We’re getting geeky today and breaking down each piece of a podcast episode, the order they go in, why each piece is valuable, and why you don’t need to include everything you hear on other podcasts. Tiff also explains the different format of a video episode versus audio episode.
In this episode Tiff and Christine break down each element of a podcast episode, its purpose, and things to consider as you build your episode format.
“Stick to a particular lane and make content for that lane.”Tiff Tyler
- (1:25) Bumper
- (4:46) Intro
- (6:30) Pre-roll ads
- (8:15) Main content and mid-roll ads
- (9:57) Outro
- (11:40) Post-roll ads
- (13:35) The elements of video podcasts
- (18:20) How to put together a trailer for video and audio
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- Tiff Tyler
- Christine Baird
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Transcription of this episode:
(auto-generated, please forgive typos)
Welcome to Think Like a Producer podcast. I’m your co-host Christine Baird.
And I’m your co-host Tiff Tyler. Being in the podcast industry, being in the content creation industry. This is what we learned, and this is how you can get out of your own way and get started.
You name it. We’ve probably done it. This podcast is about bringing all the wisdom to you. Tune in weekly, to learn how to think like a producer.
Fun bun. Okay. Welcome to a new episode of think like a producer, we are getting technical today in the best kind of a way. And we’re covering the actual elements of a podcast episode. So if you are in the thick of it with production or creating a show, you are no doubt figuring this out. Wait, how do I actually put an episode together? How, how many recordings do I need to actually make?
How does the music work? Do I have to have an intro? What’s an outro, where do ads fit in? This is what we’re talking about. So take some notes, feel free, or just look in the show notes. We’ve taken notes for you. Um, but this is really something we want to give you as a super solid resource that either you or your producer or your audio editor can visit as many times as you need to. And that you can really talk through. Okay. What makes the most sense for us? Because I’m going to outline a traditional element of each part of an episode, but you can kind of make it your own. You don’t have to do it this way. If you’ve listened to think like a producer for awhile, you know that Tiff and I will always tell you do what works for you.
There is not one way to do it. Here’s some guidelines, here’s some good ideas. Here’s some strategies. Ultimately you make the show that works for you. Okay? So starting at the beginning, the very first thing you typically hear when you push play on a podcast is what we call the bumper. And that’s that sort of jingle. That’s like an introduction to a podcast. So it usually includes music and voiceover from either the show host, or sometimes people hire an outside voiceover actor or talent. And it’s like welcome to the show. Here’s who we are. And it’s, you know, 10 to 30 seconds, 30 seconds is the long end, um, 10 seconds, you know, more standard. And so we call that the bumper because traditionally it’s placed at the beginning of every single episode. It’s the exact same piece of audio every time like prerecorded pre edited plug and play.
And that’s the introduction to the show, but we call it the bumper because oftentimes people then have a separate introduction custom to each episode. So this is traditionally how indie podcasts were made. And you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve listened to podcasts, you hear them on so many of all different formats and varieties. However, I’m gonna open your mind a little bit. I don’t think they’re essential. And this is kind of an evolution for me as a podcast editor and producer, the way I was trained and kind of the time I came up in podcasting, that was the way to have a professional show, like a great sounding bumper with awesome music and voiceover that included, you know, introducing the host and covering what the show in general was about. Like, it was essential. It’s like everyone has to have this. I don’t think that anymore.
Partly because I’ve heard a lot of really awesome shows that are, have a much more minimal style and they work really well and the person doesn’t have a bumper at all. Like literally no music, no, you know, repeatable re recorded intro. They just start the episode like, Hey guys, it’s John, welcome to the episode. This is what we’re talking about today. And I have actually found myself, you know, as time has evolved in different shows have evolved. I am a minimalist at heart. And so for a lot of shows, I really like that. So that’s kind of point number one, think about whether or not a traditional bumper makes sense for your show, if that fits your personality, if you love it. And you’re like, I’ve always wanted a podcast and I’ve always wanted to have a great sounding bumper because that’s what I think of, do it!
