How to create a kick-arse podcast intro


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Typewriter with introduction typed on page

How to introduce your podcast the right way

Before I kick-off, let me clarify what I mean by podcast intro.

I’m NOT referring to…

Your ‘show intro,’ which is the piece of audio that kicks off each episode. Usually, this is put together by an audio production guru (or you, if you’ve got sweet audio editing skills) and contains the show name, a tagline and a bit of music e.g. this was our intro for Paul and Rach

If you don’t have one of these I’d seriously consider putting one together (if you’re handy with audio editing software) or trying to find someone on Fiverr or Upwork who can put one together for you cheaply.

A show intro is important because it sets the tone of your podcast and gives your audience something to identify with.

You can think of it as the audio version of McDonald’s Golden Arches or Apple’s partially ingested apple.

When consumers see either of those things they immediately ‘feel’ something about the brand and know what they’re going to get.

The same thing happens when listeners hear your show intro — they feel a sense of familiarity that gets them excited about having your content in their ears.

It’s easy to think of a show intro as a bit of fluff listeners don’t pay attention to, but change it and you’ll find out pretty quickly that people get attached to that little piece of audio.

So it’s important to keep this in mind before throwing together a half-arsed version and thinking you’ll just change it, without consequence, later.

Do you need a podcast intro and outro?


I AM referring to…

The intro that comes after this, that often consists of a (lengthy) summary of what’s coming up.

Of course, every show will have some sort of introduction where you welcome your listeners, your guest (if you have one) and provide a quick synopsis of what’s in the episode. And while this is good practice, there’s no reason it can’t be knocked over in a sentence or two.

Some hosts, particularly if they have a guest, will go back after the interview and write an intro that plays before the chat to give listeners an idea of what the guest covers.

This isn’t standard on all shows and I would argue that’s because it’s not necessary.

Of course, whether you have one is entirely up to you but I’ve yet to hear a lengthy intro where I’ve thought ‘well, that certainly added something unmissable to the show.’

Ideally, you should be approaching every episode with two things in mind…

The first is the understanding that you need to get into your content as soon as possible.

Wasting the first ten minutes by repeating something your audience will be hearing soon anyway is a waste of their precious time and doesn’t add anything to the episode.

The second thing you want to be thinking is “how can I get my listeners up to speed in the least amount of time possible?”

This is one of the arguments FOR doing an intro at the beginning of your episode.  Especially if your guest isn’t well known and needs some context so your listeners know why they should care.

Why you shouldn’t waste time in your podcast introduction


Things to think about when planning your podcast intro…

Why are you doing it?

I was working with someone recently who wanted advice on writing her podcast intro. When I asked why she was doing one she said, “because someone told me I should.”

In the world of podcasting, there are a number of things you can do to make your show sound better and there are a few things you should do (like creating a show intro).

But unlike radio or television, there are no hard and fast rules. In fact, what works best will depend entirely on what suits your content and the style of your show.

The only rule to abide by is ‘get the hell on with it!’

If you’re spending time writing an intro for every episode because you think that’s what the podcasting bible says, may I personally gift you those moments of your life back and say: don’t worry about it.

How to get the most out of your podcast interviews


Is it adding anything to your show?

Is talking about what’s coming up for the first four minutes giving your audience anything they couldn’t get from the show title/description or the actual interview itself?

In radio, you’d usually set up the show at the top of each hour because people are listening while they’re doing a million other things. Plus, we’re usually on-air for at least two hours, so when people are distracted it makes sense to tell them why they should pop back for something that might not be happening for another hour and 45 minutes.

In podcasting, however, your listeners are right there with you in their ears.  They’re not likely to be moving away from the earbuds and they’ve also got the luxury of a show description where you can shovel in as much info as you want!

If you do need to get your listeners up to speed or there’s a fantastic moment in the podcast you want to push do, you can usually do that in a few words.

How to write great podcast descriptions


Are you repeating yourself?

If you’re absolutely attached to the idea of recording an intro be sure to forensically listen to the episode you’re introducing so you don’t sound like a broken record.

Nothing is more unprofessional than saying the same thing, in the same way, multiple times.

Intros should ‘tease’ the audience to what’s coming up, not tell them word for word.

For example, here’s an intro no-no I hear quite often…

Show host: “Today on the show I’ll be talking to John Doe. I met John at a conference and was blown away by his presentation on growing sales for your business, so I wanted to get him on the show to share his insights with you and help you get more customers through the door.”

As it stands, that’s a fine intro, except if we cut to the interview two seconds later and hear this…

Show Host: “Welcome to the show John”

John: “Great to be here”

Show Host: “Now I saw you at that conference and was blown away by your presentation on growing sales for your business and I told you I just had to get you on the show to share those insights with my audience so they can get more customers through the door.”

And there goes five minutes of my life I can never get back.

When a show starts off like this it’s usually because the host has recorded the introduction on a different day to when they recorded the interview and they’re relying on memory.

When you’re doing things this way you’ll always repeat yourself because your mind will pick up the most memorable bits of content from the chat. The only problem is, you want those to be heard for the first time in the interview otherwise, the experience is too repetitive for your listener.

The interview should feel like the conversation unfolds naturally but if the listener already knows what’s coming up it takes away the most satisfying part — the joy of discovery.

If you’re going to record an intro, listening to the interview beforehand will refresh your memory and help you write a script that alludes to what your guest is going to say rather than reveals it.

Ultimately, the best approach is to do your one-line intro ‘live’ while your guest is with you. This will help you ease into the interview, remove the need to retrofit anything and prevent you from doubling up.

How silence can improve your podcast interviews


Is it too long?

Getting to the bulk of your content is so much more important than explaining what you’ve got coming up or, heaven forbid, shooting the sh*t for eight minutes to warm up.

Wasting your listeners time is self-indulgent and doesn’t respect how much of a privilege it is that they’ve chosen to listen to your show.

Often your audience will have already looked at your show description to find out if they’re interested, so a quick sentence of introduction will suffice.

If there are things that require explaining do that throughout the interview because it’ll always be more interesting when your guest is there to respond than when you’re just reading an intro into a microphone.

Ultimately there’s no need to spend two minutes convincing someone to listen when they’re already listening.

Just deliver kick-arse content and sticking around will be a no-brainer.

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

  1. Ella says:

    Great points, thank you!

  2. Tracy Bevan says:

    Great advice Rach. I need to come & chat!

  3. Umang Panchal says:

    Thanks for your descriptive and informative thoughts for podcasting. I admire you.

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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!