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How to Create an Effective Podcast Trailer

All the way back in 2017 (ages ago, right!?), when Apple rolled out its 2017 iOS112 update, it introduced a game changing feature for podcasts – a space for podcasters to add enticing trailers that would be permanently pinned to the top of their episode list, easily accessible to all potential listeners. Spotify has since followed suit, making it possible for their podcasters to create and share trailers which are easily accessible to listeners. 

But why is this such a great feature?

Well, in the same way movie trailers have (had?) us queuing for the next attraction, your podcast trailer can help get listeners hooked on your show.

But I suppose the real question at the forefront of your mind right now is, “Trailers for movies are great and all, but do I really need one for my podcast?” Well, let’s explore that question, shall we?” In a segment we’d like to call…

The Top Benefits of a Podcast Trailer

  1. Trailers give listeners a taste of what they could get access to if they subscribed to your podcast.
  2. A great trailer can turn those who happen to stumble upon your podcast into loyal listeners as it helps show in a matter of seconds that your show is amazing.
  3. Your trailer can be used on any and all social media platforms as a way to promote your show to a wider audience. But your trailer is not limited merely for use on podcast directories. You can use it across all social platforms as a way to win over listeners.
  4. You can embed your trailer on your website so that your readers can be introduced to your podcast.
  5. You can turn your trailer into audiograms using sites like Headliner, Wavve, and Audiogram which can be used for even greater podcast promotion.  
  6. You can ask other podcast hosts within your niche or related niches to purchase ad spots where they play your trailer on their show, opening you up to an even bigger audience.

Related read: How To Use Podcast Audiograms To Engage Your Audience On Social Media

No doubt about it, trailers are a great asset in your podcasting arsenal! So without further ado, here are our top tips for creating a truly terrific – and effective! – podcast trailer.

1. State the Name of Your Podcast

Tip Number 1: State the name of your podcast. Yes, we know this may sound obvious. But it just might be so obvious that it may be overlooked! Remember that a podcast trailer has no visual aids to enhance the message, so it is important that you state the name of your podcast clearly at least twice in your trailer. 

Don’t take for granted that people will just know who you are based on what they hear in the trailer! You need to say your show’s name so that there is a direct mental link between that amazingly enticing trailer they just heard and you and your show. 

Related read: How To Find The Right Name For Your Podcast In 2021

2. Describe Your Show

Now this doesn’t have to be boring! Not at all! It’s not a bland mission statement you’re reading or a rehearsed, monotonous synopsis of your show. It’s you painting a mental picture in the minds of the listeners that compels them to find your podcast and follow it. Like yesterday! 

You therefore need to make sure that your trailer accurately describes your show. It must let your potential listeners in on what your show is about, and what they’ll get from tuning in to your podcast. 

Now, this could be a well-written and expertly delivered synopsis of your podcast, but you could also get creative in the way you share what your show is about. Take the lead from your audience. What are they going to respond to most readily? Cold-hard facts? Mystery and intrigue? A little comedy? Use this a starting point for the content of your trailer and create that bite-size masterpiece that appeals to your audience and aligns seamlessly with your show.

3. Describe Your Audience

Your podcast trailer should also make it clear who your podcast is for, who your target audience is. This doesn’t have to be explicitly stated. Actually, it’s probably better that you don’t say it explicitly. It’s far more effective if you create a trailer that strongly appeals to your intended audience.

You know your audience. And you know what it is that makes them tick, and, more importantly, what they are looking for. You can then use this fountain of knowledge to weave together a trailer that is something they cannot help but sit up and take notice of.

Use your trailer to show how your podcast answers the questions, addresses the issues, helps with the challenges, or is the source of entertainment they are looking for.

4. State Where Your Podcast can be Found

Your trailer also needs to state where your show can be found. This can be seen as your call to action. And this call to action should also include what listeners should do when they do find your podcast.

Hint: FOLLOW your show!

Your trailer should also mention any of the other platforms where listeners can connect and engage with you, whether that be your Instagram or Twitter handle, the name of your YouTube channel, or the URL of your website. Not only does this help your listeners know that you have a notable presence and are dedicated to your craft, but it also shows them that you have a whole variety of exciting content to share with them.

Related read: How And Where To Promote Your Podcast In 2021

5. Keep Context in Mind

This tip refers to podcast trailers that comprise of snippets and sneak peaks of upcoming episodes. If you want your trailer to be effective with this type of content, you’re going to need to keep context in mind as you put together the clips.

Some snippets may be fine following on from one another and not need any sort of context for the clips to be effective hooks. But some clips, while amazing when you know the context, may just make no sense when heard on their own without any insight.

