If the first 2 seconds of a song is what makes you decide to switch channels, then the first 30 seconds of a podcast may be all your audience hears. You have to keep them around much longer than that. So how do you do it – what’s the magic behind an intro?
Structure Your Podcast Intro
Creating a catchy opening is important to keeping people around. If you don’t put your best foot forward in the first 30 seconds, then why would people want to stick around? Of course, it’s more than just a catchy intro, but that is something for a later topic.
Create an Opening Script
Let’s take a look at what you first say. Here is a simple script to use for the first time.
You are listening to ____________ podcast: episode ___. Today we’re talking ____________. So let’s get started. (Intro Music break 2-3 seconds). Hey, everybody. _____________ here. Welcome to _____________ podcast. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for coming. The __________ podcast is produced every _________ for your enjoyment and show notes are found at __________(website). Come back often and feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed or iTunes. You can also follow me on Twitter @________ and Facebook. All links are in the show notes. Now, let’s get into the show.
The idea is to memorize this so it rolls off the tongue every time you start a podcast. Once I created an intro, I would recite as I was driving down the road. I practiced my intros pace and inflection.
What to Promote in Your Podcast Intro
The idea is to not have too much gobbledygook in your intro. It should never go past 30 seconds total. You want to tell people who you are, what the show is and where people can find you.
Offering choices is a great way to give people direction. Don’t offer too many choices or else they will get confused. You can offer more than two choices – it’s just how you say it that makes the choices feel like two.
Example: I said to add the podcast to RSS feed or iTunes (choice 1). I then said to follow me on Twitter or Facebook (choice 2). I don’t talk about my LinkedIn or Google+ page. The show notes will be a great way to give people other choices (which you mentioned where the show notes would be).
Be Personable in Your Intro
People who listen to podcasts want to feel like their being talked to, not talked at. Giving them a warm inviting “Hello” might keep them around a little bit longer.
Here is a Tip: For video podcasts – if you can zoom in your opening shot and zoom out your closing shot, that makes people feel invited in. You can see examples of this on regular TV. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a great example show. Watch how for each segment, they fly in the camera and when they are done they fly out.
Add a Tease
On my Geek Smack show, I tease a main topic that I don’t talk about until the end of the show. During the show I will remind people to continue to watch.
Mainstream radio and TV does this all the time. Most of the time it’s a feel-good piece.
Today on the show I talk about cute kittens. So stay tuned!
Familiarity Brings Them Back
Just like with a radio jingle – if your words stay in their head and they are reminded of you every time they hear those words in succession, then you’ve done your job. If they think about you, they want to come back to the show.
The script I wrote was pretty generic: tailor it to your need. If you want people to be reminded of you when you say “Howdy ladies and gentlemen!” then change the script a little.
These are called hooks. Like the Blues Traveler song goes – the hook brings you back (I ain’t telling you no lie).
Putting Music in Your Intro
For some podcasts, adding music to the first 30 seconds may help keep people around. If they get pumped to hear about basket weaving or paint drying because your intro music sticks in their minds, then do it.
Video Podcasts Have it Easier
With audio, you rely on sound to bring people back to your show. With a video show, you can use sight and sound. So be mindful on what you have in your video shot.
In my studio, I have a shelf full of toys that people can look at while I’m talking. I also have a wall of pictures. These are great ways to get people to remember your show.
Adding a Sponsor to Your Intro
So let’s say you have a sponsor. Do you bring this in your intro? Yes – just touch on it though. For instance, going back to the intro, you could say:
You are listening to ____________ podcast: episode ___, brought to you by _________. Today we’re talking ____________. So let’s get started.
Another place to put the sponsor is right after your intro music. You can say “Brought to you by _________”. This is just a teaser pitch. If you have a 60 second ad, it should not be here. You can make a call to action, but keep it short.
Example: Brought to you by Joe’s Shop. Get a discount with code “gobbledygook”.
Other Items to Script and Memorize for your Podcast
The intro is not the only thing you should plan out. Transitions, outtros, call to actions can also be scripted. Here are some examples:
- That brings us to the end of part 1 in the show. Questions? Send me an email at _____________ or Twitter @_________. We’ll be right back!
- And that’s the show! Thanks for listening. The _________ podcast comes out every week. Questions? Email me at __________ or Twitter me @__________. Until next time, take care!
- Do you have a comment on this? Let me know! Email __________ or comment on the Facebook page. Now let’s continue on.
Ultimately, having comfortable intros can help you ramp into a podcast. It gets you going on the right foot. Just like a car, you can’t go 0-60 in one second. Of course you want to get to 60 in a reasonable amount of time or else they’re buying another car.