When it comes to making a podcast, there’s one thing every podcast host learns about early on. That is, the making of introductory podcast episodes. Across all types of podcasts and through the history of podcasting, introductory episodes are a new challenge for every podcast host.
Introductory podcast episodes are unique among all the podcast episodes you’ll make. In this Mr. Thrive Media blog post, we’ll walk you through the elements of introductory podcast episodes. We’ll give you tips on what to focus on, to make your first episode the best setup possible for future episodes.
The Making of Your First Podcast Episode
The making of your first podcast episode is your time to prepare yourself and your listeners for the future of your podcast. You’ll set the tone, share your podcast theme, and create the brand listeners can expect. You’ll introduce yourself and start to build the rapport you’re going to have with your audience. Overall, your first episode is the building block of the rest of your podcast.
These eight key tips for introductory podcast episodes will give you the tools to record the right first episode. From theme tips to recording practice to episode duration, all these tips come into play with your future success.
8. Start with Personal Introductions
One of the first things listeners need to know about you is, well, who you are. Why are you making a podcast? What’s your background experience? Why is this subject important to you? These are questions you’ll want to answer, in some capacity, in your first episode.
You don’t need to fill more than a few minutes of your first episode with a personal introduction. Make sure you give enough information though. Your listeners will learn more about you in future episodes. In the first episode, give them enough information to hook them.
7. Introduce Your Podcast Theme
Alongside introducing yourself, you need to introduce your podcast theme. Part of your theme will likely come across in your title, and you can expand on the title to start this introduction. A good option is to explain, with a brief anecdote, how you chose your podcast name.
That level of storytelling in short anecdotes will help you throughout this first episode, and all episodes to come. When you’re sharing information and you want to avoid sounding dry, telling a story is the way to go.
6. Give a Brief Episode Introduction
A brief episode introduction is something you’ll include in every podcast episode. In your first episode, this introduction will come after you’ve introduced yourself and the podcast topic overall. In future episodes, you’ll start with this introduction. It will set up your audience to understand the conversation in each episode.
This episode introduction shouldn’t last more than a few minutes. It’s a good time to tell a brief personal anecdote that relates to the topic. From there, give a rundown of the episode within 30 seconds to a minute, then introduce your guest if you have one. If you don’t have a guest, your rundown will set you up for the first section of your episode.
5. Find Your Tagline
Introductory podcast episodes are the best time to set the scene for what listeners can expect going forward. One thing that will be a staple of your podcast is your tagline. It generally comes at the end of the episode, as a wrap up for the discussion. That said, you can choose another time if it suits you and your style.
Your tagline should be noticeable, but natural enough that it doesn’t sound forced. That’s a hard line to walk, but it is completely possible. One of Mr. Thrive’s clients, Janine Hamner Holman with The Cost of Not Paying Attention, ends each episode with “Remember, great leaders make great teams.” It’s a powerful line that ties into the root of the podcast.
4. Plan Ahead for Uniformity
While your episodes should be unique, there needs to be uniformity across your podcast. This uniformity is part of building a podcast brand that will be recognizable, and will keep listeners coming back. It all starts with your first episode.
Before you hit “record” you need to have a plan for the structure of your episodes. That plan ranges from the music to the tone you strive for in conversation. Introductory podcast episodes are the time to tell listeners, through each part of your episode, what they can expect in the future.
3. Keep It Short
There are a lot of opinions out there in the podcasting world about how long episodes should be. Most folks agree that anything over an hour is a bit much. That said, there are some podcasts that need a longer timeframe, and listeners will indulge it if the podcast is good. You’ll find your cadence for time as you go along.
For your first episode, however, be sure to keep it to a set timeframe. Anything longer than half an hour runs a risk of losing listeners’ attention. Since your introduction is more about introducing the podcast than getting into the meat of an episode you can keep it short. The goal is to draw listeners in for longer episodes going forward.
2. Aim for Notable Guests
When it comes to finding podcast guests, having people who will be recognizable to your listeners is a major driver of finding guests. For your first episode, if you have a guest, it’s especially important to have a notable guest.
You can lean into their audience to promote your episode. You can also ask guests to promote your podcast on their channels. This will be a great marketing tool for every episode, but it’s especially helpful for getting the word out about your first episode.
1. Set the Scene for Future Episodes
A lot of these tips for introductory podcast episodes relate to setting up the future of your podcast. This tip, while a part of many others, deserves its own spot on this list. The purpose of your first podcast episode is to tell listeners what they will experience throughout your podcast.
You can set the scene with music, guests, your personality, your tagline, and much more. The most important thing is that your introductory episode makes listeners want to come back for more.
Frequently Asked Questions About Initial Podcast Episodes
Creating introductory podcast episodes will take focus and planning from the beginning of your podcast business plan. You can start mapping out your first episode early on to be more prepared. Our answers to these frequently asked questions will also help you feel ready when it comes time to hit “record” on your first episode.
What Do You Call Your First Podcast Episode?
The first episode of a podcast is widely regarded as “episode zero.” That is more of a technical term than a name for your episode. If you’re looking for the right name for your first episode, there are a few easy options. You can name it after the guest and your podcast title. You can also call it an introduction to your podcast, something like “Introducing The Beatles Tribute.”
How Long Should An Intro Podcast Episode Be?
Your introductory podcast episode may be shorter than future episodes. Setting a benchmark of 15 to 30 minutes is a good place to start. Going forward, your episodes may go longer. For your first episode, you want it long enough to give people a reason to come back, but short enough to keep them engaged.
How Do You Announce a New Podcast Episode?
You can announce a new podcast episode across your chosen social media platforms, through email marketing, and with a link on your website. If you use any other marketing channels, those are also good places to announce each episode.
For announcing your first episode, you should start with a countdown to the beginning of your podcast a few weeks in advance. That will give people enough time to know there is something they should be on the lookout for from your podcast.
How Many Episodes Do You Need to Start a Podcast?
It’s recommended that you start a podcast with three to five episodes. You can release a few right away, and then fall into your regular posting rhythm. A minimum of three episodes is a good idea. When you have a few episodes ready your audience won’t have to wait to hear more after your first episode.
Initial Podcast Episodes: Paving Your Podcast Road
The making of introductory podcast episodes can feel like one of the riskiest moves you’ll make as a podcaster. It’s the beginning of your podcast journey, wherever that journey may take you.
Starting off with all the right tools and plans for your introductory episode will help you prepare for wherever that journey leads. For your podcast production tools, reach out to Mr. Thrive Media. Our team of marketing experts and podcast production pros can help you craft your first episode, and build your podcast along the way.