058 All You Need To Know When Choosing Your Podcast Intro Music

Your podcast’s intro and outro are essentially the sound signature that listeners will quickly associate with its brand. The intro provides the next impression people have of your show beyond the artwork. In the opening seconds, a new listener will decide whether to continue listening, whether the style, vibe, sound appeals to them. You get one chance to make this impression. So let’s look at the key things to consider before choosing your intro music.

Things to consider before choosing your intro music:

  1. Do your research

I recommend going to your favourite podcast platform and finding at least five podcasts in your field that are close to the kind of show you want to create. Listen to the start of each one. Write down what you notice. How quickly did the music come in? How long did it take for the voice to start speaking? What style and length was the entire introduction? How long was it until the body of the show began, until you heard the content that you expected to hear? Did the initial audio represent the body of the show well or was there a disparity in pace and tempo? Listen to these back-to-back to hear what works for you. Notice the language they use in their intros, how they introduce themselves, the general ambience they create. Think about what you could do better. Think about the pace and the delivery, and if it is a good fit for the podcast genre.

2. Ensure High Sound Quality

Lots of us have very valuable messages that could change the world, but not if people are not listening. As the field of podcast becomes more competitive and more flooded, people will not stand for poor quality. So make sure you start yourself off on the right foot. 45% of people who will turn off your show, do so in the first five seconds due to poor quality audio, often before you have even spoken. The intro speaks volumes, so make sure your music is in keeping with the high quality standards you want to uphold with your podcast.

3. Keep it short

The ideal podcast intro should be no longer than 60 seconds. Whittle that down to under 30 for even more impact. Listeners want to get to the main content as soon as they can. A listener who finds a show they love will potentially binge listen to a back catalogue of previous episodes. If they are listening again and again to an intro that’s a minute and a half long, perhaps longer, it can be enough to drive them to skip through your show.

Which option suits you?

Option 1

You could dive straight into the content with just your voice and words – no formal introduction. In the early days I chose this method, more out of a lack of appreciation for the potential of my podcast than a style choice. It is the simplest way to set up your show but lacks finesse.

Option 2

You could have a music-only introduction. Once the music fades, in comes your voice. This was my preference for my first podcasts. I had a short music track that was created specifically for my brand. It featured heavily in the accompanying meditations and trainings I delivered, so there was consistency in my audio across the board for my brand. Lasting approximately 10 seconds, I’d go straight into delivering the show after it played. Lacking a formal pre- recorded intro I scripted the beginning of each separate episode of my show.

Option 3

You could begin your show with a voice‐ over introduction. Usually this is mixed with a music bed underneath the vocal track. Further choices here include recording the intro with your own voice or employing a professional voiceover artist to create an introduction for your show. There are pros and cons to each style. A professional voiceover can make your show sleeker and is more common amongst American podcasts where the host is officially announced onto their own show. This can be effective for personal brand credibility building. Often, a male voice is used if the host is female, and vice versa. In my current show I use my own voice because not only am I capable and confident behind the microphone but I want my voice to be a major part of my brand.

What is your own intended delivery and style? If you have a relaxed natural laid-back style of speech, that’s great, and many people will warm to you. But be cautious. A warm, welcoming, relaxed feel to your intro is all well and good, but it should not be too long. New listeners will switch off.

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