Tag Archives: show open

The Deconstruction Of A Podcast Episode – Episode 127

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The Deconstruction Of A Podcast Episode – Episode 127

DECONSTRUCTING A PODCAST

Copyright: eraxion / 123RF Stock Photo

 

In a previous episode of Podcast Talent Coach, I shared 7 ways to drive listeners away from your show. One of the main points suggested you treat every listener as if they are new to the show. We need to continually feed the funnel.

Joshua Liston from The Deadly Arnold podcast was checking out my back catalog when he stumbled across this particular episode. He took exception to one of this particular suggestion.

THANKS

I must say that I do appreciate Joshua for a few reasons. One, he took the time to comment on the episode. Two, he was listening to my back catalog. Finally, he provided some great thought starters for a few solid episodes. I truly appreciate Joshua allowing me to use his comments to help others learn. That is what this community is all about.

In that episode, I suggested one way you drive listeners away is being the podcaster who assumes listeners have heard the show before.

POWERFUL INTRO

If you’re not explaining your podcast purpose each and every show, it will be difficult for new listeners to understand the show. Your audience will feel like they are joining a conversation in the middle. They will be lost.

In this episode, we review an episode that Josh mentions to see how they do these things.

I have selected one of the podcasts Joshua mentions with less of a national platform. Rather than tell you the name, we just jump in to see if the intro pulls you into the episode.

As we discuss the introduction and care for new listeners, please do not interpret this as something you should do at the expense of your current fans.

Sure, the content of your show must be great to keep listeners around. That is simply the price of admission. To get people to subscribe, create great content. That should go without saying.

In order to keep people engaged, you need to make them feel like they are part of the club. This is especially true for new listeners.

If you’re not explaining your podcast purpose each and every show, it will be difficult for new listeners to understand the show. Your audience will feel like they are joining a conversation in the middle. They will be lost.

SHOW REVIEW

In the episode of Back To Work that I review, the hosts do a few things to make new listeners feel included.

They use each other’s name often. This helps us get to know the voice.

We find out Merlin is 40-something and has a daughter. By sharing his life, his listeners get to know him.

Merlin refers to the same five books quite often. Though he is obviously well-read, these books seem to have been very influential on him.

Merlin knows a bit about Hollywood and the process of making movies. We learn this by his discussion of the four quadrant theory.

Merlin is a Democrat.

Merlin is confident and has little fear of speaking in front of large crowds. Dan admires that quality.

IS THE INTRO NECESSARY

On the other hand, there is no introduction to the show. I listened as a casual listener and had no idea what this show was about. There was nothing to suck me into the episode.

Merlin’s 355,000 Twitter followers along with his writings in magazines like Wired, Popular Science and MacWorld probably go a long way in driving listeners to the podcast.

Since the average podcast has roughly 170 downloads per episode, those podcasters cannot assume listeners will stick around if there is no clear benefit.

So many podcasters want to play the part before they are the part. It is similar to living like a billionaire before you are a billionaire. You cannot buy the Porsche, mansion and private plane until you make the money. You cannot act like a podcaster with 100,000 downloads until you earn the attention.

Make everyone feel welcome, supply your listeners with great content, and make your material unique. Then, watch your subscribers grow.

Find Joshua C. Liston at The Deadly Arnold Podcast and at BraverByTheDay.com.

Do you need help with your podcast? E-mail me any time at Coach@PodcastTalentCoach.com. Let’s see what we can do.

You can find my podcast and other tools to help you create great content at www.PodcastTalentCoach.com.

Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Are You Losing Listeners? (Pitfalls Disrupting Podcast Traffic) – Episode 125

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Episode 125 – Are You Losing Listeners? (Pitfalls Disrupting Podcast Traffic)

LISTENERS EXIT

In a previous episode of Podcast Talent Coach, I shared 7 ways to drive listeners away from your show. We work so hard to gain listeners and podcast traffic. Why would we ever drive them away.

Joshua Liston from The Deadly Arnold podcast was checking out my back catalog when he stumbled across this particular episode. He took exception to one of the 7 ways I mentioned.

In the episode, I suggested one way you drive listeners away is being the podcaster who assumes listeners have heard the show before.

You work so hard to attract listeners to your podcast. Growing the audience is a constant challenge for most podcasters. You do all you can to bring more people to the party.

In this episode, we discuss the 7 ways you could be driving listeners away.

In the episode next week, I will dissect one of the episodes suggested by Joshua and demonstrate how successful podcasters eliminate these traps.

There are seven common mistakes podcasters make that drive listeners away. Here is a brief overview of each. See if you recognize these within your show.

THE PODCASTER WHO TALKS AT YOU

Great podcasters are not announcers. Great podcasters are conversationalists. If you can have a conversation with someone you cannot see nor hear, you have the ability to create a great podcast.

Instead of talking at me, talk to me and with me. Let’s have a conversation. You won’t be able to hear my responses. However, how many times have you found yourself talking back to the radio or podcast host? When the listener is responding out loud, you know the host has the ability to be conversational even when the other party isn’t present.

Be personal and talk to your listener, not at her.

THE PODCASTER THAT WASTES YOUR TIME

The wider the focus of your podcast, the better chance your topic will not interest me. It sounds counterintuitive. If you want more listeners, you need to narrowly focus your topic.

When you are too broad, your listener doesn’t know what to expect from your show.

Instead, pick a niche. Make it a tight focus. Pick the segment of your topic that you most enjoy and really focus there.

Focus is powerful. When you are focused, your audience knows exactly what to expect. Your focus builds loyalty, because you aren’t attracting listeners who have no interest in your niche. Since the niche is only focused on the slice of information that that interests your listener, your audience will almost always feel like you are delivering great content. You’ll never be wasting their time.

THE PODCASTER THAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU CARE

When you only deliver the what, the listener has no real reason to care. You are only providing information. Facts are lifeless. You must provide the why before you can provide the what. The “why” makes your listener care.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “what’s in it for me?”

Your audience will be asking this very question every time they tune into your podcast.

When your audience knows what is in it for them, they begin to care. Making your listener care is the only way to get them to listen and more importantly come back again.

Provide the “why” early in the podcast. Make them care.

