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How to Write Podcast Episode Titles and Descriptions to Grow Your Podcast Audience


Mastering Podcast Episode Titles and Descriptions to Captivate and Grow Your Audience

Product packaging, or the podcast episode titles and descriptions, are one of the most underrated audience development tools available to podcasters. Before a listener ‘hits play’ on your show, they have to decide to listen to your show – and they have to find your show. 

Episode titles and descriptions can help or hinder you in these critical moments in your listener journey. Here’s how to make them work for you:

Setting Clear Expectations with Your Podcast Episode Titles

Like a compelling blurb on a book jacket, your episode title should communicate what’s inside. Keep it simple, but detailed, to let listeners know exactly what the episode is about and why they should listen. 

If your podcast is educational by nature, what is the central lesson listeners will learn in this episode? 

JAR partners with Amazon to create their podcast This Is Small Business. Each episode addresses a common question or challenge of small business owners. So the episode titles communicate what listeners will know after listening that they didn’t know before.

Tell listeners why they should care about your podcast episode

Just like a compelling blurb on a book jacket, your podcast episode titles should succinctly communicate what listeners can expect inside each episode. Keeping titles clear yet detailed ensures listeners understand the episode’s content and its relevance, encouraging them to hit play. If your podcast aims to educate, for instance, each episode title should reflect the unique lesson or insight offered, enhancing the overall podcast experience and maintaining alignment with your educational goals.

If your podcast features an interview format, the podcast episode titles should highlight the focus of your subject’s story. Like a recent episode of Unique Genius from JAR client Thinkific. It’s a lengthy interview with creator Ellie Diop, but the reason host Greg Smith is speaking with her is because she earned $1M in her first month as a creator, and $3M in her first year. Every question in the interview ties back to that central question: How did she do that?!

We knew our audience would want to know Ellie’s secret, so we reflected that in the title: “Creator Ellie Diop’s secret to earning $3 million in her first year”.

In the podcast episode description, we elemented out the episode into timestamped mini lessons they’ll learn along the way. Both the title and description make it clear the value proposition for listeners – they not only know what to expect, but why they should listen.

Podcasters participating in a workshop, focused on their screens displaying tips for writing podcast episode titles, emphasizing continuous learning in content creation.

Think like your podcast audience 

Think of someone in your life who fits your target audience. What words and phrases would they be searching for that would lead them to your show? Work those words and phrases into your episode titles. 

Including the names of guests who are well-known among niche audiences is a winning strategy for ranking high in the search results in apps like Apple Podcasts, which index your episode title to determine how you show up in the search results

For example, we knew futurist Jaron Lanier has a niche, but dedicated audience. People who follow his work seek him out. So when JAR’s client Cirque du Soleil featured Lanier in an episode of Cirque du Sound, we made sure to include his name in the title. This episode is now one of the top results for his name in Apple Podcasts.

Keep your podcast episode titles succinct 

The first line of your episode description is valuable real estate. One of the best ways to use this space is to hook your audience by helping them feel seen, and clearly reflecting what they will get from the episode. 

Every episode description for This Is Small Business starts with a question our target audience is facing: How do you keep customers coming back for more? How much is my product worth? Should I outsource manufacturing or do it myself? The lines that follow explain how that question will be answered in the episode (for example a conversation with an expert guest, or through the story of a small business owner). 

Most importantly, the first few lines of the episode description avoid redundant phrases (“in this episode”), and they avoid repeating language listeners can glean elsewhere. Consider the following example:

“On Episode [XX] of [SHOW NAME], host [HOST NAME], [HOST TITLE] sits down with ….”

The entire first line is exhausted before we learn what the episode is about. And this is all information listeners can learn from other product packaging elements, like the series title, series description and author field.

5 Key Takeaways:

  1. Product packaging matters: Podcast episode titles and descriptions help your listener decide whether to ‘hit play’ on your show. Product packaging matters
  2. Let listeners know what to expect: Like a compelling title and blurb on a book, your podcast episode titles and description should make it clear what the listener can expect when they hit play. 
  3. Let listeners know why they should listen: Your episode title and description should also make clear why they should listen: How are they going to be better off after listening than they were before? What will they learn that they didn’t already know? What will they feel after listening to the episode?
  4. Think like your listener: Include terms your listeners will search for in your episode titles to optimize for search
  5. Be economical: The first line of your episode description is valuable real estate: Start with the most important information, which is usually your episode’s big takeaway or central question. Consider a ‘hook’.

By: Liz Hames, Director of Audience Growth

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