So you’re ready to start your podcast but … oh, what do you say?! Well, you know generally what you’re going to say. You have ideas for your episodes, but what do you say to get started? And how should you end the podcast?
Listen to a handful of podcasts, especially from different genres, and you’ll find a multitude of different ways to start a show. None of the suggestions below are set in stone, and people are coming in all the time to change how “things have always been done,” and that’s awesome. But for those just starting out and need just a little bit of guidance, here are what I look for in a podcast intro and outro.
Imagine you’re a brand new listener to your show. They may not start with your trailer or first episode where you explain who you are, what the show’s about, or how you structure your show. So you’re going to want to start your podcast off with the idea that everyone is brand new to the show.
This may get repetitive for you if you read this every show, but your super-listeners look forward to it. It’s familiar, it’s how they know they’re getting what they’ve come to expect, and they would be thrown off if it was suddenly changed.
1. Introduce the Show
Some people listen to podcasts without looking at the cover art or title. They may know your theme music already. And probably those listening to your show for the first time have already seen the name of your show and your cover art. But believe it or not, podcast listening isn’t always a solo experience.
I’ve gotten into my husband’s car plenty of times to him playing a podcast I’ve never listen to before. He may have already turned on the podcast and switched to his GPS app to get directions, so I can’t just grab the phone to look at the cover art or title. So when the name of the show is mentioned, I appreciate it.
Some people don’t have podcast theme music, either. So if someone is listening to your show as part of a playlist (which some apps offer), they may not be able to check their phone to see what podcast is playing. Saying the name helps.
“This is the Coffeepreneur Podcast …”
“Welcome to the Coffeepreneur Podcast …”
2. Introduce Yourself
This sounds incredibly basic, right? Believe it or not, some podcasters forget to introduce themselves. You may wonder why on earth someone wouldn’t introduce themselves.
You may forget, you may not think it’s important, or you may be forgetting about those who are new subscribers.
You may worry about privacy, in which case I know of podcasters who only use their first name or they use an alias because of their jobs or their lives. But when you’re using those aliases, don’t forget to let people know who they are listening to.
As they keep listening, they're going to subconsciously connect with you, but imagine meeting someone at a party but not getting their name. Are they going to be as memorable? Sure, you could say “the guy in the red sweater,” but with audio, how could someone describe you? Describing a voice might be harder. And especially when there are more than one voice and similar voices.
“I’m your host, Rachel …”
“We are your hosts, I’m Rachel” “and I’m Joey.”
3. Say Who the Show is For
If you’re working on building a community (or, am I cool enough to say “tribe”?), you’re basically going to want to be able to say, “these are the people I want to be inside my world.”
Some people come up with specialized nicknames for them like “Journeyers” or “Fire Nation”. But what you’re really looking for are people who will identify with you and your show. Giving them a nickname will be a way to indoctrinate them into your world, but it’s not always necessary.
You may just want to say a pain point you have a feeling your podcast answers for your audience.
“The Coffeepreneur Podcast, helping Coffee Marketers like you …”
“Welcome to the Coffeepreneur Show, the show for you Beanies out there …”
4. Say What your Show is About
Someone may have clicked on your podcast after searching for a particular subject. They may want information on that subject, but they’ll also want to know how your show is going to give it to them.
Think about how you are going to help them, what they’re going to learn from/laugh at/be entertained by your show. Hopefully, you have a pretty good theme with your cover art and title that will hopefully let the person know what your show is about. But, just in case no one paid attention to those, or they’re listening on a platform where they can’t see the cover art very well, it’s still a good idea to go deeper into what they’re going to hear on your show.
“Welcome the Coffeepreneur Podcast, where coffee marketers will learn how to sell their product …”
“If you’re a coffee marketer looking for techniques on how to sell your java to the world …”
5. Say What Happens in the Show
This may sound similar to what the show is about, but this is a very subtle addition to your intro. Some listeners enjoy interviews, some don’t. Some enjoy learning from one person with solo shows. Some like round table discussions. And some like multiple hosts over solo shows.
