Should you launch your podcast with episode 0?




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Should you launch your podcast with an episode 0?

Or are you just wasting valuable real estate in your podcast feed?

Big shout out to Fiona for inspiring this week’s episode with her question “Do you have any guidance on what to include or not include in an intro episode/episode 0?”  

If you’ve got a question you’d like answered on the show just shoot me an email.

What is “Episode 0?”

It’s just a wanky way of saying “introductory episode” i.e. an episode that introduces you and the concept of your show to your audience.

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Do I need one?


A while ago the conventional wisdom was the more episodes you have in your feed the more chances you had to get multiple downloads with each new subscriber and that was supposed to bump you into New and Noteworthy.  Since N&N is curated by iTunes and since most people have the default setting, on their podcast app, of only downloading the latest episode when they subscribe, multiple episodes in your feed is no guarantee of multiple downloads.

Essentially, the only reason you’d want to do an introductory episode is if you need it for your content or if you’ve got some killer stuff you can give your audience before the proper show starts e.g. if you’re teaching and you need to give your listeners some information so everyone is on the same page to begin with.

If your intro episode is just an audio version of your shows ‘about page’ it’s not worth wasting the podcast real estate.

You want every episode in that feed to add value to a potential subscriber and if all you’re doing is setting up the premise of the show, that can be achieved with a quick one line introduction at the start of each episode and a blurb on your show website.

So why do you have an introductory episode for both your podcasts, Rachel?

Good question!

You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere…

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1 I had content to share

For You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere, I had a whole bunch of interviews recorded before my first episode went live so I wanted to give people a sense of the type of stories they were going to hear in upcoming episodes.

My guests on this show are high-profile media celebrities and there are a lot of people who are interested in what those people have to say.

So I went through and edited a few interesting stories that guests had shared to build interest in the shows that were coming up and give people a reason to subscribe.

2 I wanted to build momentum

I wanted to have that introductory episode to share so I could build a bit of buzz around the show rather than just dumping the first episode out of nowhere and saying “SURPRISE!”

Again, I only did this because I had the audio of the interviews sitting there.  If my intro episode was just going to be me saying “Coming up on the show I’m going to be interviewing people like Celebrity A, B & C” without any audio of those interviews I wouldn’t have bothered to create an episode 0.

3 I wanted to know when I plugged my first real episode it would be in iTunes

When you first release your show and submit it to iTunes you have to have at least one episode in your feed for iTunes to accept it.

The issue here is when you submit your show you’ve got no control over when that show will pop up in the iTunes directory.

It’s usually about 48 hours but because I was scheduling my episodes ahead of time I needed to know that when I said the first full episode was there on my social pages it would actually be there in iTunes.

It’s only that first episode that takes a while to appear but once your show has been accepted, as soon as you publish each subsequent episode they will appear in the iTunes podcast app immediately.

PodSchool Podcast

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1 I wanted to build trust with my audience by introducing myself and explaining why I was qualified to share my podcasting tips

For the PodSchool Podcast, I wanted to have somewhere I could explain to my potential audience exactly who I am and why I’m qualified to give them advice about podcasting.  So this intro episode was less about explaining what the show was about and more about building my credibility so listeners knew they could trust me and my advice.

So essentially the up shot of that is the decision is entirely up to you…

If you’ve got a great reason to do an intro episode and it fits with your show and content, fantastic!

If you don’t, you have my personal permission to f*&% it right off!

Need some help getting started?  Download my podcasting guide.

Got a burning question you’d like answered in the podcast? Send me an email.

Read full show rundown

[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the show and a big shout out to Fiona who is the inspiration for today's episode. Fiona is about to release her very first podcast and she e-mail's me to ask me about whether or not she should do an episode zero. If you've never heard that term before that's basically the wanky way of saying an introductory episode and the big question is whether or not you want to clutter up your podcast feed with an episode that could just be the equivalent of an 'about page'. It's really important that you have a think about why you are doing an introductory episode and if the answer to that question is "because I think I should" then let me be the person to give you the permission to forget about it. The last thing you want to do is waste that all important real estate of your very first episode to just fill it with a whole bunch of "this is what the show is about" stuff that could be accomplished in a simple one line introduction at the beginning of every episode. That's something you really should be doing anyway. You'll notice on the PodSchool Podcast I have my lovely voice over guy summing up the show in a single line. I have the same thing for my show 'You've Gotta Start Somewhere." That's the way people who've never listened to the show can immediately get on board with the concept and understand exactly what's coming up.

