We always know that podcasting is a journey. Along the way, we may find that our directions could change. We either want to explore other areas or expand. Suffice to say, our show is not anymore congruent with the path you want to take moving forward. And that is alright. What you need is a rebranding! In this episode, Tom Hazzard addresses this part of your podcasting journey and answers multiple questions that can help you navigate this change. Specifically, Tom answers the number one query: “Is changing your show name a wise choice?” He talks about why we might want to pivot our name and breaks down the qualities of a good podcast name, using his own experiences as an example. So tune in and find out how you can step into your new show direction!
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Rebranding Podcast: Is Changing Your Show Name A Wise Choice?
In this episode, we are going to talk about podcast rebranding and go through a podcast rebrand, in particular, changing your show name, which a lot of podcasters end up doing at some point in their podcasting journey. Even if you are not in that place where you need to do this now, everybody considers pivoting their show name if they podcast long enough.
Do you need to? No. Should some people consider rebranding their podcast name? Yes. I want to talk about the qualities of a good podcast name and why we might want to pivot our name. I’m going to use myself as an example with some of the show names that we have done in the past. Sometimes pivoting your show name means the direction you’re taking a podcast has changed. The old name is no longer in alignment with where you’re going with the podcast going forward.
Before Feed Your Brand existed, the idea was a play on words between feeding your brand with content, which is what recording a podcast can do for you and does for all the people we work with Podetize. It also was a play on a podcast feed, which is the mechanism. I know a lot of people don’t realize this but an RSS feed is the mechanism and the distribution method podcasts are syndicated to all the listening apps. That was a plan where it’s a little fun, maybe more of an inside joke. Not everybody gets that but the idea of feeding your brand with content makes more sense.
Changing Your Podcast Name / The Standout CEO
Before that, we had a different name, which when I look back on it is terrible. We had a different version of the show about the podcasting community, a name that was, at one point, podcast peeps or something. I hate to even admit that. I’m going to use an example but I’m going to change the names to not embarrass somebody. Although I am going to give you some examples here in this podcast too. We had somebody who has a show and the show was their name. It was the, let’s say, John Smith Show and the show was about sales. Nothing about that name said anything about sales.
This was a prospect and I said, “I want to help you get the most you can out of your podcast. You’re going to buy some production for us. We recommend we rebrand your podcast and change the name to something that when people hear it gives them the idea that it’s going to be about sales. The John Smith Show, unless they know who you are, doesn’t say anything about sales.”
At this moment, I forgot what the rebranded show’s name was. I’m going to be looking that up as I talk to you here because I owe you that. I thought it was going to pay off quickly and it didn’t but it’s a killer show name. It was the name that ended up being something more specifically about sales, closing sales or something like that.
It’s a bad example. I recorded that in a podcast. You’re getting a glimpse of, “You have a plan and something comes to mind. You talk about it. If you’re not prepared with that example, you get an egg on your face and got some on the mind.” Having a podcast that’s all about you and if it’s your name in your show, if you’re well known in your industry or a celebrity, that makes perfect sense because your name is what it’s about. When your show is about a subject or if your name doesn’t talk about it, why would people want to listen? It’s not going to be effective for you.
Unfortunately, Tracy has a show called The Binge Factor. She has interviewed all sorts of successful podcasters about what makes them successful but she also takes that opportunity to provide them with some constructive criticism about their show and how they could make even more improvements and achieve even greater success than they have already achieved. I’m going to show you a few of them and it gets to this issue of the podcast name.
You have a podcast name and it fits you in the beginning or you think it does. You experience it and realize, “Maybe that doesn’t mean to everybody else what it meant to me. I would do better if I pivoted my name.” Changing a name can have a big impact on the success of your name. I’m going to show you some examples here. Here is a show. Brad Powell is somebody Tracy interviewed on The Binge Factor. On his left is the old show’s name. That is what it was when she interviewed him. This cover art is what was featured in the blog post on TheBingeFactor.com.
The Livestream Show. It sounds like, “Live streaming is big now. Wonderful. Let’s do a show called The Livestream Show. I’m going to do it live.” Does that tell you what he was going to talk about? It doesn’t. He pivoted his name after The Binge Factor interview with Tracy and called it The Stand Out CEO Show.
That tells you a lot more. He is either a standout CEO, maybe being a little boastful about himself but more likely, he is interviewing standout CEOs. If you want to hear about business topics, what makes a standout CEO or people that are standout CEOs and what makes them great, you probably are a little curious to give this show a try when you see the name. You can see how different it can be and what a name can do for you.
I’m talking about more of the name. People pivot their cover art more often than they pivot their show names. I want to have you realize when you make a show, either your name or about something that may be on trend, do live streaming. That’s on trend. If you want to do things, get attention and be seen by the most different followers you can on social media, live streaming is the way to do it. That has been a popular subject in recent years.
Is that going to catch some people’s attention? Sure, it is but you want to think about is your name is going to speak to the needs of the listeners you want to have on your show. Since his show, the new one called The Stand Out CEO Show, does tell you much more about what he is going to talk about and he may be doing it live stream and that’s great. The reason people are going to listen is more about the subject of The Stand Out CEO than it is being live. Being live is one aspect, characteristic and quality of his show. Not the main one.
