Finding a good name for a podcast can feel like a challenge. But here’s the thing.
Naming your podcast matters a lot…but it also doesn’t.
Why it matters:
Your podcast’s name (and graphic) are your first impression.
Listeners will make quick judgments about whether or not your podcast “sounds like them.” So in a lot of ways, the name is huge.
Why it doesn’t matter (as much as you think):
Think about some of your favorite blogs or podcasts. Some of those names are probably made up, or they don’t make sense until you’re let in on the explanation.
But you love those podcasts regardless.
As listeners, we’re willing to forgive most podcast titles if we love the show. (And they probably haven’t overanalyzed name options as much as you are!)
But if you don’t pick a name, you can’t move forward.
A sneaky secret about your podcast name
This may feel like a huge decision right now, but the truth is that podcast names are easy to change as your show evolves.
Maybe your topic evolves, or your show format. Or maybe after 15 episodes (and some audience feedback), you come up with a better name.
That’s totally fine!
Many podcasts grow and change over time, and your name doesn’t have to be permanent.
My best advice is to brainstorm, choose your favorite, and commit. Because without a name, you’ll be stuck with no podcast at all.
3 tested ways to write a great podcast name
We’re going to run a naming exercise to help you explore your options and feel confident that your podcast name fits your format, appeals to your audience, and puts your best foot forward.
To do that, let’s talk about the three primary approaches you can take.
And to show off how diverse your name can be, I’m going to use examples that all have something in common. They’re all categorized under “Health & Wellness” in Apple Podcasts.
1. Use your own name (aka an eponymous podcast)
Many podcasts are named after the host (or hosts). For example, I could start “The Melissa Guller Show” or “Melissa in the Morning.”
And with an eponymous podcast, it’s not immediately obvious what my topic is.
But that’s ok!
In fact, one of the benefits of using your own name is that it gives you some freedom to try different topics or pivot in the future. If you aren’t sure exactly which direction you’d like to go, this can be an especially freeing choice.
Instead of your name, you could also choose to use your business name. So I could choose “Wit & Wire Weekly,” especially if I loved alliteration*. (*I totally do.)
The Life Coach School Podcast: This podcast uses its business name instead of the host’s name (master coach Brooke Castillo). This is a great approach if your business name is descriptive, and also if you’re trying to grow your business’s brand name recognition.
Sex with Emily: This title includes both a name and a topic, which makes it a great example of a hybrid approach! (The pun is also fantastic, and appropriate since Dr. Emily’s show is about sex and relationships.)
WHO IS THIS RIGHT FOR?
An eponymous title works really well if you’re trying to build your brand and establish your expertise. If your website and social media for your business use your own name, an eponymous podcast would extend your brand in a cohesive way.
It’s also a great option if you aren’t entirely sure which direction you want to take. If you name your show after yourself, this would be the easiest title to adjust later on.
2. Describe your topic
This is the most straightforward approach. A descriptive name tells listeners exactly what your podcast is about.
It doesn’t have to describe everything your podcast might cover. But your listener should have a good sense of your topic just by reading your name.
Happier with Gretchen Rubin: Another great combo title, this puts the topic front and center. Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth Craft share practical, manageable tips to be a little happier every day. (Insider info: this is actually my favorite podcast! Highly recommend.)
WHO IS THIS RIGHT FOR?
An obvious name can help with two big things: marketing, and organic discovery.
Putting your topic in the title can sometimes help people find your podcast while searching, and it can certainly make marketing easier since prospective listeners will know exactly what to expect.
Descriptive titles can work for anyone. But one risk is that your obvious choices may already be taken.
3. Give them a treasure map…
What I mean is…drop a hint!
This is an extremely popular approach, and it’s very effective. The subtle hint creates curiosity and interest because it doesn’t come out and tell you what the podcast is about.
It just drops a little tiny hint.
And then it’s up to you to click and see what it’s all about.
The subtle hint is fun because the names are often memorable and interesting. Sometimes the hint is so subtle that listeners don’t know what it’s about until a few episodes in, or the host explains it.
In an increasingly competitive podcast world, a creative and subtle name – aka a “Treasure map title” – can help you stand out from the pack.
10% Happier: Best-selling author Dan Harris asks if you can be both ambitious and enlightened, “whatever that means.” This is a slightly subtle title; you might’ve guessed it without a description, but maybe not.
Do The Thing: Whole30 creator Melissa Hartwig Urban talks about what’s been missing every time you’ve tried to “do the thing,” whether it’s been healing from trauma, getting back on the fitness bandwagon, or managing your finances. The title makes sense once you hear the description, but I didn’t get it instantly when I scrolled through Apple Podcasts.
You’re Welcome with Hilary Rushford: Hilary is an instafamous stylist who talks about bringing more joy and less overwhelm into your style. The title fits, but it’s not something you could’ve guessed without context clues. (And that’s totally fine!)
WHO IS THIS RIGHT FOR?
Subtle titles might be the most popular choice for podcasters. They hint just enough your topic to make sense, but help you stand out in a crowded podcast space.
They could be slightly harder to market than an obvious, descriptive title, but the odds are slim.
“Can I combine podcast name types?”
You may have noticed that some of the podcast title examples combined 2 of the 3 approaches. For example, “Sex with Emily” includes both her topic and her name.
The hybrid approach works really well for podcasters who want to include their name in the podcast, since usually the hybrid tacks the host’s name onto the end.
So if you want to mix and match, go for it! These aren’t hard rules about naming. These categories just represent options that many active podcasts fall into.
How to add a subtitle to your podcast (and why you need one)
There’s one more element to your title: a subtitle. Many podcasters upload a small description after their show name, like “Melissa in the Morning: Productivity Tips to Start Your Day.”
Extending your title with a descriptive subtitle can be a great way to get one keyword into your podcast name. Especially if you’re choosing a subtle name, this can really help listeners find your podcast in search results.
So imagine how you’d describe your podcast in a few worlds. It might make sense to include those a subtitle. The way you’d literally do this is by typing your both your subtitle and subtitle in the “Name” field when you submit your show.
Get out a notebook or a blank Google Sheet and see if you can brainstorm name ideas for 2 minutes straight. (Set a timer!) If you’re interested, see if you can try a few names in each of the three categories.
When time runs out, go through the list. Do any stand out to you? Sleep on it for a few days, or poll your audience to see what they think. Resist asking friends and family who aren’t in your target audience, though! I’m sure they’re all well-intentioned and lovely, but they may not have the best feedback if they aren’t your ideal listener.
Then it’s time to decide and commit! Any name you choose will be great, I’m sure of it.
And then you’ll be ready to go!
What podcast name are you considering? (Are you trying to decide between options?) Share in the comments and I’ll try to offer feedback to everyone! And jump in with productive suggestions if you have ideas for other community members.