Is the start of your episode ruining your podcast?

My intention with “Show Tips” is to give you simple (but effective) tips that will help you improve and grow your podcast.

I’ll make sure to keep it practical and provide examples of podcasts I believe are doing it right. (So you can model them for your own podcast).

If you are a podcast or podcast host then these tips will prove to be very helpful.

In volume one, I'm going to talk about the start of your podcast. The first 5 minutes to be specific.

So many podcasts waste the start of their podcast with “irrelevant babbling” and weak content the audience is simply not interested in.

I get the feeling this mistake is caused by nerves, bad habits, and lack of awareness.

The good news is it is an easy mistake to fix, will cost you nothing to implement, and will improve your podcast dramatically.


If the start of your episode is strong then the likelihood of someone listening to the whole thing is MUCH higher.


Not to mention it’s much more likely they will buy from you at some point.



I'm going to tell a little story highlighting an experience I had with a podcast this week.

Keep this in mind as I tell you this story.

This is the experience you could be giving people when they first listen to your podcast.

Earlier in the week, I sat down at my desk searching for a new podcast to listen to.

For me, finding a new podcast is a lot like a foodie finding a new restaurant they like. I enjoy the hunt and discovery.

A new podcast I can add to my “regulars” list.

I’ll often spend time reading reviews and asking for recommendations before I commit to a new podcast.

Being there are so many podcasts and podcasts to listen to a bit of a filter has become essential.

After some searching and filtering, I found a podcast that looked like a winner.

It had some good reviews and I liked the title of the latest episode.

Someone had done their homework on what was important to the audience.

It spoke directly to me and what to expect from the episode was clear.


How to do “X” when you are experiencing “Y”.

(Great title format)


I wanted to know how to do “X” and was experiencing “Y”.


I won’t name the podcast or episode as I don’t want to shame anyone here.


Anyhow, back into the story.


As lunchtime approached I put my runners on, grabbed my headphones, and headed out for a walk.

The sun had just popped out after a morning of rain.


I pulled my phone out and hit play on the episode.


Two minutes passed and the hosts were babbling on about how they are feeling.


"How are you doing Bob?"

"I'm great Jane, how are you?"

"I'm good, hows the family?

"They are good also, how is your family?"
“My family is great!”

Just breaking the ice I thought to myself, and kept walking.


Then four minutes passed and all we established was the weather is good in one area of the world and not the other.

About now I thought they would get into the topic of the episode. The meat, the good stuff!


Tell me about “X”.

Sadly not.


The episode kept dragging out on a completely irrelevant conversation with no point or context.


It took them eight minutes to talk about anything related to the podcast topic!


And this podcast didn't have any ads or sponsors.


Eight minutes about the freaking weather and location they are recording from. And no, it was not a podcast on weather or travel...


After 10 minutes they lost me.

I actually stopped walking completely so I could delete the podcast from my podcast app.

I had zero belief they would deliver anything of value in the episode. I was certain more irrelevant and unhelpful content would come.

It felt like a click bait experience. A bait and switch.

It is unlikely I'll ever listen to another episode of this podcast, as there are so many other high quality podcasts to listen to.


As a consumer, I have many options.

They blew their chance to make a good first impression with me.

The only value I extracted from this episode was a good topic for Volume 1 of “Show Tips.”



Here are four tips you can take from this experience to improve the start of your podcast.

1) Respect your audience

The weather, where you are, how you are feeling and what you have eaten that day do not give your audience any value (unless it related directly to your topic).

A minute to break the ice is fine.
Several minutes makes you look like you didn’t prepare.

Respect your audience.
They have given you their time to tune in.


2) The first minutes of each episode are the most important

Use these early minutes wisely to hook someone into listening to the whole episode.
Make them feel like they made a good decision to tune into your podcast.

I listened to eight minutes of babble, I’ll bet most people didn’t last that long.

In my experience above, it got to the point where I was only interested in seeing how long they could not talk about the topic.

Not something you want for your own podcast.
Not something you want to be remembered for.

Here are some examples of things worth putting at the start of an episode:
- Why the topic is important
- Why I should believe you on this topic

- What is coming in the episode
- How the audience will be better off for listening

3) Match the title with the content.

Not delivering on what you said you would is a guaranteed way to disappoint your audience and new listeners.

You might get some attention through a click-bait title, but listeners will leave with a bitter taste in their mouth.


No one likes to be click baited.
The likelihood of someone trusting you after is much lower.

4) You only get one chance to make a first impression.

Every episode has the chance of being the first experience someone has with your podcast.

Make it a good experience.

I mentioned above it's unlikely I’ll listen to another episode from this podcast.
It would take something pretty big to get me back.

Here is an example of a podcast that has nailed its start.

I’ve spent a lot of time highlighting the mistakes made in the example podcast, but, I also wanted to provide an example of a podcast that is nailing opening minutes.

Impact Theory hosted by Tom Bilyeu.


Three reasons Tom has a nailed the opening of his podcast are:


  1. The short teaser snippet highlighting what is coming in the episode
  2. A well-prepared guest introduction explaining why they have credibility on the topic
  3. A strong starting question for the guest

    Check out Toms podcast here >

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