How you open your podcast episodes could be turning people away from your podcast. I share eleven potential elements of an opening/intro, examples, and my suggestions for an effective podcast opening.

Or you can get a professionally created podcast intro produced for you, and consider these points when you hire someone.

Hi, Daniel

My podcast listening has increased considerably while in the car commuting to the office and on walks. In most situations, I cannot look at the display on the player in the car on iPod in my pocket. I would like to hear an intro that is the same format as the podcast episode and title described in TAP021. It should be in the first 10-15 seconds of the recording, so I can identify it and move to the next episode if I heard it already.

Yes, I’m asking for something I didn’t do with my recent podcasts but now that I’m listening more, hearing the podcast title, episode number and short synopsis or title is becoming more important.

Cheers,
Bob

What is a “podcast opening” (intro)?

Although most people will call them “intros,” I think the best name is “podcast opening.” Your opening is how your start your podcast. Everything the listener hears from when they press Play to when you start sharing your content.

11 potential elements of a podcast opening

  1. Podcast name—how else will people know what podcast they’re listening to?
  2. Episode number—gives chronology and easy redirecting to shownotes, if you make your shownotes easy to get to.
  3. Episode title—if your title explains the content of your episode, which I recommend (unless you’re doing comedy), then include it in your recording.
  4. Music or sound effects—use something that other podcasters aren’t using (so avoid GarageBand’s music). This helps brand your show. Listen to How to Insert Background Music or Sound Effects in Audacity to help mixing your intro.
  5. Hosts’ names—listeners should know who you are. I suggest introducing yourself as “I am ___” rather than “My name is ___.”
  6. Podcast tagline/explanation—don’t assume every listener knows what your podcast is all about. Explain the purpose of the podcast or its tagline, which should be a shortened version of your purpose.
  7. Summary/introduction—tell your audience what you’re going to talk about, if appropriate.
  8. Network ID—if you’re a member of a network, you are probably required to state this in some way.
  9. Recorded date—I suggest mentioning the recorded date only if your content is time-sensitive or current-events related (like a news podcast).
  10. Sponsors—the people who help you pay the bills, or your own product or service.
  11. Disclaimer—if your content is for a mature audience, you want to share a spoiler-free or spoiler-filled review of a movie, or other reasons mandate putting a disclaimer as early as possible.

Of these eleven potential elements, I would say that only the first six or seven should be in your opening for every episode.

Examples

In the following examples, listen for how each host uses some of the above eleven elements.

Kimberly shared three of her favorite podcasting opening.

Valente shared three of his favorite podcast openings.

  • Smart Passive Income: Podcast name, episode number, music, prerecorded explanation, explanation, content
  • Trafcom: Episode title, music, podcast name, date, episode number, host’s name, content
  • Going Linux: Podcast name, episode number, episode title, music, host’s ame, explanation, summary, content

Sean requested that I consider his podcast.

Drew suggested a podcast I listen to already.

  • Comedy4Cast: Podcast name, episode number, episode title, prerecorded introduction, sponsors, content

Four more examples that I pulled.

  • Podcast Answer Man: Podcast name, episode number, network ID, music, welcome, host’s name, explanation, summary, content
  • The Podcasters Studio: Music, title summary, welcome, host’s name, summary, content
  • Are You Just Watching?™: Disclaimer, network ID (with podcast name), sponsor, music, podcast name, episode number, episode title, hosts’ names, explanation, content
  • This Week in Tech: Network ID, sponsors (2), music, podcast name, episode number, episode title, date, sponsors (3), hosts’ names and introductions, content

General tips for a great podcast opening/intro

  • Imagine someone starts listening to your podcast on their way to the grocery store
  • Be unique as early as possible
  • Summarize what the episode contains, tell them what you’re going to tell them (sometimes)
  • Identify yourself and cohosts
  • Explain your purpose for new listeners
  • Try to keep your opening to 30–60 seconds before your content
  • Think about modern movies: very few credits in the opening, straight into the action, then all of the credits at the end.

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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.

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his wife, Jenny, live near Cincinnati with their son, "Noodle Boy."

22 comments on How to Have an Effective Podcast Intro/Opening – TAP030

  1. betani says:

    Excellent show! I really learned a lot from this episode, and I'm very glad you played the example clips. I have 2 shows, and I'm about to start a 3rd, so hearing different intros back-to-back has really given me food for thought on how to streamline!

  2. Thanks! I'm actually thinking of doing a second part, explaining some different ways of mixing the inro. Like when to start the music, when to say what, etc. This episode ended up longer than I intended, but I'm glad you benefited from it!

  3. Thank you for making your website mobile-friendly!

  4. unclewaldo says:

    Daniel, excellent show. A suggestion for another post would be how to wrap up your show including your outtro. For an example of a good intro and outro (plus a shameless plug for my show) check out http://campgroundpirateradio.com

    My intro hits the top 6-7 points that you list but then I wrap up my show trying to hit on a couple of points:
    Thank your audience for listening
    Where you can be found (Facebook / Twitter)
    If they have questions, email address
    Some last minute thank you's
    A kind send-off to my audience (in my case, a quote from Hunter S. Thompson)
    The outro piece itself (I actually play another piece of music between the wrap and the outro)

    I noticed you hit those points as well in your outro!

    Just a thought. 🙂

    1. Thanks! Outros and in-episode segues will be entire episodes to themselves. I've heard good outros and bad. I definitely plan to cover both of these.

      1. Steve says:

        What are the BEST type of questions to ask in a formal interview?

  5. Steven says:

    I think it’s funny that you’re doing a podcast on “how to create an effective podcast intro” yet your own podcast intro is horrible. You waste people’s time by forcing them to sit through some corny intro music. PLEASE tell me what the point of that is. How does that make your intro more effective?

    1. Hi, Steven! I appreciate your criticism.

      I create a very descriptive title that you hear before the 10-second mark.

      In my later episodes, I’ve also focused on pushing any announcements or administrative information to the end of the episode.

      1. Ben says:

        For the record I think the music helps brand the show. It’s not too long either. I never have to hit the skip button.

  6. Caleb says:

    Daniel, I really appreciate your helpful information with this podcast. I’m hoping to start podcasting soon, so I’ll be hanging around your site for more! Blessings!

    1. You’re welcome, Caleb! What will your podcast be about?

  7. Hex Informer says:

    Great information. Thanks!

  8. lbrennec says:

    Thanks for the heads up. This is helpful!

  9. Gary Paul Shilladay says:

    Thanks for this excellent advice. I am launching my podcast soon from tunein-toneup.com this week and will take heed of your advice. I think I followed most of it naturally, but it did make me consider adding an outro. Thanks again.

  10. Bo Miller says:

    Super helpful! Thanks!

  11. Ande Lyons says:

    I always love your Podcast advice Daniel – thank you for keeping our standards high and our content meaningful for our listeners. ♥

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