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Episode Titles

Lesson 6 from: Product Packaging for Podcasts

Dan Misener

Episode Titles

Lesson 6 from: Product Packaging for Podcasts

Dan Misener

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Lesson Info

Episode Titles

Every single episode that you release is going to have a title. It should be a good one. And very much like your show level metadata, you need to write for these two very important audiences. Humans and machines. Your episode titles, you want them to be attention-grabbing for the human beings. We're gonna be looking at a list of episodes, but they also need to be indexable and they need to be optimized for SEO when it comes to machines. I'm gonna show you an episode title from a show that we work on in my day job. This is a show called Repeat Customer from Zen Desk. It is all about amazing customer experience, because Zen Desk is interested in customer experience broadly and they want all of their clients to have great customer experiences with their customers. This is the title of the episode. How Brooklinen woke up the bedding industry by going direct-to-consumer. What do we think about this show title? What strikes you about this show title? You can just shout it out. It's specifi...

c. It's very specific. What else about this? What about the length? It's long, it is totally long. When you look at the length of this, we're looking at it in Google Podcast, so it's showing the entire episode title. But if this got cut off, a lot of the most important information is front-loaded, right? Do you think you have a good sense of what you might hear if you hit play? Whether you know Brooklinen or not? I didn't know Brooklinen, I think they sell sheets, that is I think what they do. Even if I didn't know what Brooklinen was, the word bedding industry is right in there. And the fact that they're using jargon like direct-to-consumer suggests to me because Repeat Customer is a business show, that they're gonna be talking about this very specific aspect of their business model. I feel like if I hit play, I'm not gonna know exactly what I'm gonna get, but I got a pretty good idea. This is a better title than Brooklinen. This is a better title than The Bedding Industry. So I think the specificity here helps. Does this feel scammy? Doesn't feel loaded with keywords. But there are keywords in there. This I think feels like a really good example of an episode title. When you are thinking about the titles that you are going to write, you want them to be descriptive, you want them to include the words and phrases that people are likely to search for. You want them to be SEO-friendly, so if you've got names of prominent companies or people that you are talking to, you want to include those. So the Brooklinen example did exactly that. You do want to keep in mind that long episode titles are going to get cut off in podcast apps, so you want to front-load the important words that humans need to see early on. One tip that I've often heard is framing your episode titles as a provocative question. I think this can be very, very helpful. And that is a subset of advice that I think is really important. Your titles are headlines. Think about them like headlines, and that will steer you in the right direction. So study headlines, look at blogs, look at newspaper articles. Look at how people title YouTube videos, right? Learn from that. But don't think of your episode titles as episode titles. They are headlines, that is exactly what they are. Things that you want to avoid, redundancy. And I see this all the time, where people duplicate the name of their show, their series name in the episode title, you don't need to do that. It is redundant, it's gonna take up space, precious space, on a very small screen. You also don't necessarily need to include the episode or the season number. Couple of years ago, Apple introduced season level and episode level metadata where you can say right there in your RSS feed, this is season one, episode two. You don't need to actually hard code that into your episode titles. I also think beyond avoiding redundancy that we talked about, you want to avoid being a little too clever. I went into IMDB and I looked at the episode titles for the latest season of Westworld, and they were very cryptic and they were very interesting and I didn't know what half of them meant. And that worked for Westworld, because that show is all about not really knowing what's going on and unraveling a mystery. When you are making a podcast and you are trying to sell your podcast, your podcast packaging should not be confusing or cryptic, unless you're really going for that. So avoid the urge to be a little too clever or to presume too much knowledge about your show, particularly for new audiences. And again, you want to avoid stuffing keywords. This is a fast route to getting your show kicked out of certain directories. More than anything else, you want your episode titles to make a promise that your episode's gonna deliver on. If you take one thing away about episode titles, make it this. Your episode title is a promise that when someone hits play, you really need to deliver on. Episode titles. This is The Tim Ferris Show. Tim Ferris does an amazing job with titles. Go look at Tim Ferris' titles. When I see an episode called Tim Ferris Goes to Maximum Security Prison, I know what's happening in that episode. When I see Ann Mura-Ko, The Path from Shyness to World-Class Debater and Investor, I know who he's gonna be talking to, and I know what they're gonna be talking about. So again, your episode titles are a promise that you are making to a listener that your episode has to deliver on. So study people who do really good episode titles and borrow some of their ideas.

Ratings and Reviews

Abisoye Akinola
 

Dan highlighted the items that we overlook over time and it was awesome to note these things. I will totally recommend this course. Thank you, Dan!

Ginger Winters
 

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