Podcasting Q&A

How to Create an Effective Podcast Promo

June 20, 2022 Buzzsprout
Podcasting Q&A
How to Create an Effective Podcast Promo
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Want to create a podcast promo but not sure where to even start? In this episode, Buzzsprout Head of Marketing, Alban Brooke, joins Jordan to give tips that are sure to make your promo shine!

Things covered in this episode & links:

WRITE A SCRIPT
A podcast promo must be 12-40 seconds long, so be concise with information. 

5 Things to Include:

  1. Podcast name
  2. One-sentence description
  3. Who the podcast is for
  4. Why they should listen
  5. Call to action

RECORD

  • Record in a sound-treated environment
  • Use a microphone 
  • Record multiple takes and versions (practice makes perfect!)

EDIT & POLISH

Tips for editing vocals:

  • Remove unwanted sounds or awkward pauses
  • Consistent audio volume throughout
  • If ad is too long, try speeding up vocals 1-5% to fit 

Sound effects and music:

https://www.buzzsprout.com/blog/free-music-for-podcasts

Now that you've finished your podcast promo, you'll want to get it in front of as many podcasters as possible. Head over to buzzsprout.com/ads to buy your first ad and get your promo in front of the right audience.

ALBAN'S TWITTER & CUNNINGHAM'S LAW
Twitter Post: https://twitter.com/AlbanBrooke/status/1536492873666990081?s=20&t=CsNY6YwSvRMgYkKr3dH5wg
Cunningham's Law: https://theoutline.com/post/8084/i-spent-a-week-being-wrong-online


*NOT A REAL BALLOON ANIMAL PODCAST IS NOT A REAL PODCAST...SORRY IF WE GOT YOUR HOPES UP.

Jordan:

Creating a podcast promo might seem difficult, but with a little planning, you can create a promo that will grab your listeners attention and persuade them to take action. In this episode, we'll provide tips on how to create a promo that is engaging as well as some things to consider during the audio production process. I'm Jordan, host of podcasting q&a, where we answer your questions about how to start, grow and monetize a podcast. Joining me in this episode is Buzzsprout, Head of Marketing, Alban Brooke. Ever since the release of Buzzsprout ads, one of the biggest questions in the podcasting community has been, "how do you create a podcast promo?", and I searched far and wide and could not find any resources on creating a podcast promo, or even an ad that wasn't necessarily just a trailer.

Alban:

You know, all my research has been based on listening to the local radio. And so make it three times the loudness of the radio show. Blast it promise like incredible savings. And I think that's what the local sports talk radio does in Jacksonville. So maybe that's the way to go.

Jordan:

I don't think that's the way that podcast promo should go, though.

Alban:

No joke, I promise. I heard one the other day. This is a radio ad. They didn't say the name of the company, I promise like that--there's no way that happened. I really listened to it. And I was like, what's the--who's this for? It is wild, like anything the radio is doing, we probably should be doing the opposite.

Jordan:

And I kind of feel like that is where podcasters are getting a little hesitant because if companies or marketing departments or things like that are making these mistakes with their audio ads, podcasters might have a little bit of a fear of "Oh, no, what if I mess up?" And so I think it's really great to just give some guidance on what kinds of things to include your in your ad. And probably the very first and most important thing is to not wing your podcast promo, but to maybe script it out.

Alban:

Yeah, the scripts are a great way to improve your promo. I mean, if we think about it, podcasts don't have to be perfect. Honestly, it's like a little bit of the charm of podcast is they go down rabbit holes, you kind of are building a connection with the banter of the hosts and like, you feel like you know, the people that you're listening to. And podcasts don't have a set limit. It's not like TV where they have to fit into a 30 minute time slot with seven minutes that instead may have longer episodes, we have shorter episodes, it's not a big deal. Podcast promos, on the other hand, are very rigid, on Buzzsprout, as they have to be less than 40 seconds, they have to be longer than 12. But that's not a very long window. And so it's kind of flexing a muscle that we don't really always have to flex as a podcaster, which is being concise, being really thoughtful about what we're saying, and getting right to the point as quickly as possible.