The Brilliance And Passion Podcast
Before and after Brilliance+Passion Podcast. That is an interesting name. In some way, there is something there but brilliance and passion in what? If you got a well-written podcast description about what your show is about, which in his case is business creators and you type something that’s in alignment with creating a business and it comes up with the Brilliance+Passion show, depending on who you are, you might click that and give it a try. Probably more likely, the Business Creators Radio Show, in this case, does speak more to what you’re talking about.
Business Creator’s Brilliance or Business Creators’ Passion, if you wanted to throw one of those words into it, you could but it gets a little long and wordy but for business creators, it’s the same show. He was talking about business creators at the beginning, this guy, Adam. The Brilliance+Passion Podcasts became the Business Creators Radio Show. You are going to get more people clicking and trying whom you want to try by revealing what the show is about.
I do have issues with the cover art and calling it a radio show. Even if this is a radio show that is done live on internet radio once a week or even if they are live on terrestrial radio once a week and you’re repurposing it as a podcast, your listeners who prefer listening to the podcast are going to hear it here first. Your radio show people hearing it live or on that radio network are not going to go listen to it as a podcast.
Why do you call it a radio show? It indicates old school a bit. I would say business creators podcast. You are distributing this to the podcast ecosystem. Even if you call it a radio show where it is a radio show or it is a podcast, let’s call it a podcast. That is a little friendly advice, in my opinion, on that one. Let’s not call it a radio show.
Scale With Joy
The third example, Scale with Joy is the old show name and the new show name, Next Level Leap. Scale with Joy says something a little different. My first question before I read the fine print, I wondered, since this woman has her headshot on her cover art, I was like, “Is her name Joy?” That was the first thing I thought. Scale with Joy, meaning more about her or is it scale with joy meaning happiness?
That communicates something different. What joy found, especially having A Binge Factor interview with Tracy. All these examples had an interview with Tracy if I hadn’t made that clear already. Next Level Leap builds a lot more anticipation to get people to click and learn, even if they’re not sure what that leap is. It’s like, “I’m not sure what that means but I want to check it out.” That’s a successful podcast name. It’s more successful than Scale with Joy.
Podcast Cover Art
Scale with Joy was her idea of what she thought people would want to listen for. After experiencing the podcast for a while, she realized she was talking about taking your business to the next level and how to have the confidence to make that leap. She changed her name to be more in alignment with not only the content she was creating but why people were listening. That makes sense. I like the idea of Next Level Leap. That’s great. You can see how names can make a big difference.People respond to images and graphics faster than they read words. Click To Tweet
I’m going to come back to talk about the cover art for a minute. I didn’t intend to talk about this in this episode but as I’m using these examples and showing them, I need to talk about them. Two of these cover arts make what I regard as the tactical error in most cases, not all cases. They’re putting their face on the cover art. It’s not that there is anything wrong with how these people look. Some people are like, “It’s my show. I need to be in integrity and put my face on the cover art.”
The Stand Out CEO Show does that here. Brad Powell has his full torso shot on there. I’m glad it’s only taking up about a quarter of the surface area of the cover art. It’s not dominating it. What happens when you put our face on our cover art, unless we’re targeting a specific niche of people and we represent that niche in our visual appearance, it can tend to distract people and keep them from clicking to try it. People tend to like people like themselves. It’s not a discriminatory thing. It’s a human nature thing.
If I’m not an older White guy, as Brad is here on his cover art, if I’m a Millennial person of color, a man or a woman, I may not identify with him. Even though Stand Out CEO is of interest to me, there are going to be a few other shows in my search that come up. If I see one that I relate to more, I’m going to go to that and not even give this a try.
We tend to recommend getting your face off your cover art. You will get more click engagement and get people to try it. With most, we certainly try to do that. That’s what I recommend in general. I make a recommendation as a podcast strategist and consultant. It’s your show. The best I can do is share with you what I think is going to get you more click engagement. It’s a business decision or a creative decision. After all, it’s your show. You can have it the way you want.
Let’s move on to the before and after the Brilliance+Passion Podcast and the Business Creators Radio Show. To me, this cover art each makes a similar mistake and it’s almost all about the text and the font. This is a missed opportunity to have because there have been researched studies done to show you that people respond to images and graphics faster than they read words. Their brains process images and visual graphics in the smallest fraction of a millisecond. Whereas reading words takes reading, interpreting and processing in your brain and takes longer.
We’re talking about 1 second or 2. We’re not talking about many seconds but your brain gravitates to the visuals first. When you have a cover and it is all about the words, you’re missing an opportunity to catch people’s attention, be curious, get them to click and get to the point where they will read the words. Something visual is going to attract them first and other cover arts up there that have other visuals are going to command their attention quicker.
The new one, although I do think the Business Creators Radio Show is incrementally a better title of a show than the Brilliance+Passion Podcast because it tells you it’s about business creators. People are going to understand that and the right people are going to click. Using a microphone as your image is the most cliche imagery for radio shows and podcasting. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a rookie error and a wasted opportunity.
