Your episode flow is the order of audio segments you have in each episode, and there are three key sections that almost all podcasts share: the intro, the content, and the outro. 

In this episode, you’ll learn how each of the three sections serves a unique purpose, and what to include in each part. We’ll also talk about how to incorporate Signature Segments into your podcast, and how they can help you stand out from the pack in a memorable way.

So whether you’re just getting started or you’re looking to simplify your production process, understanding your episode flow will help you speed up your episode prep and engage with your listeners from start to finish, every time.

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NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by a free AI tool called Otter.ai. Please forgive any typos or errors.

Melissa Guller 0:00
Have you noticed that almost all podcasts are made up of the same 3 building blocks? It’s true, and in this episode, I’m going to share the 3-part framework with you to help you streamline your episode prep and understand how each of the three pieces plays a unique and specific role to help you keep listeners hooked from start to finish. It’s all coming up in today’s podcasting lesson here on Wit & Wire.

Announcer 0:27
Welcome to Wit & Wire, the podcast that takes you behind-the-scenes with podcasters and online business experts to learn how to run a successful podcast that makes an impact. Here’s your host, Melissa Guller.

Melissa Guller 0:41
Hey everyone, I’m Melissa, and today’s short episode will help new or growing podcasters create more consistency in your podcast recording process by creating what I call your Episode Flow.

Here’s my promise to you. By the end of this episode, you’ll learn how your podcast intro, content, and outro each serve a unique purpose, and we’ll also talk about how to incorporate Signature Segments into your podcast. These signature segments can help you stand out from the pack, and they’ll also quickly become the reason why listeners come back and listen to new episodes again and again.

So whether you’re just getting started or you’re looking to simplify your production process, this method will help you speed up your episode prep and engage with listeners from start to finish, every time.

Melissa Guller 1:40
Let's start by defining today's key term. When I talk about your episode flow, I'm talking about the standard order of audio segments that make up each one of your podcast episodes. But if that sounds technical, don't worry, your episodes won't sound boring are tired just because they have the same framework.

Instead, having that sense of structure will help you make sure you hit the key points of your episode in all the right places. And it'll keep listeners hooked from the first second through the music feed at the end.

Now, there are three core segments in every episode of almost every podcast no matter the topic, and we're going to walk through them one by one. The three segments are your intro, your content, and your outro. And as I'm sure you might guess, they each serve a very unique and specific purpose. So it's important to understand the goals and differences between the phases.

First up, let's start with your intro. The very first thing you say is going to leave an impression. So sometimes instead of starting with the actual podcast intro, which is usually set to some kind of theme music, there are some podcasts that choose to start with what I call the hook. The goal of the hook is to hook listeners. So this is something like a quote from your guests from later on in the episode, maybe it's a quick explanation of the content to get people excited to listen, or an intriguing question.

No matter what you do, you should keep it super brief. So if it's a quote from a guest, something under 10 to 15 seconds should do the trick, because you really need to get right into that podcast intro the standard. This podcast is called x hosted by y. That's the actual theme part of the intro.

Now, just before I talk about it, the hook section is optional. What you can choose to do instead is open your podcast with the formal podcast introduction. The key elements of the intro are including your podcast name, the host name, and a super quick explanation of what your podcast is about and who it's for. The key thing that listeners should take away from this intro is knowing if this is right for them.

There is a third section that many podcasters might want to include. And I usually call this the episode overview. You heard me mention that the actual intro - the theme - is something that stays the same every single episode, you don't record a new one each time. You heard one in this episode read by another lovely announcer's voice. So because of that, you may want to follow up with what I call the episode overview.

If you have a guest, this is where you read their bio. If you're doing an episode like mine, I would tell you a little bit more about what's coming up today. Now in total, these three short segments, the hook, the theme, and the episode overview, all make up your podcast intro, and the whole thing should be two minutes at max. You don't want to wait too long to actually start getting into the content. So again, really try to simplify and keep these brief.

A pro tip before we move on to the content. Your intro should give away the promise of your episode, but not the process.

Here's what I mean by that. If you're about to walk listeners through a really exciting discovery book that you've read skill that you have a process that you're teaching, you don't want to tell them how to do it in the first two minutes, because then there's no reason for them to continue listening. So instead, in the intro, your goal is to tell them the outcome, what's coming up, think about the intrigue, or invoking curiosity or just having your listener think, ooh, I want to stick around for that. That's what the intro is for. You'll get to the process and the specifics later on.

After the intro comes the content segment, and of course, the content makes up the bulk of your episode. The goal of your content will vary based on your topic. So maybe your goal is to educate or to entertain, or even both. This is the main event and no matter your topic or your format, this is what the listener came for.

So maybe it's you on the mic solo, maybe you're interviewing a guest or you're telling a story. Maybe within the content, you have audio snippets, like listeners calling in or little soundbites of interviews versus a full interview. Those are some advanced strategies that I would only employ if you're comfortable editing or have an editor that you're working with. But overall, the content is really going to be your time to get creative, and it'll feel different every episode.

Now, that said, something that I love to do is create signature segments, because these segments give consistency to your podcast in a really memorable way. So when I say signature segment, this is a recurring segment on your show that listeners will come to recognize and love. They don't have to occur every episode, but they happen regularly enough that people start to know them by name.