It’s really fun to make them, you know, I enjoy making them for all clients when I launched their shows, but it’s not essential. And that’s kind of something that I didn’t necessarily say until a couple years, years ago where I was like, you know, there is space for all types of shows and a bumper works for some and not for others. So a short bumper as well might literally be just like five seconds of music with welcome to blah, blah, blah show. I mean, that could be your bumper. It’s not like you have to introduce who you are and what the show’s about. That’s pretty traditional just because you always want to welcome a new listener into your space and let them know what the show is about. So a bumper is really designed for new listeners. Obviously if you’re a super fan of a show and you’ve listened to like a hundred of their episodes, you know, their bumper backwards and forwards and you might end up skipping it sometimes, which is fine.
But the idea of a bumper was to welcome new listeners with kind of a custom, you know, branded welcome. Okay. Part number one, bumper part, number two is the intro to your show. And this is a custom piece of audio. That’s different for every episode. You could either record it after you’ve recorded the episode before you’ve recorded the episode, or you can record it while you’re recording the episode. So a lot of people, and you can have I’m sure examples in your mind already, they just do one recording for an episode. So they hit record on the microphone, whether or not they have a guest on the line already. They’re like, Hey guys, welcome today. This is who I’m interviewing. This is what’s up. Here’s the announcements. It’s so great to see you. This is what we’re going to talk about. Thanks so much for all the love.
You know what I’m talking about. It’s kind of like a custom introduction. That’s time stamped. You know, obviously it’s relative to the time it was recorded, but it introduces this specific episode and what’s going to be covered. It oftentimes introduces the guest. If there’s a guest on the show and then for shows where there’s kind of a community management aspect, we call it housekeeping. It’s like, okay, here’s the big announcements. If you know, you want to hear me speak at this thing, here’s where you can get a ticket. Um, I’m doing a launch of this new book at this, you know, sign up here. That’s what we’re talking about. So that’s included in the intro and you can record that after you’ve recorded an episode before or during, um, you know, depending on the format of your show and whether you want to make your guests sit and listen to you, sometimes it doesn’t matter and it’s fine.
And sometimes, you know, certain people are like, no, I’ll do that totally separate. I don’t want to, you know, take their time, making them sit and listen to me, introduce them. So you get to make the decision. There’s not a right or wrong with that. So we’ve got our bumper. We’ve got our intro now is where ads come in. And again, this may be totally irrelevant if you don’t have sponsored ads on your show, but if you do, or if that’s a goal of yours to build up a show, that’s supported a lot by sponsored ads. This is kind of the point in the show where you would sort of drop your first ad. These are called pre-roll ads. So not to get too geeky into podcast ad tech because it is a burgeoning field that has updates constantly. And we’ll do a whole separate episode sometime about podcast advertising to kind of peel back the layer of how this works, but traditionally a pre-roll ad played before the actual main content of the episode.
So sometime between people hitting play and the actual episode content starting there would be an ad break. And this would be, you know, where you would insert the ad, whether you read the ad or you had an ad that was given to you by the company that just plays, you would put that somewhere between your intro and the main content. Now, as you know, if you’ve listened to podcasts, ads show up at all different points during a podcast, sometimes ads are the very first thing you hear when you push play. Sometimes it happens immediately after the bumper. Sometimes it happens after the introduction. It can happen during the episode. It can happen when the episode ends, we’re going to cover that in a more ad focused episode. I’m thinking like a producer, but traditionally a pre-roll ad would play between the intro and the actual main content.
So I’m just putting that in there. If you’re trying to think up how the format of your show would work in your planning on doing advertising, that’s a traditional place for a pre-roll ad. Okay. Now we are onto the main content. So we’re kind of on element number four, we’ve got our bumper, we’ve got our intro, we’ve got our pre-roll ads. Now we’re on our main content. And this is either going to be the interview with the guest. It’s going to be you speaking into the microphone, delivering the content of the episode, whether you are solo hosting or co-hosting, or you’re doing like a listener call-in show, or you’re telling the story, whatever the episode is actually about, here’s where you drop it. And that goes for as long as it goes for you decide, we just did an episode on think like a producer about the format of podcasts.
