Do you know why I love baking? It’s because it’s just as much science as art. If you follow the recipe, use the right ingredients in right proportions/order, you will get an amazing result.
However, if you try to wing it, you end up with something that looks like a cookie but tastes like the soul of your grandfather’s work boot.
The same thing is true with podcasting. There are proven methods to really up your game and make you sound like you know what you are doing.
While you can’t guarantee the interview will be consistent, you do have complete control over the first (and last) few minutes that the audience hears.
Because we all have the attention spans of a goldfish, it’s important to nail this and build credibility and interest with your listeners as early as you can.
In today’s post, I’m going to go over the ten elements that go into making a professional intro/outro.
I’m not going to tell you what order to put these in or what you should use (thats behind the pay wall). I am going to break down each element so you can understand the purpose of each one and decide what elements you want in your show.
So, let’s get into it!!
I know, I know. I’m really starting off with a bang here. But trust me, music sets the mood. Aside from getting everyone all hot and bothered, you get the added benefit of coming across as being professionally produced.
If you want to take it a step further and have someone produce you an intro and outro with voices overs and music, check out makemyintro.com
This is the audio clip at the beginning of an episode that the host often reads. It sounds like this: “Another Way To Play, episode sixty-five.”
It’s often the first thing you hear but can also be incorporated into the guest intro (#7 below). The idea here is to give your listener an update on where they are in the sequence or season.
Plus, as you get along in your show, it has the added benefit of telling people how many episodes you have recorded and you aren’t a total noob.
Unless you are a psychic and know what your guest is going to cover, this is something you record after you are done with the interview.
In it you will say something like “In this episode we talked about …” or “You are going to want to listen up for their story about …”
The point is to give the listener a preview of what they are about to hear and get them excited to listen in. I would suggest choosing three points here. Why three? Well, because it’s less than four and more than two.
The real reason for three is because it let’s you spread the highlights out over the beginning, middle and end.
PRO TIP: Tease people to “stay tuned until the end where we talk about…” It’s another reason for them to listen to the whole episode.
This is a section of the show that speaks directly to your ideal listener. Think of it like the intro to your favorite Netflix series. Once you have seen it a few times, you likely skip it but you know you like it and it sets the tone for you to settle in and binge.
Unlike Netflix, this is obviously spoken word that tells your listener what the show is about and what they can expect to learn or hear.
Most shows combine this with music. It’s also a good idea to have a voice other than your own read this. It changes up the listening experience as well as provides a bit more credibility to you. It’s a subtle boost in the mind of your listeners, but why not take it where you can get it?
NOTE: makemyintro.com can make a professional one for you. Thats who made mine.
5. Controversial Statement
You know that opinionated relative who always has some cockamamie opinion and feels the need to bring them up during the worst possible moment at dinner parties? Yeah, don’t be that person.
Instead, you will want to craft a statement that brings some level of controversy and makes your listener pick a side.
Mine is: “I believe that if you trade hours for dollars, you will never achieve true freedom in your life.”
Whether you believe that or not, you now have an opinion and you will likely keep listening to see how dumb or smart I am based on your opinion. Either way, you are still listening.
Really the goal here is to grab some attention, break through the noise and draw a line in the sand. It is better to be polarizing and have the haters drop off quickly than be vanilla and try to be everything to everyone.
Trust me, you are never going to succeed so don’t try. Build a community that really loves what you love and is willing to engage with your kind of content. If the haters listen beyond this point, you might have a chance to convert them. Who knows!
6. Call To Action
I know what you are thinking: “But I don’t want to sell anything and don’t have anything top pitch in the first place.”
Calm down, I hear you.
And I’m not suggesting you sell something here. I am suggesting that you try to create a community of people who you have essentially trained to take some kind of action. It could be as simple as writing you a rating/review, joining a private facebook group or following you on Instagram.
There is an important psychology at play here. If you get your audience used to you asking them to take some kind of action and down the road you pitch a sponsor or your own service, they wont be totally thrown off and surprised. You do have to train your audience and this is how you start.
In the beginning this ask should be value driven and free. Joining a Facebook community or booking a one-on-one call to connect are great examples of this.
PRO TIP: Don’t pitch anything during these interactions. At least not in the beginning. You want to simply add value and build a relationship. People will be expecting the other shoe to drop, so don’t let it. They will be surprised and really be receptive if/when you decide to monetize. Plus, you now get direct access to a potential customer and can learn about them and potentially craft offers/services that meet their needs. Think about it.
7. Guest Intro
The name says it all. If you are doing an interview, this is the part of the show where you introduce the guest and go over their bio.
Remember, it is your job as the host to hype up your guest and get the listener excited to keep listening. Make them look good!
Like peanut butter and jelly, this section pairs nicely with #3 – Preview/Highlights.
I recommend recording this after you do the interview so you can add more context about what the listener is about to hear.
This seems like a throw away section to many people but really helps to set a clear exception for the listener.Most shows will pair this with their Hook (#4) to tell listeners how many episodes a week you will release and what kind of content you will hear.
It could sound like: “… bringing you two episodes a week full of tips and tricks for …”
It’s really that simple. It’s often times less than a full sentence. Other than setting an expectation for your listener, it’s a great accountability partner to get your episodes out on time.
Theres nothing like a little public declaration to motivate you into action and hold you accountable.
9. Guest Highlight
I’m sure you have heard this on other shows before. This is where you hear 10 to 20 seconds of the guest talking right as you press play. It’s usually a particularly cool thing the guest said.
The point is to use it as a hook for your listeners to get excited about what is to come.
I’m not going to belabor this point as I think it really speaks for itself. If you still don’t get it, let’s chat.
10. Guest Credibility
This one throws people off and freaks them out at the same time. Here is the one I use for my show:
“This is _____, author of ____, CEO of _____ (or whatever title makes sense), and if you want to learn to make the next chapter of your life better than the last, then you should be listening to Another Way To Play with my good friend, Hans Struzyna.”
I play that at the beginning of every episode. It’s powerful! Think about what happens when a listener hears that.
The guest just introduced themselves with their favorite title, told everyone they should listen to my show and called me their good friend. I mean, come on! How much better can it get?
Think about what happens if one of their followers listens to that episode. They are instantly going to see me as someone who they should follow, too. Plus, in the mind of the listener, this statement gives you a similar level of authority to the guest. If you start to get high level people on there, thats really powerful.
Now, I know what you are thinking. How am I supposed to get these people to say this and what if they say no!
#1: it’s easy. You just ask them to read an “audio bumper” for the intro of their episode and copy the text into the zoom chat box.
#2: in over 80 recorded episodes, I have never had anyone say no to this and only one person asked to change the verbiage slightly.
Seriously, you just had a 30+ minute conversation with your guest and have hopefully built massive rapport with them. This is not a big ask at all.
Just ask. It’s a game changer.
There you have it! The ten elements of an amazing podcast intro/outro. I hope this helps you consider what you might be able to add to your show to really up your game. If you still aren’t sure about what to incorporate into your show, let’s chat. We would be happy to talk to you about how to up your game and increase the quality and credibility of your show!
Until then, here’s to all of your podcasting success!