©2019 Wil Treasure

Naming Your Podcast - An opinion

This is a question which seems to come up a lot in Podcast discussion groups. It's difficult to think of a good name sometimes and a lot of the advice wants a name that does it all, is easily searchable and describes your show to a potential listener. The proviso is that you have to achieve this without stuffing your title with keywords.


I think there are certain shows that benefit from this kind of approach, but it doesn't really paint a picture of how people really discover podcasts. Sure, there are some big name podcasts that use this approach, but there are plenty that don't. "This American Life" gives a hint of what they might examine, but it doesn't really tell me if it's the kind of thing I'd enjoy listening to. "Serial" describes what they were trying to achieve, but again, there's no reason I would listen on this basis. "The Friday Night Comedy Podcast" from the BBC tells me exactly what I'm getting and if you're a Radio 4 listener it's already a phrase you're familiar with. There are loads that give no clue at all: "Love and Radio", "The Teacher's Pet", "More Perfect", "Untold" and many more.


Personally I don't think the title is that important to discovery. It's more important that it's memorable, and perhaps important that the title would become clear to a listener, rather than totally abstract. Some have pointed out that a title that parses well, so avoiding ambiguity, is a good idea - I agree. Podcast apps have pretty primitive searches unfortunately, simply writing "2" instead of "Two" means you can't find my own Factor Two in many apps.


The thing is though that I don't think many people find their podcasts through searching in an app. If you're searching for a name then the capturing attention part is already done. You might search for terms, but more often similar things would pop up in the "also listened to..." box. I discover my podcasts through word of mouth, or through searching the internet. I'm sure many other people do as well. Having good website SEO is more important for this. Your title might make a difference, but search engines like Google are a lot more sophisticated than that.


Possibly the thing that's really missed in all of this is that very few people are really going to discover your podcast through a search, particularly if your podcast doesn't have many listeners yet. If you search for topics and the word "podcast" the most prominent articles are generally things like "The top 5 money podcasts" or similar. A better bet would be getting your podcast featured on such a list, reaching out to listeners through other mediums, either advertising or events, and actively promoting it. While the name of your podcast is important, I remain to be convinced that discovery is really the reason. Remember - there are still an awful lot of people who have never listened to a podcast, you aren't going to capture them with a catchy name.