Last week someone described to me a 12-layer chocolate cake that their grandmother would make. Thin chocolate cake layers with ooey gooey chocolate goodness slathered in-between each layer and all covered by fabulous chocolate icing. Clearly, I understood why this was their favorite all-time dessert and I was actually ready to call it my favorite all-time dessert even without trying it.
Once I quit drooling, I noticed the similarities between this and how podcasts can be set up (minus the icing). Let's talk about the layers or segments of a podcast and how to plan them before you are ready to press record. I will list a few of the primary segments first then add some optional segments which can also include.
The show intro tells the audience the name of the show and a little bit of what it's about. It doesn't have to be long (it's actually better when short), and helps to brand the show. It can also include who you are and other pertinent information. People differ in opinions on whether music is necessary on the intro or not. I have used music as part of the intro on my shows, however, it is not a requirement by any means. I recommend pre-recording this segment as an evergreen type of piece ("evergreen" meaning I can use it regardless of the season). This way you can add it as part of the recording during the edit and not have to think about it.
Some hosts will say the intro for each episode. This is another possible option. If you go this route, make sure to script the intro so you can easily read it on air.
This section is where you read the bio of the guest. You can record this separately from the interview and then add it as part of the editing or you can read this aloud at the beginning of the interview itself. The guest intro lets the audience know who you will be interviewing and why it matters to them ("them" being the listener).
I will create a bio for my guests and send it to them ahead of time to review (unless they have a bio already created that they provide). Before pressing record, I will read the bio out loud to the guest and confirm it sounds good to them. Once I press record and the interview begins, I read my show intro, read the guest intro, and then begin the conversation.
Bonus tip: I also ask the guest how to pronounce their name. It saves me from having to edit later if I mispronounce it once we start recording.
This section is what we usually think of when we hear the term "podcast". It's where the dialog occurs and is the longest section of the podcast.
At the end of the interview, I will ask the guest if people want to know more about them or their business, where would they like the listeners to go. The guest then as the opportunity to provide a call to action and web/social links. After this, I will close with thanking the guest for being on the show.
The outro is not required, but it can be useful. The outro, much like the show intro, can be a pre-recorded script which includes any number of information items. You can ask the guest to leave a review where they listen to podcasts. You can share your website and social links, as well as other information. Music can be used in this section, though it is not required. I have included an outro on some of my shows and omitted it on others. It just depends on preference.
If you, the host, have a specific call to action where you would like the listeners to access, create a pre-recorded section 15 to 30 seconds long. You can add it at the beginning (after the show intro), somewhere in the middle of the body at a pause in the conversation, or after the Wrap Up. On my current show, my call to action is to sign up for this newsletter and I place it between the show intro and the guest intro.
Clip from the Conversation aka "the Hook"
This is optional, but I use it on my episodes today and will continue using it going forward. As you edit the episode, listen for an attention getting comment or answer from the guest, then copy it and place it at the very beginning of the episode before the show intro. This works like a hook to give the listener a peek into the episode and motivate them to listen to it. I will use clips ranging from 30 seconds to 90 seconds.
I have used this in some episodes and I know others who use it today. This optional section is recorded after the interview and let's you summarize the key points of the conversation. I have used it as a "three takeaways" kind of section where I restate three items from the interview and then add my commentary on them. The section can last 2 to 5 minutes depending on what you share. If you use this section, make sure to mention it somewhere near the beginning of the show (likely somewhere in the body section), so people will know to look for it after the Wrap Up.
This is not an exhaustive list. If you hear or think of other sections to include, please do so. Podcasting is flexible. Also, feel free to try out new sections in your existing show and see what works and what doesn't. Whichever sections you do use, sketching them out ahead of time will save you time and energy in the editing and production process, and will keep you from having to go back and re-record something you could have easily done in the beginning.
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P.S. Tired of feeling anxious and unprepared when you guest on a podcast? I can help you become the savvy and confident guest for your next appearance. Email me or DM me to find out more.
Till next time!