So you want to start your own podcast. That’s awesome!
If you already have a great topic in mind that you’re passionate about, that’s even better. We can see it now: You’ll have guests ready to talk on your show. You’ll tell an incredible story over a full season of podcast episodes. You’ll even have a masterpiece script written for your podcast.
But before all of that can come to be, there’s one question that needs to be answered: What do you name your podcast?
As an investigative journalist turned podcaster, writing a title or a headline has always been one of my favorite parts of writing a story or a series. Sometimes, I come up with the headline, or a name for a project before I’ve even started it. It gets me revved up on the idea and where the story could take me. More often than not, however, the name morphs over time while piecing together my story – and sometimes it changes altogether when I have an ‘Ah-ha’ moment in the middle of my reporting.
Whether you come up with the name of your podcast before you’ve started honing in on the details, or you’re waiting until you get truly inspired, here are five handy tips I’ve picked up along the way when trying to come up with a unique, catchy–or dare I say–gut-punching name.
1. Keep a notepad on you at all times
Sometimes the best ideas can happen in the moment.
When I’m in the field reporting, that’s where my mind really begins working on the story. I may not be typing at my computer, but my mind is moving and my pen hits my notebook with a fierce determination. I’ll jot down notes, words, and even feelings. I take great care to write what I can sense, whether it’s something I hear, see, or smell.
After a busy day of hustling during an investigation, discussing the case, the interviews, and the information we’ve uncovered that day, that’s when the magic word often hits me. It can be a word that keeps presenting itself while we are conducting interviews or while we are discussing a case – it’s the word that persists.
No matter what your work ‘in the field’ means, make sure you’re always ready to write down ideas. That way, when you have your ‘Ah-ha’ moment, you are ready to be inspired to name your podcast.
2. Don’t think – just start writing
What if you’re not on-the-go for your podcast? How do you get inspiration for your perfect podcast name?
Start writing from the comfort of your own space – wherever that may be. Begin by writing down words that describe your podcast conceptually. In fact, write some words that you’ve already used to explain your podcast to others – whether that’s your best friend or your mom or your partner – whomever you were most proud to share your idea with initially. What were those adjectives? One of those words might just be the key to unlock your podcast’s name.
3. Keep it short and sweet, but powerful
This is the best way to check if a name suits your podcast. Keep this question in mind: Is it short enough to remember, sweet enough to roll off the tongue? The trickier side of this is the punchy and powerful part.
When you read the description of your podcast, does anything pop or stand out? Does it sound like anything you’ve ever heard before? Another great way to check is to Google it. If you don’t see anything immediately trending in your search, maybe you’re onto something unique for your brand new, sure-to-be-a-hit, chart-topping podcast.
4. Search for meaning in your title
Meaning goes a long way. Project names, titles and headlines quickly set the tone for the story. It should hook your audience with just enough intrigue and information that tells them what it’s about without giving it all away.
With that in mind, creating something meaningful should resonate in your podcast’s name as much as it does with your content. It should echo the meaning behind your story, and therefore, intrigue your listener before they ever hit play on the first episode. Your podcast’s name should not only summarize the story you hope to tell or the premise of your podcast in one or just a few words – but that word or those words should fill your square on podcast apps with significance, making it memorable.
Your podcast’s name should be something that hits your listener’s eye immediately and pulls them in to listen, but also, something that is revealed over and over in your podcast, linking back to its origin. It should describe the overall feel and theme of your podcast. It shouldn’t just be a buzzword – although, it doesn’t hurt to make sure your podcast’s name does include keywords that might help people find you easily through SEO.
5. Walk away, don’t force it
Even if you follow all of these tips, there’s no guarantee that your name will land on your lap, and that’s fine.
Whether it’s 1,000 words or a one-word title, if you can’t focus or something just isn’t coming, walk away from your computer; take a break; or even go for a run. A fresh, rested mind will allow you to come back with new creativity flowing through your veins. Staring at a blank screen will not invoke a magical cure for writer’s block. Don’t worry, it will come to you. But first, step away.
We’ve gone over the roadmap to naming your podcast, so let’s make sure you get to your destination of a brilliant podcast name. Generate a title that best suits your podcast’s topic by writing the podcast description and marking words that stand out to you. Keep the title short, sweet and concise. Make sure it’s simple and catchy – and above all else, don’t overthink it. My best advice is don’t stress about your podcast’s name longer than it takes for you to map out episodes.
If you’re creative enough to begin a podcast and you are passionate enough to share your story, the title for it will come to you. Sooner or later, you’ll find something that sticks and has listeners coming back for more.