The same is true for podcasts. Podcasts have become mainstream enough that listeners don’t need to have the format called out. In fact, including the word “podcast” can make it harder for listeners to decipher if it’s something they would be interested in, as Alex Bousquet, product marketing lead at Spotify, points out. “For listeners, it ends up creating more noise and makes evaluation harder when browsing new shows. Say I’m faced with several shows called ‘The Garden Podcast.’ How can I tell which one is more for my taste?"
Now that you know an old practice to steer away from, focus on how to come up with dynamite podcast name ideas that will stand the test of time. Each boils down to one common premise: the best podcast names are unique.
Make it memorable
With literally millions of podcasts out in the world, there are bound to be some that sound alike and some that might get overlooked because they sound too generic or vague. Pick a title that won’t go unnoticed.
“When faced with many similar sounding shows, the more informative and unique names stand out and end up driving more listens. Save the seven characters in ‘podcast’ to make your show name more unique, or to keep your show name short and simple,” says Bousquet.
For example, “How to Save a Planet,” the podcast by Gimlet, sounds a lot more compelling than “The Sustainability Podcast.” The first one communicates a clear mission and has a galvanizing effect. The second one lacks the same focus and spirit.
Appeal to your audience
Place yourself in the minds of your ideal audience and ask yourself what would intrigue them. To do that, you need to be familiar and in tune with that community. “Your show name should communicate what makes your show special so that users stumbling on your show will instantly think, ‘this is my jam!’” says Bousquet.
One way to do this is to start with your topic. If your topic is about ’70s disco culture in New York City, your podcast could be called “Studio 54 Stories.”
If your audience is natural wine lovers, “natty,” “naked wine,” “zero-zero,” and “glou-glou” are all terms associated with that wine category that natural wine fans would recognize. Think about how you can incorporate those into a title.
A more direct route is to make the title audience-based. For example, Gimlet’s “Motherhood Sessions” is a podcast that interviews mothers about motherhood. The title lets you know exactly who the podcast is speaking to.
Bousquet says, “More than ever, a show can carve out its niche and hope to attract a sizable and devoted listenership.” What defines your niche? That could be the seed for a show name. For example, “The Kennedys” by Parcast succinctly presents its niche in the title. It’s not just about politics, history, or crime but a combination of all three, with the American political dynasty at the center.
Make it easy to find
You need a podcast name that’s unique and memorable enough to be easily searchable. When one listener tells a friend to check out your podcast (your dream scenario), that friend should be able to find it instantly. For example, the Spotify Studios podcast “Bandsplain” will be the top result for that search term and among the top results for broader keywords like “band” or “bands.”
Also, keep in mind that you should resist the temptation to add special characters or creative misspellings to make your title distinct unless absolutely necessary. That will make your show harder to search for.
Think about your overall brand
Consider the big picture when deciding on a name for your show. The name of your podcast will signal what your show is about. It will represent you as a creator to your listeners and to potential creative or business partners.
Make sure it will age well. If you plan to produce your podcast long-term, you might not want to zero in on a particular element of a topic but rather take a broader approach. For example, if your podcast is about reality TV, your name should focus on that as a genre instead of the particular show you’re discussing in your first season. But, if your entire podcast is about one show, putting that in the title makes sense. No matter what your podcast is about, think about whether your podcast name will make sense 10 years from now.
Your specific word choice conveys a lot about your brand. Even if two podcasts have the same name in the title, they could be about two completely different topics for totally different audiences. For example, a podcast called “Fruits of the World” that explores indigenous fruits from different countries and regions would be a far cry from the Spotify Studios podcast “Forbidden Fruits” that covers “taboo content” with “no holds barred cultural commentary.”
Another branding consideration is how the title of your show will look in a visual context. Visualize the title in marketing materials and how it will look in print, especially your cover art. Your cover art acts as your podcast’s logo. It is the main visual asset that listeners will associate with your show. Make some mockups with your different title contenders. If you’re deciding between multiple options, finding the best fit for your cover art may be the deciding factor.
Extend that mindset to scaling your brand. Once you get your podcast off the ground, you may want to create podcast merch. How will your show name look on a coffee mug, T-shirt, koozie, or hat?
Do your research
It’s likely that your first idea, or first several ideas, for a podcast name has already been taken. This is when you’ll need to get creative and carve out enough time to plan for the best alternatives.
As much as you might love an idea for a name that someone already has, challenge yourself to devise something even better. “Finding a unique and memorable show name can be challenging, so take your time and don’t get stuck on the first idea," says Bousquet. So, before you get too attached, first make a list of potential titles. Then, search for them on Google and within podcast listening platforms to make sure they are original and distinct from other existing shows.
If you keep finding that someone else thought of your idea first, explore different options and variations around a concept. Can you find something clever, a different approach or angle, or something that’s not obvious about your topic? Use that to cultivate a new name and to also set it apart from other similar podcasts.
This is an important part of the overall planning process for your show—not just your name. You might find a podcast that is exactly about your concept, which could prompt you to brainstorm a fresh approach to further differentiate your show.
For example, let’s say you want to start a true crime podcast about serial killers, but Parcast’s “Serial Killers” is already an established podcast. In light of this revelation, you might pivot to a unique spin on that angle and title: “Uncaught Serial Killers.”
Dig deep to unearth the best podcast name ideas
Think about the examples we just gave you. Would tacking on “podcast” add value to any of them? It might be convenient to fall back on the basic topic + “podcast” formula, but we think you can do better. Reach into the depths of your vocabulary and creativity to surface the best, most unique name for your show.
Bousquet adds, “Over the years, appending ‘Podcast’ to our show name has been a convenient fix when racking our brains to name our latest creation. We’ve all been there. We feel inspired to create a show and when asked to come up with a name for our show, we turn to the uninspired ‘The X Podcast.’ Once published, our show ends up in an ocean of shows with similar sounding names, making it hard for anyone to find or discover."
After putting in so much time, effort, and thought into planning your actual show, the idea of spending more on coming up with a name can feel exhausting. But since it symbolizes your podcast and everything it embodies, you’ll be glad you picked the right one.