You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
For most listeners, your Episode 0 is that first impression. An Episode 0 is like an introduction episode; something new listeners can tune into, and see if it's something they can get into. Not very many podcasters record an Episode Zero. And those who do, rarely do it right.
But, since I've recorded close to 20 of them for different podcasters, I know what works and what doesn't. And because it's top of mind right now, I figured I'd share my formula with you. So, what follows is my method for recording an Episode 0 that'll make listeners click that subscribe button.
Step 1.) A Brief Introduction
Welcome the listener to your new podcast and thank them for tuning in. Follow that up by a brief introduction. Let them know your name, and any relevant accomplishments that may help establish your credibility. But avoid doing a deep dive into your background; we'll get into that later.
This is just like meeting someone in real life. If you spend the whole time talking about yourself, they’ll lose interest. But this is a podcast, so you have no choice to do all the talking. So instead of talking all about ourselves, let’s talk about what the listener really cares about: what’s in it for them.
Step 2.) Features and Benefits
Your listeners want to know what they get for listening, so you want to tell them, as soon as possible. Explain the format of the show, the topics you'll cover, and how often they can expect new episodes. Then, let them know what they get for listening. What's the main benefit they'll receive for listening? Make it clear. Make them the promise.
Step 3.) What's Your Desirable Difference?
Whatever your podcast is about, it's likely that someone else is already doing something similar. So you need to give the listener a reason to listen to you. And this is probably the most neglected step in the whole process.
Most podcasters don't give much thought to what sets them apart. But it's a vital step. Clearly identify what makes your show different, and make sure it's something that matters to your listener. Once you know your desirable difference, make it explicit. Let them know why yours is the podcast for them.
Step 4.) Call Them to Action
Now that you've done your part, let them know what they can do for you. This is called a Call To Action, or CTA. Ideally, you should have a CTA at the end of every show, and your Episode 0 is no different. Finish your episode by telling your listener what to do next. Subscribe on iTunes, leave a comment, rate and review, share with someone you know. These are all great Calls To Action, be sure to include at least one.
Step 5.) Close the Show
Thank them for listening and let them know how glad you are to meet them. Tell them bye, until next time, and let them know you'll be talking to them soon. Cue the outro music.
One last note; your Episode 0 doesn't have to be the first episode you record. You can record and release it at any time, even if you're already 10 episodes in. In fact, I often wait until about that time, just so we have clear answers to all the points we want to make. And if your podcast evolves, you can always go back and re-record a new Episode 0.
Just make sure it's something that you do. It's a little bit of effort that will have a huge payoff.