Podcast Intro & Outro tipsSummary
- Each episode you release will be someone’s first impression of your show
- You only have 5 minutes to “hook” a 3rd of all new listeners
- Let them know what’s in store right away. Tell them what they’re going to get from listening
- Leave them in no doubt that this is the podcast for them
- Use your outro to ensure you turn new listeners into subscribers. You want them to come back for more
- Read on for the full guide…
On the surface, the most important part of your episode is the main content; where you discuss or address what was promised in the title. The podcast intro, though, is what gets your listener to that content. And the outro helps keep them listening to more episodes.
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With your podcast intro, you’ve got the very important task of setting the scene for your listeners. Some may have heard every episode you’ve ever released before, but for a few, this will be their very first impression of your show.
These new listeners have absolutely no loyalty or obligation to you or your content in the opening minutes. They’ll likely have a playlist of other shows already downloaded and ready to listen to.
They’re giving you a chance – but you don’t have long. In fact, our podcast discoverability survey found that 27.5% of listeners will only give a new podcast 5 minutes to “hook” them.
Just like if they’ve picked up a book, or switched on a TV show, there are a few questions subconsciously running through their head:
- Does this seem interesting?
- Does it seem well-made?
- Do I know what’s going on?
- What’s in this for me?
This is where your podcast intro needs to do its job.
What Makes a Good Podcast Intro?
Put yourself in the shoes (or earbuds) of a brand new listener – someone that you’d consider to be in your target audience. They’ve downloaded your latest episode and hit play.
As I’ve said already, they’ve no loyalty to you. They’ve probably never heard of you, and – at this moment – aren’t interested in you personally.
They’ve downloaded this episode for their own benefit. They want something from it. And whether that’s to learn something, or to be entertained, they want to know as early as possible that you’re going to deliver.
So, What Should I Include in My Podcast Intro?
I don’t want you to think that there are restrictive “rules” with podcast intros and outros because there’s still an immense amount of creative freedom. Podcasting wouldn’t be very interesting if every single show sounded the same.
Nevertheless, there are some things I’d suggest you always include in your podcast intro.
- Your name. Doesn’t need to be your full name, could even be a nickname. Just let your listener put a name to the voice as early as possible.
- What is the podcast called? You might assume they already know this, but they might be working through a huge playlist of new podcasts they’re trying out.
- Who is the podcast for? If your show is aimed at people who want to learn how to speak Spanish, make that clear early on. If someone who is listening doesn’t want to learn Spanish, there’s no benefit to anyone for them to keep listening. On the other hand, the person who does thinks “this is exactly what I’ve been looking for”.
- What is the overall theme of the podcast?
- What’s the show about?
- What problem is the podcast series here to solve?
- What problem does this particular episode solve?
Presenting a Problem – & Solution
Being clear on laying out your subject matter is great. But making your listener relate to it by mentioning something they’re struggling with will really pull them in.
So, for example, on our show Podcraft, our target audience is people who want to learn how to podcast. Some of their big struggles are learning about microphones, audio equipment, editing and mixing digital audio, growing their audience and monetising their show.
The overall struggle they have is that they want to learn how to podcast, and our major solution is that we can help them to do that.
Each episode deals with a specific subtopic of its own though, which provides a solution that helps them work towards their overall goal. We want to mention this in our podcast intro so the listener knows they’ve come to the right place.
So, on an episode about media hosting, we could present the problem “Have you ever wondered how you upload a podcast online and make it available in iTunes?”
Then we offer the solution “Well, on this episode that’s exactly what you’ll find out. We’re going to walk you step by step through the process, and by the end of it you’ll be able to submit your show to iTunes quickly, and easily.”
Set your episode up by mentioning the overall problem your podcast is here to help them with (eg; learning how to podcast), and then the particular problem you’ll be dealing with in this episode (eg; getting your podcast in iTunes).
“Hello and welcome to the ___ podcast, this is the show for ___, all about ___, and on this episode, have you ever struggled with ___?, well that’s exactly what we’re going to help you with on this week’s show, where you’ll learn how to ___”
You don’t need to copy this verbatim, but make it the framework of your podcast intro. This means that everyone you want to keep listening will make it through to the main body of the episode. Then, you can win them over with your content.
Should I Use a “Cold Open”? As My Podcast Intro?