THE PODCASTER THAT DOES NOT GET YOU INVOLVED

A podcast that is only focused on the host quickly becomes a very lonely podcast. “Enough about me, let’s talk about me.” Listeners surely won’t stick around for that very long. If listeners are not involved, they feel like the host doesn’t care about them.

Make your listener the star. It is your show. You know where it is going. When listeners are involved in your show, it is always your job to lead your guest and make them the star.

Get your listener involved wherever you can. Provide opportunities for listeners to interact with you. Even if you receive very little feedback, the opportunity to do so will send the message to your listeners that you care. The opportunity for involvement goes a long way.

THE PODCASTER THAT DOESN’T HELP OTHERS

Focus on helping others.

Zig Ziglar had many great quotes. One of my favorites is, “You can have anything you want in life just as long as you help enough other people get what they want in life.” How true that is.

As you turn your information into engaging entertainment with your podcast, keep in mind that helping people is part of the foundation of a strong relationship. If you take, take, take, your relationship won’t last long. If you are there to give and help, you will develop friends for life.

Get what you want out of life. Focus on helping others.

THE PODCASTER THAT TRIES TOO HARD TO BE FUNNY

Many podcasters painstakingly try to be funny. Jokes are never funny when the joke teller tries too hard. The forced punchline is uncomfortable. The timing is off. He will lead with something like, “This is funny” or “Here’s a good one” or “You’ll love this”. If I’m going to love it, do you really need to tell me? Won’t I know I love it once you tell me?

The good news is you don’t have to be funny. Stop trying so hard. The funny will come. You are focused on the wrong thing.

Funny follows fun.

THE PODCASTER WHO ASSUMES LISTENERS HAVE HEARD THE SHOW BEFORE

If you’re not explaining your podcast purpose each and every show, it will be difficult for new listeners to understand the show. Your audience will feel like they are joining a conversation in the middle. They will be lost.

Have you ever felt left out of a conversation due to inside jokes. Two other people are chuckling about something, and you have no idea why. “Oh, it’s an inside joke” they say. Why aren’t you important enough to be in on the joke? Why is it inside only to them? Those situations are a bit offensive. You’re not included.

When you are not explaining your podcast, you are not allowing your listener to understand the nuances of your show. They won’t feel like part of the club. Your listener will not feel important or that you care about them. It is quite possible they will leave.

A well-crafted introduction serves two purposes.

First, it tells the brand new listener who is hearing the show for the very first time exactly what to expect from the show.

Second, those that have heard the show before are confident that they are in the right place.

As you create your show open, treat it as if every listener is saying, “Hey, I’m new here. What’s going on?” You’ll make everyone comfortable as the show begins.

Next week, we will review a podcast suggested by Joshua to learn how these ideas are put to use in the real world to attract listeners and drive podcast traffic.
As I mentioned in this episode …

Here is the link to the Podcast Talent Coach Worksheets.

Here is the link to the Podcast Talent Coach Workbook.

Here is the link to Podcast Talent Coach Coaching.
You can find my podcast and other tools to help you create great content at www.PodcastTalentCoach.com.

Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

The Critical Piece To A Great Podcast – Episode 123

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The Critical Piece To A Great Podcast – Episode 123

Podcast Review Show

On a recent episode of the Podcast Review Show that I do with Dave Jackson, we got into a discussion with a podcaster who struggles with the introduction of his show. This happens with so many hosts. How do you properly begin an episode? Why are the important elements of a solid introduction? What is the purpose?

We were talking with Doug Salamone of Mind Drippings podcast. On this particular episode, Doug was interviewing Taylor Pearson, author of “The End Of Jobs”. Doug said he was having trouble forming the introduction of his interviews.

START WITH WHY

Here is Doug’s first question: “Taylor, why don’t you introduce yourself a little bit more, and start off at the beginning with what brought you to decide to write this book and I’ll just let you roll with it and we’ll get the questions going.”

Doug needs to make us care about the author as he introduces him BEFORE he brings Taylor on the show. Then, Doug needs to make us care about the subject.

Before you begin your show, determine what are you hoping people will take from the interview. What is the point.

When you use, “Tell us about yourself”, it sounds like you didn’t do your homework.

The show is about big ideas. What is the big idea in this episode? The world of jobs is coming to an end. Start there.

Later in the interview, Doug asks, “What are people to do … if the opportunities are limited … and every single year we have thousands upon thousands of people graduating from universities across the country … what are people to do to protect themselves from becoming obsolete in this current economy that we’re seeing everyday increasing where jobs are being eliminated or being exported to countries across the world?”

This is the essence of the conversation. Let’s start here.

Many introductions are a waste of time. They host wanders into the episode rather than creating anticipation and setting up the content.

“Tell us a little about yourself, who you are and what you do.” It is such an overused first questions.

Do your homework. Know the important facts about your guest that support the topic. Provide those pieces of information right at the beginning. Then, hit the ground running with great questions.

Make the introduction of your show compelling. It should make your audience want to stick around for the payoff. I hear so many shows begin with their standard show open immediately followed by a bunch of housekeeping. Don’t waste the time of your audience. Your introduction should make a promise (tell the audience what to expect). You should then follow through on that promise (give them the content they expect).

When a show begins with, “I’ll show you how to make a million dollars in 4 easy-to-understand steps”, followed by, “But first, let me plug 14 things and chat a bit about why I didn’t post an episode last week”, you are losing your audience. Your fan tuned in to hear your secrets, not your problems.

If you have housekeeping notes to pass along, sprinkle them within the show throughout the content. Lead with your strongest material. Housekeeping is not it.

Your introduction should set up your podcast. It should be an intriguing introduction that tells the listener exactly what the podcast is all about. What will I get when I listen? It doesn’t matter whether your podcast is 10 minutes or 60 minutes long. You need to tell the listener what is to come.

“Welcome to Podcast Talent Coach Podcast. My name is Erik K. Johnson. This is where we help you transforming your information into engaging entertainment so we can turn your podcast into powerful, profitable relationships.”

With that quick introduction, I told you exactly what to expect. You know the name of my podcast. You know the name of the host. You know the goal we are setting out to accomplish. I’ve also put you in the mix by referencing your dreams and how my podcast will help you. In those brief seconds, I’ve given you who, what, when and why.

