Podcasts are a microcosm of the economy. You can find a great podcast on almost any topic out there. Business. Branding. Ikebana. UFOs. It’s all there for your ears to feast on, right there in your favorite podcast player.
Equally interesting is the world of naming within podcasts. Mirroring the infinite possibilities in content, there are also a myriad of ways to name a podcast. That makes it super exciting from a strategic and creative perspective, one we thought was worth checking out.
What We See In Podcast Naming Today
Again, there’s no one way to name your podcast. But if we skim a list of top podcasts as of 2022, we see a few interesting trends emerge. Unlike other categories, where you have a handful of set conventions, you can really stretch your creative legs in this particular space.
- Focus on the host, but in a unique way
- Keep it quizzical
- Get cerebral
- Dial up mystery
- State your thesis
- Go short & simple
Within this, you can flex all types of naming constructs (real words, two real words together, phrases, etc…). What we don’t see a lot of are slightly or highly invented terms — a podcast name like Freakonomics is a bit of an anomaly but makes sense since it was built off the back of a legacy book series brand. Reason being, podcasts are typically started with minimal investment, and those types of names typically require more resources to grow. But who knows, maybe that’s some white space to explore?
Other Podcast Naming Best Practices
While you have creative freedom, there are several podcast naming best practices we recommend you consider.
- Avoid the exact same name as another podcast
- While technically this happens a lot, we recommend creating a name that’s not the exact same as other podcasts out there in the podcast universe, unless you have significant resources to rise to the top quickly.
- Register your name as a trademark with the US Patent & Trademark Office
- Like podcasts, names are pieces of intellectual property. You want to be sure your podcast title is unique and defensible — after all, you are investing a lot of time in starting it, promoting it and growing it. Make it count. Also, the flip side applies: you want to ensure you’re not encroaching on the territory of another podcast or similar brand. Cease and desist letters, or actual trademark litigation and name changes, are never fun.
- Make it stick
- Unforgettable names are… unforgettable. Make yours memorable. There are a lot of ways to do this — we’ve highlighted a number above. Above all, you want people to hear the name once or twice, and never forget it. That might mean ditching difficult puns, alternate spellings, or words that can easily be confused with other words when heard.
- Leave some room in the name for the podcast to evolve
- Like all brands, things change. Although pivoting to a completely different concept or topic may warrant a name change, you ideally want to leave some stretch or flexibility in your name from the beginning so the name can last the life of the pod.
- Assume success
- You’re going to invest a lot of time and effort in creating your shows, building your audience and keep it going. Assume it has legs; therefore take naming seriously from the get-go. A name change is the last thing you want to have to encounter. So whatever it means to the success of your pod, aim to get it right, right from the start.
Scott Milano is the founder & managing director at Tanj.