Deciding how to name your podcast is a difficult obstacle when starting any series. For the most part, the title acts as the listener’s first impression of your podcast when browsing for something new to listen to. Once you have chosen the perfect name for your show, you have the fun task of coming up with the perfect episode name every time you go to upload. Here are some tips on how to name your podcast episodes.
Keep it relevant
The most important thing to remember is to keep your episode titles relevant to the individual episode. Think of your episode names like chapter headings in a book: the overall title should sum up the entire podcast in a few words, whereas your episode names can offer a snapshot of that individual instalment. This “snapshot” can come in multiple lengths and formats.
But don’t cram your entire episode summary into the title. You can add an episode description to each upload, allowing you to outline your episode in greater detail. For that reason, the title should offer just enough information to catch the listener’s attention. Below is an example of episode titles from Words to That Effect. Each episode title clearly tells the listener the exact theme discussed, often in as little as two or three words:
You should understand which parts of an episode are most relevant after it’s been recorded, so try to sum it up in a few words and use this as your title. Be as literal as you want, for example, the following series of episodes from The Cine Stream Club simply name the film they are going to review, making it easier for the listener to pick and choose what they want to listen to.
Hint at the episode content
Having said that, you don’t need to be quite so specific when naming your episodes. The amount of detail or type of phrasing you use can change depending on the show. For example, an interview show should mention who is being interviewed, particularly if the guests are well-known in their respected field.
Don’t be afraid to be ambiguous – it is good to maintain a level of mystery that will entice your listener to tune in. The listener doesn’t need to know the exact context, either. Although you should avoid writing clickbait titles. This might harm your listenership in the long run.
Ambiguous titles can work particularly well for comedy podcasts. Take a look at a recent Agony Rants episode: “Never Use A Trampoline On A Balcony.” This is a name that raises more questions than it does answers – yes, we know the episode is going to talk about a potential mishap involving a trampoline and a balcony, but I want more context. Now I’m clicking onto the episode to find out what happened!
Avoid unnecessary clutter
Episode titles can be longer than your podcast name, allowing you to be more creative with it. While short and sweet is often better, a longer episode title might be just the thing to grab your listener’s attention. For example, news podcasts often feature their main headlines in their episode titles, like The Happy Broadcast:
Titles like these can take up a lot of space, so only use longer episode names if it suits your podcast. Be careful not to overload your title – find a balance!
Avoid including keywords in your title if they don’t need to be there. It’s tempting to include Google-friendly keywords to help boost your podcast in the search results. But this can harm your placing in most podcast platform’s algorithms. Keywords can include broad search terms which apply to the podcast like “comedy” or “health and fitness.” When submitting a podcast to the hosting platform, you will have already categorized your show in these search terms, so adding them to your episode titles are not necessary.
Words to avoid
Here are a few words you can avoid using to save up on space:
- The word “episode” at the start or end of the title
Most podcasting platforms make it very clear when you are reading an episode name versus a podcast title, or anything similar. The platform’s app will often have this distinction laid out for you. Unless you have a specific reason for including it in the title, it’s better to leave it out.
- The episode numbers
Similarly, most podcasting platforms list the numbers automatically for you within the app. For the most part, it’s a good idea to avoid including the episode number, unless there is an obvious reason to include it, like if you are celebrating your podcast’s 100th episode.
- The podcast title
This one might seem obvious, but you don’t need to include the podcast’s title on every single episode. It will appear elsewhere on the podcasting app, either through artwork or via your show’s page so it is not needed here.
For ideas on other things to avoid, here is a handy list from Apple Podcasts which outlines their content guidelines, some of which applies to episode naming such as metadata accuracy, self-censored content and impersonation.
Don’t forget to have fun with it! Include your own individual style, be creative and unique where possible.
Remember to keep an eye on what is working for you. Test out different titling styles to find out what grabs your audience the most. When testing out new formats, be sure to pay attention to your listenership statistics. Did listeners respond better to one episode over another? Was this thanks to a change in the wording of your title, or was there a variety of factors?
Unfortunately, there is no precise formula to naming your podcast episodes, so find a style that works best for you, and you’ll be set every time you go to upload a brand-new episode!
At The Podcast Studios we work with companies, organisations, and individuals to help them tell their stories in audio form. If there is any part of your podcast journey that needs a professional touch, from start to finish, get in touch today by contacting us at [email protected] or visit our website at www.thepodcaststudios.ie