Jordan:

What are the things that need to be like really, really need to be included in your podcast promo script to make sure that you are making the most of your 12 to 40 second slot.

Alban:

So there's five things that definitely needs to be included when you're writing the script. And so I would say you need to write this out verbatim. Like you have to have each word picked out. And they've got to be your words, if you have somebody else write it, it can just be difficult to read somebody else's writing, and make it sound natural for you. Some people speak in passive voice a lot, and some always are an active voice. Sometimes there's words that you don't use very often. So really make sure you're the one writing the script if you're going to be the voice of the script. And then there's five elements that once you've written the script, make sure all these are in there. Number one, you've got to have the name of the podcast. So don't be like the local Jacksonville radio guy who put up an ad, without the name of the business. There's a great fishing store somewhere in Jacksonville, and I have no idea who it is. His name is.

Jordan:

So what do you think is the sweet spot with how many times you should probably say the name of your podcast? Do you just say it the one time at the beginning? Or do you want to say it maybe three times throughout? I

Alban:

think you least want to do it twice once at the beginning to introduce the podcast. And then once at the end. If people have heard it and gone, that sounds pretty good. You want to have something at the end that say here's a reminder of the name of the show. For some podcasts, it's going to be natural that it's showing up three times or maybe you don't need to because I recently listened to a promo for Jordan Harbinger and the name of his show is the Jordan Harbinger show. And so for him to say hey, I'm Jordan Harbinger of the Jordan Harbinger show listen to the Jordan Harbinger show it's the number one show from Jordan Harbinger like at some Wait, you've hit it, you've covered your bases. His promo, by the way, we did not include all that. Because that would be overkill. So

Jordan:

if anything that would probably ruin the experience for the listeners. And they'd be like, I don't want to listen to this

Alban:

guy. They're like, Okay, I've heard the name enough. So I think two's kind of a sweet spot at least once the beginning once at the end. And then once you've written it, read it out and see does this flow naturally because the written word is so different than the spoken word, and we just talk differently than we write. And so it's important for you to read it and say, Oh, I don't feel comfortable saying these words like it's a tongue a little bit of a tongue twister that I didn't notice until I said it out loud.

Jordan:

I've run into that reading scripts for my storytelling podcast, there are certain words or combinations of words that will absolutely trip me up. And sometimes I have to kind of rework that so that it feels more natural, and it doesn't feel like me just robotically, trying to enunciate the words completely. And speaking of which, I think enunciation is probably very important when you're reading your script and making sure that you can articulate the words clearly.

Alban:

And then there's a one sentence description for your podcast, give me like a single sentence that tells me exactly what this podcast is about. And let's hit that right in the beginning. So Podcasting Q&A, is a podcast that gives you practical tips on how to improve your show. That's maybe not the one liner we would pick but I'm trying to think of right now writing one for us.

Jordan:

Um, how about a balloon animal podcast, and you will learn insights to make you the life of the party.

Alban:

Has anybody in the history of I guess did a balloon animal podcast I feel like that is very much. This

Jordan:

is why that is the perfect example. Because it's this completely insane thing. But even with that really crazy idea, you can still have a one sentence description. Let's make sure we got

Alban:

these other three elements in there too, for our balloon animal promo, okay, who the podcast is for? And so it this is a balloon animal podcast for children who are just interested in the art, or it's for performers, or is for people who want to learn about the history of balloon animals, whatever it would be. It's important to say it's about this thing, but it's also for this specific audience. We've talked about this in the past, you know, maybe you have a podcast about stress reduction. Well, what if you could focus down and we actually say niche down a lot of times, so that you actually have a specific audience. So say we're doing stress reduction, but we're doing it for expecting mothers or for lawyers, or for veterans, you know, they're people who are dealing with very different types of stress, and they may find a certain stress reduction techniques are much better based on who they are. So if you have a podcast, think about who are the people who are perfect for this podcast? And then let them know in the promo number four, why people should listen. So maybe going back to your balloon animal example. You know, listen to the balloon animals show the best podcast for children who are trying to learn how to craft the amazing animals that their next birthday party, listen so that you can figure out how to make the balloon animal dog or something like tell them why.

