Podcast trailers are the audio handshake that introduces your show to the world. Like a movie trailer, a podcast trailer is your chance to make a powerful first impression, create a buzz about your show, and encourage potential listeners to click subscribe.
Podcast trailers are key for getting new potential listeners to momentarily pause in their pursuit for a new show to tune into. You want them to stop at yours, so you need to grab their attention. But how do you do that?
This article will explore everything you need to consider when writing your podcast trailer. We’ve also pulled together 3 great examples you can follow for inspiration.
What Is a Podcast Trailer?
A podcast trailer is a short audio (or video) clip that serves as an elevator pitch for your show. The goal is to entice potential listeners without them having to read a description or click ‘play’ on an hour-long episode. By delivering a compelling snippet of your content, it gives people a taste of what to expect, and encourages them to tune in and subscribe.
Podcast trailers can also be used for cross-promotion, provided it’s not too long (more on this shortly). It can be inserted into the ads segment of other podcasts, letting those audiences know about your show.
Do You Need a Podcast Trailer?
There’s no hard and fast rule saying you need a podcast trailer for your show.
That being said, having one can be a key player in your podcast’s success. Consider it your audio business card - a chance to make a solid first impression, and a sneak peek into the captivating content you've got lined up.
In addition, publishing a trailer can give your podcast a presence on directories like Spotify and Apple Podcasts before your first episodes go live. You can then promote your show and generate interest and subscribers in advance of the official launch date.
So although they’re not a necessity, they’re a smart move and a winning strategy for your podcast.
How Long Should a Podcast Trailer Be?
The key to a good podcast trailer is not making it too long. Having said that, it needs to be long enough to tell people enough about your show to make them want to listen.
- 30 seconds minimum
- 1 minute is ideal
- 2 minutes maximum
6 Things to Include in Your Podcast Trailer
Next, it’s time to think about what you should actually say in your podcast trailer. It should answer the following questions:
1. Who Are You?
Creating a good host-to-listener relationship is key for having a successful podcast. So telling the potential listener a little bit about you is helpful for getting things off to a good start. Don’t say too much though. They’ll get to know you by actually listening to your show. You might want to give an interesting fact about yourself, or tell them a bit about why you’ve started your podcast.
2. Who’s Your Target Audience?
It’s important to speak to your listeners directly. And your podcast trailer is the perfect place to do that. Take some time to think about who your show is aimed at, and write it down. Providing a relatable statement is one of the easiest ways of attracting your target audience. If you can directly call them out, they’ll find it easier to find and connect with you.
3. What’s It About?
Being transparent about the content of your podcast is key. For example, you might find talking about your show’s genre useful. If you’re a comedy podcast, let them know that they can expect to be entertained. The goal is to spark interest, and managing people’s expectations can save you from wasting their time.
4. Why Should They Listen?
When trying to spark interest in your show, providing some sort of justification as to why the potential listener should give you their time is necessary. There has to be some sort of gain (or two) in it for them. Will they learn something from your show? Are you offering a rare insight into a specific topic? What are you offering that other podcasts aren’t?
5. When Will New Episodes Be Released?
This one’s easy. Make sure you state your release schedule in your podcast trailer. Doing so is just good practice. It tells the potential listener how often you’ll be releasing new content. If you plan to release episodes sporadically, then obviously don’t include this (but if you’re serious about building an audience, regularity and consistency matters - a lot).
6. Where Can People Find It?
Lastly, where can the listener actually listen to your episodes? Chances are it’ll likely be the main listening platforms, like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and so on. Wherever it is, make sure you tell them this information in the trailer.
They don’t need to be answered in that order. The important thing is that each point is addressed. As there’s a limited time window, it’s best to script your trailer and edit it till you’re happy with it. Once you’ve recorded yourself reading your script you’ll be able to add music using your editing software to get it ready for publishing.
Tips for Scripting Your Podcast Trailer
In reality, scripting a podcast trailer can be a balancing act. On the one hand, you want to provide the necessary information. But on the other, you want to keep it engaging and interesting. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Be Clear & Concise
Short sentences and simple language are your friends when writing your podcast trailer script. Don't overcomplicate things. You want your listeners to easily understand what your podcast is about, rather than be left with unanswered questions. Use clear, concise language to deliver your message.