You know when you sit down to watch your favourite TV show and the episode starts before you’ve even opened your bag of Doritos? Then, after about five minutes, the intro kicks in? That’s what’s known as a “cold open“.
Many podcasters use cold opens at the beginning of their episodes. You’ve probably heard them before. You hit play and immediately seem to have landed bang in the middle of a guest explaining “…so it was at that point I decided to wear a diving suit made of sirloin steaks and go swimming with sharks.”
Obviously, the idea is that you think “wait, how is this idiot still alive to tell the tale? I need to get the full story.” And you keep on listening.
Cold opens can work well for podcast intros, but there are some nuances and things to be aware of, as Steph explores in the article I’ve linked to, there.
How to End a Podcast: What Makes a Good Podcast Outro?
The final minute or two of your episode goes towards creating a lasting impression of the podcast in the mind of your listener.
You might have done a great job with the podcast intro and the main body, but if the show ends poorly that could end up being the difference between a new listener hitting the subscribe button or not.
The job of the outro is essentially to thank the listener for listening and to point them in the direction of any vital details that emerged during the episode.
It’s also the part where you can ask for something in return. If someone has stayed to the end they’ve probably enjoyed the episode you’ve put together for them, so they might be willing to respond to your request for something like a rating or review.
What Should I Include in my Outro? How to End a Podcast
Just like the podcast intro, there are no “rules” as such, but if you want to close your episode effectively, you should consider the following.
- Thank them for listening. There are hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there, and they’ve chosen to listen to yours.
- Point them to the shownotes on your website for links to everything that was mentioned in this episode.
- If possible, offer them a teaser of what’s in store on the next episode.
- Send them to ONE place – your website. There’s no point in reading out your email address, Twitter handle, Patreon page, or Facebook URL, when you can have clear links to all this on your site.
- Include a ‘Call to Action’ (CTA). This is your opportunity to ask for something in return. You should only do one CTA per episode. If you give someone too much to do, the chances are they won’t do any of it, so just pick one and be clear about it. You might want to ask your listener to…
- Subscribe to the podcast
- Share the podcast, or tell a friend about it
- Rate/review the podcast
- Sign up to your email list, or download your ebook
- Buy tickets for your event or conference
- Support you on Patreon, or pledge to your crowdfunding project
What About Pre-Recorded Podcast Intros & Outros?
Some podcasts use pre-recorded intros and outros. These can be created by the host, or recorded and produced to enlist the talents of a professional voice-over artist.
Pre-recorded elements can offer that extra layer of polish, but they should always be as succinct as possible. If you play the exact same 3 min long clip at the start of every episode, listeners will tire of it very quickly. You’ll just train them to hit the skip forwards button.
Likewise, if you close with the same lengthy pre-recorded outro, your listeners will end up switching off before the end.
If you’re creating podcast intros and outros that utilise many of the tips given in this article, try to keep them to a length of 30 seconds or less.
Where to Buy Great Podcast Intros & Outros
If you’re looking to have professional podcast intros and outros produced, then here are a couple of our favourite options. These are affiliate links, so we would earn a small commission if you were to buy through them – at no extra cost to yourself.
Music Radio Creative
Music Radio Creative are the medium’s long-serving audio branding specialists. Despite their long and impressive list of clients, their prices are probably a lot lower than you might think.
Fiverr is a massive freelancer marketplace. You’ll find a lot of options on there for having podcast intros and outros created. Some focus purely on recording the voice-over you need, whilst others will offer to mix and produce your audio too.
Conclusion: Podcast Intro & Outro Tips
This shouldn’t seem like a lot of red tape, or something that’s going to restrict your creative license. On the contrary, the job of your podcast intros and outros is to support and enhance the actual content of your episodes.
You don’t need to overthink them or spend loads of time on them. It’s just about putting some good practices in place that make sure you’re not needlessly losing listeners, and that you’re always steadily growing your audience.
Over time, the things you want to include at the beginning and end of your episode will become second nature to you. Your main focus should always be on your topic.
Hopefully that’s given you a good idea of how you can make some improvements to your episodes though!
Need More Help With Your Podcast?
If you’re opening and closing your episodes in this manner, then that alone puts your show ahead of countless others.
But there are many other aspects of podcasting to learn and hone, on top of this. Here are some handy resources for improvement and growth, going forward.