So you can kind of figure out what makes sense. So feel free to go listen to that episode. If that’s something you’re still trying to navigate, we have some good tips, but that’s where you do your episode. And as I mentioned earlier, the only thing that might break up that main content is if you decide to do what’s called a mid-roll ad, which is where you’d actually take a break from the main content drop in an ad again, and you could be read by you or, you know, you bought something from a company where they had prerecorded it, and then you keep going with the main content mid-roll ads, just as an FYI are the most expensive, like you can charge the most for them because they’re literally breaking up your content and most likely to be listened to. As you know, if you listen to podcasts, they’re also the most disruptive.
So that’s totally a call. You get to make whether or not you would run mid-roll ads. And we’ll get into this more in an advertising focused episode, but that’s just to keep in mind, if you’re doing mid-roll ads, they would appear during your main content. Okay? You finished your episode, you have all the beautiful wrap-up with your guests. Are you going to hit your climactic final thought? And you’re done with your main content. Now you go into what we call your outro. Again, this can record seamlessly with your episode, or you can record it after you record the episode, or you could record it before you record your episode. It doesn’t matter when you record this, like do what works for you, but this is essentially where you transition out of the content and you kind of do your wrap up. So thank you so much for listening.
Leave a review on Apple podcasts. If you want more subscribe to the email, you know, whatever the call to actions are that you want to make sure your listeners do before they hop off the podcast that day, this is where you do it. And you’re going to have a standard outro that just plays the same on every single episode. Like that’s what we do. I’m thinking like a producer, because you might have the same call to action for every episode, leave us a rating and review and learn more about blah, blah, blah. Here. You might do a custom outro for every episode. You might do a wrap-up like, wow, guys, that interview is mindblowing. John said, blah, blah, blah. I loved it. Um, if you want to know more about him, go here. Uh, after the conversation ended, we had a follow-up and he mentioned, he’s going to give away X number of books to you guys.
So here’s how to get them. This is like housekeeping on the back end of the episode. And again, it totally depends on your show, whether or not you would include that or customize it or not customize it. We’ve got our outro. You can include music or not. I think musical transitions are nice, but they’re not essential. And then the very last thing might be, he might your show once the outro ends, that might be it. But if you decide to run ads at the end of your episode, these are called post roll ads. This is where you would drop in the ad. Once the outro finishes, the music fades down. If you have music, then you would include a post-roll ad. Um, these are obviously the least effective ads because it’s the least likely people are listening to them. So they would kind of command the cheapest price.
But if you’re doing poster ads, that’s where they’d be. Okay. So we have seven elements in that wrap up. It is not essential that you have all those elements, like I said, but we really wanted to break it down because when you get into the thick of audio, editing your show, these are the questions that come up. Whether it’s you editing or your producer or your audio editor, these are the questions they’re going to ask. Well, what do you want in the episode? Do you want ads to play here? Here, here, do you want a bumper? Do you want to do a custom intro? Do you want to do a custom outro? Do you want to do like a uniform intro, uniform outro? Hopefully this has shined a light on the actual process of putting together an episode so that you can understand when you’re recording.
Okay. I need you to record an intro, but I don’t need to record an outro. Cause we’ve got that handled. We did at one time, we’re using it the same or you know what? I don’t want a bumper. That’s not my style. So that means I need to make sure that at the beginning of every episode in my intro, I actually introduce who I am and what the show is. You know, it could be a one-liner like, hi, I’m Christine. Welcome to think like a producer where we teach you the basics of podcast production, but you would want to include that at the beginning of your episode, if you weren’t doing a bumper so that any new listener got it, you know, they’re not like who’s random person. K. That was my little Tiff gave me the reins. She’s like, take it away. Just tell the people how it works. But obviously this was a hundred percent focused on audio podcasts. So we’re going to do a little bonus here. Tiff, tell us what people should think about. If they’re trying to put together video podcast episodes, what are the elements that they need to consider?
It’s a little bit reversed, but kind of the same elements are in here. So what we do for our podcast, I do a kind of like an intro. It’s either super funny with a blooper or it’s something that’s pulled from the main content. And it’s like maybe five to 10 seconds of like a preview of what people are going to get. So, and Christine talked about that custom intro for each episode, it’s usually a custom intro. And then I play our bumper, which is just like, we think like a producer little theme song that we have and just the artwork of the show. And I do my best to get us into the episode by the 15 second Mark. I don’t really want to delay anything by having a super long intro or a super long bumper, but it’s a different way of thinking of it.
