Naming your podcast is one of the most important things to think about when you’re starting your own show. You want your podcast name to pique curiosity and get attention as well as resonate with the audience. On today’s show, Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard talk about podcast names and share some tips that will guide you into choosing one for your own. Got a new show and trying to come up with a name for it? Then you don’t want to miss this episode.
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Podcast Names: Advice For How To Craft The Right Title For Your Show
Tom, I thought we talk about how we named the show.
It’s very important. A lot of people seriously struggle with naming a show or agonize over it.
There are lots of bad names out there. You and I comment on it when we see the news. You hear them. I forgot her name but the newscaster has a show called The Drink.A show name has two very important goals: to pique curiosity and get attention. Click To Tweet
Kate Snow of NBC News has this show called The Drink. It’s supposed to be this sophisticated talk show but it’s called The Drink. When I saw that I’m like, “Is that the message we want to be sending people?”
Who wants to join that? It’s not right for the audience on top of everything.
I was surprised at NBC who is involved in that one because they certainly promote who chose that name. That’s a good high profile example of a bad choice for a name.
You want the name to resonate with the audience. Here’s how the story goes. I was reading an article in WIRED Magazine, which I do pretty regularly and one of the sentences in the article said, “What if the next big thing was a little thing?” I thought, “That’s a great name, The Next Little Thing.” I tell it to you and you go, “That’s great but we have to screen it by our criteria.”
You are correct on its face. I saw the light bulb go off over your head as you are reading WIRED because I was sitting next to you as you are reading it. That’s amazing and I was like, “Let’s look at it instead from an emotional perspective but from an objective one.”
The objective one is clearly, “Does this name do what we want it to do in terms of what the show is going to be about? Will it resonate with the audience?” Those are the two major things we look at from the beginning. We want to talk about products and do a product review style show because we wanted to test out for our clients the idea of affiliate marketing. How does that work? Is it viable? Can you make money? What are some tactics at work? As we start a new show every year, that’s the idea that we wanted to test out in 2021. It fit the model of Next Little Thing because we can talk about any kind of product if it’s broad enough.
Tracy, what you are talking about is it did fit the goals that we had set for ourselves for this new show. Anybody reading this needs to set their own criteria if the name that they are coming up with is going to meet their goals. Every show is unique in this regard.
This is not a one size fits all solution naming things. We have named lots of products and colors over the years. The choices and the way you make those choices are different but with this, in particular, the fit to the audience attraction matters at the end of the day and that’s the ultimate. If it fits our goals, the second step of the review process is, does it fit the audience that we want to attract? Is it going to be attractive to them? We wanted cool hunters, trend hunters, people who were looking for recommendations on products and doesn’t do it.
Here is where we are getting into some criteria that can apply to every potential show who is naming a new show that’s trying to come up with a name. These things we are going to talk about that every show should try to achieve. You hit it right on the head there when you said, “Is it going to attract the audience that we want?” To me, a show name has two very important goals. In most cases, it’s only these two goals in terms of in the eyes of a show reader, if you put yourself in their shoes. The most important things, in my opinion, that a show name should do are pique curiosity and get attention.
Somebody who reads that name or hears that should build anticipation and be like, “What’s that about?” I’m adding more things where it does but it should make somebody curious to know more about that. “What is that? I need to click that. I want to read what that’s about. I want to go listen.” Grab your attention, get you to motivate to click and listen. That’s it. Don’t be worried about does it explain what the show is all about. That’s not what a name of a show is supposed to do. Some names inherently within their name might be obvious what it’s about but if that happens to happen, then fine but that’s not the job of a name of a show. Grab attention, get me to click and try it.
We like active names or names that are intriguing from that standpoint and not just attractive. We liked them to do a little bit of heavy lifting on both sides of it and part of that is this one does it. The normal phrase is the next big thing and we are saying, “Is this the next little thing?” You are like, “What’s that about?”You don't know how things are going to land until you ask your target audience. Click To Tweet
You hit it right there, Tracy. The cliché is, “This is the next big thing.” People always talk about, “What’s the next big thing? Is this the next big thing? This is the next big thing.” When you do something that’s counter-intuitive, you flip it and you go the next little thing because they know the cliché, they know that overused phrase and that’s going to stop them and say, “I have heard of what the next big thing is. What’s the next little thing? What does that mean?” That’s going to do exactly what we want. Once you find out what it’s about, the show may not be for you and you may not become a reader but I’ve got you to look or I’ve got you to listen. That’s the point.
The other thing is that Tom and I know from having done this again and again that we don’t want a name that’s too long because you only have so much room on the cover art and we need it to be big enough. The Next Little Thing is four words. We try to keep it small. It’s three words and that’s a perfect size. We try to keep it if you’ve got 5 but 2 are tiny like “of the” or something like that. We can do that. That’s about the maximum we try to do.
We highly recommend keeping it five words or less as an absolute maximum. I discourage people from doing names that are longer than that or that have very long words. Look at the two shows over your shoulders, Tracy, Feed Your Brand. That’s pretty clear what it’s about in three words. The Binge Factor. “The” is pretty much a throwaway word. What’s that about? They accomplish the goals we set out for those shows. The Next Little Thing, to me, fits and meets our criteria for what’s going to motivate people to click. Are there any other criteria that we put all names against that we need to share?