That content should be followed immediately by a creative tease of this particular show. It might be something like, “We will help Steve figure out how to gently end a bad interview. Shelly asks about incorporating a call-to-action without making the show sound like an infomercial. And finally, we will hear a clip for the ‘The Golden Garden’ podcast and help Chris increase the energy and forward momentum in the show. Let’s get to it. First up …” This goes right into the show content. We start delivering on the promise made in the introduction. The show is moving forward.

If I said, “Before we get to it, let me explain the new look of my website”, I would only be relevant to a small portion of my audience. Who cares about my new layout? That would assume first that most of my audience has visited my website prior to this show, and second that they can’t find their own way around the new layout. That’s a pretty big assumption. If is important enough to include, put it at the end, or somehow incorporate the information into an answer.

Don’t waste the time of your audience. Make your introduction intriguing and get to the content immediately.

MAKE THEM CARE

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “what’s in it for me?”

Your audience will be asking this very question every time they tune into your podcast. Your introduction better tell your listener exactly how your topic will affect them. You need to hook them right at the beginning with an intriguing introduction. If you don’t hook them early, they will be gone in search of something more captivating.

When your audience knows what is in it for them, they begin to care. Making your listener care is the only way to get them to listen and more importantly come back again.

Lead with an intriguing introduction.

This is true for your podcast in general as well as each individual topic. Your intriguing introduction should hook your audience, let them know exactly what to expect, and allow them to enjoy the story.

What do you hope your audience will take away from this particular discussion? Your introduction should spell it out. It should set up what is to come.

If your goal is to make your listener laugh at your misfortune over the weekend, lead with it. “This weekend was so disastrous, I wouldn’t have had time for anything else to go wrong even if I tried.” The audience will now have time to enjoy the vivid details of your horrible weekend rather than trying to figure out what point you are trying to make.

When you begin your story with the details, your listener spends energy trying to determine the point you are trying to make. They are trying to figure out what the story is about.

Have you ever been stuck listening to someone tell a story while you’re thinking, “Will he ever get to the point?” That is what we are trying to avoid.

Here is an example of a story you might hear. “This weekend we went to the mall. It was just the two of us. We were looking for a gift for my dad.” Are we telling a story about finding gifts? Is this story just recapping the weekend? Maybe it is about my dad. You don’t know. I haven’t told you. There is no lead to this story.

To hook your audience and allow them to truly enjoy the story, lead with an intriguing introduction.

EMOTIONALLY POWERFUL?

A successful podcast is built on a strong relationship with the listener. It could be called a tribe as defined by Seth Godin in his book of the same name. The strong relationships with your listeners begin to develop your brand. You can then monetize your brand and associated relationships with an effective call-to-action. But it starts with the brand.

Powerful brands are more than just recognizable names. Powerful brands are full of emotion. A brand is a collection of perceptions, creating emotional connections, while consistently delivering on a promise. The more powerful the emotional connection, the more powerful the brand.

Take a moment to think of some very powerful brands and the associated emotions of the rabid fans of those brands. Nike. Volkswagen. Star Trek. Starbucks. Apple. Harley Davidson. Fans will go out of their way to interact with their favorite brand. These brands are unique, because they create powerful emotions within their fans that are not found in ordinary brands.

Ordinary brands lack emotion. Keds. Buick. Battlestar Galactica. Dunkin’ Donuts. Hewlett Packard. Honda. The powerful emotions are not present for most people in these brands.

An amazing book entitled “The Power of Cult Branding” by Matthew W. Ragas and B. J. Bueno describes the seven golden rules to cult branding. Emotion is the key to all seven. Social Groups, Courage, Fun, Human Needs, Contribution, Openness, and Freedom. All emotional. None are functional. It’s not the best, biggest, brightest, loudest, or #1 product. Cult brands are focused on emotion, not hype.

If you want to turn your podcast into a powerful brand that you can monetize with a strong call-to-action, stir emotion every time.

Next week, we will walk through the steps in creating a powerful introduction. I’ll give you a step-by-step process.
Do you need help with your podcast? E-mail me any time at Coach@PodcastTalentCoach.com. Let’s see what we can do.

You can find my podcast and other tools to help you create great content at www.PodcastTalentCoach.com.

Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Should You Change Your Introduction? – Episode 107

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Should You Change Your Introduction? – Episode 107

Should you change your introduction?

Should you change your introduction? Is it time to freshen it up?

I get this question a lot when I’m coaching clients. Before we can adequately answer the question, we need to examine the purpose of an introduction.

The first thing we learned in speech class was the structure of a speech. A good speech is built with an introduction, a body and a conclusion. Your podcast is no different. However, it may be structured like a series of tiny speeches.

Let’s just look at the introduction of the podcast itself.

Your introduction should set up your podcast. It should be an intriguing introduction that tells the listener exactly what the podcast is all about. What will I get when I listen? It doesn’t matter whether your podcast is 10 minutes or 60 minutes long. You need to tell the listener what is to come.

“Welcome to the Podcast Talent Coach Podcast. My name is Erik Johnson. Over the next 30 minutes, we will help you transform your information into engaging entertainment and turn your podcast into powerful, profitable relationships.”

With that quick introduction, I told you exactly what to expect. You know the name of my podcast. You know the name of the host. You know exactly how long my podcast will run. You know the goal we are setting out to accomplish. I’ve also put you in the mix by referencing your dreams and how my podcast will help you. In those brief seconds, I’ve given you who, what, when and why.

Your introduction must be intriguing. This is true for the overall podcast introduction and the introduction to your stories. “Today we are going to talk about work” is not intriguing. That will not make anyone want to stick around to hear what you have to say, especially for 30 minutes or an hour. “Do you love your work? Do you think it’s possible? Well, you’re about to find out.” That is the intro to Dan Miller’s “48 Days” podcast. That is a statement that will stir some emotion and make people listen through to the end.

It is critical that you tell the listener what your podcast is all about EVERY time. Each week, you will be gaining new listeners. You cannot assume they heard the first podcast, or even one of the first twenty-five. Each time you begin an episode, you have to assume someone is hearing your show for the first time. Your introduction will welcome them into the party and get them up to speed.

Even those people that have been listening since the beginning will find comfort hearing that consistent opening they can almost recite verbatim. They’ll feel like they are in the club. Your introduction tells your listener they are in the right spot.