There are probably a lot of other images that could indicate business creators and make people feel like, “I want to be a part of that tribe or community.” It would at least attract them to it to the point where they visually are attracted and read, “Business Creators Show. It’s awesome. That’s for me. I want to click and try that.” It’s a missed opportunity with this one. Although not making the first mistake that I said.
This third one is Scale with Joy before Next Level Leap. The host of the show is using a headshot in each case. That may work. In this case, the host is a woman in business. If she’s purely trying to attract women in business, that might work. If she’s trying to appeal to men, a lot of men are probably going to subconsciously see her show come up on the list and move on to another one. Either one where they see a man they identify with better or something that doesn’t have an image at all and talks more about taking businesses to the next level. It can hurt you unintentionally but it’s your show. You can do what you want.
My staff, as I have been talking about this podcast here about this subject, I want to go back to what I was talking about with that show. Remember, I talked about the John Smith Show. That was a sales-related podcast. We found the name and I can share it with you. Although I have an egg on my face, I’m maybe going to have a little redemption.The only time people really read podcast descriptions is if they've already been attracted to your cover art and then the name of the show. Click To Tweet
The show had made all the mistakes. The show was his name, the John Smith Show. I’m not revealing his name. He had his face on the cover art. When we came to rebranding this, I thought we came out with the most brilliant name that got at the heart of what he talked about in his episodes. That came through a little bit of a brainstorming process. We came up with the name The Selling Dilemma because it was about sales but it was about certain aspects of sales, making tough decisions on how to achieve success with selling. That was what the podcast was about. He talked about these dilemmas. I thought, “Wow, the selling dilemma.”
We came up with a lot of different graphics imagery for what would catch your attention when you see that cover art but a name that instead of being all about you and your name and if people didn’t know your name, what is the show about? They have to click in to read the description. If you have to wait for people to click in and read the description to find out what your show is about, you have lost a whole lot of people.
The description helps in two ways of your podcast. One to have you come up in searches because it’s the primary data point that feeds the search bar in every listening app. That’s why a description is critical. The only time people read it is if they have already been attracted to your cover art and the name of the show. They say, “That sounds good. That’s curious. Let me read the first sentence to the description and make sure that is what I think it is going to be about.” It reinforces it. It’s a secondary level of information people go through and give a try.
If you’re relying on that description to talk about what the show is about, your name or your show doesn’t say what it’s about and your cover out doesn’t show what it’s about, you may want to pivot that podcast name and/or cover art. I talked about the cover out here a little bit and the primary point was about the name and the effectiveness of the name. I have given you 4 examples and showed you 3. I stumbled on one at the beginning and told you about it at the end. The John Smith Show was about sales and became The Selling Dilemma. It’s much more effective in getting people to listen.
That’s what I wanted to share with you. Nothing wrong with pivoting your show. Here’s one more thing about the cover art I want to share with you. I have pivoted my cover art many times on Feed Your Brand. The cover art is not what it was several years ago. It’s probably not what it will be years from now. I like changing up and refreshing it.
Part of that is also the competition. Your podcast competition in your subject area is not going to be the same year from now as it was when you launched. If other people have come out with podcasts and use some of the same colors as you and you look at the search on the subjects you want to come up for and see everybody has got similar colors, it’s time to pivot. At a minimum, change some of the colors in your text, background or whatever it is so it pops and commands your attention when you show up in a search that it’s not the same as everybody else.
We originally had a cover out for this show that was black and green. Eventually, a competitor of ours in the podcast hosting space came out with their podcast and used the same colors. I’m like, “It’s time to change.” We changed it. It’s the same thing with our very first show. This was a few decades ago, WTFFF?! 3D Printing Podcast.
Every year, we change that to freshen it up and have some new colorways. Part of that was due to competition in that space of 3D printing, which is a geeky show, our first show. Part of it was also we started to do many episodes and ended up putting out multiple volumes. The older ones we put out as their show that people could go back and read the early ones because a lot of apps will only show 300 episodes. When you get over 300, your first one as you publish 301, number 1 falls off of their app. We need to make those available to distinguish between the volumes and change some colors too.
Refreshing your cover out is a fantastic thing to do, even if you’ve got the perfect name. Refreshing your cover out is a more common thing than pivoting your name. Pivoting your name is a little tougher decision. People get attached to their names. You may have some good reasons why you don’t want to change your name but I see a lot of shows out there where that name isn’t as effective as you want it to be. You might realize upon reflection that maybe your show content or what you do in your show is pivoted a little or expanded a little. That name is a little too narrow. It’s not in alignment with what you’re doing.
You Don’t Lose Anything
Here is the last tip about changing your podcast name. Once you change it in your podcast hosting platform, it changes everywhere. Everybody who subscribed to your show remains subscribed to your show. Changing the name doesn’t change any of that. You don’t lose anything by changing your name. You hopefully make incremental improvements, catch more attention and attract new people to your show that weren’t attracted to it before. I don’t see any downside to doing that. That’s the final word I’ll leave you with. Thanks so much for reading, everybody.