How to name your podcast trailer

Don’t lose your audience before they’ve even hit play
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Few things are more satisfying than launching the second season of a show you’ve worked hard on.

It confirms several things — season one is a success, the client’s happy, and you’ve got another whole season to flex your storytelling skills.

But leading up to the launch of the second season of Teamistry, I stumbled upon a dilemma that, frankly, I wish was either beneath or beyond my paygrade.

The question was: what should we title the trailer? And in particular, because we had already released one season, what should we name the trailer for season two?

A season two trailer is different than a season one trailer. It’s not an introduction to the show, and you’re not starting from scratch. It’s a prelude to the next set of stories and a recognition of what your audience has already heard. In our case, we already knew a thing or two about our listeners. We also had a solid audience base, so the thought of experimenting or doing something new and different with the title didn’t seem like a good idea.

Of course, with a season two trailer, you also want to emphasize that what’s coming next will be worth your time… that it will be every ounce as good as season one — and more.

Initially, with these considerations in mind, I thought of the obvious, generic answer: ‘Season Two: Trailer’.

Just the thought made me snooze. I felt my creativity was in its final rites. ‘Season Two: Trailer’? What else have you got, I could hear Pedro Mendes, my showrunner, ask me.

‘Sky Above: Blue’.

‘Toronto January: Cold’.

‘Hotel?: Trivago’.

‘Evoke excitement, make a promise’

Dan Misener, our resident audience development guru, stepped in to help over Slack:

Coming Soon: Season 2 of Teamistry and‘Season 2 is Coming Soon’ were his suggestions off the bat.

“I think we want the trailer title to evoke a sense of excitement and anticipation, rather than simply convey the fact that we’re about to release new episodes,” Dan said.

Dan also advised that the title make a “promise” — a sort of “heads up” for what the listener will find when they play the trailer.

Now we seemed to be getting somewhere.

“Season 2 of Teamistry is just around the corner…”

“Coming soon: our second season,” was another suggestion.

Finally, I had a breakthrough. It wasn’t perfect, but … it was something.

And importantly, I didn’t think it was a snooze.

Teamistry Season 2: The Team of Teams

The second season of Teamistry is a little different from the first one. It’s not about one team, but about multiple teams — and how several groups combine to achieve something extraordinary. I liked this title because it captured this evolution and also ticked all the other boxes.

It informs listeners about a forthcoming season.

It tells them there’s more to season two than what they got from season one.

It evokes a sense of ambition and excitement.

But I wondered: where exactly did this title sit in the mammoth sea of trailers and second season announcements?

If data talks, Dan Misener knows how to interrogate. He combed through hundreds of thousands of podcasts and trailer titles to reveal common words and patterns that appear on our podcast feeds.

Dan analyzed metadata from 211,975 podcast episodes with an <itunes:episodeType> set to trailer .

Here‘s what he found:

  • On average, the titles of podcast trailers are shorter than other episode types. Based on Pacific Content’s research from January 2020, the median episode title is 36 characters long. But for trailers, the median title is 25 characters long.
  • Across our dataset of 211,975 trailers, here are the top 20 title words:
The top two words used in titles of podcast trailers are … trailer and podcast. (huh!)
  • By far, the most commonly used word in trailer titles is “trailer.” According to Dan — and I agree — this is largely unnecessary and redundant. Both Apple Podcasts and Spotify (the two biggest podcast apps by market share) clearly distinguish trailer episodes without the need to include “trailer” in the title.
Both Apple Podcasts and Spotify indicate trailer episodes with a special tag.
  • The second most commonly used word in podcast trailer titles is “podcast.” Again, this feels largely unnecessary and redundant. In the same way that your show’s series title probably doesn’t need to include the word “podcast,” your trailer title also probably doesn’t need to include the word “podcast.”
  • “Season” is on the list of Top 20 most commonly used words in trailer titles. Since Apple Podcasts supports the <itunes:season> tag, you could argue it’s redundant. But other podcast apps (like Spotify) don’t display season information the same way Apple does, so there’s an argument for including it.

To sum up — while faced with the task of naming the trailer for a new season, ask yourself: “what excites me about the trailer of my new season?”

Do I want to repeat to my audience that this is a trailer when they can see the trailer tag? And do I want to remind them that this is a podcast?

Duh, no.

What you want to do with the title is exactly the same as what you want to do with the trailer itself — build excitement, build anticipation, and make a promise that the future episodes will deliver upon.

And maybe, if it’s relevant, don’t just tell the audience that you’re back — tell them you’re back with a twist (It’s not just about one team for Teamistry’s second season, it’s about ‘teams of teams’.)

An old adage says that well begun is half done. And if you’ve done something right, something exciting with the title of your trailer — I sure want to know how the rest of the season sounds like.

But like all things, and despite Dan’s data-crunching prowess, this is still part-science and part-art.

What are some of your top tips for a trailer title?

Sign up for the Pacific Content Newsletter: audio strategy, analysis, and insight in your inbox. Once a week.

Related Posts