Podcast Intros: Catching Your Listeners' Attention
If you want a professional sounding podcast, you need a professional sounding podcast intro. Full disclosure: A large part of my business involves voicing and producing podcast intros and outros. However, you don't necessarily need to hire a pro to have a great intro. In this post, I will discuss the elements of a great intro and how to go about either producing your own intro or hiring someone else to do it for you.
Often, when people hire me to produce a podcast intro, their first question is, "What should be included in my intro?" Fortunately, I love working with podcasters, so I am always willing to take the time to walk through the podcast intro script this with my clients. Some voice artists aren't so patient and just want your completed script. Also, if you decide to do it yourself, you will need to develop and write your own podcast intro script and consider what other elements should be in your intro.
What is the Purpose of the Podcast Intro?
Your podcast intro has one purpose: to keep people listening. Now truly that is two purposes in one. Your podcast intro needs to take into account both new listeners and people who are already faithful listeners.
First of all, your podcast intro needs to convince new listeners to keeps listening. Say someone stumbles upon your podcast or one of their friends invites them to listen. Just because they hit play doesn't mean they are going to keep listening. What they hear in the first few seconds may determine whether or not they continue listening.
But what about people who are already listeners? If people already listen to and like your podcast, they are more likely to listen on after the intro. However, you also have a chance to keep them engaged by giving them a little peek into what is in store in the latest episode.
Given that your podcast intro is designed for two different audiences, I like to break the intro down into two parts:
Podcast Intro Part One - Information about the podcast that stays the same from episode to episode.
Podcast Intro Part Two - Information about the specific episode.
Just because these are numbers, one and two doesn't mean they need to go in this order. In fact, they don't need to be that specifically segregated. But let's look at them to see the information we need to include.
Podcast Intro Part One - Information about the Podcast.
Part one can be, in theory, the same every episode from the very first to episode 9,387. You may decide to do some refreshing along the way, but this part can remain fixed.
Here are some of the elements of Part One:
The name of the podcast.
The name and other information about the host(s).
Purpose, tagline, or description of the podcast.
So, if I were to write a part one for my podcast, it might go like this:
Welcome to the Pro Voice Guy Podcast, the podcast about podcasts. Here is your host, Voice-over pro, Will Rice.
That is not actually how my podcast intro is written. I voice my intro, and I don't like announcing myself, so my name goes in part two of my intro.
So, part one of my actual intro goes like this:
Pro Voice Guy Podcast, the podcast about podcasts, plus a few extras about audio, social media, marketing, tech, and other stuff.
Take a listen:
Stay with me. We will put this all together soon.
Podcast Intro Part Two - Information about the Specific Episode
To draw in new listeners and to keep repeat listeners engaged, information about the specific episode is an essential part of your intro. Even for some of my favorite podcasts, if the intro doesn't do a great job of selling me on the episode, I might go on to the next episode (if it is already available) or listen to another podcast on my list. If it is a new podcast I am trying out, there are times when I don't make it past the intro.
Here are some elements of Part Two:
Episode name (If you name your episodes)
Episode number (And season if you have seasons)
An introduction to or teaser of the topic of the episode
Helpful context (Location information, recording date, etc.)
Any other essential information (sponsor, disclaimers, etc.)
So, part 2 of my intro might go like this:
Welcome to Episode 11 of the Pro Voice Guy Podcast. Live from Pro Voice Guy Studios in San Antonio, Texas, I'm Will Rice. Today we are going to be talking about using your recording and editing software to make your podcast sound great.
You start to see how flexible this is. I don't give my name in part one so it appears in part two. I also don't give titles to my episodes and I don't have any sponsors. I do give the name of the city where I am based.
Why Two Parts?
Since I have already jumbled up parts one and two, why did I bother to split the intro into two parts? Because you have another option to consider: pre-produced vs. live. Those terms are a little confusing because very few podcasters actually air episodes live. However, many podcasters use pre-produced intros. There are four main types of pre-produced intros.
Self-Voiced and Produced - The podcast host cuts the vocal tracks and produces (add music and effects, then mixes and masters) the standard intro used at the beginning of each episode.
Self-Voiced and Professionally Produced - The podcast host records the vocals and hires a professional producer to add music and effects and mix and master the intro used at the beginning of each episode.
Professionally Voiced and Self-Produced - The host pays for a professional voice over and does the production themselves.
Professionally Voiced and Produced - The host pays someone to take care of the entire intro.
This is where parts one and two come into play. If you are going to the work and/or expense to create a pre-produced intro, you may not want to have it re-done for every episode. Now some podcasts do this. Every week, they have a professional voice talent introducing the show, the hosts, the episode - including everything from parts one and two in a fully-produced podcast intro. As someone who makes money producing these, I love those. It means steady work. However, this is where most podcasters decide to divide it up.
For instance, I shared above part one of my intro. Interestingly enough, I do part two first, and I do it live. Again, it is not actually live, but I record that part while I am recording the rest of my podcast. While editing the episode, I drop the pre-recorded intro in right after I say all the words in part two. So, putting it together, it goes like this:
"Welcome to Episode 11 of the Pro Voice Guy Podcast. Live from Pro Voice Guy Studios in San Antonio, Texas, I'm Will Rice. Today we are going to be talking about using your recording and editing software to make your podcast sound great."
Pro Voice Guy Podcast, the podcast about podcasts, plus tech, social media, and other stuff.
Here is a clip from the beginning of one of my episodes.
This is the long version of what goes into a podcast intro, but I hope it helps. If you are simply reading your intro at the beginning of your episodes, you will have the most flexibility. However, if you are going to have a professional intro produced, it is good to think about how you will deal with each of the elements in part one and two.
I Am Happy to Help
If you decide you want to hire a pro to voice or produce your intro, I would be glad to help. As I hope you can tell from this post, I am more than voice talent . I am always happy to help figure out how to put the whole thing together so that your podcast sounds great.