The Anatomy of a Great Podcast Episode Title

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There is a lot of competition for the attention of podcast listeners, having a great podcast episode title can make the difference between being heard or being passed over. Ultimately, the episode title effects the success of your show.

A great title will clearly communicate what the show is about and grab the attention of current listeners and new listeners alike. You want your title to attract the attention of search engines on the web and on iTunes and other podcast directories. The right title can attract social media shares and compel potential listeners to take action either by listening to your show or getting the word out.

The rules for creating great titles are not set in stone. There are a lot of variables from the topic to the type of audience, and to the existing popularity of the podcast. Still there are a few things that you can do to create awesome titles without having to spend all day on it. Here a few best practice rules that will help you craft an amazing title.

Rule #1 Don’t Waste Your Precious Space

In iTunes you can have up to 255 characters for your podcast episode title, but depending on the screen that ITunes is being viewed on only the beginning portion is viewable. Don’t waste the viewable area on redundant information. All of the major podcast apps display your show title and cover art for each episode. There is no reason to repeat your show title in the episode title.

Podcast Name In Title

Episode numbers can also waste that precious beginning space. It can be much more effective to have the visible beginning part of your podcast episode filled with keywords, big name guests or a teaser making the viewer want to know more about and/or listen to the show. All podcast apps sort episodes by publication date, so sorting isn’t an issue.

Episode Numbers Beginning

It’s technically possible to leave the episode number out and still have the episodes in order. Still a lot of people like to know the episode number, and it is standard to include it. Putting the episode number at the end is a great solution. This also avoids conflicts with numbered titles.

Still these conventions depend on your type of show, established format, and audience type. For example, John Lee Dumas from EOFire always includes an episode number at the beginning of his episode titles. But that is one of the things that sets his show apart.

He started his show with the premise of posting one show a day, every day. This strategy paid off for him, big time. Still, he writes very compelling titles often sprinkled with the names of popular guests.

EOFire Awesome Titles

Rule #2 Use Relevant Keywords

The episode title is the most important text to search engines and iTunes. It’s a good idea to get some important keywords in the title that people will use in their search queries. If you have a guest on the episode, then put their name in the title.

Searchers looking for information on your guest may find your show, and bam, you have a new listener. This is especially effective with big name guests, but everybody has fans. Don’t keyword stuff or drop names for no reason. Keep your title relevant and readable to humans, yet be aware of search terms and names that might bring traffic to your show.

Rule #3 Make It Catchy and Compelling

You want an honest title that tells your audience what your episode is about, but you also want content that is relevant to your potential audience. Think about what people care about? They want content that will educate or entertain them. Make sure that this information is first and foremost.

The entire point of your title is to make people do something whether it is read, watch, listen or share. Using second person pronouns (you, your) and conveying who, what, when, where, why or how can lead to compelling titles. Using numbers can also be an effective form of title building.

Things to ask when creating titles:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why?
  • How?

Rule #4 Focus on Your Audience and Potential Audience

Clearly communicating what the show is about is a great way to encourage audience engagement. No one wants to waste their time trying to decipher a too clever title or be duped by a false lead in a title or headline. Just keep in mind that your regular audience isn’t the only people to read your titles.

Your potential listeners use your titles to decide if they want to listen to your show. Taking a broad focus and trying to appeal to a wider audience is better than focusing on a small group. A great show with a catchy title with a wide appeal is also perfect for social shares which are a great way to get the attention of new listeners.

Interview Shows

In the world of podcasting interview shows are very popular. They are perfect for creating instant content and for cross promoting with other podcasters and influencers. We have a few tips for interview shows that might be helpful along with the previous suggestions.

Focus On the Guest

  • What is special about this person?
  • What have they produced?
  • How have they benefited the world?
  • What have they created such as a website, business, or book?
  • Why are they a leader in a certain genre?

Focus On the Show

  • What is the story the show will tell?
  • How the show highlights how the guest accomplished a goal?
  • Why the show features the guest’s specific strategies?
  • What surprising information will be learned from this show?

Create Unique Keyword Rich Descriptions

When it comes to SEO, the title is the most important part whether we are making a podcast episode title or a blog post title. We want it to be relevant and catchy while highlighting the most important keywords. The podcast description is another great tool for getting in additional keywords and phrases that will entice search engines as well as potential listeners. Don’t be lazy and repeat your title in the description. Take the time to write a description that works in unison with your well-planned podcast episode title.

Crafting a great podcast title will take some effort and creativity. Sometimes creativity can ebb and flow, yet your shows are due on a regular basis. If you do a search for title generators, you will find many varied options. Here are a few to play around with for motivation and ideas.

Title Generators

If you are starting a new podcast, formulating a title methodology is a good idea. If you have an existing podcast, it doesn’t hurt to audit your existing title methodology and make it as effective as possible.