So for example, maybe you have a quick tip section, or a favorites recommendation. Maybe if you're interviewing guests, you have the same final question for all guests, or you do a lightning round with the same questions for all guests. Those are just some of the options. And one of my strongest recommendations to you, is to try out a couple of things and see if you like it. And then, above all, give it a name. People remember things that have named their catchy, people will say, “Oh, I loved the podcaster pro tip at the end of Melissa's episode,” which isn't something I do currently, but I'm certainly thinking of adding signature segments to Wit & Wire.

What I love about signature segments is that it gives you something kind of fun to prepare for, like you can prepare a quick tip, you can prepare a little recommendation or even an action item for your listeners to try out. You can get a question from your community and maybe you answer one question every episode. I think it's just a fun little segment for both the listeners and for you as the host.

After you get through the content, it's time to wrap it up. Your outro is still a huge important part of your episode, because the goal is to summarize what you've talked about, if that makes sense for your show, and to share next steps, so this won't apply to everyone.

But if you're doing something where you're educating listeners or sharing a lesson, you may want to recap main takeaways. If you're interviewing somebody, make sure you ask your guest how listeners can stay in touch and give them the opportunity to share their website or their social media accounts.

Now, not all podcasts will do this wrap up part before the outro. Like if you're doing a comedy podcast or a roundtable, it might not make sense. But what all podcasts will definitely have is the more formal outro. This is usually set to music, and some podcasters choose to record the same outro every time the way that they use the same intro every time, they don't re-record it.

But I would actually urge you to record a new outro for every episode, but you can use the same script or you can rotate a couple of scripts. Now your goal in the outro is to encourage action. listeners have made it all the way to the end of your show. So how do you want them to engage with you next?

I always love to include a link to the show notes in the outro so that people can grab key takeaways or learn about my guest or connect with me a little bit better on Wit & Wire his website, so you'll hear my outro coming up at the end of this episode. A couple of other key things I would always include. I would mention your podcast name. And I would mention your name again as the host. You may optionally have additional credits if other people are working with you on your business or your podcast.

But the critical takeaway here is that I want you to include a CTA, or a call to action. I wouldn't include all of these every episode I would maybe choose one or two to focus on. But examples of strong CTAs to include in your outro are things like asking listeners to subscribe to your show, asking them to leave you a review in Apple podcasts, maybe asking them to join your email list. Maybe you have a freebie, something that they can download in the show notes mentioned that again, maybe you are running a promotion and you want to mention it or they can sign up for a 30 minute strategy call with you if you're a coach. There are so many options. And my recommendation is to keep it semi evergreen.

So what I mean by that is occasionally you'll have big things going on with your podcast or your business and you'll want To mention it in the show. And that's great. But always remember that listeners are going to find this episode months after it airs. So that's why for most episodes, a call to action along the lines of maybe subscribing or following you on your favorite social media account are going to last a little bit longer.

So to recap, let's put all of the pieces together. The first section of your episode is your intro. Maybe you start with a hook or a quick teaser or upcoming quote that your guest says just to reel listeners in right from the start. But otherwise, you'll go right into the podcast theme, or the intro, which is the same exact voiceover every time set over a theme music, and that includes the key info about who you are and what your podcast is about.

After that intro, maybe you do a little overview to introduce your guests or the concept of the show. And that entire intersection happens within two minutes, maybe less.

From there, you'll spend the bulk of your time in the content, either entertaining, educating, or maybe both. And if you'd like you can play around with a signature segments. Those are segments that you give a name that you do in multiple episodes, not necessarily every time although you could, but they come back regularly.

Finally, you'll end with the outro. So, if you're educating, maybe you do a quick wrap up or you have your guest share where listeners can learn more. And then you end with an outro usually set to theme music, where you tell listeners where they can find the show notes where they can learn a little bit more.

And then you choose a single CTA like asking them to subscribe or follow you on social media. And you usually want to keep it evergreen because people will find your episode, months and months into the future.

Want a quick example? Now that my content is wrapped, it's time to hit you with the outro.

Melissa Guller 14:50
Thank you so much for joining me this week! To review key takeaways from today's lesson and to find more great podcasting resources, you can visit the show notes at witandwire.com/18.

Lastly, I do have a quick favor to ask before we go. Today's CTA that you all just learned about is all about leaving a review. So if you are enjoying this podcast, I do hope you'll let me know. I love reading through your reviews and Apple podcasts. And if you have a minute to spare, I would love to read yours too. The thing is reviews let Apple know that great listeners like you are enjoying my podcast. And that helps me expand our reach in search results. So it really does make a difference and I can't thank you enough.

Thank you again for joining me, Melissa Guller in today's episode of Wit & Wire. I'll see you next time podcasters!

Meet the host: Melissa Guller

Hey! I’m Melissa, founder of Wit & Wire. Over the last two years, I’ve produced and hosted two successful podcasts: Everything is Teachable and Book Smart. Outside the microphone, I’ve been an online (and in-person) teacher since 2015, with a combined 6000+ students in my classes and workshops. Oh, and I really love Excel. And ice cream.

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Hey! I'm Melissa, the founder of Wit & Wire. My podcasts have reached thousands of listeners and hit six-figure downloads, and I also hit the charts as the #2 Career Podcast in America for Everything is Teachable.

It’s my passion for teaching that brought me to start a podcast in the first place, and I founded Wit & Wire to help more passionate, diverse creators like you expand their impact and income through podcasting.