Should you launch your podcast with episode 0?


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Episode 0 of a podcast playing on phone

Do you need to tell your audience what’s coming?

“Episode 0” is really just a wanky way of saying “introductory episode.”

This is the episode that sets up your show.  It’s also a place for you to introduce yourself to your audience and gives you some audio to submit to podcast directories.

iTunes Google Podcasts Stitcher Spotify

Do you have to have an Episode 0?


For a while podcast experts were suggesting you should open the feed of your show with multiple episodes.

The conventional wisdom was, if you have five episodes in there, that’s potentially five times the downloads which means your show will have a good chance of featuring in Apple Podcasts New & Noteworthy.

Unfortunately, there are a few problems with that theory.

The first is that New & Noteworthy is curated so trying to “trick” an algorithm isn’t going to get you very far.  Also, having multiple episodes in your feed doesn’t guarantee they’ll all be downloaded.

Most people have the default setting, on their podcast app, of only downloading the latest episode when they subscribe.  That means multiple episodes in your feed isn’t a guarantee of multiple downloads.

How to promote your podcast before it’s live


So why do it?

It gives you an opportunity to tell people why they should listen

If you’ve recorded episodes ahead of time and you’ve got great audio snippets of upcoming shows, why not feature them in an intro episode?  This is a great way to give people a taste of what’s to come.

Ideally, you want people to subscribe to your show, so highlighting some of the best bits can get people thinking “I want to listen to this when it drops!”

iTunes Google Podcasts Stitcher Listen on Spotify

It allows you to introduce yourself

Ideally, when you get into the first real episode you’ll be jumping straight into killer content.   But an introductory episode can give you the space to share your expertise with the audience.

This is really useful if you’re doing a show where you’re going to be teaching people something or sharing your knowledge.

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.

iTunes Google Podcasts Stitcher Spotify

It helps you build momentum

If you’ve got good content in that introductory episode you can start to share it before the show is live.

This can help you get early subscribers in the door which can help you rank in the charts when your first episode drops.

It’ll also help you build buzz around the launch.

iTunes Google Podcasts Stitcher Spotify

It gives you more control over when your first episode drops

To submit a show to podcast directories like iTunes you need to have an MP3 in the feed.

The problem with this is you have no control over how long it will take your show to appear in Apple Podcasts.

It’s usually about 48 hours but when you’re kicking off your show you want to be as specific as possible about when it’s going to go live.  So that’s where having an introductory episode can come in handy.

If you start your feed with episode 0 you can submit the podcast well in advance.  That way, when you say “my show will be live next Tuesday” that’s exactly when it’ll be there.

It’s important to note 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.

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  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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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Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!