You should also keep context in mind when you listen to the clips all spliced together. Without realizing it, a particular arrangement of clips may completely twist the meaning, or result in you “saying something” that you did not mean at all! (Yikes!) If you’re going to make this type of trailer, then be sure to listen to the clips carefully. Listen as if you’ve never heard the snippets before or have any inside knowledge as to the context of the clips. That way, you’ll ensure that you’re creating an effective trailer, not one that misleads, confuses, or even offends the listener.

6. Keep It Short

In other words, don’t make your trailer too long. You want to include a comprehensive description of your show, but you also don’t want your listeners tuning out because your trailer is just too lengthy. Aim to make your trailer between 30 seconds to one minute long. Somewhere in this ballpark gives you enough time to get all the important information across, as well as make it fun, entertaining, and engaging. But it also helps you steer well clear of “When will this end?!”

Remember, not only are trailers a great way to promote your new show or new season across your own social platforms, but they can also help expand your reach by having your amazing trailer appear on other podcasts. Requesting ad spots for your trailer on other popular podcasts that appeal to the same target audience as your show is definitely a winning strategy, but very few podcast hosts want to include long ad sections in their episodes! So by keeping your trailer between the 30 to 60 second timeframe, it may make it easier to book these spots!

7. Keep It Sweet

By this we simply mean don’t clog your trailer with unnecessary content. While it’s important for your trailer to contain solid information, you need to avoid giving your listeners an information overload! You want to whet their appetite and get them wanting more – you don’t want them to feel as if you’ve force-fed them all they can stomach!

Some simple ways to keep your trailer sweet is to make sure you include only the necessary information, the key highlights, and the most vital calls to action. You may be tempted to include all your greatest bits from all of your upcoming episodes, but when it comes to trailers, less is definitely more!

Have you ever watched a trailer for an upcoming film where it’s basically the entire movie? They’ve already shared all their funniest jokes, almost the entire plot, and – shockingly – even hinted at some major plot twists! Don’t do this with your podcast trailer! You don’t want to overplay your hand! You need to find that balance between enough enticing content to spark intrigue, but not enough to satisfy. 

8. Avoid “Clickbait” Content

Don’t make promises in your trailer that you don’t tend to, or can’t, keep in real life. This can feel “clickbaity” and will not win you any fans in the long run.

As much as trailers are meant to get you interested and invested in the main attraction, the secret to a great trailer is one that is an honest reflection of a show. An effective trailer is one that sets the show that follows up for success by allowing it to shine brighter. It doesn’t promise something and then fails to deliver.

Even though you’re seeking to grab the interest of your potential listeners, you need to be honest as to what your show is and what it seeks to do. For instance, if you interview guests on your show, you can’t hit that [insert big name in your niche here] is going to be on an upcoming episode (whether this is just implied or specifically stated) when you know full well that they are not. This will see you quickly losing all those listeners your trailer initially attracted, and worse, you may even lose the respect of your loyal audience.

9. Inject Personality

However you put your trailer together, whether it’s sneak peaks of some of your amazing episodes to come, or it’s something unique you’ve written and created to drive up the hype around the launch of your new show or your new season, an effective trailer is one that accurately reflects your show.

You need to inject your trailer with personality, namely, the personality of your podcast. A trailer has to feel like your show. It needs to accurately depict the tone of your show. It should be the perfect first taste of what tuning into your podcast will be like. 

The bottom line is that your trailer needs to feel like you. It needs to ring true to who you are and what your podcast is about. So be sure to let those creative juices flow freely to ensure that your trailer is as unique as you and your show are!

Related read: Best Practices To Overcome A Creative Block

10. Think About the Listeners

Above all, one of the best tips we can give you when it comes to creating effective trailers for your podcast is to simply think about your listeners. Let your knowledge of your audience be your voice of reason, your driving force, and allow it to guide your creative decisions. 

You should have a pretty good idea about what your target audience is looking for from their podcast listening. Use this knowledge to help you create the best trailer you possibly can. Let it showcase the tone of your show, but above all, let it showcase that your audience is important to you and that your podcast is here to serve them. Do this, and your trailer will be one of the best tools in your toolkit for reaching new listeners and growing your audience.

Closing Thoughts

Creating a trailer for your podcast is a great tool to get listeners hooked on your show. And one of the best things about podcast trailers is their versatility. They’re great for drumming up some hype and creating interest in your podcast pre-launch, and they’re perfect for expanding your audience base before the start of your next season. But trailers can even be used to help keep your audience excited about your show if you need to take a quick podcast break for whatever reason. 

We told you! Versatile!

Remember to include all the necessary details, keep it short and sweet, and inject some of your unique personality, and you’ll have one effective trailer! But most importantly, make sure that your podcast trailer reflects the tone, quality, and value of your show, and your trailer will garner you new listeners who will quickly become part of your loyal community.

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