You Have 2 Minutes To Hook Me Into Listening To Your Podcast.
People decide pretty quickly whether they’re going to stick around for an entire episode.
If I’m lost at the start, I’m gone.
How do you start your podcast? Have you ever given any thought to it?
It may be the most critical part of your episodes.
Everyone seems to have a much shorter attention span than they used to. If you want to go old school, I equate it to grabbing the cable remote and flipping through channel after channel, spending only a few seconds on each before deciding whether to stop.
There are a couple of exceptions where people will listen for quite a bit longer before giving up.
These include whether a show was recommended by family and friends or a colleague. Or it’s a topic or niche that you’re passionate about. Or it’s necessary to keep up with trends for your business.
But even then, there’s no excuse for not making the beginning of your show as engaging as you can.
So how should you begin your episode?
One of the more controversial ways is to start is with ads (Sorry, sponsorships). This one confuses me.
I feel like you are alienating your listeners by starting with commercials up front. Almost wasting their time.
There are shows that begin with multiple ads. Tim Ferriss, anyone? He’s trained his followers to fast forward several minutes. It might make sense for him, but I have no idea why a marketer would buy ads on his show if everyone jumps past them. You might be saying, “What’s the big deal? It’s just another couple of steps.” To some, even one extra step is not worth it.
Maybe the sponsor forces it to be that way. Obviously you may not lose much audience if you’re big enough, but why lose anyone at all if you don’t have to? What other little things are you doing that will add up to lost listeners?
Yes, an argument could be made that for the majority, they will hear that ad, but I still don’t think it’s the best way to start.
I’m even on the fence about starting with a promo, although this can be helpful to keep your audience interested in future episodes. You might consider sticking the promo somewhere further into the episode. Putting it at the beginning before someone has even decided if you’re worth the time seems counterintuitive.
If you do put a promo at the beginning, you should also put it at the end, because people will have long forgotton about it.
Using a recorded intro is a great idea.
You can use it to set up what your podcast is about, you can explain who everyone is, and maybe include what’s coming up. By the way, if you don’t use a recorded intro, you should still “set the table” at the beginning.
Too many shows start talking without any introduction at all.
I tried listening to a podcast by Joe Buck and they began with what seemed like the middle of a conversation. I had no clue what the topic was, and wasn’t in the mood to figure it out. It took me about two minutes before I said see ya.
This also seemed arrogant to me. Were they assuming we already knew who everyone was? Are they assuming we read the podcast description all the way through? Joe I knew. No idea who his co-host was. I did go back to read the description, I thought maybe I misunderstood it. But they annoyingly didn’t talk about the subject their blurb stated the show was about. I didn’t tune in to hear Joe bragging about celebrities he hung out with. That was not what the topic was supposed to be. The first time I listened was the last.
Your podcast is no different than a movie or TV show. You’ve got to grab people from the start.
The point is, you don’t get long before someone decides you’re not worth their time. Start strong or you’re dead.
I don’t mean wild or outrageous. I mean be interesting quickly. State an intriguing question that you intend to answer later in the episode. Start with a surprise fact about your topic. Start by introducing the guest who is joining you. Over time it will become natural and you won’t even have to think about it, you’ll just do it.
I’ve even heard people start with an interesting quote or snippet before their recorded intro. I believe it’s a great idea. Whet your listener’s appetite.
I’ve said this before; treat each episode as if you always have people who are hearing your podcast for the first time.