[00:01:23] In fact most people that come to your show will listen from the latest episode backwards and more often than not when they get to an introductory episode think "oh well that's probably not really important, I won't bother listening to it." Having said that I did an introductory episode for my interview series, You've Gotta Start Somewhere, so I thought I'd explain a little bit about why I did that so you could get a sense of whether or not that makes sense for your show. You've Gotta Start Somewhere is an interview series with media celebrities about how they got in to the business and I had recorded a bunch of episodes before the show went live because I wanted to get ahead of myself when it came to scheduling. So for me I had a whole bunch of content that meant I could actually add value to that very first episode and demonstrate exactly what the show was going to be about rather than trying to explain it on social media or having an introductory episode that just says "each week I'm going to talk to a media celebrity about this." What I did in that introductory episode was give a quick sum up of the concept and then I went through and highlighted three upcoming episodes for people to get a sense of exactly the kind of stories I was going to be getting from these people. Because the guests on my show have a high profile in Australian media I edited little snippets from those interviews that would be of interest to people who follow them. So it was a way that I could demonstrate the value of the show before the actual show got started. The other reason that I did it was I wanted to pre promote the show I didn't just want to have that very first episode there in the feed and start saying "hey I've got a podcast" I wanted to have a bit of a lead up to actually having that first episode so I could create some momentum leading into the very first proper interview. I also wanted a little bit more control over knowing when it was going to hit iTunes. When you first release your show and you submit that show to iTunes you have to have an episode already in your feed for iTunes to accept it. The issue here though is when you submit your show you've got no control over when that show is going to pop up. It's usually about 48 hours but I wanted to know that there was an episode there that I could point people to so that when I actually uploaded my very first real interview that would go live immediately. This might sound all very confusing but for me I was scheduling my episodes ahead of time which meant that when my episode goes live so do the show notes page for that episode, so does the social media scheduling, so that meant I needed to know that when the show notes page and the social media went live the episode was going to be there in iTunes. And you need to have that first ever episode out of the way to have that kind of control over your feed.

[00:04:39] The other reason that you might think about doing an introductory episode is if there is some information you need to give to your audience to get everybody on the same page. You are still sharing content but it also gives you a great reference point for people joining the show later where you can say "oh if you haven't done this you can head back to my introductory episode where I explain all of the steps you need to get up to speed.

[00:05:05] If you decide that you do have some great quality content to put in that introductory episode then make sure you include a little bit about you, when they can expect to see a new episode so they know when to check in and what they can expect from the show.

[00:05:19] As long as you're doing it for the right reasons, because it feels completely right for your content then go for it. There is nothing wrong with having an intro episode but if you're doing it because you think it's going to be great for your download numbers or you think that's a way to get into New and Noteworthy or you've just seen other people do it, then don't worry about it.

[00:05:37] Every single patch of real estate on your podcast feed is very very valuable, so it's important you only put the best stuff in there to encourage people to listen so that every single interaction they have with your content they think "Man this is great!" You never want to have anybody listening to an episode going on "Well that was a waste of my time." And if you just put your 'about page' in the intro episode then that's probably what people are going to think.

[00:06:03] So trust your gut on this one and you have my personal permission to f*&% it right off. If you don't want to do it, it's entirely up to you. It is your show and just because you've seen other people do it doesn't mean you need to do it as well.

[00:06:18] I hope that's helped you work out whether or not you should do an introductory episode for your podcast. If like Fiona you have a question that you need answered then please head to PodSchoolPodcast.com and hit the contact page there. Send me an email and I will answer your question on the show. If you head to that website you'll also find links to my podcasting tech guide which will give you all of the tools and tech you need to get started if you're not sure how to set up a home studio that will help you out. There's also a link to my podcasting course PodSchool which takes you through everything from coming up with an idea to monetising your show.

[00:06:56] Thanks so much for tuning in, please leave a review if you are enjoying the tips and finding them useful and until next week...happy podcasting.

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