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Learn tips for producing your own podcast promos! Mike and Izabela Russell, from Music Radio Creative, are experts in audio branding and production. They join me in this episode to help you better grow your podcast the audio and even video promos.
1. Call to action
Every promo should have once call to action in it. Preferably at the end as listeners tend to remember the last thing said. What do you want the listener to do?
Give them a direct URL (preferably your own domain) to your podcast, don’t just say “find us on iTunes.” Give them a real link to type.
Only one call to action is effective per promo.
2. Promo length
Keep it only as long as it needs to be. The optimum is 30 or fewer seconds, but have some variations in length—10, 30, or 45 seconds.
10 seconds is less disruptive to a podcast (e.g. Dave Jackson will play a promo without announcing it and then carry on talking as if nothing happened).
Always remember that “skip forward 30 seconds button” on most podcast players and value your listener’s time.
Don’t announce “I’ll be back after the break.” It’s a podcast; where are you going?
It’s not radio so there’s no need for your promo to be exactly 30 seconds long. This was a requirement in radio as often different ads would go out on different transmitters and they all had to sync up.
3. Audio clips of your podcast
What are your very best bits? It’s often handy to include real clips from past podcasts to give the listener a taste of what’s in store for them.
Find your most popular podcast and timestamp the highlights. This will help a producer put something amazing together for you.
These snippets don't have to contain the full context, but should convey the personality of your podcast.
4. Use professional voice talent
Don’t announce your own podcast and name. It sounds cheap.
Use a professional voice over artist or (even better) get it sung as people will remember the melody. Somebody singing your podcast name really is priceless advertising.
Professional voices at the start and end of a promo (or even your whole podcast) help you to sound like a pro.
5. Think about music choice
Match the music choice to your target audience.
Do you already have catchy podcast intro music? Use it! It will enhance your own audio branding consistency.
If you have a royalty-free track you love, try to get the 15- or 30-second version and look for different mix outs (many royalty free music sites have this option).
6. Consider your promo as a donut
Do you want to update your promo? Ask for a “donut.” That’s your music with professional voices at the start and the end, and a blank space for content in the middle.
The hole in the donut is just the music for you to talk over or mix in highlights of your podcast.
Donuts give you ultimate flexibility to update your podcast promo when you see fit.
Use donuts to mention special guests or announcements about your podcast.
7. Keep it clean
If you want the widest audience possible, don’t use foul language in your podcast promo unless it’s truly for your target audience.
Bear in mind that many podcasters won’t play explicit promos (especially if their own podcast is tagged as clean).
8. The name of your podcast
Your podcast name is a vital part of your promo. It’s best to repeat it so that the listener remembers.
If a listener likes your content, they’ll often seek you out by searching for your podcast name.
Do you want to highlight a point in your promo or grab the listener’s attention? Use silence.
If you interrupt the flow of a promo you’ve got the attention of your listener.
10. Be shareable
Add the promo to your website and make it easy for someone to download it if they’d like to consider playing it on their podcast. Share the highest-possible quality (such as uncompressed WAV) so it won't sound bad when other podcasters recompress it.
Place your promo on SoundCloud, Spreaker, or AudioBoo and share it to Facebook and Twitter.
Consider getting a video version of your promo produced for YouTube.
Also reach out to Internet radio stations.
Online attention spans are short. A snappy promo can get the message to a potential listener for your podcast fast.
11. BONUS: copyright
Be aware of copyright on music and clips.
Use only royalty free music or ensure the production work is licensed.
Here are some great sites where you can purchase professional, royalty-free music.
Big thanks to Mike and Izabela Russell for sharing these great tips! Learn more about their services from Music Radio Creative, and check out Mike's YouTube channel for great Adobe Audition tutorials.
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This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
i will use this for my own podcast over at http://www.poddsocks.com and try to make some awesome promo’s.
thanks for the advice Daniel!
Great! I would love to hear it when you finish. Would you please comment here again when you have your promo online?
Daniel J. Lewis
Nice work, an Aussie podcast too, like it!
I’d never have thought of doing a promo, but I think I can see some benefits of one now and may have a bash at producing one. An interesting episode especially because it featured a fellow Brit 🙂
Cheers Richard! Looking forward to hearing how you get on.
Totally! I’m now thinking of more promos that I can use in my own podcasts and across my network.
