Your podcast intro is important for not only branding, but to get your listeners excited for your episode!
So how long should your podcast intro be?
The short answer is that it depends. The ideal intro is short enough not to lose listeners and long enough to mention everything they need to know before your episode begins.
Things to Include in Your Podcast Intro
To understand how long your podcast intro should be, you need to know what to include.
Below are the parts of an effective intro:
- Teaser content – A snippet from the episode that should spark a listener’s interest.
- Background music and sound effects – The sound your listeners will hear throughout the entire intro sets the podcast’s tone.
- Podcast and host(s) names – States the name of your show and the hosts.
- Podcast explanation – Explains what your podcast is about.
- Episode title and introduction – Sets up the podcast episode or guest with a few words from the host(s).
There may be other parts you’ll want to include like mentioning any sponsors or partners you show has.
How Long Should Your Intro Be?
Most experts agree that you keep your intros as short as possible which is typically between 15-30 seconds.
15-30 seconds may not seem like much time, but you want to get listeners to the actual episode as quickly as possible.
The People Potential with Amanda podcast has a 22-second intro that tells listeners listeners all they need to know about the podcast as it immediately dives into the episode.
Listen for yourself below:
When Does the Podcast Intro Take Place?
This may seem like a silly question since podcast intros usually kick off the episode, but you may have a pre-roll ad that automatically plays before your intro.
While running a pre-roll ad or talking about your episode’s sponsors both aren’t technically part of the podcast intro, they share the same space with your intro.
So how is this actionable?
💥 If you are losing listeners even before the end of the pre-roll ad, consider moving your ads to a later part of your episode.
Will a Long Intro Hurt Your Podcast?
We brought up pre-roll ads and sponsor mentions because they can eat up a lot of time before the start of an episode.
With long intros, some listeners who may not be familiar with your show could be tempted to move on.
So should you avoid long intros?
Take Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, for example. This popular comedy podcast ranks #36 among all podcasts in Apple Podcasts US as of writing (according to Chartable) in spite of its intros. The podcast intro goes for about five to seven minutes before the guest appears.
Much of the intro features Conan and his co-hosts in friendly banter. However, silliness is part of the appeal that makes this show so popular.
Take a listen for yourself below:
Another example is the Midwest Baseball Ranks podcast. It runs a segment about the episode’s sponsor that lasts about 90 seconds in the beginning before the intro music.
You can listen below:
While that’s longer than the recommended intro length, what matters most is your audience. Use your podcast analytics to understand how long listeners are engaging with your episodes.
The bottom line is that if your retention rate is good and your show is making money, then your intro length becomes less important.
🤔 If Longer Intros Are O.K., When Does the "Short Podcast Intro Rule" Apply?
Celebrities like Conan O’Brien already have an established audience who are more than willing to listen to their style. So, they can afford to take risks with the format without losing their core audience.
But if you’re a new podcaster without any sponsorships, you could risk losing audience with a longer intro.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t run pre-roll ads or make your intros longer. What’s more important for beginners is establishing trust with listeners and growing an engaged audience.
Consistently creating podcast episodes that delight, amuse, provoke curiosity, or provide value in other ways to your audience is critical.
How to Create Great Podcast Intros
Now that we’ve shared some examples and best practices, let’s dive into how to create your own intro!
Step 1. Listen to Intros of Popular Podcasts for Inspiration
Step 2. Choose the Right Intro Music
Using royalty-free music or commissioned tracks you’ve paid for will help get your listeners excited for your episodes.
If you’d like to hire someone to help you create custom intro music, you can check out freelancers on UpWork and Fiverr.
An an example, check out the intro music for RSS.com’s own podcast, “Podcasting 101” below:
Step 3. Create Unique Intros for Each Episode
Once you have your into music, you can use that as a template to record custom intros using your favorite recording application.
Need recommendations on the right tools to use to edit your intro? GarageBand, Audacity, and Adobe Audition are all great options.
For more information about each, we’d recommend checking out these posts on the RSS.com blog:
Step 4. Script Your Intros
During intros, the last thing you want to happen is to ramble on or forget what you’re supposed to say.
To avoid this from happening and re-recording your intro, write a script for it and practice it a couple times before recording yourself.
Taking the time to get comfortable with your script also allows you to add some personality so you don’t sound robotic. 🤖
Pop Up Podcasting has shared a tried and tested script format that you can customize for your own podcast intro. Check it out here.
🎁 Wrapping It Up
A killer podcast intro is more than music and words – it’s also how you structure all the information you need to keep your audience engaged.
By keeping your intros lean, you can go straight to the podcast episodes and avoid having new listeners leave.
Long intros that run for more than a minute or so is acceptable if you have a good following and fanbase.
Good luck with your intro and happy podcasting!