My buddy Brett Johnson from Circle270Media started a discussion on LinkedIn about an article begging podcasters to stop the chit-chat at the start of their episodes and get to the program content more quickly. I’m in complete agreement. I don’t mind the host providing bit of context, a sponsor mention, etc. in the first minute or two — but many podcasters routinely fill the front of their episodes with redundant information and rambling off-the-cuff live read commercials that even radio stations would think were running too long. I’ve consistently clocked podcasts that take 10 to 20 minutes before starting an interview with their guest (the reason I was listening in the first place). A more creative and engaging way to start your podcast (or YouTube video or course video or Facebook Live, etc.) is to follow the format of blockbuster film releases and begin like Bond… James Bond.
Begin Like Bond
The movie character James Bond spans multiple generations and multiple actors. I think the actors who have played James Bond outnumber the actors who have played Batman (but I think it’s pretty close).
No matter which James Bond is “your” James Bond (cough-cough…Sean Connery…cough-cough) every Bond film begins right in the middle of an awesome action sequence that is essentially a mini-movie in its own right; there is a danger, villains, humor, and our heroic secret agent overcoming incredible odds to make an exciting escape — and this is all before the opening credits begin to roll!
When you begin like Bond you get your audience hooked from the open and set the stage for what is to come.
It’s not that “warming up” a podcast episode is bad — it’s that podcasters (who are mostly untrained in the art of what can make traditional on-air talent and programming work well) “don’t know what they don’t know”.
Podcasts that are new to me and I may be listening to for the first time probably hooked me with the text description of a topic or guest, but then lost me after I had to sit through 20-minutes of babble and blather — and then launched into another three minutes of clumsy, unrehearsed sponsor mentions. Sorry! You had your chance and now I am flipping the channel.
Start your podcast like the beginning of a James Bond movie
Immediately put your audience into the action. Create a mini-adventure that gives your listeners a sample of what they can expect for the rest of the show — all before you even roll your opening credits.
If you’re a podcaster who does interviews, launch right into the most interesting soundbite of the interview, then ask your guest a question you know your audience is dying to hear the answer to — THEN cut to a (quick!) opening credits scene of the episode details and guest intro (maybe a short 15-second sponsor tag).
Keep more of your audience by drawing them into the best parts of your show sooner!
Watch the fun and entertaining Bond scene below. If it hooks you, schedule sometime this weekend to watch a few Bond movies. Call it research.