The first question that needs answering is whether or not you actually need a podcast intro for your show? Can’t you just dive right in with your latest episode? Well, of course you can! It’s your show after all. But do we think a podcast intro is an important part of your listener’s overall experience of your show? Yes! Yes, we do!
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression!” as the cliché goes, and this is one of the main reasons a catchy podcast intro is a great idea.
Statistics show us that an opinion based on a first impression forms within the first seven seconds of any interaction¹. That’s not long at all! If we put that in the context of your podcast, essentially that means you have less than 10 seconds to grab the listener’s attention and turn them into a loyal fan.
Of course, your content is really where it’s at, but you need to make sure first-time listeners and casual perusers get a feel for your show right out of the gate, ensuring that they stick around for all that valuable content you have on offer.
And that’s why a strong podcast intro is so important. It’s that enticing bait that gets potential listeners “hooked” on your podcast.
But how do you go about creating that oh-so catchy intro? What do you really need to include in that “hook”?
We think that there are 10 basic components that make up a great podcast intro which will grab even the most casual of podcast listeners, and turn them into one of your most loyal listeners!
Let’s check them out!
1. Music or Sound Effects
Music or sound effects are one of the greatest ways to help cement your show’s identity in the minds of your listeners. I guarantee that you know the intro music of your favorite series by heart, and I’m also willing to bet that you can identify a whole host of other shows based on the opening lines of their signature music, whether you watch, or even like the show in question! That’s the power of sound!
For centuries, music and sound effects have been used to set the desired tone, create the desired atmosphere, or even tell whole tales. And you should be harnessing the power of sound in your podcast intro!
Great music could help create that upbeat vibe you want your listeners to experience or could help create intrigue around the mystery your podcast uncovers. Sound effects can help flavor your intro with your personality and lure your listeners into your episode.
Music and sound effects are also just a super effective way to help cultivate a brand identity and mark a podcast as “yours”, besides the fact that a great tune just makes a great first impression!
Pro Tip: While you may be tempted to use your favorite song as your podcast intro, you need to be careful of the stringent copyright rules and regulations. To help you navigate these, as well as for some sound choices when it comes to picking royalty-free music, check out our post on:
2. The Name of Your Podcast
After your catchy jingle, you now need a way to associate that jingle with your show, so you should most certainly include the name of your podcast in your intro! Do not take for granted that listeners know the name of your show from seeing it on your eye-catching artwork, or from it popping up on your podcast’s profile page on whichever platform your listeners use. So you need to state your name!
Remember, some podcast platforms, like Spotify, Stitcher, and perhaps even Apple Podcasts when its new updates roll around in May, enhance their user experience by curating playlists of podcast episodes from the shows that the user has followed or even based on nifty algorithms in some cases.
This means that your show might feature on an automated list, and not one the listener has curated themselves. Hence the importance of stating your show’s name in the intro!
Related read: How To Find The Right Name For Your Podcast In 2021
3. The Name of the Host(s)
Part of the appeal of podcasts is the almost personal relationship that develops between a show’s hosts and their listeners. This is why another very important element of a strong podcast intro is introducing yourself, as well as your co-host or guest host if applicable. Knowing your name allows listeners to really get to know you. You can use your actual name or an alias, that decision is up to you. It’s just important that whatever name you choose to use, you remember to say it in your intro!
Your name can help them find you on sites like Podchaser and Goodpods, as well helping them follow you on all the social media platforms you use to promote both yourself and your podcast.
Related read: How To Be An Amazing Podcast Co-Host
4. A Mention of Your Function
Next up, your intro needs to communicate the function, or, the “what” of your podcast. This “what” refers to the role your podcast serves within your niche. Communicating your show’s function in your intro lets listeners know exactly what your podcast offers them, and, if you’ve played your cards right, they’ll discover that your podcast is exactly what they’re looking for.
Heck, if you play your cards really right and nail your intro, you might just gain a new loyal listener, even if your podcast was not exactly what they had been looking for! Your catchy intro will have them hooked, and then you can let your stellar content, awesome interview, and top-notch audio reel them in!
Now, you don’t need to read your whole mission statement during your intro. You just need to come up with one or two sentences that effectively but simply showcase what your show is all about.
5. An Appeal to Your Audience
A great podcast intro lets listeners know “who” your podcast is for, or in other words, your target audience. You want your target audience to hear your intro and think, “Hey, that’s me! It’s like this podcast was made with just me in mind!”
And if you’ve really paid attention to understanding who your target audience is, what their needs are, and what they’re looking for, you’ll be able to accurately describe the “who” in your intro, and you’ll have them following your show in a flash.
