Creating a killer intro for your podcast is a big piece of the puzzle to podcasting success these days, more than most people realize!
Just like we (even if only subtly) judge people based on our very first interaction with them, folks are going to judge your podcast based on the first 45 seconds of listening – which is why your intro needs to be a home run.
Below we dig a little deeper into the ins and outs of creating a killer podcast introduction, shine a light on a couple of examples we like (and that you can get inspired by), and highlight some resources you’ll want to use to build a better intro ASAP.
Let’s get right into it!
Keys to Building a Great Podcast Intro
Like any great introduction (think of all of your favorite TV shows that have introductions you can play in your mind on demand – Seinfeld, Game of Thrones, etc.), there are some fundamental building blocks to pulling off an excellent podcast intro.
Keep it Short
Right out of the gate, you need to make sure that your intro is just long enough to pull people into your podcast but not so long that it starts turning them off and tuning them out.
Shoot for between 20 and 30 seconds, and you’ll be good to go!
Use Background Music Smartly
A podcast “theme song” playing in the background as part of your intro is a great way to help brand your podcast, especially in today’s super crowded and competitive environment.
Simultaneously, though, you don’t want your music drowning out your introduction or distracting from what you’re trying to get across. Use background music smartly (and quietly).
Congruence is Critical
Seinfeld’s funky, retro theme song is perfect for a sitcom about nothing, a couple of friends living in New York City and getting up to some pretty wild adventures. The same kind of theme song would work just as well with Always Sunny.
On the flip side of things, though, that’s the last kind of music you could use with something like The Wire, Justified, or Game of Thrones.
The attitude and atmosphere would be thrown off completely, and people would know what kind of show they should expect.
Congruence is just as important when you’re putting together your podcast intro.
If you’re going to have fun and be kind of light, you can go with fun and like music and an upbeat kind of intro.
If you’re looking for something a little heavier, a little more serious, or even a little darker (like some of the true crime podcasts out there), you probably want to go in a different direction.
Think of your intro as setting the table for your podcast, and you’ll have a much easier time knocking this out.
Your podcast can (and many folks argue should) be unscripted, spontaneous, and like a conversation with your fans and listeners – with your intro, positively, 100% MUST be scripted and consistent.
You want to introduce who you are (you never know when new listeners are going to discover your podcast), what your podcast is all about, and what people will get out of listening to your podcast.
Record your voiceover separate from your music, and you’ll be able to use your intro on every episode without any trouble at all!
Three Examples of Intros to Get Inspiration From
The Fantasy Footballers (unsurprisingly a fantasy football podcast) have one of the best podcast intros in the game.
It’s super recognizable, perfectly conveys the kind of atmosphere these three guys bring to the table and just sort of “fits” with the overall energy of the show itself.
Serial is one of the world’s most well-known podcasts, and it also has a fantastic intro. You know precisely what you are getting into right out of the gate, the atmosphere is generated perfectly, and the intro even builds a bit of anticipation and intrigue as well.
Joe Rogan has maybe the most popular podcast on the planet today with an immediately recognizable podcast introduction.
It’s super short, really consistent (appearing on every single show), and gets you jacked up about the kind of conversation you’re about to listen to between Joe and whoever his guest is.
This kind of intro allows Joe to jump right into the conversation without any extra introduction because of how well done it is.
Resources to Put You Over the Top
Now that we’ve covered some of the fundamentals of building a better podcast intro, it’s time to dig a little deeper into the resources that will help you hammer this project home.
Right out of the gate, you’ll want to get your hands on some quality music that is available royalty-free, music you unique to your show and able to set the table for each podcast episode.
You could work with the band or compose your music for your intro, or you can jump on any of the stock music websites and get your hands on some audio to use from there.
Check these stock libraries first:
As far as getting your podcast intro scripted goes, that’s something you are probably going to want to bang out on your own – at least the outline – and then have a professional ghostwriter help you polish things up a little bit.
Ghostwriters can be found on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, with plenty of freelancers out there advertising on places like Reddit and social media, too.
Voiceover work is either something you’ll want to do on your own as well, but you can hire it out to professional voice actors by finding them on Fiverr or the Music Radio Collective.
Look for folks with experience in podcast voiceovers if you’re going to go in this direction or folks that have experience narrating audiobooks.
They’ll know how to hit it out of the park for you!