Jordan:

Or connect with a community of other balloon animal enthusiasts

Alban:

connects with the community? That's the selling point. Yes. For my stress reduction podcast for veterans, this is going to help you work through these types of experiences. And you could name the experiences that you might be talking about on the podcast, like, why should I listen? And then number five, what do you know? And number five is going to be a call to action, you have to have the call to action at the end?

Jordan:

Yeah, basically, a call to action is just telling the listener what specifically you want them to do, whether that be find the podcast on your favorite listening app, or clicking the link below just anything like that. It's your call for the listener to complete this task.

Alban:

Yeah, so run through them again, since we kind of explained them. The name of the podcast, the description for the podcast, who the podcast is for, why people should listen, and the call to action. And if like you're kind of paying attention, you'll notice there's obviously overlap. When I gave an example of the one sentence description of Podcasting, Q&A, I said Podcasting Q&A Call to Action will probably include the name of the podcast again, so they're all overlapping. And the way I want you to think about this is when you've written your script, have these five written down and And then check them off as you go, I've got that I've got that. I've got that and make sure that you've got all five of those covered. So maybe we should start talking about the actual recording process of your promo once you've nailed script writing, and now we can go to recording. And obviously, that's where we're gonna be practicing this enunciation.

Jordan:

Yeah, one of the things that I think with recording the promo, there's some people that with their podcast, they record one and done, they just do one take, and they nail it the first time, it's great, whatever, or they just want to keep it more organic and don't want to edit so much and just want to keep it very natural. And so they just do the one recording through without repeating anything and mistakes and all. And so they might not be comfortable recording many takes of something.

Alban:

Yeah, this is again, similar to like I said, the beginning that a promo is just very different from the podcast itself, we've really got to nail it, if we're going to get it out in 40 seconds, give a really good sell in 40 seconds. It's totally different than what we can do on a 45 minute podcast where we're really just trying to connect with the audience. So yeah, like you said, I love the idea of taking multiple takes, you can add your personality, you can practice maybe emphasizing certain words in the sentence, find something that works for you try it once more where you're reading, try it once where you're smiling a lot. And just listen and say which of these sounds good to me, it just guarantees after you've done it three, four times, that one of these is going to be exceptional, and you just get a much better chance for a really good recording.

Jordan:

And with reading a script, a lot of people might not be used to reading a script. And I know that when I was in theater, one of the exercises that we would do in order to make sure that we were not only getting used to the words of the script, but also saying them in a way that is natural, or saying them in a way that makes sense to what we're trying to convey with the words on the page is to read them through with the emphasis on different words. And so, Alvin, you actually have a really great example.

Alban:

Yeah, we know that this is true, just from normal, everyday speech. So let me read you the same sentence a few different times. And like, I'm just going to give different emphasis to the words and just hear how different these sound okay. I did not tell him to rob the bank. I did not tell him to rob the bank. I didn't tell him to rob the bank. I didn't tell him to rob the bank, like these different things. I didn't tell him to do it. I didn't tell him to do it. But I told someone else. I didn't tell him to rob the bank. What did you tell him to do the bank then? Or I didn't tell him to rob the bank, meaning you're supposed to rob the grocery store or something? Yeah, exactly. So emphasis matters a ton. When you're reading something. And you know, maybe for the world of podcasting, you could say this is the best show for young entrepreneurs. And maybe you really want to focus on young because this podcast, the types of things you're going to be teaching are really only applicable to people in their early 20s. So play with the recordings a little bit and see like, hey, does this feel natural? Does this sound right? Am I missing anything. And sometimes playing with like focus and emphasis on words, really helps convey the message that you want to convey?