Also, I’m going to blow everybody’s mind right now. You can have a YouTube channel without having a podcast, right? So when we talk about ads, if you’ve noticed on some YouTube videos, especially tutorials, they’ll actually start right after they kind of get into the episode. They’ll start saying this video is sponsored by sometimes the entire episode or entire like video of what they’re doing could be sponsored by one sponsor and they have to mention it. And it could be that they kind of go through it for like a 10, 15 seconds of what the service is or what the product is. And, you know, thank you for sponsoring the show and then get right into it. If you have a podcast like audio cast and a video version on your YouTube, it could be the exact same way. Like you might have to ha have the ad do the exact same thing, or it could be a totally separate deal.
You can have that sponsor just supporting the audio and not the video. It could be a different sponsor and no sponsor at all. So I just want to make sure that we’re bringing that up because Christine and I are getting cool opportunities to talk to people about the difference between audio and video ads. This is where it really becomes a little bit different. The cool thing about video is that when it comes to some of these calls to action that Christine talked about on the outro, I don’t have to wait all the way until the outro to use them. We’ve got these nice little I’m gonna have it pop up right here. We’ll we’ll subscribe, motion graphics that we have that kind of play through out the episode. So it has our subscribed to YouTube. It has our subscribed to Apple podcasts kind of going all the way throughout.
And I just try to bring it in, you know, just in random moments, you know, it has that nice little click and everything. So it’s a nice little audio feature there, um, to just kind of wake people up or, you know, kind of bring their attention back if they happen to be multitasking instead of paying close, close attention to these amazing episodes that we’re making. Um, but yes. So when you think about the outro, the call to action in the video, you can pretty much place those throughout. You don’t want to be too annoying necessarily, and have it goal so much that people are like, I can’t even hear what you’re saying, or man that subscribe button comes up so much. You just want to have it in there in a nice, a nice amount that doesn’t feel like you’re overselling, but you are having that call to action.
Of course you have the main content like Christine talked about, and this is what she also referred to. We have that whole length conversation, um, in a different episode. But, you know, I would say I get this question a lot. If you’re going to choose 20 minutes or a 30 minute episode or anything on your YouTube channel, stick to that length, don’t go over it. Don’t try to have a 30 minute episode and then an hour and a half long episode on your YouTube channel. You really want to stick to a particular length, um, and keep that main content, uh, you know, within that length. So that’s a little bit of a bonus technically for both episodes. And yeah, and then, like I said, the ads can be built in, like I talked about, the episode could be sponsored or YouTube has, if you have over 10,000 subscribers and you’re actually able to monetize your YouTube as you can choose where the ads come in and they will just pretty much play through, right?
Like it’s not something where you have to make the ad and put it in there and like that you don’t have to do like a custom, um, ad read. Like you might have to do an audio podcast, but you can choose where it comes in. And some people have been so strategic and then it’s so well, they’ll leave, they’ll have the ad come in, right. When they go, the best thing is, and then boom, the ad plays and you like, you want to see the next piece of it. So they they’re really strategic about where they leave those little cliffhangers. Um, and then also, you know, as complain the very beginning or the very end on YouTube and then for the end where Christine talked about the outro, there’s this end screen. So it’s like the last 20 seconds of the video. And that’s where you can put in directly from YouTube.
Like it has a category. Um, when you’re editing, when you’re sort of adding your description, your title, you add your end screen, and it’s a nice little virtual button for people to subscribe for people to see other episodes that you have, that they can go and watch more playlists or watch more of your show. Um, so what we do is we have like, we record kind of like a custom end screen, what, whatever we think is going to be the best next episode for people to watch. So instead of having a pre-recorded one that we play at the end of every episode, we do our best to make sure that we’re guiding them along. So act, listen to this episode, knowing that, you know, the next step we would recommend, we do it custom for each outro is throwing that out there because a lot of people don’t pay attention to the last 20 seconds of their YouTube videos.
And they ended up putting the subscribe button on their own faces or like covering up, you know, their body or something because they want people to go click over the next episode. But they haven’t thought about actually having that call to action and last 20 seconds and having enough space on the screen so that people don’t block themselves. That would be kind of like the equivalent to the outro on the audio version. I said that because the, all the elements are there technically for the yeah, audio podcast is just as it is for the video version, but it can just play in a different order. And it’s just something else to think about. And what we talk about all the time, we do not edit our episodes the same way. Christine is the mastermind on the audio. I do some fun things with the video.
