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Should you launch your podcast with episode 0?

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What is episode zero?

“Episode 0” is really just a wanky term for an introductory episode or a trailer and it’s the episode that sets up your show.

It’s also a place for you to introduce yourself to your audience and it’s important for a number of reasons…

Apple Google Spotify

It’s an opportunity to show people why they should listen

When you’re trying to build an audience for a new podcast it’s a good idea to give people a sense of what they’re going to get.

If you’ve recorded episodes ahead of time and you’ve got great audio snippets of upcoming shows, featuring those in your introductory episode is a great way to get people interested in what’s on the way.

Apple Google Listen on Spotify

It gives you somewhere to introduce yourself

Ideally, when you get into the first real episode you’ll be jumping straight into the killer content.   But an introductory episode gives you the space to give your audience some background on who you are as well as what the show is about.

This is really useful if you’re doing a show where you’re going to be teaching people something or sharing your knowledge and you want to explain why they should listen to you.

Setting yourself up as an expert in the space is important because people need to know they can trust your advice and an intro episode can be a great place to do that.

Apple Google Spotify

It helps you build momentum

If you’ve got great content in that introductory episode that means you’ve got something compelling to share before you’ve actually released an episode.

This helps you build buzz and can help you get early subscribers and followers, which can help you rank in the charts when your first episode drops.

Apple Google Spotify

It gives you more control over when your show launches

To submit a show to podcast directories like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify you need to have a piece of audio uploaded inside your podcast host.

Once that piece of audio is uploaded, your podcast host generates an RSS feed (this is just a fancy URL) and that’s what you submit to the podcast apps so they know your show exists and can feature it.

The problem is, different apps take different amounts of time to register your show.

In my experience, Spotify is usually the quickest but I’ve had shows turn up in Apple and Google after 48 hours, two weeks, five days…basically, there’s been no consistency.

This is important to note because you want your show to be available in all the places people might be looking for it as soon as your first real episode goes live.

That introductory episode or trailer gives you something to submit to the podcast apps so you can save your first episode for when your show is actually live.

This delay only happens when you submit your podcast to directories for the first time.  Once the show has been accepted the feed will update straight away every time you publish a new episode.

If you want to learn more about how to get your show into podcast directories you can do that here.

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16 Comments
  1. Stephanie Thompson says:

    Hello Rach,
    Would you include a written episode description/show notes for the pilot episode?

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Stephanie, Yep! Can use that to do a written explainer of the podcast and also link to any social accounts or web pages that might be relevant. Hope that helps! Rach

  2. Julie McKeon says:

    Hey Rachel!
    I’m currently working on building episodes for my solo host, first ever, podcast. I have put together a descriptive paragraph that I will have on my website that gives an overview about who I am.
    My question for you is, should I use my description in an audio format as an episode 0? Is this over kill?
    Thanks for all you awesome tips! You are like a BFF and voice of reason for me!
    Julie 😊

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Julie, Do you mean literally reading your description? If so, I’d advise against reading on your podcast because it can really disconnect you from your audience. If you want to use the description as the basis of a compelling episode you host that sets up what the show is about and what listeners can expect then go for it! Hope that helps! Rach

  3. Emily O'Neill says:

    Hi Rachel – if calling it episode 0 is wanky, what do you recommend calling it?
    Many thanks,
    Emily

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Emily, it’s usually referred to as a trailer or ‘coming soon’ episode. Rach

  4. Kathleen Langone says:

    I really found this write-up on Episode 0 VERY helpful. I am just starting my series and have 2 episodes ready to go but have now drafted an Episode 0. It’s timing at 4.5 minutes – what do you folks think of that length? And of course it includes the social media information. My series is historical but topics are in many different areas/time periods – and the Episode 0 is helpful to provide a background. Another question – Do you recommend referencing “0” in your subsequent episodes?

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Kathleen, Your Ep 0 can be any length but you just want to make sure you’re including only the best of the best. If it’s 4.5 mins packed with great content, that’s awesome. If you can trim it down a bit you want to make sure that first piece of audio is as strong as possible and leaves your audience wanting more. Ideally, this is the ‘trailer’ you’ll have to start off your feed so you could reference it in later eps if you want to but ideally, if there’s content in there you want to get your audience across you’d just talk about it in those later episodes. Hope that helps! Rach

  5. Chelsea says:

    Thanks for this, great info. I do have one question – if you do launch with an Episode 0, how long after that should you have Episode 1 drop. I guess a different way to ask the question, how long is it okay to JUST have Episode 0 sitting there before you start getting full Episodes out there – 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month? I’m guessing if you don’t start dropping full episodes pretty quickly after 0 the momentum it might build will likely starting to dwindle…? My plan was to launch Episode 0 (which I have) but then I didn’t want to start dropping full episodes until I have 5-6 in the bank and I’m just starting to work on Episode 1 right now. Thanks in advance!

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Chelsea, I’d wait until you’ve got your episodes in the bank before launching your episode 0. The reason you put that episode into your feed is because you need a piece of audio there to generate your RSS feed (https://rachelcorbett.com.au/podcast-rss/). Ideally, you’d launch your trailer (episode 0) and then release episode 1 a couple of weeks after that (https://rachelcorbett.com.au/podcast-launch/). If it’s going to be longer than a month I’d wait until you have your episodes recorded and ready to go because there’s no point having a trailer there gathering dust for ages. You want to drop the trailer and pretty soon after have a show for people to listen to. Hope that helps! Rach

  6. Lianne says:

    When you say it updates straight away after the launch, I hear it can take 24 hours for the feed to update on Apple, Spotify, etc. Is this true, or is it faster than that? Thank you!

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Lianne, The delay is usually with that first episode while your show is being accepted into the directories but after that the details of each additional episode are available to your directories immediately. I have experienced some delay with Apple from time to time but none with the other platforms. So as a general rule each new episode after your trailer episode (episode 0) should be available for listeners straight away. Rach

  7. Nathan says:

    Thanks, Rachel! Super helpful, especially re: getting the directories going. Do you recommend launching with multiple episodes so that new listeners can take in a few to get excited and get reviews/subscribes/etc up, or do you think launching with a solid Ep 1 and then staying consistent with your release calendar is just as good of a start? Thanks again!

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Nathan, I know a lot of people suggest you should launch your podcast with multiple eps to ‘trick’ the algorithm but you can’t ‘trick’ your way into New & Noteworthy because it’s curated by Apple and in my experience launching multiple shows, it’s just best to deliver quality content consistently. If it makes sense to drop multiple eps at once for bingeing, great. But if you’re doing it to try and push your show up the charts I’m not sure it’s the right long term strategy. Hope that helps! Rach

  8. Mark L. Hatfield says:

    This a great advice. Thank you. Tackling episode 0 tomorrow.

    1. rcorbett says:

      Awesome! Good luck with it!

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