The only last thing we do is double-check and make sure we can get some kind of URL. That’s why we were able to get Next Little Thing Pod, which is perfect, nice and short, not too long but still has the name in it. A pod is common to add at the end of things when it’s a podcast website so we were able to get that. That makes it super ideal and simple. That’s the only thing we do check and we have to check Apple.
Apple is not the arbiter of what you can name your show. They are not the name police. People often come to us and say, “Can we lock in that name so that it’s ours and nobody else does it in the time that we are going through the process of launching our show?” I’m like, “It doesn’t work that way.” We do research. Apple is probably the only place I go because everybody puts their show on Apple unless you are a new exclusive show on Spotify or something that’s starting to happen. You can check a couple of apps if you want and make sure does that name exists. Is there a variation of that name? I don’t think it’s a huge problem if somebody has some other derivative or version of the name that I want as long as the exact same name isn’t there.
A lot of times I have seen it where you have the name. One is called something or other. Another one is called The Next Little Thing Podcast, The Next Little Thing, The Next Little Thing with Tom and Tracy. I see people do it.
It could be the Next Little Thing without the “the.” You have seen people do things like that and I don’t think that’s helpful. That does cause brand confusion. I certainly do prefer if there’s more differentiation in the name from anybody else, especially in the same category or tangent to your subject matter.
Keep in mind, we did this back when we named our very first show WTFFF?!. WTF with Marc Maron was a very popular show. We did it purposefully because we figured people would be typing WTF. He was popular among tech geeks. That was with our audience so we did it purposely that when you typed in WTF, the arrows would show below in a drop list option and people would be like, “What is that?” We would also show up as an option in there because we were a derivative but we were derivative that was longer or in addition to. WTF was always getting their credit and showing up first. We did that purposefully because that was our audience, we wanted to have them find our show and it worked.
Tracy, you are getting into what can become a rabbit hole that I don’t know that we want to go down but it’s important to understand that as you are deciding on the name of your show, you may have some specific reasons for making different decisions, deviating from some of our guidelines what we would go through with somebody we are working with on their show or you may have a strategic business reason to have a name that’s very close to someone else’s show. If you want to, you can do it. There’s certainly nothing that’s going to stop you from putting out a very close name. I think it’s more of a legacy thing. I have even seen the same show be accidentally syndicated to Apple more than once. Apple wouldn’t even stop you from publishing a new show with an identical name to someone else’s. You can do it but is that a good idea?
That other show has more authority than you and it will always show up first, especially if they have been there longer, built in a base of readers and publish regularly. Until they podfade, you are stuck. That’s the kind of thing.
If they have a registered trademark on their name, which not many people do for their shows but companies do have registered trademarks. If they name their show the same name as their company or the same as the trademark they had, if they have a trademark, then they will be able to go to Apple and get your show taken down. It’s probably not in your best interest on multiple levels to go and try to publish a show with the same exact name as someone else. There are exceptions to every rule. This is a personal or a business decision as to what your name is. We are letting you know what we think from our experience is in the best interests of a show being seen, found and heard.
The last thing I want to leave everybody with before we go is that once you have made up your mind, you have screened it through the criteria that you have built and maybe ran it by someone who’s in your target audience to make sure it lands the same way, back to our original example of Kate Snow show, The Drink, if she had run it by someone my age woman that’s probably her audience, the two things I think of are, “I’m way too old to be sitting around drinking, having cocktails and dishing.” That’s number one. Number two that might be in The Drink that’s what I think of is golf. That’s not a good thing. That’s a bad thing. Do you want your ball in the drink?
Those are the things that occurred to me. You don’t know how it’s going to land until you ask someone that’s your target audience. If you get in your head about your own names and what you’ve got, you don’t necessarily understand how that’s perceived. Perception is something that Tom and I talk again and again on all of our shows about and the name has a perception level to it that you want to check but don’t agonize over it. If you picked a name, you screened it by someone, you are pretty sure there’s a URL and something you are happy without there, at that point, go for it. Those that agonize are the ones who never get their show started.The name of your show should meet your goals. Click To Tweet
They stay in permanent potential, which is never going to help you or the people that your message is intended to serve. Get it out and put it out there. If you find later the name, you are not feeling it and something new occurs to you that is better, you can pivot your name. You can change your name at any time. You’ve got to create a new graphic, change your title, your show host, maybe you’ve got to get a new URL and forward it to the website page where that show exists, there are a few logistical things but it’s not that painful. We have pivoted our show identity on some of our shows multiple times because we are feeling, “I feel like we should change it up a bit and refresh it.” We didn’t change the name but we changed other aspects but you can change the name so don’t be afraid of it.
We picked a name, The Next Little Thing, on our way and we are down the path of the next decisions that we have to make.
I look forward to that, Tracy. I look forward to sharing all these decisions as we go through them with all of you. Hopefully, this will help you on your podcasting journey to make your own decisions.
If you have any questions, anything that you are looking up, some part of the launching or marketing process of your shows, if you’ve already got one started, you can go to Podetize.com. There are blogs for about everything. You can check out Feed Your Brand, Behind The Next Little Thing. You can link through to The Binge Factor as well. Thanks, everyone for reading.
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