Podcast Intro & Outro Tips: At-a-glance
- Each episode you release will be someone’s first impression of your show
- A good podcast intro allows you to manage your listener’s experience
- You only have 5 minutes to “hook” a 3rd of all new listeners
- Let them know what’s in store right away. Give them a sense of what they’re going to get out of it
- Leave them no doubt that this is the podcast for them
- Use your outro to ensure you turn new listeners into followers or 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. After all, that’s where you discuss or address what was promised in the title. The podcast intro, though, gets your listener to that content. And the outro helps keep them listening to more episodes.
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.
Our podcast intro & outro guide was originally written in 2016. We update this post periodically to reflect changes in technology, our recommendations, and because we’re always learning new things!
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. 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 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.
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 your podcast introduction 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 the podcast title, but they might be working through a huge playlist of new podcasts they’re trying.
- Who is the podcast for? You can save people precious time by signposting early whether or not they are your target audience. 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’s your podcast idea?
- What problem is the podcast series here to solve?
- What problem does this particular episode solve?
- What’s the podcast format? Do you talk directly to the listener, or chat with guests?
Presenting a Problem to Your Audience – & 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 Podcraft, our target audience is people who want to learn how to podcast. Some 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 primary solution is that we can help them to do that.
Each episode deals with a specific subtopic, providing a solution that helps them achieve their overall goal. We want to mention this in our podcast intro, so the listener knows they’ve come to the right place.
So, in an episode about media hosting, we could present the problem “Have you ever wondered how you upload a podcast online and make it available on iTunes?”
Then we offer the solution “Well, in this episode, that’s exactly what you’ll find out. We’ll 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.”
Podcast Intro Script Template
Set your episode up by mentioning the overall problem your podcast is here to help them with (e.g., learning how to podcast), and then the particular problem you’ll be dealing with in this episode (e.g., getting your podcast on 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 My Podcast Episodes: 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 be the difference between a new listener hitting the Follow 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 Audio? How to End a Podcast
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 millions of podcasts out there, and they’ve chosen to listen to yours.
- Point them to the shownotes on your website for links to everything mentioned in this episode.
- If possible, offer them a teaser of what’s in store for 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…
A wee bit of thought and planning goes a long way with your outros. This is how you turn podcast listeners into followers and maximise the effectiveness of your Calls to Action.
What About Pre-Recorded Podcast Intros & Outros?
Some podcasts use pre-recorded segments as their standard intro and outro. These can be created by the host, or recorded and produced to enlist the talents of a professional voiceover artist.
Pre-recorded elements can offer that extra layer of polish, but they should always be as succinct as possible. If you play the same three min long clip at the start of every episode, listeners will tire of it very quickly. You’ll train them to hit the skip forward button.
Likewise, if you close with the same lengthy pre-recorded outro, your listeners will switch 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 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 specialist. Despite their long and impressive list of clients, their prices are probably a lot lower than you might think. They’ll work with you and their voiceover talent to create custom-made podcast intros and outros for your show. These usually incorporate music, sound effects, and are produced to the highest level. If you’re looking for a professional podcast intro, then MRC are the Gold Standard option.
Fiverr is a massive freelancer marketplace. You’ll find many options on there for podcast intros and outros. Some focus purely on recording the voice-over you need, whilst others will offer to mix and produce your audio too.
Be wary that Fiverr can be a bit like the wild west. There’s good talent and services on there, but it’s mixed in with a lot of cheap and nasty offerings, too.
Podcast Intro & Outro Resources
If you’re looking to mix together your own pre-recorded podcast intros and outros, then you can still get “raw” voiceover reads from the above options. Or, you can record them yourself.
You might want to mix in some music and sound effects, too. Here are some options for finding free, creative commons, and royalty-free music for your podcast. Similarly, here are some great options for finding sound effects.
How to Save Production Time
Not all podcasters consider themselves to be audio producers. In fact, loads of creators want to get their message out there without too much time spent playing with gear or software.
That’s exactly why we built Alitu. Alitu is a ‘podcast maker’ tool that makes the entire podcast creation process as simple as humanly possible. From the recording, right through to the publishing.
One of its many features is that it can automatically set your podcast intro music, or any other intro and outro segments at the beginning and end of each episode.
But there’s a plethora of other features in Alitu. From call recording and speed editing to auto-generated transcriptions and hosting. There’s even a podcast music library in the dashboard. New tools and features are being added all the time, too.
Why not sign up for a 7-day free trial and test it out for yourself?
Conclusion: Podcast Intro & Outro Tips
This shouldn’t seem like a lot of red tape, or, something that will 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 much 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.