It's a good idea to create a short promo trailer for your podcast, for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, you can embed it on the front page of your website. That way, everyone who lands on your site can get an immediate taster of your content without the need to jump through any hoops.
Secondly, your trailer can be featured and played on other podcasts.
This might be a show that invites promo trailer submissions, like Libsyn's The Feed. Or it might be a ‘trailer swap' agreement between yourself and another podcast to promote each other to your respective audiences.
Having your trailer easily accessible to all means that you might get promotion without even being aware of it too. If another podcaster likes your work, then can just download the audio and play it on their own show.
The only potential downside of having a promo trailer is if you have a bad one.
The aim here is to help you make the most of the short amount of time you have to grab the attention of potential listeners.
How Long Should a Promo Trailer Be?
So the infamous podcasting “it depends” answer isn't just as wide open here.
I'd say that having two versions of your trailer, one at 30 seconds, and one at 60 seconds, will cover most bases.
If you're submitting your trailer to somewhere that's requesting them, then the decision of length is usually made for you. The Feed ask for 30 second clips, whilst I've heard of others asking for no longer than a minute of audio.
What Should Be in Your Promo Trailer?
You've always got creative license in podcasting, but there are some bare essentials here. These may sound obvious, but you'd be surprised at how many trailers leave some of this stuff out.
The Name of Your Podcast
Yeah, you'll want to include that…
What's It About, & Who's It For?
Don't rely on the name of your show to tell people this valuable info. Tell them yourself. You can nail this down to a sentence or two.
A popular approach is to open with a question, like “are you a ___ who struggles with ___?, then join us on the ___ podcast where we help you ___.”
Or “Have you ever wondered about ___?, or what about ___? Well these are just two of the topics you'll find us discussing each week on the ___ podcast.”
Make sure your target audience knows this is the show for them, and that people who aren't your target audience know that it isn't for them.
Like any good call to action, send them to one single easy to remember place. Preferably your own website. Don't say things like “look us up on Facebook” or “find us in Apple Podcasts” and run through a list of podcast directories. This is utterly redundant and a waste of valuable space.
It's good practice on your website to have a “Subscribe” page with links to everywhere you can be found.
You should make it easy for people to find, listen, and subscribe to your show, and the best way to do that is via your own website.
The Creative Bit: Tone & Personality
So providing you've got the essential details in there, we don't want this to be a rigid formula that leaves every promo trailer sounding the same.
You want yours to sound unique, and that means getting creative. That's a challenge with such a short amount of time available, but you wouldn't be podcasting at all if you didn't have a creative streak in you. You'll manage!
Your promo trailer will be many listeners first impressions of your show, so you want to set the mood right up front.
If you cover your topic in a lighthearted or comedic way, then you want to get that across to them.
Your audio quality (as well as any music or sound effects you use) will all filter into this just as much as what you actually say too.
If you run a highly-produced series, or pride yourself on your production values, then be sure to demonstrate that in your trailer.
When uploading your promo trailer to your podcast feed, it’s a good idea to backdate it to a date before the release of your first episode. That way, it’ll keep your feed tidy, and can be easily found.
Once you’ve uploaded it, you can then embed it onto your website’s homepage. You can also embed it anywhere else on the site that you think might be useful.
Anything to Avoid?
I've already mentioned the “find us in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Soundcloud, Overcast…” thing as a no-no. So are there any other things you might want to leave out?
Alright, I'm not saying don't have explicit language if it's integral to your mood or tone, but do consider that it might limit where your trailer will be played.
If you absolutely do need an explicit trailer, you might consider making an alternative clean version too.
Asking For Stuff
The only thing you want to ask people to do here is to listen to your podcast.
I've heard a couple of promo trailers over the years that've managed to start asking for things like iTunes reviews and Patreon support. That's something you can talk to your actual listeners about, not your potential listeners.
Your trailer should be all about them, and what they'll get from listening.
My Humble Effort
Here's one I put together recently for one of our podcasts, Hostile Worlds
Need More Help?
If you'd like some more tailored support with this, or any other aspect of podcasting, then you can work with us inside The Podcast Host Academy.
In there, you’ll find all our courses on planning, launching, equipment, editing, interviewing, as well as downloadable resources, and weekly live Q&A sessions.
It would be great to see you there!