If there was no TV in sight and you heard the Friends theme song, you’d likely know what was playing on the screen. You’d settle on the couch with your snacks and have a general idea of the type of entertainment you’re about to consume. A podcast intro is no different than a TV opening.
A podcast intro introduces the main ideas, includes the title, and prepares you for what’s to come in the following minutes or hours. In many ways, the introduction is the most important part of your podcast. For those who have just stumbled upon your show, these crucial seconds are the make or break that decide whether or not they will stick it out.
So, how to make a podcast intro that grabs your listeners and keeps them hooked? Let’s take a look.
- Do I Really Need a Podcast Intro?
- The Basics of Making a Podcast Intro
- How to Make a Podcast Intro
- Introducing the Episode
- What to Avoid in your Podcast Intro
- Do I Need a Podcast Outro Too?
- How to Make a Podcast Outro
- BONUS: How to Make a Podcast Trailer
Do I Really Need a Podcast Intro?
Absolutely! If your podcast begins and launches right into your content, a new listener will have no idea who you are or what your show is about. Think of a podcast intro less as a catchy fun slogan and more of a way to introduce yourself to a new connection. You don’t necessarily need to make a song or jingle, but you do need to explain who you are and what your show is about.
These few seconds are essential in capturing your listeners’ attention.
If it takes someone too long to understand what your podcast is about, they’ll skip it and move on to the next. You need to pitch yourself in these crucial first moments to ensure that your audience will stick it through.
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The Basics of Making a Podcast Intro
The key to knowing how to make a podcast intro is to keep everything simple. Let’s take a moment to review the basics of what we’ll need to prepare our introduction.
1. Understand Your Audience
Before we get started on writing your podcast intro script, you need to know who you are speaking to. The way you speak to your audience and the type of ambiance you create in those first few seconds will differ depending on if your podcast avatar is a mid-40s yoga mom or a teenage heavy metal bro. You’ll want your language and tone to match that of your ideal listener, giving them something that they can easily recognize off the bat.
If your podcast is based on a niche topic, don’t shy away from any niche terms or language. It’s likely that your specific audience will recognize it and know what you’re talking about.
Another consideration is the cultural and linguistic differences between listeners. Since podcasting is such a wide-reaching global medium, you could have listeners from all over the world tuning in. You might choose to opt for language that is less culturally specific in your intro, or perhaps you could even use that to your advantage!
2. Choosing Your Intro Style
Typically, a podcast intro will last around 30 seconds, rarely extending more than a minute. It should cover the basics, including your podcast title, who you are, and what your show is about.
There are basically two types of podcast intros.
In this type of podcast intro, your show is introduced by someone else and talked about in the third person. Yvonne Ivanescu of The Branding Lab does this in her episode here.
Hearing another voice introduce your podcast will add some diversity to your audio. It can also jazz up the tone or ambiance you’re aiming for. It will allow your audience to think of you less as a one-man show. Instead, they’ll see you as an expert who deserves an introduction (even though you already do).
The cons of using this type of intro are that you will need to hire an audio producer and/or voice actor to create one for you, which could depend on your budget. Typically, you can find people to do this on freelance markets like Upwork and Fiverr. If you have a friend with a great voice who could do it for free and the audio editing tools to make it work, then all the power to you.
In a self-recorded intro, the host will typically introduce themselves in the first person. They will also give a little run-down of who they are, what their goals are, and what their podcast is about. Kacia Fitzgerald does this here in the EmpowerHER podcast.
The benefit of introducing your own show is that the audience gets to know you from the jump. They can also hear your passion for the subject in your voice. You can set the tone for your podcast quickly, as your audience will understand the mood in which you’ll be approaching your subject. When your audience realizes that you’re a real person, you can quickly create intimacy between you and your listeners, making them captivated by all that you are saying.
If you choose to have someone else introduce your show, make sure that their voice and tone match your own. You want the perfect tone of voice for your podcast intro, so it might be a hassle to find someone that can do exactly what you want.
|Let’s look at a tangible example|
|Hi, it’s Yvonne again! Remember that there are no real “rules” when creating a podcast intro. For example, the Branding Lab has two different types of episodes. The regular interview-style episode has a pre-recorded intro with a little audio snippet inserted beforehand to create interest in the episode. But I also record a series called Behind the Brand which focuses on the real-life experiences, joys, and failures of my journey launching and building a sustainable and ethical fashion brand. The Behind the Brand series has a different intro, a self-recorded and personalized intro that introduces the topic of the specific episode. My tip? Take a look at some of the intros of other podcasts, what do you LOVE or maybe not like? Remember that you can always change your intro in the future.|
How to Make a Podcast Intro
Writing the script for your podcast intro is like giving your audience a quick summary of the who, what, where, when, and why of your podcast.
1. Introduce your show
You don’t need to go into great detail. Give a quick one-liner explaining what your show is about and what your audience can expect to hear from you. It goes without saying that you should directly mention your podcast title as well!
2. Introduce yourself and any co-hosts
Whether you want to use your real name or not, your audience needs to know who is speaking. You can explain a bit about your connection to the podcast subject, but saying your name and the title is usually enough, as you want to keep everything short and sweet.