Jordan:

It also adds a little bit more depth and texture to what is being said, for example, there's a podcast that I really love, but I actually can't listen to it because the girl says all of her sentences like this. And then she says the next sentence like the downward inflection, yeah, it's like downward. And so if you actually were to, like visualize the way that you say things, it should have different levels, and different textures to it to keep things more natural sounding and more engaging to the listeners ears, because we don't actually talk that way in normal life, where you just talk like this. I didn't tell him to rob the bank. But now I'm talking about this. And it just when you hear that kind of repetition, it's just like, ah, that's not really interesting. Or maybe they're reading from a page. I think that that is another thing that kind of adds to playing with the emphasis playing with the way that you say different things. Yeah. And to

Alban:

talk a little bit more about recording. I think the recording environment actually matters quite a bit more during the promo than it does during the podcast itself. We know the recording quality really matters for podcasts. But with the promo I mean, we're talking it's 10 times as important because if people only get 40 seconds to make that first impression if they're hearing a bunch of background noise He's a mistakes and kids interrupting or whatever it may be, then now we're now they're going to think that's what the whole show is gonna sound like. And so recording multiple takes making sure you have a quiet environment, your mic is set up everything like that. Now you can pretty much ensure one of those takes is going to be good. And it's gonna be really easy to clean up to have a super polished Episode Promo

Jordan:

with making sure that your recording environment is nice and quiet and doesn't have a lot of echo, you really don't need to have a studio quality environment. There's a method that I personally love and have subscribed to on many occasions that I call the Stonehenge method. And it's where you take your couch pillows and build a square shaped box with your pillows around your microphone and just speak into that. And it is the most beautiful sound you will ever hear.

Alban:

I recorded once with somebody, we had to do a short recording with her. And she was in a hotel room. We're doing a remote recording.

Jordan:

I remember this.

Alban:

Did we talk about it on Buzzcast? Yes, you

Jordan:

did. I remember this. And I was like, oh, good for her.

Alban:

I don't remember who it was. But it was like we had to get the interview that day. And she was in a hotel room. And all she had was her laptop. And we were like, Could you maybe you try to see if you put a blanket over and she was like, Yeah, I've got really thick comforters here. And she's climbed under the comforters in the hotel bed, threw it over. And like we couldn't see her at all because it was completely black. And the audio quality was okay, it wasn't great because it was a computer speaker. But it was world's better than if she didn't have all the cushioning and the sound dampening around her. And it really makes an incredible difference. If you're in a semi treated environment with lots of soft materials, then you're going to get a much better recording.

Jordan:

Hmm, clauses work great for that, too. I think comforters are very hot. It sounds like a very hot environment, especially with a computer running under it. But a closet or you know, maybe a pillow fort would work perfectly.

Alban:

So next, let's talk about editing this recording down a little bit and maybe giving it a little bit of polish. So once you've recorded, you've got to make sure we're hitting that 42nd mark, it's got to be there or under. And so a few tips for editing vocals, any unwanted noises, maybe you have a little bit of a plosive in a word. Or maybe you just have a weird mouth noise or just an awkward pause. Those can all be trimmed out no big deal, then go through and you make sure the volume of the ad is consistent throughout. And so this doesn't mean make everything monotone. But we're trying to make sure we don't have super loud places and really quiet, we can still have a lot of emphasis and inflection in the voice without the audio like really peaking. And then third, I've done this a few times like I edit down something and it's got to be a certain length 40 seconds long, and it's 42. And I just can't find anything to delete. And so I just grabbed the whole recording, and I speed it up to like 1.03% Like I just turned it up like slightly faster playback, it drops just below 40. And just sounds like I'm talking a little bit more excitedly for half a second. And that's all that there. So if you run into it, you're like, I can't get the last two seconds out of here. Maybe speed up the recording just a little bit. And then you can use that as your promo.

Jordan:

One of the things that I think makes an amazing podcast promo is to have some sound effects and music to really convey the tone of the ad or to bring emphasis to the feeling of it and grab listener attention. And so depending on your podcast, you can do different things. You can have really suspenseful spooky music for your paranormal podcast. Or maybe you can have like a crowd cheering if you have like a sports podcast, and then the listeners just transported to the sports stadium. Or you can also have like a minimalist corporate jingle that will work for a business podcast if you're a coach or something like that.

