How many times have you given up listening to a song because it didn’t catch your attention or once you got to the chorus, you turned it off because it just didn’t resonate with you? Any good songwriter will tell you what the secret is to a hit song:
You have to have a great hook!
Now think about your favorite podcast. What made it so special that you kept coming back to it time after time, never wanting to miss an episode? Was it the host? The subject matter? The production values? Something got your attention that kept you intrigued from the moment you decided to give it a chance.
That’s why creating a stellar hook is so important. How you invite your listeners into your show could make the difference between whether they bail or decide to give you a try.
Finding that great hook will take some work and a little bit of trial and error, but once you find out what works, it can be a whole lot of fun. So, let’s put our marketing hats on and do a little brainstorming.
Here’s some effective ways we’ve found that you can try to perfect that much-needed hook for your podcast.
- Set the expectation
What exactly is the listener going to gain from your podcast? Remember to highlight the benefit and keep your intro brief, no more than 30 seconds. It might be helpful to script out your intro, then practice reading it out loud to hear how it sounds or bounce it off of somebody else to get their feedback. Would you be interested in listening to this?
- Ask a question
This is a great way to pique a listener’s curiosity by inviting them in and adding just a bit of context. For example,
“Do you know what is the single most important thing you need to have in order to live a happy life? We interviewed the most successful entrepreneurs today to find the answer. Here’s what they had to say.”
You’ve got them! The listener will have to stick around to find out the answer.
- Tease them with a cliffhanger
Remember those episodes that end with no resolve? (Looking at you, “24”!) We loved them and hated them at the same time, but they work! Adding a bit of intrigue and suspense to your opening without revealing too much could prove to be a very effective hook. Make it impossible for your listener to not want to miss what you have to say next. If the tone of your show is more lighthearted or comedic, maybe you could lead with a joke, but don’t reveal the punchline.
- Use a statistic
Facts and figures are a great way to reel in your listeners, especially if you’re addressing a hot topic or a current issue that is top of mind for everybody. Make sure to double check your research and use it to tease what is going to be discussed in the episode and how you intend to solve a problem.
- Highlight a quote from your guest
Do you have a guest on the show that people are going to be excited about? Start with pulling a great, 1-2 sentence quote from them and use that as your opening hook, then tag it with a quick introduction of what you’re going to be talking about. This also takes some of the pressure off of you to come up with a full introduction. (The “True Crime” podcast does a great job of utilizing this to set-up their episodes.)
- Tell a story
Everybody loves a good narrative, right? This could be especially effective if you’re a natural storyteller and want to have a bit of exposition to lead into your episode. But remember not to drag it on too long. Hit the highlights and tease the ending to entice your listeners to hear the rest.
- Have a great theme
Nothing could deter a listener away quicker than cheesy music. However, the right music will set the tone for your podcast and add an additional layer of professionalism and production value that will encourage listeners to check you out. There are lots of royalty-free stock music companies like Shutterstock, and Premium Beat where you can search by genre and pay a fee or single song price to find the music that’s appropriate and uniquely yours.
- Create a tagline
This goes back to defining what your podcast is really all about. Can you sum it up into something catchy that listeners will remember? Taglines can be very effective. Make sure you use it at the intro and the bumper of your podcast to get it ingrained into your listener’s heads. Consider this branding 101.
- Give them a freebie
Everybody likes free stuff! Promise your listeners something like a free resource for sticking around and tease this at the beginning of your podcast. Just remember to make sure you’re sounding genuine and not salesy so you don’t come off sounding like Crazy Joe’s Used Car Emporium. Giving away a free resource is also one of the best ways you can build an email list and stay connected with your listeners. (More on this in a later blog.)
- Mix it Up
There is no one size fits all when it comes to how to hook your listeners into your podcast. The best thing to do is try more than one of these ideas to see what really works, while adding some variety to your introductions. What didn’t work for one episode may prove to be perfect for the next one.
As a podcaster your goal is to create an experience for your listeners that keeps them coming back for more. That means having a podcast that’s accessible to them anytime, anywhere, that encourages binge listening and presents a polished, professional image that sets you apart from everyone else.
That’s why we created Fusebox. We wanted the ability for podcasters to create an incredible listening experience right from their website with the right player loaded with all the features, including a transcript plugin to boost SEO, encourage scannability and drive more engagement.
We are podcasters in this together and we are committed to helping you succeed! Now go find that hook!