3. Acknowledge your audience
Since you have already carved out your perfect podcast avatar, you should know your target audience. Including this in your introduction will allow your ideal listeners to recognize themselves immediately.
Something like “Hi! I’m Hannah and this is BirdWorld, a podcast for bird lovers” cuts straight to the point, and your audience can decide quickly if your show is for them or not.
4. Set the tone
Your audience should know straight off the bat what kind of show to expect from your introduction. If your show is comedic, make your intro lighthearted and funny. If it’s a serious topic, avoid any strange sound effects.
You may want to choose to add music to your intro, which can be helpful when editing. While optional, adding music to a podcast intro can quickly set the ambiance you’re aiming for. You can find free music available for use on websites like Youtube Studio, Musopen, or Free Music Archive, or you can make your own sound on Garageband.
5. Mention Podcast Sponsors [Optional]
While this one might not be applicable to everyone. Some choose to include the name of their sponsors or production company in their podcast intro. Depending on the type of deal you’ve made with them, this step might be obligatory.
For some examples of podcast intros, check out:
- Awards Chatter for something simple and straightforward
- Binge Mode for a creative way of switching up the welcome
- Chasing Ghosts for capturing attention and ambiance
- Digital Nomad Cafe for a prerecorded intro
Introducing the Episode
While a podcast intro should aim to be somewhat static and easy for your listeners to recognize, some podcasters like to follow this up with a sneak peek of what each episode will be about. Podcasts such as The Director’s Cut include a short summary of their current interviewee’s latest project in their intro, giving listeners a sample of what’s to come over the course of the episode.
While it’s optional to include a full episode preview in your podcast intro, you might want to mention the episode number or title in the beginning, given that you don’t have a prerecorded intro.
What to Avoid in your Podcast Intro
Details. Your audience will have the entire course of an episode to find out more about your podcast. The bulk of your content is what matters to them, so don’t spoil everything in the first minute. Your podcast intro is like a little handshake when meeting someone new; you don’t need to spit everything out right at once.
Do I Need a Podcast Outro Too?
Yes! While some people may start tuning out as your show wraps up, a podcast outro is a good way to transition out of your show. Since it does come at the end, an outro doesn’t hold the same importance as the intro, but you should still put thought into it.
How to Make a Podcast Outro
An outro is a simple way to wrap up your show and send your listeners off into the regular world. Like your podcast intro, your aim here is to be brief. You can include the same music as the intro, but you’ll need to change up the script.
1. Call to Action:
Since they’ll be transitioning out of your audiospace, it’s a good idea to part ways with your audience by giving them a call to action. Some actions you could suggest to your audience include:
- Your social media handles
- Asking listeners to write a review
- Where to find your podcast community (Facebook, Discord, online forums, etc)
- How to sign up for your newsletter
- Reminder about your Patreon or other fundraiser
- Any merch or services you’re selling
2. Recap the Episode
Listing the main takeaways from the episode you’ve just recorded is a good way to bring your show to its natural end. It’s also a way to prove that you accomplished the goal you set out at the beginning of the episode. This allows your listeners to trust you as an expert in your field.
3. Thank Your Listeners
While your content is great, your podcast would be nothing without your audience. Adding notes of gratitude in your outro is a nice way to show your listeners that you care about them. By regularly mentioning your audience in your show, you will be building community and increasing their loyalty to you.
|Spreaker Quick Tip|
|At the end of the episode pass the mic to your guest. Do they have anything else to say? Maybe they want to promote their website or their social media? Where can your listeners find more information about them? This is a great opportunity to end with a “And I’ll pass the mic off to our guest if people want to learn more about you, where can they find you?”|
For some examples of podcast outros, check out:
- Marketing Over Coffee: After the hosts give a quick goodbye, this podcast ends with a prerecorded outro. It provides information about how to contact the hosts and where their intro/outro music comes from.
- Perpetual Traffic: Come out of your podcast headspace and back into the real world with this musical outro. It is peppered with a simple episode wrap-up and farewell from the hosts.
- She Podcasts: In this episode, the actual podcast outro doesn’t occur at the end of its running time, but rather a few minutes before. After wrapping up the episode and giving out a call to action to the audience, She Podcasts includes an unedited look of what happens before and after their show.
- Welcome to Night Vale: The ending to this storytelling podcast features its typical atmospheric music. This is followed by an outro recorded by another person that gives the show’s information while staying within their same brand of humour and story tone.
BONUS: How to Make a Podcast Trailer
You’ve recorded your podcast intro and outro, the bulk of your content, done all your editing, and now you’re ready to launch. However, it can take up to a week for a new podcast to appear on podcatchers like Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
In the meanwhile, you can create traction for your show and improve your podcast SEO before it officially launches by creating a podcast trailer. Just like a movie, a podcast trailer will get your audience hyped for the content that you’re about to bring to them. You can put your trailer on your podcast website landing page, giving easy access to anyone who has stumbled across it.
The Podcast Host has a full breakdown of what should be included in your trailer. But generally, they should aim for 30-60 seconds of audio. You can use the same music as in your intro. In fact, the work you did on writing your intro will help you put together a quick promo.
In the end, the trailer is your opportunity to convince potential listeners that you are a great host. We already know it’s true, but don’t be afraid to put your show out there. This is your time to shine, showing your audience everything that you’re passionate about.