The sooner you can let someone know how your show is structured, the sooner they’ll know if the show is for them or not.
You may be yelling at your phone/computer, “But, my show is so incredibly awesome? I wouldn’t want someone to leave because they haven’t even listened yet!”
I understand, dear podcaster. You know your show is awesome, I know your show is awesome. But I’m sorry to let you know that there will be at least one person in the world who may not be the biggest fan of your show. They’re probably not your ideal listener anyway.
“… the show where we interview experts in the field of coffee marketing.”
“… where hosts Rachel and Joey talk about their experiences selling coffee.”
Calls to action
Ok, so you may be wondering where your call to action should go. Your call to action can either go in the intro or the outro or even in a separate segment within the meat of the show when you know everyone is tuned in the most.
Your call to action is what you want your listeners to do after listening to the podcast, so you could theoretically put it at the end, when they’ve listened so long, they’ve been sitting in their driveway because it’s too good to turn off.
You may decide to put it in the beginning as part of your intro so that it sticks in people’s minds after a few episodes.
But, consider this when picking your call to action: people are most likely listening to podcasts passively. Gone are the days when people gathered in front of a radio to listen. They are driving, they’re walking their dogs, they’re doing chores around the house, they’re at the gym, etc.
Most likely, they are not actively at their computer and able to go to your website to sign up for your email newsletter or sign up for your lead magnet or follow you on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Friendster, MySpace, and AOL Instant Messenger right this second.
In fact, by the time they finish listening to you list all the ways they can find you, connect with you, sign up for the thing, buy your course, pay for your consulting, see pictures of your cat … you’ve lost them.
Pick one (or two, at the very most) to add to your intro and/or outro. And make it memorable.
“Want to talk coffee marketing in between episodes? Follow me on Twitstagram at @Coffeepreneur.”
“Want to learn more about what we talked about today? Visit our website, Coffeepreneur.com.”
Statistically speaking, some of your audience will probably tune out when your outro starts. Those who are familiar with your show and you probably already got the information they needed from the bulk of your episode that they decided to move on.
Many of those who skip the outro are probably already subscribers (so you don’t have to worry about them missing your call to action to subscribe to the show). But even though I’ve listened to the same shows for years, I still listen to the outro the same way I stay for the credits whenever I watch a movie. (Kudos to Marvel for training me to do so.) Maybe I’ll miss something!
Or, maybe, the hosts will give me something extra to look forward to, like bloopers or takeaways in case I zoned out while listening.
Most importantly, though, you’ll want to use your outro to wrap up your show with a little bow.
Again, all of these are optional, but they are good to consider. Most of them are pretty straightforward and don’t need examples, but don’t worry, we break down them all at the end.
1. Recap the episode
Even though they just listened to the main event of the show, they may need a little reminder of the overall purpose for the show. Giving a recap is a nice way to make sure they realize you gave them what you promised.
What’s the best way to build trust? Promise, then follow through (rinse and repeat).
When you recap that you have given them what they came for when they pressed play on your podcast, you have given them a reason to trust you and hopefully have them come back for more.
This could also include reiterating who the guest was and how they brought value to the episode.
2. List any Takeaways
What did you want your listeners to learn from your show? What did you guest say that blew your mind? What do you think people will remember most from this episode (and what do you want them to remember the most)?
Including some key points of your conversation or takeaways will reinforce those ideas into their minds. Maybe they didn’t pick them up the first time listening, but they probably won’t go back and listen again unless it was a really, really good show.
If you’re having trouble coming up with takeaways from your episode, think about what you can apply from the episode right away or in the near future.
3. Thank the listeners
People have taken time out of their day to listen to your podcast. They brought you along with them while they drove to work or nursed their child or waiting at the doctor’s office.
People who listen to podcasts develop an intimacy with the voice that is coming through their earbuds nestled right next to their brain. You have been invited into their lives, to share very personal moments with. It’s a beautiful thing.
