“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” or so the saying goes, borrowed from that famous Bard of Avon. In the real world, however, names tend to be a far more pivotal matter, with some recent studies even suggesting that certain names could be a factor in terms of one’s longevity.
Arguably, I would say that the same applies to podcasting too, since having the right name for your show may be the very most important factor you’ll decide before you ever sit down and start recording.
In my book The Complete Guide to Maverick Podcasting, I attempt to take a very different approach to explaining what a podcast is, and how to create one. As I argue in the book, some of the most important concepts that lead to effective podcasting are the kinds of things you should consider before you ever sit down behind a microphone.
So even before you begin learning the technical aspects of how a podcast works, how much have you thought about things like what you’ll name your podcast, and what it’s central focus will be?
This may seem like a no-brainer. However, choosing the name of your podcast—and then presenting and marketing it properly—is not only important… it may actually be the most important choice you’ll make in relation to committing to launch a podcast.
First of all, if you pick the right name (that is, a name that effectively describes what your podcast is about), it will be easier for potential listeners to find your show through mediums like iTunes. This is because iTunes, much like YouTube and Google, essentially works like a search engine. When people subscribe to a podcast they like, or when they go searching for new ones, iTunes will present a list of similar podcasts they might also enjoy. Since your podcast’s name, as well as the category you select, and any information you may provide in the show summary will help sites like iTunes determine what other programs your show is similar to, it is pertinent to include the best, and most relevant information that describes your show.
In The Complete Guide to Maverick Podcasting, there are some key points I address about this, which include the following questions and exercises I’ve excerpted for you below:
- Whatever name you decide on, read it aloud and ask yourself, will my listeners be able to pronounce this? You may feel like it’s a good idea to use some exotic word or phrase, perhaps as a simple matter of style, and that’s your prerogative. But I would try to avoid it, and use clear, simple words that describe what your show is about.
- Another wise consideration (and in truth, I should probably say it’s mandatory) is to perform a search online to see if another show is already using the name you’ve chosen. The last thing you want is to build a decent audience over time, only to get hit with a complaint or “cease and desist” letter from somebody who had been using the name previously… and was wise enough to trademark that title.
Finally, it’s also a good idea to consider looking into whether there is a similar domain name available for the name you select for your podcast. While it isn’t absolutely mandatory to be able to have a domain name that is an exact match for the title of your podcast, you’ll at least want something similar, which your listeners will be able to find when it comes time for them to search for you online. If you’re among the young, fabulous, and broke, then depending on the title you choose, you may have to get creative with variations that include .org, .info, etc, if the .com address with your show’s title is already taken.
Digging a little deeper into how your show’s title will help you reach potential listeners, another process I emphasize in my book is adding keywords that will help describe what your show is about. I’ll give the following example:
If you’re a gardener whose show will emphasize organic gardening, pest control, and the best crops to grow in various climates, you might call your show something like Practical Organic Gardening: Climate, Produce, and Protecting Your Crops, where “Practical Organic Gardening” is the title, and climate, produce, and protecting are your branding keywords. Since most podcasting services you’ll submit your show to will also want to know the title of the host or talent, you might list your name and occupation something like this: “Jezebel Bush (or whatever your name actually is): Gardener, Consultant, Organic Enthusiast.”
You should consider using keywords in places like your podcast’s listing in the iTunes store. Using keywords in situations like this (particularly where actual text is involved, which web crawlers can therefore find) will improve search engine results, helping you to reach a broader range of people that may find your subject interesting.
So if you’ve been thinking about diving into podcasting, but you haven’t given consideration yet to the name you’ll use, and what kinds of keywords and descriptions you’ll use to brand it, stop what you’re doing, and spend some time jotting down different variations of what we’ve covered in this post, ranging from names you might use, to the subtitles and words that help describe what your show is going to be about. And remember… if you get it right the first time around, there’s less likelihood that you’ll have to change your name later, which, if at all possible, should always be avoided.
Happy brainstorming, and as always, if you have questions, you can email me here. Good luck with your name gaming!