Remember, it is every time.

Failing to introduce every time is the one misstep I hear most often with podcasts. Talent get too comfortable with their podcast after doing it ten or twenty times. The podcast gets lucky enough to make it into the top ten. People discover it, and the podcast begins with no introduction as if the listener stepped into the middle of a conversation. It becomes uncomfortable for the new listeners. The podcast suddenly stops growing its audience. Remember, your show will always be new to somebody.

You will have new listeners every time you post a new podcast. You cannot assume your audience has heard your podcast before. You need to set up the show at the beginning to let the new audience members know what they can expect while letting the returning fans feel comfortable without being bored.

THREE QUESTIONS

There are three questions you should answer to help you form your introduction.

1. What do you hope to make the listener feel with this story? Your introduction should stir some emotion. You need to establish the atmosphere right out of the gate.
2. How will you engage the listener with your introduction? Hook them immediately. Make them care right at the beginning. What is in it for them?
3. What will your position for your show? This will help you define the structure of the show and tell your listener what is to come. Are you teaching? Is it an interview or debate? Are you answering questions from listeners?

So, should you change it up? If your introduction is doing the job of informing your listeners and encouraging them to listen to the episode, then there is little reason to change.

REMEMBER THESE INTRODUCTIONS?

Your regular listeners find comfort in your show open. Many people dislike change.

Remember some of these tv themes? Cheers ran for 11 seasons. Friends ran for 10 seasons. M.A.S.H. lasted for 10 seasons with the same introduction.

The Simpsons debuted in 1989 and has been running for 27 seasons. Over the 27 seasons, the series had two revisions. The first revision was at the beginning of the second season when the graphics were improved. The other revision happened for season 20 when the show moved to HD.

Both revisions were necessary to add new characters and a few other updates. The unique quirks in the intro where Bart is writing on the chalkboard and other jokes keep the intro fresh. However, it has basically been the same intro for 26 years.

If your introduction is enticing people to listen to your episode, it is succeeding. There is no real reason to change it. Don’t change for the sake of changing. You just might make your regular listeners feel uncomfortable. People know what they like and like what they know.

I would love to help you with your podcast. E-mail me any time at Coach@PodcastTalentCoach.com.

You can find my podcast and other tools to help you create great content at www.PodcastTalentCoach.com.

Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

How To Develop A Show Clock – Episode 084

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How To Develop A Show Clock – Episode 084

Podcast Clocks

The purpose of a show clock is to provide a consistent framework for your content. By using a framework, you do not need to reinvent the wheel for every show. You simply plug in your great content into the clock.

Using a clock and being prepared does not mean you need to be less creative. In fact, it allows you to focus on creativity rather than the length of your episode. You get to design within the framework.

You can see examples of a show clock by watching the evening news. A typical newscast may follow of framework of top story, weather headline, general news, full weather, sports, and a kicker story.

Late night shows will use something like a monologue, funny skit, benchmark (like letter bag), big guest, second guest, and musical guest.

QUESTIONS TO START

As you begin to develop your show clock, there are a few questions you need to determine for the layout of the show.

What is it that you want to include in each episode of your show?

What is the goal of your podcast?

Once you are ready to add the content for this particular episode, you will need to answer two more questions.

What will the call-to-action be at the end of the show?

What is the main idea your listener will take away and remember?

EXAMPLE CLOCK

(Get sample clocks HERE.)

Let’s look at an example of a show clock. For this example, we will use a 60-minute show.

For our sample show, we want to include a show open, intro/tease, latest update on our business happenings, an interview, tip of the week, call-to-action and the show close. 7 items total.

The content will not be the same every week. However, the structure will remain constant. The episodes will include different interviews, different news, and different tips. However, our listener will know what to expect from each episode.

Now that we have the elements, how do we lay these items into a structure for our show?

First, we determine the length of each to fit our hour. Length of each bit should also be consistent.

Open – 1 minute
Intro/tease – 5 minutes
Latest update on our business happenings – 15 minutes
An interview – 25 minutes with intro and thank you
Tip of the week – 10 minutes
Call-to-action – 3 minutes
Show close – 1 minute

Next, we turn the elements into running time to keep us on track.

:00-:01 – Open
:01-:06 – Intro/tease
:06-:21 – Latest update on our business happenings
:21-:46 – An interview
:46-:56 – Tip of the week
:56-:59 – Call-to-action
:59-:60 – Show close

When you are recording your show, you can use this layout to keep you on time.

CLOCK PITFALLS & EXCEPTIONS

You also need to keep an eye on edits and timing. Edits will lengthen the recording that will become shorter once you edit the episode. Therefore, record more than you need. You can always remove audio. Finding additional audio to add to extent your episode to 60 minutes is difficult.

If you hope to include a 20-minute interview in the episode, you should record a 30-minute interview. You can then edit it down to the best content for a solid 20-minute piece in the show.

There are always exceptions to the rule. You do not need to be exact with times. This show clock is to keep you on track. If your 5 minute segment turns into 7, you will still be ok. You will simply need to shorter your 20 minute bit to 18. It will ebb and flow.

Be consistent. If your listener expects a 60 minute show, they will accept 55 minutes. However, 45 will feel short. 1:15 will feel like you are overstaying your welcome. Use the clock to get close.

You can also have the occasional special show that breaks format. Just ensure the show is special. If you are going to break your brand promise, you better make sure it is worth it.

You can get sample clocks and blank clocks on the Worksheet Page online at PodcastTalentCoach.com. Find them HERE.
I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Coach@PodcastTalentCoach.com.

You can find my podcast and other tools to help you create great content at www.PodcastTalentCoach.com. Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Here Is A Quick Way To Make Them Care – Episode 074

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Here Is A Quick Way To Make Them Care – Episode 074

freeimage-5478254

Making your listener care is the only way to get them to listen and more importantly come back again.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “what’s in it for me?”

Your audience will be asking this very question every time they tune into your podcast. Your introduction better tell your listener exactly how your topic will affect them. You need to hook them right at the beginning with an intriguing introduction. If you don’t hook them early, they will be gone in search of something more captivating.

When your audience knows what is in it for them, they begin to care.