Thanking those listeners who made time for you in their day is a way of showing them gratitude, but also reminding yourself of this fact, as well. You may be alone in your basement when the rest of your family is asleep recording, but even though no one may be listening while you’re recording, as soon as you press Publish, people will begin bringing you into their lives. Always staying grateful to your listeners is one of the easiest ways to show you care about your audience.
4. Let them know how to connect
Even though I said before to keep the calls to action simple, the end is when people are most likely going to be thinking, “how can I learn more? I want to connect with this person!”
If you have everything on your website — your social media handles, your email, more information, your products, your email list sign up, etc. — you have the luxury of simply letting people know that if they want to connect with you or learn more about the show, they can visit your website. (And make sure to give them the address.)
Again, they may be somewhere not in front of a computer or can look at their phone easily. The easier you make it on them, the more likely it’ll be that they remember it.
5. Sign off
I’m one of those people who needs closure. (I still feel weird my camp boyfriend and I never officially broke up, even though we haven’t talked in many, many years.) So, signing off is kind of a given in probably most, if not all, of the podcasts I listen to.
Sometimes it’ll be a quick, “Bye!” or it’ll be something like, “Talk to you next week.” It’s built into our culture of communication that we need those verbal cues of when a conversation is over.
Don’t let people assume the show is over because you’re done talking — it might sound like your show was cut off in editing.
Whether or not you keep it the same every time is up to you. Although, if it ties in perfectly with the show’s theme, I tend to like it better. (Perfect example: Rob from The Feed signing off with “Caio” because The Feed—Chow. Get it?!)
Example with all five
“Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of The Coffeepreneur Podcast. We really enjoyed talking to Gunther about what it takes to run an independent coffee shop in Manhattan. We especially liked when he said that the bigger the cups, the longer people stayed. For more tips from coffee marketers or if you’d like to reach out to us, visit Coffeepreneur.com. Catch you latte!”
Recap: Running an independent coffee shop in Manhattan with Gunther
Takeaway: Bigger cups = people stay longer.
Thanks: “Thank you for listening …”
Connect: “For more tips … reach out to us, visit …”
Sign Off: “Catch you latte!” (Have I mentioned I love a good pun?)
What you shouldn’t have in your podcast intro or outro
Ready for it?
“Please rate and review the podcast in Apple Podcasts because it helps the show rank higher.”
You may be thinking I’m going to say that rating and reviewing shouldn’t be your call to action. But, no, if that’s what you’d like your audience to do, by all means! Definitely ask away! It may be a gentle reminder they need to give you some sort of feedback or to let you know what they like or don’t like about the show.
The part I’m saying not to include is the “it helps the show rank higher.”
Subscriptions, not ratings and/or reviews, help you in the Apple Podcasts charts. More specifically, it’s how many subscriptions your show gets within a certain time frame that helps.
(And, no, they also don’t help with New & Noteworthy.)
But, consider the listener for a second — do they really care where you rank in a podcast app? Most likely, you’ll have a portion of your audience listening to your show outside of Apple Podcasts, so why would they give a review?
There are so many other calls to actions that might be more effective for you, your brand, or your business.
If your podcast is part of your business funnel, asking people sign up for your mailing list or directing them to your website or whatever you’re selling is a good call to action.
If your podcast is the make a name for yourself or build your brand, your call to action could be to ask people to follow you on social media.
If you’re looking to get more listeners to your show, asking your listeners to share it with their friends and family is a much better way to grow your audience than ratings and reviews.
Most likely, you have more than one call to action you’d like your audience to follow through on, but rankings and reviews are probably low on the list. Not to say they’re not important for social proof or valuable feedback for you, but they are not the be-all-end-all some podcasting gurus make them out to be.
Looking for more help with your intro and outro? Sign up for a Strategy Session with me! The price is going up in 2019, so be sure to sign up for one before the end of the year to get the lowest price. (Don’t worry, you can schedule it for anytime you’d like.)