Imagine you’re sitting in a cinema. You’re munching on warm, buttery popcorn, you’re sipping your favorite soda. The lights dim and one after another, enticing trailers begin to roll. With each one, you’re sucked into different tales of intrigue, treachery, drama, or adventure. But you’re never given enough to satisfy your curiosity! Before the main attraction has even begun, you’re already planning your next visit. That’s the power of a great trailer! Movie trailers have been an integral element of the entertainment industry, dating all the way back to 19131! They have become the tried and tested formula for intriguing audiences and building anticipation, compelling viewers to wait in line and see the latest attraction to grace the silver screen.
What if you could harness this formula for your podcast? Spoiler alert! You can!
Many moons ago, when Apple rolled out its 2017 iOS112 update, it introduced a nifty little 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. And while the required written description of your show does the job adequately enough ‒ and we know that the written word is great for search engine optimization ‒ a bite-sized audio sample of your show is just a little bit more tantalizing! And in the same way movie trailers have us queuing for the next attraction, your podcast trailer can help get listeners hooked on your show.
Benefits of a Podcast Trailer
A cleverly-crafted trailer gives your listeners a taste of what they could get access to if they subscribed to your podcast, and some of its most prominent benefits can be found in its marketing versatility and reach potential. First and foremost, 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 worth their limited time. But your trailer is not limited merely for use on podcast directories. You should also consider embedding your trailer in a prominent place on your website. That way, viewers of your website can be introduced to your podcast via listening to your trailer and follow that up with listening to your first episode, and your second, and third, and fourth – you get the idea!
But those are not the only ways to utilize your trailer! You could really get creative and turn the audio content of your trailer into an eye-catching audiogram that you can then splash across any of the social platforms you use. Software such as Headliner, Wavve, and Audiogram are easy-to-use programs that will have you creating professional audiograms for your podcast trailer in no time!
Not only are trailers a handy asset to your own show, but they can be used to promote your show to the listeners of other podcasts. This option does require a little research on your part, but it can pay off substantially in the long run! Scout around for shows within your niche whose audience aligns with yours, or even podcasts that your audience might listen to outside of your niche, and inquire if they would be willing to play your trailer on their show. You could also offer to reciprocate by playing their trailer on your show. It should be noted that some podcasts, particularly popular podcasts, may require payment in return for playing your trailer on their show. But this can be a worthwhile investment if it gets you access to their larger audience base. This is even more reason to ensure that your trailer is captivating, intriguing and of the highest quality in order to draw these new audience members in and get them subscribing to your show.
Pro Tip: A trailer for your podcast has benefits even if you haven’t yet launched your podcast and can actually greatly contribute to a successful launch! Our pro tip is to use your trailer as your submission to all the major podcast directories as your entry into getting your podcast approved and listed. This prevents any delays in your show’s launch as your approval will not be dependent on the recording and submission of your first episode in order to gain entry into the directories.
Tips For Creating a Terrific Trailer
We have some great tips and tricks for you as you set out to create your podcast trailer. First things first, you should think of your trailer as a highlight real, which features some of the best bits of your show. However, you also need to bear in mind that while your trailer should have some of your show’s best bits, it should not have ALL of your best bits. You need to strike a balance between intrigue and spoilers. There needs to still be some great parts for your listeners to discover as they listen to your episodes.
Even if you haven’t recorded any episodes, a trailer can still be useful. In this case, you can use your trailer to drum up interest in your show even before your first episode launches! Think about some of the segments you’re going to feature on your show, and creatively incorporate these into your trailer.
Remember, trailers are super versatile! While you can create a trailer for your overall show, or one for before you’ve even launched. If you’ve been in the podcasting game for a while, you could also create trailers for each season or series of your show. As each season or series often has its own flavor, the trailer could reflect that, and so help new listeners orientate themselves to all your show has in store for them!
Some Do’s and Don’ts of Podcast Trailers
There are also some nitty-gritty do’s and don’ts that you need to consider as you create your trailer.
Include the name of your show. This may sound obvious, so obvious, in fact, that it can 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.
Give a brief description of your show. Let your potential listeners in on what your show is about, and what they’ll get from tuning in to your podcast. This could be a straight-up 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.
State where your show can be found. This can be seen as your call to action. You must make sure that you let your potential listeners know where they can find your podcast, and what they should do when they do find it (Hint: SUBSCRIBE!) 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.
There are also some things you should avoid when creating your trailer.
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 no longer than 30 seconds.
Clog your trailer. This just means that 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!
Use your trailer for outside advertisements. You have a limited time within a trailer to promote your show, you should not waste precious minutes promoting something else! Your trailer needs to point listeners directly to your show and to all that you offer.
Make promises you can’t keep. 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. In other words, it doesn’t promise something grand and then deliver something bland! A great trailer is one that sets the show that follows up for success by allowing it to shine brighter. Too often, we get excited by trailers whose subsequent movies do not deliver on all that was promised. 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.
So just as the latest blockbuster gets us reeled in with their trailer, creating a trailer for your podcast is a great tool to get listeners hooked on your show too. Whether you’re creating interest pre-launch, or you’re wanting to use a trailer as a means to increase your audience base for your existing episodes, an exciting trailer is a great asset in your arsenal. Remember to include all the necessary details, but get creative in terms of how you deliver your message.
You don’t want to overload or bore your listeners with too much information, but you want to drum up the interest and the intrigue, compelling the listeners of your trailer to become loyal listeners of your show. So get that thinking cap on, create an awesome trailer, and broadcast it through cyberspace. Then keep creating that amazing content coming and giving listeners all they came for and so much more!
1. Hopes & Fears – http://www.hopesandfears.com/hopes/culture/film/214473-epic-history-movie-trailers-mad-max-independence-day
2. Omny Studio – https://blog.omnystudio.com/add-chapter-markers-to-your-podcast-with-omny-studio-4d61fea53159