Alban:

Have you ever watched there's these people who take like trailers from like big movies, and then they strip all the music out or maybe like big scenes for movies? I think like there's like a Lord of the Rings. And it's like one of these like intense speeches and there's no music. And it's like, hilarious how much the emotion is just like sucked out of a movie. Once there isn't any music and if you can feel how ridiculous it is just After watching the speech, it makes you also realize how much that music is doing. It's getting a lot done for the movie or the trailer or whatever it is. And so I love the idea of podcasts, you know, as you're kind of leveling up your game over time, adding sound beds, adding sound effects, just to give a little bit more of a feel and a tone to the podcast. And then you can do that in the promo. A lot of the best ones I've heard over the last few weeks now have been ones that they have kind of a consistent sound bed throughout the entire promo. And they just match the tone of the podcast and gives you a great feel like is this something that I'd be interested in? Are there any best practices for what I should do? If I'm putting music or sound effects into a podcast, we really don't do many on any of my shows. But I know you do quite a bit on Dreamful

Jordan:

with sound effects and music. So sound effects can be anything from like the sound of like shoes walking on the floor. Or maybe

Alban:

I'm giving you an example of what that sounds like.

Jordan:

Yes, a clock. So if you're Yeah, if you're trying to like do a trivia one, it's like the sound of a timer going off, you know, anything like that is going to be a sound effect. And it's just little elements to kind of enhance what's being said or to kind of create like an audio environment. And then music is just music. And it's usually going to be bed music, you don't want something with heavy drums and like crazy rock music, or even something with vocals, when you're picking out music, don't do vocals, because that sounds like two people talking at one time, and it's not good. So that's the difference between like the sound effects and the music. And with both of them, you want to make sure that they're not too loud or distracting. You also want to be really intentional, when you're selecting the sound effect or the music for it, to make sure that it's matching the tone of the podcast, and the promo. And then you also want to make sure that you have the rights to the music you you don't want to get sued. But there's plenty of options that are creative commons. Or you can buy music for one time. And it's going to serve a purpose for you. And we

Alban:

can leave a link in the description of this podcast. We have a big blog post on how to find royalty free music, and music that you can put in your podcast. So read that if you're looking for music, and you're not exactly sure how to set all that up.

Jordan:

So you've been listening to an awful lot of podcast promos lately, and what are the biggest mistakes that you have heard other podcasters make when creating their promo.

Alban:

So one that's pretty common is forgetting to put links to the podcasts listings themselves. So we might make a great promo and we talk and talk about the podcast and people think it sounds great. And maybe the call to action is just to go listen, it's a little bit harder for people when now they have to stop their app, go open the directory search as they're searching for the podcast and hope they remember the name. So much easier if you just include the links in the description along with the promo. So you can say hey, go down into the description and click the links to listen to this podcast. You probably want to include Apple podcasts and Spotify. Maybe Google podcasts or maybe some of the other directories where you could just put a link to your podcasts website if you have one. All those are great ways but have links to your show so that when you ask people to do something with a call to action, that they actually can go do it right away.

Jordan:

podcasters that run their promos with Buzzsprout ads don't have to worry about actually putting the links into Episode descriptions themselves, right? Well, we'll remind

Alban:

you, we'll say, Hey, give us the link to your apple listing and your Spotify listing. And then we will make sure that that's included in any podcast promos placed in that the links to those directories will be there as well. And the same goes for your podcast website. And kind of overthinking about the matching part actually getting into other podcasts that probably were the number two mistake I see quite a bit is. Don't just run your promo. In any podcast. It can be really tempting. I see this a lot with in our Facebook group or maybe on Twitter, somebody says like, Hey, I'd love to do a promo anybody interested. And then you get like a really healthy conversation between tons of podcasts are saying I would love to do promos, and people start matching up pretty quickly and say, Hey, let's swap promos. But there's a few things you want to be keeping in mind. One, the show needs to be similar to your size. So if I'm getting 100 downloads an episode and you're getting 12,000 downloads in Episode, you're going to put my promo in a single time and I'm going to put your promo in 112 times or whatever. Like at some point it becomes a little bit ridiculous to try to make it fair. So you want to be about the same size so you're not running ads for the same show. You're here. Yeah. Then the next thing you want to do is make sure they're actually in a similar category. So if you have that balloon animal podcast, and I have the stress relief for veterans, those are not going to be great to promo across. Nobody is really listening to one of those podcasts, probably thinking I want to listen to the other. But if you're a sports podcast, you could run a promo on another sports podcast, or maybe it are different types of business podcasts. So try to find something in a similar category as your show. And that's a great place for you to run the promo.

