Your podcast intro script is the first thing new listeners hear from you, so it’s important to hit on all the key elements.
Equally important is your podcast outro, or the short segment you play at the end to wrap up your episode.
So how do you craft the right intro and outro for your podcast? Let’s take a closer look at each section to explain what you should include, and what you should leave out.
Key elements of a podcast intro script
When new listeners find your podcast, they’re really wondering, “Is this for me?”
So the goal of your podcast intro is to answer that question and get them excited to keep listening. That means providing them with the information they need to understand what they’re listening to – the name of the show, host, guests, etc. It also means creating the right “vibe.” The intro for a comedy podcast will likely sound much different from a podcast focused on politics or current events.
The first thing you’ll want to consider is length. You want to get the listener into the content section of your podcast as quickly as possible. That means your intro should run about 10-15 seconds, tops. Anything longer could have your listener reaching for the skip ahead button or even worse, choosing a new podcast altogether.
The specific elements of your podcast intro will vary depending on your content and style. Below is a list of elements you should definitely include and a few optional ones — as well as what to leave out.
Your name and podcast title
The most important element to include in your podcast intro is the title of your podcast along with the name of the host. From a branding perspective, this gives the listener the baseline information they’ll need to understand your program.
Most podcasts choose to include theme music in their podcast intro, and the right music can really set the tone for the rest of your podcast. You can either use an original theme or download royalty-free music only.
A few of my favorite places to find podcast-friendly music:
PS: Make sure you don’t use copyrighted music in your podcast. (Unless you want to get hello sued by Lizzo, unfortunately, you can’t use “Good As Hell” as your theme track.) Stick with a royalty-free track which doesn’t require you to pay the song owner.
Optional elements for your podcast intro script
The name of your episode guest/topic
To give your user a bit of context, you may want to also have a part of the intro dedicated to that specific episode’s content. If you do this, you’d need to record a new intro each time you record a podcast episode.
Instead, what many podcasters do is keep the same intro, but then immediately introduce the episode right after their intro plays.
Your podcast tagline
If your podcast has a tagline, it would definitely make sense to include it in your intro. It will help tell listeners what your podcast is about and who you’re for. Plus, it’s catchy.
An upcoming quote from your episode (pro move)
Before your theme music plays, consider adding a hook to the beginning of your episode. A popular strategy is to play a guest quote from later in the episode to give people a sense of what’s to come.
So to spell this out, you’d play it in this order:
Guest audio clip –> your standard podcast welcome intro –> your full episode
What to leave out of your podcast intro script
Multiple clips of your podcast
As noted above, having a short clip or two can create a sense of atmosphere around your show. It’s easy to go overboard here, however, and it may be hard to squeeze in with limited time in your intro. It’s best to leave out more than one or two short clips. (It’s not worth the effort.)
A long or overly complicated theme song
It’s a great idea to include theme music. It’s not such a great idea to include any song longer than 15-20 seconds. You may feel the urge to commission a clever or funny song about your podcast and its subject, but this can complicate your intro and make it too long. A better idea is to just adopt a simple theme song that can play over your basic intro.
Should I hire voiceover talent to read the podcast intro script?
This is a controversial topic in podcast world, and one I’m personally on the fence on.
One of my podcasts does have a voiceover artist read the intro. And since that podcast represents a brand (Everything is Teachable), the strategy made sense.
But I believe that for most hosts, it’s actually best for you to read the intro. People are tuning in to get to know YOU, so I think it makes sense to say hi and introduce yourself in the voiceover.
That said, I know people might still be interested in hiring voiceover talent for a more “professional” feel. You can find relatively inexpensive options for voiceover talent on websites like Fiverr, or you can just ask a friend or a fellow podcast host.
Elements of a great podcast outro
Your call-to-action (CTA)
Your outro is critical real estate in your podcast. Listeners will remember the last thing they hear, so you’ll want to leave them with a CTA (call to action) before they go.
Your call-to-action might vary per episode, or based on your current goals. A few examples include asking listeners to…
- Subscribe to your podcast
- Leave a review
- Follow you on Instagram (PS say hi @witandwire)
- Book a free strategy call
Try rotating your CTAs for different episodes so you don’t overwhelm listeners with a laundry list of things to do. (No one will remember or care to do 12 different things.)
Instead, focus on one primary CTA in your outro, then pick another option for the next episode.
Your signoff & info
Before you go, you can say something casual, like, “See you next time!” But I recommend leading into that signoff by including your name and the podcast name one more time.
I know this will feel redundant. But if this is really someone’s first episode from you, chances are they might not remember your name or your podcast name, just like it’s hard to remember names of every new person you meet right when you’re introduced.
For example, I close every episode of Wit & Wire’s podcast by saying, “Thanks again for joining me, Melissa Guller, in this episode of Wit & Wire. I’ll see you next time, podcasters!”
I say “podcasters” because you’re my target audience, but for yours, I’d sub that out and just say, “See you next time!”
Overall, your intro and outro should serve as thematic bookends that give your listeners a distinctive feel of your show while also giving them the information they need to understand and participate.
And remember: every single episode you release will be someone’s first episode. So it’s always best to assume that you’ll need to share the key info in every intro and every outro.
*Imaginary theme music fades out to close this blog post.*
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Melissa Guller is the founder of Wit & Wire, where we help everyday experts become profitable course creators. She previously worked full-time for Ramit Sethi, Teachable, and General Assembly. Today, she shares simplified tech tutorials and modern marketing strategies through our blog, YouTube, and Wit & Wire Weekly newsletter