Podcast Taglines Demystified

Should a podcast have a tagline?

Like all things podcasting, the most straightforward answer is, it depends. But before I get to why it depends, let's first look at what a tagline is. 

A tagline is a line of text often seen accompanying a logo or title. The purpose of a tagline is to clarify a message, in most cases, a name or a title and help people connect with a brand. For podcasts, a tagline helps clarify a show's title and identify what listeners can expect from a show.

Examples of taglines

  • Movie: Ferris Bueller's Day Off: One man's struggle to take it easy.
  • Business Book: Superfans: The easy way to stand out, grow your tribe, and build a successful business. (by Pat Flynn)
  • Fiction Book: The Hunger Games: Winning will make you famous. Losing means certain death.
  • Business: Dollar Shave Club: Shave Time. Shave Money.
  • Podcast: Being Boss: A podcast for creative entrepreneurs.

As you can see, taglines can help clarify the meaning of a title. 

Ferris Bueller's Day OffImagine you had never heard of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. What does the title tell you? Is it the story of someone's day at the beach? Someone doing his weekly chores? Someone who loves his work so much that he doesn't know what to do when he's not working? Without context (or a movie trailer), you have no idea what the story will be. 

However, the tagline “One man's struggle to take it easy” gives you some insight as to what to expect without giving too much away. It's a movie about someone trying to relax on his day off, and everything that gets in his way. The tagline helps clarify the title.

Do you need a podcast tagline?

Let's get back to the original question. Should you have a podcast tagline for your show? 

It depends on how clear your show's title is. If a potential listener reads your show's title and immediately knows what your podcast is about, a tagline is not necessary. Most podcasts don't have a tagline.

However, if a potential listener reads your show's title and is left wondering what your podcast is about, you may want to provide a tagline for added clarification.

For example: if your podcast title is “Good Boy Dog Training,” it's pretty clear that your show is about training dogs. Therefore a tagline is not required.

However, if your show is just called “Good Boy,” it could be about any number of topics. Adding a tagline such as “Helping dog owners create obedient companions.” will help clarify what topic your show covers, dog training.

Putting a podcast tagline to use.

There are various ways to use a podcast tagline while promoting a show.

Your podcast tagline in audio form.

For a tagline to be effective, people need to hear it repeatably. You remember popular taglines such as “Just do it.” or “I'm loving it.” because you've heard them repeatedly over time. 

The same applies to your podcast.

Use your podcast tagline in the introduction of every episode of your show. Use it in person when you tell people about your podcast. The more you use it, the more familiar it will become, and the clearer your podcast topic will be.

Pat Flynn of The Smart Passive Income podcast starts every one of his 400+ episodes with the tagline “Smart Passive Income: Where it's all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later.” I've heard it so many times I was able to type it out from memory (I did verify to be sure.)

Pat's tagline paints a clear picture of what to expect from his content. He's offering instructions and advice on how to work hard now to grow your business so you can profit from it in the long run.

Your podcast tagline in visual form.

Another way for a tagline to be effective is to be visible at every mention of your show.

Your podcast tagline should appear on all your marketing material. It should be near the top of your website, it should be predominant on your business cards, in your email signature, included on stickers, T-shirts, and any other marketing material you use to promote your show.

One exception is your podcast cover artwork. It may not be feasible to include a tagline because of the limited real estate on a show's cover art. If you already have a long show title, you don't want to crowd it by adding several more words. 

If you look through any podcast directory, you'll see that very few podcasts include a tagline on their cover artwork. That's because almost all podcast directories contain a written description that accompanies the show's artwork. That's where your tagline should appear.

Your podcast's tagline is a great way to begin your show's description. It quickly clarifies your title by further explaining your topic without forcing potential listeners to read your entire podcast description. If they like the title and tagline, they'll read on to learn more about your show. If the title and tagline don't pique their curiosity, they'll appreciate the time you saved them as they continue their search.

Should YOUR podcast have a tagline?

As a podcaster, you hope that as many people as possible press play and listen to your show. If a tagline accomplishes this by helping potential listeners make an informed decision, then why not spend the time now to develop one. Even if you already have an established show, it's never too late to add a tagline.

However, if your podcast's title is already descriptive enough and you don't see any benefits in adding a tagline, then forget about it and concentrate your time and effort on developing great content for your show.

*Featured Photo by Bruno Gomiero on Unsplash

Do you need help with your podcast cover artwork?
Podcast Branding offers professionally designed cover art to help your show stand out.

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