Lead with an intriguing introduction.

Start your podcast with the benefit right up front. Hook them early.

This is true for your podcast in general as well as each individual topic. Your intriguing introduction should hook your audience, let them know exactly what to expect, and allow them to enjoy the story.

What do you hope your audience will take away from this particular discussion? Your introduction should spell it out. It should set up what is to come.

If your goal is to make your listener laugh at the horrible restaurant service you received, lead with it. “When we were out to eat this weekend, I couldn’t get the waiter to pay attention to our table if I had been waving $20 bills in the air.” The audience will now have time to enjoy the vivid details of your restaurant story rather than trying to figure out your point.

When you begin your story with the details, your listener spends energy trying to determine the point you are trying to make. They are trying to figure out what the story is about.

Have you ever been stuck listening to someone tell a story while you’re thinking, “Will he ever get to the point?” That is what we are trying to avoid.

Here is an example of a story you might hear. “This weekend I had some time on my hands. I figured it would be a good weekend to clean out the attic. I dug through the garage to find the ladder and get at it.” Are we telling a story about a mishap in the attic? Is this story just recapping the weekend? Maybe it is about discovering something in the attic. You don’t know. I haven’t told you. There is no lead to this story.

To hook your audience and allow them to truly enjoy the story, lead with an intriguing introduction.

Be A Storyteller For Success.

As you create your podcast, become a great storyteller. Great storytellers create fans.

Interest in your story never remains constant. Your information can only become entertainment when interest is rising. If interest is falling, the show is becoming boring and is no longer entertainment. A great story continues to develop the plot and raise the interest.

Have you ever sat through a long, monotonous story that never seems to end? You stare and wonder if the speaker actually has a point to this monologue. You pray for your cell phone to ring and save you. That scenario is exactly what you want to avoid. Practice becoming a great storyteller.

Stories help define your character and personality. You should always be yourself. It is difficult to play a character consistently and tell great stories. Your true feelings and identity will always be revealed in the stories you tell. If you are successful hiding your true self, you simply are not telling great stories. Vivid details and interesting points that stir emotions in your listeners can only come from your true feelings. Reveal your true character. Storytellers create raving fans.

Make them forget.

When your audience is listening to your podcast, make them forget they are listening to a recording. Take them to another place. Make your storytelling so strong that the imagination of your listener puts her in another time and place. That’s what great storytelling is all about. That’s what great relationships are all about.

People seek entertainment to escape from reality. They want entertainment like movies, concerts, television, radio and podcasts to make them forget about all of their problems. Entertainment that succeeds will take the audience member to some other place and time.

When you record your podcast, you need to create that wonderful theater of the mind. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading fiction or talking about gardening, put your audience in the moment. Make your listener forget they are listening to a recording.

Become a great storyteller, take your listener to another place and time to make them forget about their problems, and hook them early by leading with an intriguing introduction.

Get the story development worksheet as part of the pack of worksheets available for free online at www.PodcastTalentCoach.com.

I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Coach@PodcastTalentCoach.com.

You can find my podcast and other tools to help you create great content at www.PodcastTalentCoach.com. Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Where To Begin Podcasting – PTC 046

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Where To Begin Podcasting – PTC 046

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Let’s help you determine where to begin podcasting.

I recently had lunch with the guys from the “200churches” podcast. Jeff Keady and Jonny Craig are pastors at a 200church in Northwest, Iowa. They want to encourage and support other pastors of “smaller” churches.

As we were having lunch, Jeff was telling me about their start in podcasting. They had all of the equipment and were ready to roll. As they were about to record their very first episode, Jeff said he didn’t know where to start. What was the first thing he was supposed to say?  How do you figure out where to begin podcasting?

Where to begin is a natural problem. You know what you want to say. You simply don’t know where to start it all. How far back to the beginning of your message should you go?

You have all the equipment. You have set up the technical details of the podcast. How does the show content begin?

Whether you are a brand new podcaster, or someone with hundreds of episodes under your belt, this episode will help you with your content. If you are just beginning, this will help you create your framework. We will walk through content preparation as you lay out the show.

If you are an “old pro”, this content will be a great refresher to help you step back and evaluate your progress. When we have done something for a long time, assumptions begin to creep into the content. We sometimes take small details for granted as if our listener has been with the show from the beginning.

 

There are six steps to defining your content and preparing your podcast.  These six steps will help you determine where to begin podcasting.

1. What do you hope to accomplish?

This includes both the topic and the show overall. Set a goal for each topic, the episode and your podcast in general.

2. What are the interesting topics you hope to address on this particular episode?

As you determine your topics, look for a theme to develop.

3. How will you treat each specific topic you hope to address?

What will you do with the content? You could answer the question, demonstrate the answer, play some audio, show charts to support your answer, or use some other treatment. Find a way to make it your own. Your approach should be unique to you.

4. Create an outline for the flow of the show topics.

This is important for the show introduction.  Bullet points should suffice.  Do not script your content.

5. What supporting information will you need for the show?

Organize and highlight for easy access during the show. This will help you sound prepared as you begin to build credibility with your audience.

6. Write your introduction. Write your conclusion. Include your call to action.

 

If you would like a worksheet to walk you through this process and others, visit the worksheet section at www.PodcastTalentCoach.com.  These worksheets will further help you determine where to begin podcasting.

 

I’d love to help you with your podcast. E-mail any questions or comments you might have to Coach@PodcastTalentCoach.com.

You can also find tools to help you create great content at www.PodcastTalentCoach.com.

 

Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

The Show Funnel Solution – PTC Episode 041

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The Show Funnel Solution – PTC Episode 041

If you listen to online business podcasts, you’ve surely heard the business funnel discussed. Online marketers move a large group of people into the big end of the funnel. As the price increases, the funnel gets smaller indicating fewer people buying.

Similar to the business funnel, we want to move our listeners through a show funnel. We want to engage our listeners, hook them by piquing their interest, and finally moving them through our content.

The size of the listener pool gets smaller as the group moves through the funnel. Many people will see our headline. A portion of those people will move further to read the description. An even smaller group will continue to move through the funnel by beginning to listen to the show. A subset of that group will actually get to the end of the episode.

How can we move our listeners through the episode more efficiently? How can we get more of our listeners to reach the end of the episode?