Jordan:

Those are both really great. Is there any more mistakes that could be avoided?

Alban:

The one we talked about earlier, like, this isn't a joke. Like you have to say the name of your podcast. Actually, when we were prepping for this, I tweeted was like, hey, promotion include this, this this, I started listing out everything and also what else? And then James Cridland from pod news was like, also the name of the podcast I looked at, I was like, There's no way I missed that. And then I look, and you did, it was not in my lists. So make sure you include the name of your podcast. And I really liked saying it twice, once at the beginning, once at the end, make it clear, like people want to listen to it. You don't want to end up like the fishing shop in Jacksonville that everyone knows it's great, but nobody knows the name of the shop. Jordan, have you ever heard of cutting hams law? No, I have not heard of that. There's not a law, like his scientific law. This is like,

Jordan:

Oh, I was wondering if it was like a lawyer thing?

Alban:

No, it's the adage that the best way to get the right answer on the internet is to not ask a question. It's just to say the wrong thing that people will correct you. I did not intend to accidentally leave off that name. But I know for a fact the minute that I did that I got such better feedback because it was like you. This guy obviously detailed. So you're making put it the name. And then once I had like a handful of people saying that, that everybody else was jumping in. One of the funniest versions of this I ever saw was somebody who was trying to teach yourself to program. And she was like, I used to ask questions, and nobody would help. And she was like, so now I go to read it. I asked my question. And then I get into my other account, and I answer with an obviously wrong answer. And she's like, and then everybody on the internet jumps in is like, oh, my gosh, you know, here's the right answer. I'd love to help it. Everyone's jumping in. She's like, I mean, it continues to work. So I guess just get out to keep going with this strategy.

Jordan:

That's an actual life hack, not just a podcasting one. Yeah, we

Alban:

will, we'll have to drop a link to Cunningham's law is one of the my favorite things.

Jordan:

I think it's one of my favorite things too now.

Alban:

So if you're making a promo, both for ads is a great way for you to get that promo out to the world. If you are interested in getting your promo into other podcasts without doing like promo swaps or trying to find people who would do it for you just one on one buzzsprout.com/ads You can set up your first promo. And for $100 you can get your podcast promo that you just recorded and edited and polished in front of 5000 new listeners.

Jordan:

Well, we've covered how to create a podcast promo with writing a script with recording, editing, polishing, and then all the mistakes that you want to make sure you do not make when creating your broadcast promo. So I think we have covered everything. And I thank you so much Alban for coming back on the show.

Alban:

Yeah, and thanks to everybody for listening. And if you want to run an ad, we'd love to hear about your experience with Buzzsprout ads. So I'm sure we can drop a link there as well. And maybe some videos in case you want to try that out.

Jordan:

And maybe stay tuned for the end of the episode, or our balloon animal podcast promo that we've made using these steps.

Alban:

We'll see if it's in there.

Jordan:

I hope this episode of Podcasting Q&A has been helpful to you. If you have a question you'd like us to answer on a future episode, go to podinbox.com/buzzsprout or click the link in the show notes to leave us an audio message and as always keep podcasting

Unknown:

If you're looking to blow up your balloon animal game, look no further than Not A Real Balloon Animal Podcast. Get tips from the masters, learn balloon animal safety from the experts, and hear personal stories from other enthusiasts about the life changing magic of balloon animals. Not A Real Balloon Animal Podcast, the only podcast that will make you the life of the party. Listen on your favorite podcast. crosstab

Intro
Guest Intro: Alban Brooke
How do you create a podcast promo?
Script it out
5 things to include
Recording the promo
Editing tips
Music & SFX
Mistakes to avoid
Buzzsprout Ads
Outro
Not A Real Balloon Animal Podcast Promo