Daniel, it was awesome to come and chat with you on your podcast. You do a great job week in week out and to be a part of one of your episodes is a real pleasure. I hope more podcasters will create promos!
Thank YOU, Mike! I really enjoyed our conversation and love the valuable content you shared.
Outstanding show Daniel, Mike and Izabela! I also appreciate you playing my new Waves of Tech intro which Music Radio Creative did an exceptional job creating it. ~Steve
It sounds great, Steve!
Thanks Steve! We really enjoy working with you 🙂
[…] were talking about producing great podcast promos on The Audacity To Podcast with Daniel J. Lewis […]
Daniel, why do you say that JewelBeat is “low end”? If you mean price, I agree. If you are referring to quality, I would have to respectfully disagree. I listened to a great number of JewelBeat tracks before I finally selected the one I purchased. The choice was difficult, because there were SO many outstanding tracks to choose from. I paid $2.99 and got unlimited license to use all versions of the track (2 different full-length versions, plus a :60, a :30, and a stinger… about 8-10 seconds). I think the quality cannot be beat, unless you have a sack of cash and hire somebody to compose a custom track for you. I hope people don’t fall into the fallacy that things can only have value if you pay a lot of money for them. (BTW, this is a disagreement on one point only; I am still a big fan of your podcast.)
Hi, Jim! Thank you for challenging that statement. 🙂
JewelBeat is a killer value! I use my $2.99 license for our Once Upon a Time podcast‘s music.
But when I look around at other pieces, the instrument quality is very poor. The strings and brass sound badly synthesized. But if you want something without strings or brass, such as a more rocky feel, then you won’t notice the synthesized instruments as much.
So most of the songs on JewelBeat with strings or brass (and some other orchestral instruments) sound far too cheap to use in professional productions.
Fair enough. I wasn’t really looking for brass or strings, so I probably glossed over those, eventually settling on a surf-rock track with a little bit of a mysterious feel. Also, not having your musical background/education, I may well view things from more of a pedestrian point of view.
Referring to #10, what is an example of a ‘promo’ that you might share?
Not quite clear.
A couple other podcasts in my network, Under the Dome Radio and Are You Just Watching?, have (or had) promos in the feed and on the site. These promos can be downloaded and used in other podcasts.
The main idea is that if you create a promo for your show, to place it somewhere on your site to make it easy for others to download and use in their own podcasts.
Hi, Daniel. I know I’m a bit late with this feedback, but I’m getting caught up on my podcast listening.
Mike and Izabela are clearly experts in this arena, but just to add my two cents from a listener’s perspective I would disagree with them about using professional voice talent. I like podcasts because they are personal, and I want a promo to let me get to know the personality and voice of the host(s). I don’t really want to hear some professional voice artist’s voice that I’ll never hear again.
I also think having some kind of announcer type person at the beginning/end of a promo kind of makes the podcaster seem a bit self-important. I know that this perception is just that, a perception, but I have it and it doesn’t make me want to listen to their podcast. I want to listen to people who seem genuine. (Like you, Daniel! 🙂
So I guess it depends what kind of podcast you have or what kind of image you want to project, but from my perspective as listener, having professional voice actors will probably turn me off rather than make me want to listen. Maybe it’s because I also listen to a lot of NPR, but I think promos are best done by the hosts of the show.
Good thoughts. That is a point that I can’t 100% stand behind. But I see both sides.
If your promo is in someone else’s podcast, I think your voice is best to be primary in it.
But if your promo is in your own podcast, then I think someone else’s voice would be better.
Daniel J. Lewis
I can see that, but I guess I just can’t imagine when I would ever play a promo for my podcast in my podcast. Maybe I’ll come across it one day though.
Would it be best to use the same music in the beginning and at the end? For example, intro music w/ the voiceover. And at the end of the show, play a different music clip or keep it the same?
I like to use the same licensed music for both, but I use different portions of the music. Regardless of what you do, ensure that it’s not too long and that you have a legal license to use the music.
Thanks for your feedback Daniel. I’ll have to work with MRC on the legal license. I have the song for the intro but thinking about getting the whole music clip.
I just found this article and it really does offer some great advice. I realize I made several mistakes on my podcast promos. I am going to create a promo using this information tomorrow. Thank you so much!