In this episode, we discuss five tips to help you with your engaging content and the listener progression through your funnel.

 

1. Develop A Goal For Your Show

As you develop your podcast, you need to determine what you hope to accomplish with the show. What will the show be about? What do you hope to make your audience feel? Is there some call to action you wish to make your listener take?

After you have developed the goal for your show, stick to it. All content on your show should support your goal.

If your goal is to help consumers get out of debt, don’t spend a lot of time discussing your favorite, new CD. Your listener has come to your show expecting you to deliver on your promise. If you tell her you help people get out of debt, deliver that content to her. When you start discussing anything other than that, your brand promise is tarnished. She will be headed elsewhere.

In his “My Disney Podcast”, Correy Webb discusses all things Disney. He discusses his cruise adventures, visits to the parks and other traveling tips. If Correy suddenly began discussing the poker game he had with his buddies last weekend, you would be disappointed. Poker isn’t the reason you’re listening. His Disney promise would be broken.

A great brand is built slowly with great consistency. Deliver on your brand’s promise. However, before you can deliver, you need to develop a goal for your show.

 

2. Prepare For Your Show

Before you begin to record your show, you should spend just as much time preparing for the show. It is very similar to mapping out a trip. You not only need to know where you are going, you need to know how to get there.

Many hosts will have an idea of which topics they hope to address on the show. They may have a few e-mail questions to answer or a current event to discuss. That is where most quit. They think, “Well, I have our ideas. Let’s do this.” They then begin recording.

This is a big mistake. You must plan what you hope to do with each topic. How do you hope to answer the questions? What will your opinion be on the current event. Most importantly, how will you present it to your listener.

If you plan to answer an e-mail question only because you think it is a good question, but you do not plan out your answer, you will wade through the answer. It will take you much more time to answer the question than is necessary. Your show will therefore lack momentum. Your listener will become easily bored. When you stumble your way through your answer unprepared, your listener will wonder if you actually now where you are going.

Before you open the mic, plan out your show. Jot down some notes. Write down the few important points you need to mention as you’re answering the question. Then, make sure you stick to your plan.

Dan Miller does a wonderful job of this in his podcast “48 Days to The Work You Love”. He knows exactly which questions he wants to answer in his show. He knows exactly how he wants to answer them. He also has a few solid examples for each answer. Dan tends to over-promise at the beginning of the show with the questions he hopes to answer. He should either stick to a time limit for each answer, or promise fewer with the potential of a few “bonus” answers at the end if time permits.

Give your show more momentum and energy. It will happen when you prepare for your show.

 

3. Tease Me

Anticipation is a key feature to storytelling. Your story should build just like a good plot builds in a movie. You need to make your audience anticipate the content that is on the way. It is like a vacation you are planning to take. The fantastic anticipation for the trip is almost as pleasurable as the trip itself. You can’t wait for the trip to arrive. You want your listener to feel the same way about your content. When they can’t wait for the story to arrive, you have created some great content.

Teasing is the art of creating anticipation for your audience to entice them to stick around for the payoff to your setup. It is a critical element of your show. Teasing helps create momentum for your podcast.

When you promote parts of the show that are coming up, you must creatively tease your audience. You must give them a reason to stick around. It isn’t enough to simply say, “A great story about this weekend is coming up.” Few will stick around for the payoff. Tease. Create anticipation. Instead, use something like, “You’re never gonna believe what I found in the attic this past weekend.”

The evening news does a wonderful job at teasing. Create anticipation. Tease me.

 

4. Create A Power Intro

The opening of your podcast should explain the purpose of your podcast and let your listeners know exactly what to expect as if this is the first time they have ever heard the show.

A well-crafted introduction serves two purposes.

First, it tells the brand new listener who is hearing the show for the very first time exactly what to expect from the show. It is like the intro to a late night talk show. “From New York. It’s the Late Show with David Letterman. Tonight, Tom Cruise. Larry The Cable Guy. And Katy Perry. Letters from the mail bag. Tonight’s Top Ten list. And Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra. And now, former New York City Medical Examiner … David Letterman.” You know exactly what is coming your way, even if you have never seen the show before.

Second, those that have heard the show before are confident that they are in the right place. Those regular listeners will find comfort in the opening of the show they hear each time they tune in. Fans will also feel like they are “in the know”. This is similar to singing the theme song of your favorite sitcom. As soon as you hear the first few notes of the theme song, you know you’re on the right channel. Your show intro should elicit the same response.

As you create your show open, treat it as if every listener is saying, “Hey, I’m new here. What’s going on?” You’ll make everyone comfortable as the show begins.

 

5. Make Your Listener The Star

Make your listener the star. It is your show. You know where it is going. When listeners are involved in your show, it is always your job to lead your guest and make them the star.

There are many ways to incorporate your listeners into your show. Live interviews, live calls, recorded voicemail messages, and e-mail are a few of the possibilities. Incorporating listeners into the show gives your entire audience a vested interest in the show.

With guests, you must remember you always know more about your show than they know. You know the goals of your show. You know the plot and strategy. You are always on the show. They are new. Lead your guest.

Phrases like “great question”, “I’m glad you mentioned that” and “I didn’t realize that” make your guest feel they are adding to the show … as long as you are authentic in your comments.

Financial guru and radio host Dave Ramsey is great at guiding his listeners. When a caller begins to ramble on, he will always step in with, “How can I best help you today?” That is a great way to say, “Get to the point.” You need to remember that your callers are not professional. They are not sure how to adequately edit their question while still providing all of the necessary elements.

Just as you do not need to answer every e-mail you receive on your show, you do not need to read the entire e-mail. When you are using voicemail and e-mail questions, edit them before you use them. Keep the essence of the question while eliminating the unnecessary details. Nobody will fault you for editing a 4 minute voicemail message to a great 30 seconds. They will probably thank you. The edited call is still the call as long as you aren’t changing their words. Your show is entertainment. Edit it as such.

When interviewing a well-known guest, make it easy for them. Open with great questions for which you already know the answer. Talk hosts like Jay Leno and David Letterman have producers that do a pre-interview with their guests. They will ask the guest, “If Jay asks you about ____, what will you say?” The producer then puts the great questions on the blue cards for the host. Jay may not know the answer, but the guest knows the question is coming.

