about it. This is only the ideas stage, so there’s no need to be picky. If you’re stuck, there are loads of websites out there to give you a helping hand. RhymeZone is a great one for spitting out synonyms, antonyms, and rhymes to whatever you type in. Try looking through other podcasts in your genre for inspiration too.
2. Check If Names Are Already Taken
The week is up, and you’ve hopefully got a long list of potential names. To save yourself hassle down the line, you need to make sure you’re not setting your heart on a name that’s already being used by another podcast. So now’s the time to go through your list double check.
First you should run each name through Google. If nothing obvious jumps out at you, the next port of call is podcast directories. Searching the name on Apple Podcasts should stop you from accidentally copying anyone else.
Next, you’re going to want to be able to market your podcast, so it’s a good idea to check that the website domain for the name is available. Use Domain Name Search to check website availability. Try adding ‘podcast’ onto the address if the name by itself is unavailable. Finally, you might want to search on Instagram and Facebook, to make sure social media handles for the name are free too.
3. Say It Out Loud
Pick out your favourite ideas and say them out loud a few times throughout the day. Do they roll off your tongue naturally? You’re going to be dropping the name a few hundred times during your podcast’s life, so you don’t want it to be something you’ll get sick of saying. Anything that doesn’t feel quite right to say, cross it off the list.
4. Pitch to a Focus Group
Now you’ve narrowed down your list to the chosen few, it’s time to get other opinions in. Ask your friends and family what they think of each name, which they prefer and why. It’s also a good idea to get opinions from someone who knows nothing about your podcast plans. Ask them what they think it’ll be about from the name alone. If they can’t work it out or go off on the wrong track, you might want to rethink.
5. Just Pick One
You’ve eliminated all the names that don’t quite work. Hopefully there’ll be one or two potential podcast names left that you like. Now there’s only one thing for it, you’ve got to pick one.
It can be easy to spend hours agonising over this final step. But at a certain point, it stops being productive obsessing over names, and turns into procrastination. So give yourself a few days if you need it to mull over your choices. But give yourself a deadline too so that you don’t put off actually making your podcast forever because you can’t decide on the right name.
Important Considerations for Podcast Names
Still stuck on how to choose the best name? If you’re not sure which podcast name to settle on, here are some key factors to think about when making your decision.
Descriptive or Unique? Hopefully, Both
Ideally, your podcast name will tell people exactly what it’s about, and catch their attention. Getting the balance right between creativity and clarity is tricky. You don’t want a name so out there that no one has any idea what it is, but you also need something interesting enough to stop people scrolling.
If you can find a name that checks both the unique and the descriptive boxes at the same time, you’re sorted. A great example of this is Marsfall, a sci-fi podcast about early colonists on Mars. The name is short, easy to remember and relevant, and it’s also unique to the podcast.
Sometimes you might need to compromise though. If your goal is to turn searchers into audience members with the podcast name, a descriptive one might be your priority. This will give people looking for your kind of content more of a chance of finding it. A good example of this is About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge, which discusses the history and politics of racism.
But if you already have an audience, or you’re hoping to gain listeners through word of mouth recommendations, you might want to go with something more memorable. Fictional podcast Fruit explores a Black American man’s relationship with his sexuality. The name Fruit doesn’t tell you anything about the podcast, but it’s short and easy to remember.
Think About Tone
The tone of the name should fit the mood of your podcast. Are you going for a comedic, casual name that lets the audience know you’re here for a good time? Or maybe you want something more serious and professional, something that screams that they will find expert knowledge here. If you’re not sure what kind of podcast you’re making, have a think about what you want to achieve with it. Why are you making it, and who are you making it for?
An example of a name that sets the tone of the podcast is Doing It! With Hannah Witton. It tells you what the podcast is about - sex and relationships - but in a colloquial way. This sets the tone to be more casual and friendly, rather than formal.
To Keyword or Not to Keyword?
The world of SEO is a treacherous and confusing one. Figuring out how to game the system is a fiery quest even for the most patient people. But without going into too much detail, you might want to incorporate one or two keywords in your podcast name. For example, if your podcast is about finance, you might want to use a word like money, banks or cash in the name.
But be careful with using keywords as fillers. You used to be able to increase SEO by adding as many keywords as possible into your title, giving rise to podcasts like ‘Business with John Smith / Entrepreneurship / Money / Finance’. But Apple Podcasts has since cracked down on ‘keyword stuffing’. Using multiple dividers like this could get your podcast rejected. So keywords are a good thing to think about, but don’t get too caught up in trying to include them all.
Can You Google it Easily?
Word of mouth recommendations are one of the best ways to get loyal new listeners. If someone finds you on a google search, their snap decision of whether you’re worth their time can be very unforgiving. But if a friend has told them to check out your show, they’re much more likely to give you a fair chance at impressing them. So making sure you’re easy to find from those golden recommendations is important.
You’ve got to think about the searchability of your podcast name. You want something that’s easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and doesn’t have ambiguity in what the title is. Any time you add numbers, you’re adding a layer of ambiguity - is your podcast called Ten Percent Happier or 10% Happier? Or if you’re using a play on words or an unusual spelling of a word, like ID10T with Chris Hardwick, it might be confusing to type out. So keep that in mind if you’re going to be relying on word of mouth recommendations to get your podcast going.
Short & Sweet
As a general rule, the shorter your podcast name, the more memorable it is. It’s also got a much better chance of displaying properly on your listeners’ favourite podcast apps. There’s no hard and fast limit to make sure the whole name shows up without getting cut off, because this will depend on users’ devices and font settings. But if you can make your name 20 characters or shorter, you’re doing well.
It can be a challenge packing everything you want into such a short limit, so make sure you’re not using any redundant words. One obvious example is using the word ‘podcast’ in the name. Chances are it’s clear that what you’ve made is a podcast, and you can always add the word to any marketing material you make to promote it. Another thing to look out for is if you’re using words that you can swap out for shorter, simpler ones - using synonyms can be great for this.
If you’re absolutely set on having a longer title, try to make sure the first few words are descriptive. Then if the title gets truncated on peoples’ phone screens, they’ve still got some idea of what your podcast is about.
Go forth and Make Your Podcast!
Now you’ve got all the knowledge to name your podcast. A good name can make all the difference in giving your podcast the leg-up it deserves. It should be noted that you can take all these rules with a pinch of salt. If you’re stuck, or don’t know where to begin, all this guidance gives you a pretty safe bet for a name that will do your podcast good. But if you’re dead set on a name that goes against all our wisdom, then go for it.
If you’ve got a good reason to ignore the rules, then rules are made to be broken! There’s some great podcasts out there that totally disregard at least some of this advice (fictional sci-fi podcast EOS 10 springs to mind). And if you make amazing content and spend enough time on marketing, the name doesn’t have to be the most thrilling thing about your podcast either. It’s something to help you, not become a straitjacket for your creativity.
Once you’ve got your kicker podcast name, there’s nothing left to do but make it. Check out our other articles below for advice on how to get started and create the best podcast you can.
For our full, comprehensive guide on how to start a podcast, click here.