Whether you’re new to the podcasting game or a seasoned professional, to potential new listeners the first 2 minutes will determine whether they are going to listen or skip your show. Today we will be discussing these all-important first impressions and what you can do to ensure your podcast intro is up to scratch.
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The Importance of a Good Intro
It is a fact that consumers today are quicker to judge than ever before. In a world of fast-paced sensory overload, people are quick to judge and quicker to turn off if they hear something they don’t like. This shift in mindset places incredible importance on a podcast’s introduction. Those first few minutes determine how many listeners are going to bother to stick it out for the rest of the show.
The introduction doesn’t just help newcomers decide whether or not they want to listen, it also affects the long-time listeners. A well-crafted intro comes in many forms depending on the type of content you are producing, however, the fact remains that special care must be taken to properly utilize this beginning section.
No matter what type of podcast you produce; from casual guest interviews to highly scripted historical retellings we will be breaking down the features of an incredible introduction.
How do You Start a Podcast Script?
Let’s start at the beginning, how do you begin to plan what you are going to say? Well, there are a few factors worth keeping in mind.
The first important thing to note is that the script will determine the pace of the show. You should take into account what style of podcast you are scripting and adjust your writing style accordingly. For example, if you are planning a laid-back chat show style podcast then a mass of highly scripted lines will be incredibly jarring for your listeners. By starting to script with show style in mind you will quickly determine what pace works best.
Hand in hand with show pace is the theme of the show. Coming back to the chat show podcast, you probably don’t want to begin with a segment dense with facts and information as this will undermine the conversational tone used for the rest of the show.
These are the most important factors to consider as you start scripting. Having a clear cut and concise idea of how you want your podcast to pan out is extremely useful in these beginning stages of scriptwriting.
What to Include in a Podcast Intro Script
Now we’ve got to grips with the how-to begin, it’s time to put pen to paper and start the all-important introduction section.
The very first thing you should clarify to open your show is the title. This may seem like an obvious or unnecessary inclusion, but by clarifying the podcast title you are not only affirming what the listener has clicked on, you are also clarifying what is currently playing to listeners that may have tuned in via an autoplay feature.
By clarifying the title, these happenstance listeners are less likely to open their phone to confirm for themselves, which can lead to distraction and tuning out.
Next is a summary of the content. By giving the listener an idea of what will be discussed during the show, you will both inform and generate curiosity about what is to come. In an interview scenario, this may also be an appropriate time to introduce the guests. Remember that even though this is informative, the approach is completely up to you. These opening moments are a great opportunity to let your personality come through and engage with listeners before jumping into show content.
Podcast Intro Music and How it Should Shape Your Intro Script
Music is a vital asset to your intro. A jingle will help in establishing the show’s name to the listener in a way that is pleasing to hear. Having this repeat at the start of your podcast goes a long way in creating a distinction between your work and others. This musical motif may be used multiple times throughout the show and could serve as a segue in-between content.
The background music also helps your show stand out from the crowd. Having a catchy piece accompany your voice will give the listener multiple points of interest in the mix, this encourages active listening which increases audience engagement with what is being said. Just make sure it doesn’t distract from the script itself!
Music goes a long way in setting the tone in a podcast. It’s no secret that music can affect mood (listen to any movie soundtrack for example), and understanding the tone of your show and picking your music accordingly adds to the production value significantly.
How Long the Intro Should be
A good intro should include everything needed to establish the show in a short amount of time. While how much time this may be will differ slightly from podcast to podcast, 2-4 minutes is a good amount of time to spend on an intro. A fast intro can be off-putting to viewers who are tuning in for the first time so ensure that you have a moderate pace to ease listeners into the beginning of the show.
Good Podcast Intro Examples
Joe Rogan Experience
Joe Rogan is arguably the king of the aforementioned chat show/interview genre. And it is no surprise that his intro reflects this. He makes use of a jingle and graphic logo to reiterate the show’s name, and his introduction is straight in with a conversational feel. By telling a personal anecdote that links to the specialist subject of the guest, Joe manages to introduce the guest and segue into the interview in a very short space of time.
Stuff you Should Know
Being a variety podcast, the hosts of Stuff you Should Know dedicate a bit more time to establish the topic of the show. The hosts are introduced along with the show name and summary of the episode topic, then it is straight in with any personal thoughts and feelings. By allowing time to riff off of each other, the loosely scripted pace is very clearly established.
Looking at a more analytical format, Song Exploder starts with the same intro each episode detailing the format of the show, the variable, in this case, is the song in question. After the prelude, the backing music begins with the song the episode centers on, over the top of which a bio of the artist is read, establishing the guest.
Criminal podcast places its ads at the top of the episode. This way the sponsors are at the forefront of the podcast and the branding is over within the first minute. Once over, the pace and tone of the podcast set in. Being true crime oriented, the narrator jumps right into the story accompanied by backing music that sets the tone incredibly effectively.
General Podcast Script Tips
Now that you have a clearer insight into how to create an effective introduction, here are some tips for scripting as a whole.
Make a Plan and Stick to it
By making even a rough list of how the episode pans out and keeping to it, your script will unfold naturally, and the pacing of the particular section will make sense in the wider context of the show.
Keep it consistent
This applies to the tone and content of the script. By constantly reviewing the section you are working with the rest of your material, it will become clear whether what you are currently writing works with the bigger picture.
Embrace the Tangent
To keep listeners engaged and to prevent the delivery from becoming stagnant, it is a good idea to be flexible with your script, allowing for moments of improvisation to keep the material fresh. This is extra important when in an interview as your guest may say something that piques your interest. This makes for a less linear and more engaging listen. as long as you are aware of your run time and can steer back to the topic of course!
Understand your Strengths
It is tempting to write a script for a person you want to be rather than who you are, and it’s only natural to mimic those who inspire you. This tip isn’t discouraging that whatsoever, however, listening to your work (despite how uncomfortable that may be) will give you a better understanding of what works best for you. Once you know your strengths you can begin writing the script to help your personality shine through in a recording.
Hopefully from reading this you have a better understanding of what it is that makes a good introduction, and a few tips and tricks to help you craft a prelude that will captivate any listener lucky enough to stumble upon your podcast.
Still hungry for more tips and tricks on how to push your podcasting to the next level? Try our deep dive on How to Make Your Podcast Sound Natural.