If you know your guest has done some amazing things, ask them about it. Then, let them answer. I hear so many hosts interview guests as if they are trying to show the guest how much they actually know. In turn, they answer the question as they are asking it. This leaves the guest very little to say.

You and your show become great when you make your guests and listeners the star.

 

Using these five tips will help you refine your content and give it focus. This will help you move your listener through your show funnel. Develop a clear goal, prepare for the episode, tease your listener, write a power intro and make your listener a star. You will be well on your way to transforming your show.

 

A few housekeeping notes for you.

Dave Jackson and I are now hosting the Podcast Review Show together. Our guests appear on the show to have their podcast reviewed by the two of us. Typically, hiring the two of us individually for an hour would be hundreds of dollars. Not only do you get an hour of consulting from us on this show, you get to plug your show for a sixty minutes.

Our guests typically pay $99 to be featured on the show. I’ve convinced Dave to cut you a break. By using the code coach50, you can appear on the show for only $49.50. You get half off. Still an hour. Still feedback from both of us. Still plugging your show. Half the price.

The code is coach50.

Now, we cannot possibly review everyone. Once we fill the available slots, this deal will go away. We have already had a great response. Just a few openings remain. If you are serious about your improvement and would like to be on the show, get registered today.

We have not made anyone cry yet. At half price, it surely cannot hurt that much. Just use coach50 when you register.

 

If you are truly serious about building your podcast, improving your show and increasing your traffic, you should also be attending the Podcast Movement in Dallas on August 16 & 17. Find my affiliate link online at PodcastTalentCoach.com.

 

I’d love to help you with your podcast. E-mail any questions or comments you might have to Coach@PodcastTalentCoach.com.

You can also find tools to help you create great content at www.PodcastTalentCoach.com.

Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Protect Your Podcast Voice – PTC Episode 031

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Protect Your Podcast Voice

Your voice is your power. It is your tool. Without your voice, you have no podcast.

Throughout the year, it is inevitable that you will get sick. Maybe it is just a scratchy voice. Maybe you lose your voice altogether. When illness hits, what do you do about your show?

A few weeks ago, I made a trip to a conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Five days of shaking hands, conference room sessions, and group dinners along with two flights there and back, made it difficult to avoid the germs. As much as I did to rest, eat properly and protect myself from getting sick, illness still found me.

The sickness had me down for the count. I had a horrible cough. My throat was sore and raw. The frog sound coming from my voice box was not anything I could use to record a podcast. What was I going to do?

Luckily I had prepared. I had been working two weeks in advance in preparation for the trip. In case I didn’t make it back in time to record the podcast for that week, I wanted to be sure I had something prepared. It came in handy, even though I made it back in time.

There are three things you can do to prepare for disaster.

First, work a week ahead. When you are working on the podcast for the following week, you have some flexibility. If something happens where you can’t record for any reason, you already have the show ready for this week.

Second, create an evergreen episode. This is an episode with content that never becomes outdated. This is your “just in case” episode. You simply set it aside in case you need it.

Finally, you can record an evergreen “donut”. This is an open and close that allows you to put repurposed content in the middle. It is like you are putting it in the middle of the donut.

For instance, you would record an open just like your regular show open. However, instead of introducing new content, you say something like, “This week we will be revisiting the one episode of my show that has been downloaded more than any other episode.” You could also create a show of highlights or “best of” questions. This could be any content you can gather from previous episodes.

Your close would be very similar. “I hope you’ve enjoyed this ‘best of’ episode. I will be back next week with an entirely new episode.” This closes the donut.

Now, if you ever get sick, you have an option to continue to deliver content every week. Consistency is crucial to creating relationships. Plan ahead.

So, how do you stay healthy? How do you get well if you get sick? What ounce of prevention can you use to protect your most valuable asset? Here are a few tips.

 

Care

Take care of your voice.

– Wear a hat & avoid the head cold

– Speak from the diaphragm when recording

– Avoid excessive clearing of the throat

– Warm up properly by slowly expanding your range

– Use a nasal rinse

 

Drink

When recording, stay hydrated.

– Drink room temp water to avoid constriction from cold beverages

– Avoid caffeine, because it also constricts

– Avoid soda & syrup drinks to prevent the crud building up in your throat

 

Get Well

If your voice gets strained, here are a few things to try.

– Gargle with warm salt water

– Use a humidifier to keep your membranes hydrated

– Drink warm decaf tea with honey

– Drink warm/hot chocolate

– Use a nasal rinse

– Drink plenty of water

– Experiment to find what works

 

Your voice is your most valuable asset. Do all you can to protect it. Stay healthy.

If you get sick, try these seven tips to get well.

Above all, don’t risk it. Plan ahead. Illness is inevitable. Have a show in the can or a plan to create some evergreen content should you get sick. Do your best to protect your podcast voice.

 

I’d love to help you with your podcast. E-mail any questions or comments you might have to Coach@PodcastTalentCoach.com.

You can also find tools to help you create great content at www.PodcastTalentCoach.com.

Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Put the Show in Show Business – PTC Episode 016

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Put The Show In Show Business

In the episode this week, we discuss how to add an element of show business to your podcast.  Let’s raise the bar a bit.

Do you have the magic?

Production elements create the magic of the podcast. If it is missing, your show will sound flat. Solid, well-placed production elements add that element of show biz.

You can add production elements at various points within your show.

The most common production element is the show open. A well-produced show open will make your podcast sound big time. Cliff Ravenscraft has a very strong show open for “Podcast Answer Man“. (read more)

Would the evening news air stories that are not edited?

Why do podcast hosts air a show that hasn’t been edited? No other producer in show business would publish their content without first editing it. This is entertainment. Your show should have an introduction, body and conclusion. The content should lead somewhere. To make your podcast compelling, you must edit your show.

If you do not edit your content, you will sound like an amateur. If you edit it well, the podcast will sound polished and professional. (read more)

 

Delightful details dazzle.

Great storytellers use delightful details.

Great stories reveal things about the person telling the story. It allows the listener the opportunity to discover new things about the storyteller. Stories are how strong relationships are built. (read more)

 

Lead with an intriguing introduction.