So we have to think about these elements and the order in a different kind of context, but that would be the bonus for the YouTube. And then for the trailer, I’m going to talk about the video version of the trailer. And I’ll let you talk about the audio version of the trailer, Christine, but our video trailer home is very short. It’s like, I think we actually have like a four minute version when we first did it. And then we did like a two minute version, but we basically use it in two ways. We use it for our YouTube channel. So people know what they’re getting. It’s prerecorded. We’re trying to give them an overview of the show on what to expect for the next video that they watch. But we also use it for our website, which I recommend to people to have a nice, cool little welcome that people can get an overview of what they’re getting, but it’s nice to have that video element in case people just want to listen to the audio, but being able to see our faces, know what we look like. And then if they just on the audio version of the podcast, they can at least get an idea of who’s talking and what we look like. So our, our YouTube trailers use to give people an overall concept on youth, the YouTube channel, and also on our website, but the audio trailer’s a little different. So Christine wants to talk about that.
Okay. Audio trailers for audio podcasts only really came about, uh, two, three years ago when Apple podcasts rolled out the ability to tag an episode as a trailer, which was awesome because now you can record a short little mini episode. Essentially. I usually say, keep it under two minutes and it works just like a video trailer. Like you would see for an upcoming movie or TV show, but it’s audio and you get to introduce yourself and the show and the concept and why you’re doing it and what to expect. And there’s all kinds of different ways to cut an audio trailer. It depends on how much you’ve prerecorded, whether you want to give people a preview of episodes to come. So you include a little audio bites, little snippets of episodes if you’ve already recorded. Some, it depends totally on the style of your show, whether you want to do a different trailer for every season of your episode of your podcast, because you’re doing a different theme for every season, or maybe you just have one trailer for the whole show for every season, because you’re doing the same thing every season.
But that is a separate little standalone episode that you Mark as a trailer when you upload your file into your hosting service. And there’s an ability it’s like, is it a trailer? Is it’s a full episode, it’s a bonus episode. So you’d Mark it as a trailer. And that lives quote unquote at the top of your feed, meaning every new listener who finds your show on any app should be able to see that episode right at the top, no matter what, you know, when you published it, versus what episode you’re on. And it will say trailer. And usually I label my trailers, welcome to the name of the show. So people know, and they can see it’s like two minutes, you know, you can put some fun music underneath, you don’t have to, but it’s a fun way to welcome people into your episode, into your podcast and let people know, Oh, Hey, here’s, what’s going on.
Essentially is an ability for you to orally. Let them know this is why it’s worth subscribing and checking out the show. So just a little side note bonus, because trailers have a slightly different format than regular episodes. You Mark them separately. And we just wanted to specify that if you’re wondering, like how does the trailer fit into this whole thing? Okay. Hopefully this was helpful. We broke down some technical pieces. Hopefully we gave you some good food for thought. And more than anything we wanted to give you permission to feel confident, to put the elements of an episode together in the way that makes sense for you. Now, if you have any questions, you are welcome to hit us up on Instagram, just DM us at think like a producer, feel free to leave a comment on worthwhile media.com on the show notes. You can email us. There’s a lot of ways, but we’re happy to go deeper on this. If you have more. Um, and of course, we’re going to ask you to leave a review of this podcast on Apple podcasts. It makes a huge difference in how people discover the show, whether they think it’s legitimate social proof. So thank you so much for listening. Please subscribe, video, audio, wherever you’d like. And we’ll see you on the next episode.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Think Like a Producer. This has been a Worthfull Media production. Massive thanks to our team who makes the show possible. Worthfull Media for audio editing, Jorge and Veronica from Mosaico Productions for video editing and effects and Amela Subasic for our amazing artwork and graphics.
If you want to learn more about how to market, monetize, and grow your podcast, we have a membership group where you can get more access to us and feedback on your show. As a special bonus, you get free access to Christine’s DIY, do it yourself, podcast course when you join the group. Check the link in the show notes for more information.