Your podcast in 30 words or fewer

Writing compelling, evocative, and human podcast loglines.

Writing compelling, evocative, and human podcast loglines. austin-chan-275638-unsplash.jpg

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What is a logline?

Your show name and your logline (you can also think of this as a tagline) work together to make a snappy description of your show—one that makes it unique and unlike any other. A logline differs from your podcast’s description, which goes into more depth about the who/what/where of your show and aids with SEO. In contrast, your logline is short and conveys the emotional need for your podcast at a glance: your brief, one sentence summary of your show is by a human (you), for a human (your listener).

A logline should be a short as a tweet, so once you land on one that succinctly describes your show, you can use it everywhere! It’s the perfect fit for your podcast’s social media bio, your show’s business card, within the <summary> tag in your podcast’s RSS feed, and importantly, it serves as an effective subtitle for your podcast website.

You’ve seen a logline before even if you didn’t realize that’s what it was:

  • Non-fiction books frequently use the Title: subtitle model.
  • TV embraces the logline wholeheartedly: you’ve seen them in a TV guide or scrolling through TV channels
  • Netflix loves a good logline: these sell the movie or TV show to help you decide what to watch next.

Writing a great logline

Someone penned all these loglines, and now, you’re going to learn how to create a great one for your show. Emotional and evocative words are very helpful here, as the combination of your title and logline should grab your future listener by the ears and hook them into pressing play.

All the loglines that follow were pulled directly from the selected podcast’s description. For the “Could be better” and “Needs work” examples, we reverse engineered their great example into less compelling versions.

Is there anything that your listeners need to know up front about the content of your show?

These kinds of loglines address your target audience immediately and directly.

Here’s an example for Dear Anxiety:

Great: Worry, anger, stress, perfectionism, body image: if you feel it, we want to talk about it. Could be better: Worry and stress are hard, let’s talk about it. Needs work: Let’s talk about anxiety.

Others to use for inspiration:

  • The Nod: We celebrate the genius, the innovation, and the resilience that is so particular to being Black — in America, and around the world.
  • The Last Bohemians: Meet female firebrands and maverick outsiders who have lived life on the edge and who still refuse to play by the rules.
  • Money Diaries: We ask women to share their salary, their take home pay, and their monthly expenses.

Are there people, places, or things that are common to each episode (or season) of your show?

Here’s an example for Out of the Blocks:

Great: A uniquely immersive listening experience that emerges from a mosaic of voices and soundscapes on the streets of Baltimore. Could be better: An immersive podcast voiced by the residents of Baltimore. Needs work: Come with us on a trip through Baltimore.

Others to use for inspiration:

  • The Eyes of Texas: We’re hitting the road in search of stories that define Texas pride and meeting up with Texans doing big things.
  • First Day Back: For the past year, Tally Abecassis and the First Day Back team have been following the life and career of Jason Weems, a man who lives and died for comedy.
  • Under the Electric Stars: A cyberpunk adventure about Metropolis West, one of the last cities standing after a nuclear war.

Does something unify each episode (or season) of your show?

Is there a singular piece of action, conflict, or theme that’s part of each episode (or the arc of a whole season)?

Here’s an example for The Lonely Palette:

Great: The podcast that returns art history to the masses, one painting at a time. Could be better: We visit art museums to talk about history. Needs work: A podcast about art history.

Others to use for inspiration:

  • Criminal: Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or got caught somewhere in the middle.
  • Soonish: The future is shaped by technology—but technology is shaped by us.
  • Love Letters: A single, burning question about love and relationships, every season.

Does your podcast embrace a certain style that’s central to the show?

Here’s an example for One Plus One:

Great: An ongoing series about the fascinating stories of two great minds coming together to accomplish something they never could on their own. Could be better: Stories about how two smart people get together and make incredible things. Needs work: Great collaborations throughout history.

Others to use for inspiration:

  • The Look Back Machine: A documentary-style podcast explores the overlooked, the disregarded, and misremembered tales from Hollywood.
  • Forest Guide: A fantastical audio drama miniseries about a journey of self-realization and overcoming trauma.
  • Thirst Aid Kit: Examine why we desire who we desire through conversation, original fanfic, and fantasies that take us by surprise…like a lion would a gazelle.

Is there a voice to your podcast?

Audio fiction podcasts aren’t the only ones that work genre tropes into their loglines as a way of indicating the style. For shows where the voice of the host or primary characters are integral to your podcast, think about the kinds of words they’d use to set the scene.

Here’s an example for The Dream:

Great: What if we told you that with zero experience and only a few hundred dollars down, this podcast could change your life? Could be better: An inside look at participating in multi-level marketing. Needs work: Pyramid schemes, oh my!

Others to use for inspiration:

  • The Pilgrimage Saga: Welcome aboard the RIN Starstrider. This is your captain speaking. You are listening to an audio drama about five humans and an AI trying to find home.
  • RedWing: By day, Jordan Redfield-Wade is a billionaire philanthropist and private investigator, but by night, he protects the people of New Ark City as RedWing, the masked vigilante.
  • Don’t Waste Your Pretty: Dismantling the patriarchy + collecting dick pics. Feminist AF.
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