This is true for your podcast in general as well as each individual topic. Your intriguing introduction should hook your audience, let them know exactly what to expect, and allow them to enjoy the story.

What do you hope your audience will take away from this particular discussion? Your introduction should spell it out. It should set up what is to come. (read more)

 

Fish for interviews with bigger bait.

To score a guest interview for your podcast, you need to begin by explaining how the interview will benefit your prospective guest. The fact that your audience will love it has no bearing. It really doesn’t matter to your guest if your show or your audience will benefit from the guest’s appearance. When your guest makes the decision whether to appear on your show, they will only consider how the appearance will benefit them personally.

Many podcast hosts use their audience size to lure guests. If you have a reasonable audience size, surely use it to your advantage. However, don’t stop there. You may be overlooking many other ways you could benefit your guest. (read more)

 

Natural is better.

When recording your podcast, use the voice of the individual asking the question whenever possible. Natural sound is always better than a story recreated by the host.

The additional voices will give your podcast an element of show biz. It will add depth to the sound of the show. Your podcast will also sound much more engaging.

There are various ways to include others in your show. (read more)

 

I’d love to help you with your podcast. E-mail any questions or comments you might have to Coach@PodcastTalentCoach.com.

You can also find tools to help you create great content at www.PodcastTalentCoach.com.

Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

 

Do You Have The Magic? …

Do you have the magic?

(photo by Maa-Illustrations)

Production elements create the magic of the podcast. If it is missing, your show will sound flat. Solid, well-placed production elements add that element of show biz.

You can add production elements at various points within your show.

The most common production element is the show open. A well-produced show open will make your podcast sound big time. Cliff Ravenscraft has a very strong show open for “Podcast Answer Man“. His introduction incorporates the show network, explains exactly what the podcast is about and contains some great music and sound effects.

You don’t always need a big voice guy to produce your show open for you. Dave Ramsey does his own show open on a daily basis for four or five million people on “The Dave Ramsey Show”. His theme music provides solid consistency and familiarity for his show.

You can also incorporate production elements within your show to add depth. Adam Carolla has a great producer for his podcast. His guy adds sound effects, audio clips and production elements throughout “The Adam Carolla Show”. It sounds just like the big talk shows. Carolla’s show always delivers.

To incorporate sound effects, you don’t need a full-time producer. You don’t even need to add the effects in real-time. This is show business. Sound effects can always be added in post-production.

A solid show close will put a nice bow on the podcast. The elements of your show close should be similar to those of your open. Dan Miller simply uses the same theme music in his show closing as he uses in the opening of “48 Days To The Work You Love”.

Take the time to find some great production elements for your show. Put in a touch of show biz. Production elements create the magic of the podcast.

I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Erik@PodcastTalentCoach.com. Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Do you have the magic?

I Think We’re Lost …

I think we’re lost.

(photo by Dreef)

While listening to the podcast described below, I just about gave up and moved onto another show. I had to force myself to stick with it. I honestly thought they may have uploaded the wrong show.

Here is the opening of the podcast. (I’ve eliminated the names and other identifying parts.)

Show host: Welcome to (show name). I’m your host (host name). (website). We’ve got a couple people hangin’ out in the live chat with us. (chat link) And you know, I shouldn’t say that, because I’ve taken the link down from the site. But if you’re listening and wanna see the schedule, it is fairly current. Although, not exactly throughout the summer. I am joined today, as I frequently am lately, by (co-host name) of (other show name). How’s it goin’ (co-host name)?

Co-host: It is wonderful up here.

Show host: Is the … uh … now you guys probably didn’t have a lot of snow like we didn’t have a lot of snow, which I’m still bummed about. But, I’m trying not to talk about it. How’s your … how’s your weather in (city)?

Co-host: It’s pretty good. It’s, uh … it’s been a pretty warm winter.

They proceeded to discuss the Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion for the first 10 minutes of the 30-minute show. At 10:45 into the show, host says, “Should we get into some questions?”

This is a show designed to coach businesses to attract more customers.

How did we get lost down some path about temperature conversions?

I’m not even sure I can say it got lost. The introduction never laid out the expectations of the show. Neither does the show title. As I’ve written before, the opening of the show must tell your audience what the show is all about right at the beginning. Let your listener know what to expect.  Assume they are listening to your show for the very first time.

Six minutes into the show, they actually say, “You’re safe by now skipping over the first 10 minutes” of the show.  What!?! You’ve got me, now you’re actually telling me this isn’t worth my time?

At this point they aren’t really lost. They are well aware they are wasting my time. There are over 100,000 podcasts available. These shows are all trying to attract me. These guys actually have me paying attention (the tough part) and are wasting the incredible opportunity. What are the chances I’ll actually be back?

Your show must deliver on the brand promise right out of the box. That is the key to audience engagement. Your listener has come to your show for a reason. If you get lost on some tangent, your audience will be gone in a heartbeat.

Lay out the expectations in your introduction. Deliver on those expectations immediately. If you find you’re getting off on a tangent, get back on track as soon as possible.

You will quickly find you are talking to yourself if your listener says to themselves, “I think we’re lost.”

Hey, I’m New Here …

Hey, I’m new here. What’s goin’ on?

The opening of your podcast should explain the purpose of your podcast and let your listeners know exactly what to expect as if this is the first time they have ever heard the show.  This should happen on each and every show.

A well-crafted introduction serves two purposes.

First, it tells the brand new listener who is hearing the show for the very first time exactly what to expect from the show. It is like the intro to a late night talk show. “From New York. It’s the Late Show with David Letterman. Tonight, Tom Cruise. Larry The Cable Guy. And Katy Perry. Letters from the mail bag. Tonight’s Top Ten list. And Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra. And now, former New York City Medical Examiner … David Letterman.” You know exactly what is coming your way, even if you have never seen the show before.

Second, those that have heard the show before are confident that they are in the right place. Those regular listeners will find comfort in the opening of the show they hear each time they tune in. Fans will also feel like they are “in the know”. This is similar to singing the theme song of your favorite sitcom. As soon as you hear the first few notes of the theme song, you know you’re on the right channel. Your show intro should elicit the same response.

As you create your show open, treat it as if every listener is saying, “Hey, I’m new here. What’s going on?” You’ll make everyone comfortable as the show begins.