One way to do this is to use your tagline in some shape or form in your intro. A great tagline effectively sums up the essence of your podcast, letting listeners know who your show is for, and serves as that extra confirmation that they should keep listening.
6. A Glimpse at Your Purpose
So now that your listeners know who the podcast is for (them, obviously!) and you’ve got them on the hook, you need to land the catch by revealing the “why” of your podcast – letting them in on why this is the podcast for them. This means filling your listeners in on the purpose of your podcast. Again, this could be accomplished by incorporating some form of your tagline, which, in itself, should encapsulate the purpose of your podcast in your intro.
You want to capture why listeners should pick your show. What will they learn from you that they won’t find anywhere else? What angle on your topic do you present that’s unique to your podcast? Communicate this in your intro, and you’ll have new listeners lining up!
Related read: How To Revamp Or Rebrand Your Podcast
7. Orientation Information
Orientation information is simply using your intro to help orientate new and old listeners alike to the content of your show. Part of this orientation information is the “how” of your podcast, giving your listeners some information or clue as to what happens on the show. This “how” helps your listeners find their feet so they’re ready to hit the ground running with you as soon as the episode officially begins.
You could also include the episode number in your orientation section of your intro. If you’ve been going for 100 episodes, but someone is only discovering your podcast now, you need to give them a little grounding to help them find their place and gain their bearings. This could be letting your listeners know you’re picking up where you left off in the last episode or letting them know that you’ve got a great interview lined up.
If this episode is part of a series, or a continuation of a previous episode, let your listeners know this in the intro, and even direct them as to where they should start if they’re just tuning in. That way, they will be far more likely to stick around, rather than being too confused to even get into your amazing episode!
If your show, or a particular episode, has been made possible by a sponsor or sponsors, your intro can be an appropriate place to give them credit. It’s important to remember when mentioning sponsors, that you always make sure that you abide by any stipulations you are contractually required to fulfill in your mentions. Also, be sure to tailor it to your content and weave the sponsor message into your original tone of voice to help with an easy transition for the listeners.
While perhaps not glamorous or fun, disclaimers, should you require them, should also be included in your podcast intro. If, for instance, your podcast features play-by-plays of the latest blockbuster or in-depth discussions of each episode of a top series, you should definitely include spoiler alerts in your intro! This gives your listener the chance to skip the episode until they’ve caught up, and will also prevent angry listeners venting their disappointment in your comment section!
You should also put disclaimers in your intro if your episode contains content that is not suitable for young or sensitive listeners, or when an episode covers topics that are mature in nature or contains content that may trigger certain listeners. This is just another way to serve your audience, and will be greatly appreciated by your listeners. Taking that extra effort and thoughtfulness to include these types of disclaimers could be the difference between gaining a new listener or losing one who happens to stumble upon this particular episode.
10. Your Personality and Personal Spin
The last “thing” you need to be sure is included in your podcast intro is a healthy dose of your winning personality. If you package in the other nine insider tips, and tie these up with your own personal spin, which is really just a fancy way of saying “be unique” you’ll have a winning combination and an effective podcast intro.
Overall, when it comes to putting in your own personal spin, you need to think about how you can make your podcast intro the most attractive “lure” that it can possibly be. Because at the end of the day, what will make your intro truly great is creating one that reflects the personality of both you, the host, and your podcast as a whole. Try to zero in on what makes your podcast special, what makes it yours, and consequently, what makes it unique. A strong podcast intro is one that has all the necessary elements but also has tons of personality and original flavor, setting it apart from all the rest.
Make it rhyme, make it quirky, dip it in glitter and make it shiny if that’s your thing, but the bottom line is that the most important thing you NEED to include in your podcast intro is yourself.
If you really only get one chance to make an amazing first impression, it follows that you should do everything in your power to make that first impression one that people won’t easily forget…for all the right reasons!
Your podcast intro is a great place to showcase your personality, give listeners an enticing sneak peak of all that your show offers, and cement your brand in the minds of your audience. In the same way you can’t help but clap four times after the opening line of The Rembrandts, “I’ll Be There For You,” or that little spark of excitement ignites whenever you hear the opening refrains of your favorite series or sitcom, so can you create an exciting podcast intro that gets listeners leaning in and listening up!
So if you haven’t done so yet, stop what you’re doing and get crafting that perfect podcast intro, or have a serious examination of your current intro to make sure it’s hitting all the necessary marks of a great introduction, and you’ll be hooking listeners with each and every episode you share!
1. You And Your Business Have 7 Seconds To Make A First Impression: Here’s How To Succeed: https://www.forbes.com/sites/serenitygibbons/2018/06/19/you-have-7-seconds-to-make-a-first-impression-heres-how-to-succeed/?sh=555fd1bf56c2