We’ve all heard the saying that you only get one chance at a first impression, and your podcast is no exception!
What a listener hears in those first few seconds of starting your podcast can be the deciding factor on whether they continue listening, or if they shut it off and never return. Therefore, it’s crucial that you start with your best foot forward.
Types of Podcast Intros
If you’ve done any podcast listening, you’ve probably heard many different styles of how the podcast’s open, such as:
- Fully produced with voiceover, music, and possibly sound effects.
- Music track only and host does the intro as part of the show.
- No music or any pre-recorded intro, host starts talking and welcomes you back.
- Produced intro with episode-specific elements such as episode number, brief summary of what’s coming up, etc.
There are other variations as well, such as opening the show with a teaser clip from the episode, then going into a produced intro, and then beginning the show.
At the very least, you will want some music at the start of your show. The next level up beyond that is the well-produced intro with music and a voiceover done by somebody other than the host. While we may not have any scientific studies to back this up, we still know that a nicely produced intro is associated with quality, and in turn, things like professionalism, trust, knowledge, etc.
On the other hand, some of the biggest names in podcasting don’t have anything special to begin their show, they just begin. Perhaps they need no introduction! You may reach that point someday (and if you have already, congrats!) but for the remainder of this article, we’ll assume you’re not a celebrity, so we’ll want to make every effort possible to encourage listening.
The Importance of a Quality Podcast Intro
Establishing trust is vital with your podcast, and a well-produced intro helps you do that. There are a number of areas where a listener may be consciously or subconsciously looking to trust you, particularly that you can be trusted to provide accurate and valuable information, and that you will not waste their time.
Attention spans are shorter than ever. If you’ve taken all the proper steps up until this point, you’ve gotten somebody who is hitting the play button on your podcast – the ultimate goal – you want to be sure that the opportunity isn’t wasted.
While it’s true that even the most terrible of podcasts can easily pay to have a great-sounding intro created, and even the best of podcasts could still earn listeners without even having a proper intro, it’s just one more thing to have in your arsenal, so why not use it?
What Makes a Great Podcast Intro?
There are a number of things that go into creating the perfect podcast intro. Let’s start by looking at the foundation, or the script. What should the intro say? How long should it be?
While a simple “Welcome to ___ podcast” would suffice, it can be better! It’s highly recommended that your intro give the listener an idea of exactly what type of content this podcast offers. What type of content can they expect? Who is the host and what are their credentials? While this information is important, another crucial aspect is that the intro not run too long and become boring. It needs to be very concise. 10-15 seconds run time total is plenty, 30 seconds should be a hard limit. Aim for 40-75 words. The writing should also be professional, and if you think you need some help in that area, perhaps try reaching out to a professional copywriter or somebody else with great writing skills.
Your intro should also reflect the whole feel and style of your podcast as it will set the tone. What is the personality of the host or hosts? Is this a serious podcast or a fun podcast? The music, voiceover talent, and voiceover style will all contribute to how this is portrayed, so you’ll want to make sure it is congruent with what you’re trying to put out there.
As mentioned previously, there are many possible ways of how you can arrange your podcast opening. In this article we’re speaking specifically about the produced aspect of your intro which stays the same every episode, but you can also add in episode-specific elements such as episode number, teaser clip, summary of the topics being covered today, etc.
What About the Podcast Outro?
Congratulations, you’ve succeeded at keeping a listener tuned in to the very end of your podcast. But now what?
Almost as important as the intro is your podcast outro.
Well, the outro is a good place for some things that don’t belong in the intro, particularly a CTA or call to action. What would you like the listener to do next? Are you selling a product and you’d like them to go read more about it? Would you like to offer them the link to your website to check out resources in the show notes? You have a bit more wiggle room for length here at the end, although it’s still important to be concise and get to the point.
The more options you give somebody, the less likely they are to take action, so it’s important to choose a single CTA and stick with that. Too many options may become confusing or they may forget, so keep it nice and simple.
Need Help with Your Podcast Intro?
In closing, it’s important to let your creativity flow. Your intro doesn’t need to sound just like the other intros you’ve heard, but it will definitely help if you follow the best practices outlined in this article.
East Coast Studio has helped dozens of podcasters create intros that sound great, reflect their personalities, and set them up for a superb episode. If you’d like help creating your podcast intro and outro, get in touch!