2. Keep a Conversational Tone
Nobody wants to listen to an overly formal, boring podcast trailer. It goes without saying. And that’s why it’s important to keep your script conversational. You want your listeners to enjoy it. And if they don’t, they’ll probably click off and go somewhere else. When putting your trailer script together, try to write as you would actually speak.
3. Dictate Scripts for a More Natural Flow & Feel
If you're not a writer by trade, it can be very hard to craft trailer scripts that sound natural. Rather than spending hours and hours improving your writing skills, you may find it easier to simply dictate parts of your script instead. All you need to do is communicate your point as if you were speaking to a friend, and use dictation software to transcribe your spoken words in real-time. The text can then be edited and tidied up if needed. This will ensure your script follows your natural speech patterns, and avoids clunky sentence structures and phrasing.
4. Use Delivery Notes
It’s all in the delivery. And delivery notes are great for helping you maintain a steady and consistent pace throughout your podcast trailer script. Especially if you’re a new podcaster. So when you’re happy with how it’s looking, print it out and grab a pen. Then, just speak it out loud and mark down anywhere that you naturally pause, take a breath, laugh, or sigh. Doing this will add some life into your script and help with your overall confidence.
5. Don’t Cram It With Sound Design
It’s absolutely true that music, jingles, and sound effects are powerful tools for setting the tone and mood of a podcast trailer. But don’t overdo it. Sound design should enhance your message, not overpower it. Keep it subtle, relevant, and complementary to your narration.
6. Run It Through Before Recording
This one goes without saying, but practice really does make perfect. Make sure you run through your script before you record it. Doing so can help to identify any errors or problems, which gives you time to tweak your script before it’s too late. If you throw caution to the wind and jump in prematurely, you risk running into problems that could have been easily avoided.
Free Podcast Trailer Script Template
To help you out, we’ve put together the following podcast trailer script template. It’s a suggestion only, and you might need to tweak it based on the dynamics of your own show.
How to Produce a Great Podcast Trailer in 10 steps
When you're ready to bring your script to life, the production phase is where your podcast trailer starts to take shape. During this stage, your words transform into a dynamic auditory experience for your audience.
To help you get started, we’ve provided a quick step-by-step guide for you to follow:
- Brainstorm everything you want to say in your podcast trailer
- Write a script
- Invest in good recording & editing hardware
- Record the script
- Listen back to your recording to make sure you’re happy with it
- Edit your audio - remove any long pauses or unwanted background noises
- Choose the right sound effects & add in where appropriate (don’t over-do it)
- Listen to your edited version - are you happy with it?
- Play it to friends & family - have they got a clear understanding of your show?
- Publish your trailer & share it on social media!
3 Examples of Great Podcast Trailers
To help you get a better idea of what a “good” podcast trailer looks like, we’ve picked out 3 examples you can take inspiration from. Think about how you could apply some of these creative elements to your own show when creating your own trailer.
Example #1: On the Rails by West Midlands Trains
- Included information gives the listener a good understanding of the podcast
- The host, Liam Bolland, is introduced
- Target audience is identified (regular railway users)
- States what value the listener will get (travel facts, money-saving tips, etc)
- Lists where the listener can find the show (Apple Podcasts & Spotify)
Example #2: The Healthy Practice by WriteUpp
- Description provides good context about the podcast’s backstory
- The host, Ellie Macdonald, is introduced
- The ideal listener is identified (people running or starting a practice)
- What the listener can expect from the show is clearly communicated
- Where the listener can find the show is stated (Apple Podcasts & Spotify)
Example #3: Paws to Talk by Dogs for Good
- Opening format speaks directly to the reader & builds rapport
- The host, Lorraine Kelly, is introduced
- Upbeat music & dog sound effects set the tone of the show
- The premise of the show sounds appealing
- All production partners are stated
Podcast Trailers: Final Thoughts
First impressions matter - now more than ever due to increased competition in the podcast market. Give your podcast the best possible chance of success by crafting a trailer that does it justice. Even if you have to spend 3 or 4 hours to get it just right, it’s well worth the time investment.
Incorporating some of the best practices from the podcast trailer examples above will help you hook the right listeners and expand your audience.