How to Hook Listeners with Your Intro
Did you know that there’s a 20–35% drop-off of listeners within the first 5 minutes of a podcast? That’s up to a third of listeners per episode.
So how can you make sure that you retain those listeners in this crucial window at the start of your show?
Here are a few strategies you can deploy in your next episode.
Dive right in
While the safe bet might be to spend the first couple of minutes laying out the details of the episode, what you’ll be covering, how it came to be, who you’ll interview etc, you could take a different approach and drop listeners into the midst of the action.
Maybe it’s into the middle of that interview with a choice soundbite, or from while you were out recording in the field. This approach can provide a sample of where the show will go or end up, giving listeners a reason to stick with the episode.
Much like clickbait headline formats in articles like “You won’t believe why X did Y” or “Z happened but what comes next will shock you”, you can try these out at the start of an episode to create space for a payoff later in the show.
This format obviously isn’t a new concept. It’s why we still watch bad crime shows, love (and, possibly, hate) Buzzfeed, and suffer through “find out after the break.”
Whether we like it or not we usually fall for it, and chances are your listeners curiosity will be piqued too by a mystery that you’ll solve.
Did you notice that the first sentence at the top of this piece was a question? So was that last line.
A question demands an answer and your episode will give listeners that answer.
Questions provide an innate curiosity, too and allowing them to be unresolved while the show takes listeners on a journey for the answer plays into the previous point of creating intrigue.
You’re the host and you know your audience best. Play into what they love most about your show to keep them coming back.
Remember, each episode could be the first time someone hears your show so how could your intro be as welcoming to new listeners as it is to current ones.