How To Hook New Listeners with Podcast Intros

Podcast intros, what are they? How do you create one? How can you use them to hook in your listeners and build more engagement? Well, there are several different techniques that people use to kick off their shows. So, in this article, I’m outlining them for you, as well as a couple ways to drive more engagement with your intros and spruce things up from episode to episode.

The last thing you want is your listeners getting bored 2 minutes into your podcast because you keep kicking things off the same way over and over again. You’ve got to keep things interesting because, let’s face it, a lot of people brush through the top of shows.

If you’re not the reading type, you can listen to my episode on this topic, here.

The Stock Intro

The most basic way to kick off a podcast is with the stock intro. This is the intro you’re probably most familiar with. I’m referring to a pre-recorded clip of a host welcoming listeners and introducing the podcast. It’s the generic opening that plays in each episode.

Sometimes these intros have music, sometimes they don’t. I’m a big fan of having music in your intro. In fact, I love hearing really cool and unique music during an opening. Generally, it hooks me. Furthermore, in the podcast world, marketers talk about “Sonic Branding”. Sonic branding is the voices, sounds, and music that people associate with you and your brand. Music helps create a vibe. It helps tell a story. Personally, when I like the music of a theme song, it makes me more interested in the show.

Intro Length

You want to keep your intro under a minute. If it drags on too long you’ll lose people. How many times have you listened to a podcast where the intro seems to play forever? A lot, I’m sure. It’s awful when the host goes on and on before really getting into the meat of the episode.

These are the intros that usually get skipped. Honestly, 30 seconds is kind of the sweet spot. If you can’t get your intro across in 30 seconds, it may need some work.

Stock Intro Formatting

Here’s a great formula to use for your intro.  It’s called the XYZ format. This formula is especially good if you’re a coach, or if you have a product or a service for sale, and your podcast is a marketing tool to educate listeners about your offerings.

Onward to the formula.

“This is a podcast about X, where I teach you how Y will get you Z results.”

This is a power statement that will convey that you’re an expert in what you’re discussing. In addition, it’ll help build trust with listeners. Simultaneously you’re creating a little bit of FOMO (fear of missing out). You want potential listeners to fear that they may not be successful in their pursuits if they don’t listen to your podcast. The goal isn’t to do this in a slimy salesmen type of way, it’s to create a sense of urgency. Ideally, you’re not bullshitting them either. Don’t podcast about a topic that you don’t have some level of expertise in. A track record is key.

Sample Intro Using The XYZ Formula

“Welcome to The How to Trade Stocks Podcast. My name is Eric Montgomery, I’m your host. This is a podcast where I teach you how to trade stocks and give you my personal playbook to 10x your income.” If you’re interested in making money from trading stocks and you come across this podcast, you are more than likely going to be interested. Unless the host sounds like a total douche. Don’t do that.

Who doesn’t want to 10 X their income? New listeners have now got their antennas working. They’re hooked in, they want to learn how to get that $$$. Of course, now that you’ve got them you have to deliver on your content and messaging in every episode. Undeniably your show will grow if your intro hooks people and your content is killer. People will fall in love with you as a creator and authority figure.

Tweak the XYZ formula to fit your podcast, just remember that new listeners want to know what they’re going to learn from you and how you’re going to address their pain points.

The Cold Open

Pretty much every podcast is going to have some sort of stock intro. But, where you insert that intro is a different story. The easiest thing to do is just drop it in at the start of your podcast. But, there’s a cooler, more engaging way to open a podcast before you cut to your stock intro. That’s with a cold open.

There are a couple of ways to execute a cold open:

  • By talking about a freebie you’re offering. People love free shit. Plus, freebies are great lead magnets
  • Opening with your guest’s bio
  • Opening with a teaser from your interview
  • Using a Call To Action to get your listeners to take action on something
Promoting a Freebie

Maybe you’ve got a free ebook that people can get as a digital download if they signup for your email list. Good, tell people in your intro. A lot of podcasters give away templates in exchange for email signups. Let your audience know at the start of the show, get them hooked, and get them stoked. THEN maybe fade up the music and drop in your stock intro, or cut right to it after your announcement. Get creative.

How To Open By Announcing a Freebie

I’ve got an ebook called The Four Pillars of Podcasting. If I was to do a cold open announcing a giveaway of the book, I would say something like this:

“Hey guys! Just wanna let you know that I have a free ebook for you on my website. It’s called the Four Pillars of Podcasting. It’ll help you take your podcast from idea to launch. By following my four pillars; pre-production, production, post-production, and launch, you’ll have the framework necessary to start and grow a successful podcast.”

Maybe you own a T-shirt company and your podcast is about how to start a clothing line. You could start off the show by offering some free design templates.

“Before we kick off the show, I want to let you know that I’ve got a few design templates to hook you up with. These are great starter kits to help you start designing shirts. Sign up for our email list and these templates will hit your inbox. Now, on to the show.”

Here’s a sample for fitness or nutrition podcasts.

“Hey All! Starting next month I’m offering free 3o minute coaching sessions every Thursday morning at 9 am PST. To get the zoom link, sign up on my website. All are welcome.”

With a cold open in this vein, you literally open the show announcing the giveaway. Freebies are great value propositions. The listeners get the free item and you get to add them to your email list. Keep it short, 30 seconds max. Do your spiel and then BOOM, cut to the stock intro, then to your actual episode.

The Guest Bio

If you’re doing an interview podcast, a great way to open is with your guest’s bio.

“Today I’m speaking with Chris Palmer. Chris is the founder of Taco Love. A new taco spot that just opened in LA. He’s been written about in the LA Food Blog, and in today’s interview we’re chewing the fat on his Latino upbringing in Boyle Heights, how he learned to cook from his grandmother, his stint at Le Cordon Bleu, and his journey to opening up Taco Love.”

The Teaser

I love when podcasts open with a snippet from the main interview. The goal here is to cut a 15-30 second snippet designed to get listeners to think, get listeners to laugh, or invoke any other emotion that will make them more likely to tune into the episode. This is a great way to hook your listeners. I’m a big fan of a cold open in this style.

The Call To Action

This is a cold open where you literally start the show asking for something.

“Hey everyone, welcome to the show. I’m kicking off this episode by asking you to leave the podcast a rating and review on whatever platform you listen on.”

Good ratings and reviews help build trust with new audiences.

I recommend only doing one call to action per episode. If you ask for too many things or direct people to too many places, they’ll get overwhelmed and annoyed. Consequently, there’s a good chance they won’t act on anything you say. You don’t need to pitch everyone so hard.

Don’t do this:

“Hey guys, please follow me on Instagram @thepodcasthaven. I’d also love for you to subscribe to the email list on my website. I’ve also got some good content on YouTube, please subscribe.”

Keep your call to action concise and be yourself. Keep it interesting, keep it fun, and keep it light.

The Wrap Up

Coming up with a creative way to start your show week to week is important for hooking in new listeners. Obviously, you’ve got to keep some form of consistency. That’s where the stock intro comes in. But, before you drop in your stock intro try playing around with one of the cold open tools mentioned above. Chances are you’ll begin to grow your listenership and your current listeners will become more engaged.

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Podcast Resources

Are you having trouble getting your podcast off the ground? Then you need The Four Pillars of Podcasting.

This ebook breaks down the entire podcasting process into four pillars: pre-production, production, post-production, and launch. By reading through it and mastering each pillar, you’ll be fully equipped with what it takes to launch a successful podcast. Be sure to grab your copy today!

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If you guys have any podcast questions, shoot me an email at I love connecting with you guys.

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