How to Make a Podcast Trailer
A podcast trailer is like a trailer for a movie. It’s a teaser designed to give a taste of what you’ll get. And of course the encouragement to give it a try. It’s designed to build anticipation.
Your trailer will likely be the first thing people will listen to. So it’s worth spending the time to actually make a trailer and make it good. How to do that?
In this post are important tips and key principles, along with some best practice podcast trailer examples (toward the end of the post.)
Podcast Trailer Tips
First off here’s some general advice on how to make your podcast trailer:
- Sell your strengths and make your case. Include what makes your podcast special. Why should people listen to it over other podcasts? What will they gain by tuning in?
- Give it the feel and flavour of your whole podcast show. Give it personality.
- Music can help you build mood and excitement.
- Don’t labour it and make it too long. Make it snappy.
- Try to think different. Make it different to others (especially those in your field.) The podcast market is noisy.
- Don’t worry if you don’t get this trailer perfect. You will probably be able to change later. Most hosting services will allow you to delete or change audio.
- Make sure you have follow-up episodes (three) ready to go and scheduled.
- Best not to say “coming soon” as your trailer will need to make sense later on after you’ve published episodes.
What should go in the trailer (content)
Now let’s get into the nitty gritty of what to put in your podcast trailer. The simplest starting point is the journalist’s questions of What, Who, When, Where and Why – to simply communicate the fundamentals of what your podcast is about. The final thing to pitch is what the marketers call a “call-to-action”.
Let’s break it down more …
What’s the name of your show! Obvious I know but make sure you include it. Also what is your show about? (This is where you can start building your strengths.)
Why are you doing this podcast? Why is it important? Why should people listen?
Who is the podcast for? What kind of people? What are they typically interested in? (You want to identify with your ideal target audience.)
How often can the listener expect to hear an episode? How often will you publish an episode?
Where can the listener expect to find your podcast?
Call to action
This is an action related to your show. Encouraging people to subscribe to your podcast is the most essential outcome you’d need. But you could also include your website.
How to compose your trailer (audio elements)
Podcast trailers should use the tools of your trade – these key audio elements:
- Voice over – covering the What, Who, When, Where, Why
- Short clips from episodes – best bits, (short, a few seconds long)
- Music – which could be the theme for your show
You’ll hear these things in the examples further below. You could also include sound effects (like the BBC Earth trailer below.)
What should be your podcast trailer length?
There is no fixed rule. Best to make it short. Some trailers are 30 to 60 seconds. You could make it longer e.g. 3 minutes but aim to make it compelling. Remember this is a teaser and should be designed to build anticipation.
Where you can use your trailer
Feed to distributors
Set up your trailer as your Episode Zero in your feed. Upload it to your hosting service and make sure you have submitted your host feed to key podcast distributors – like Apple, Spotify and Stitcher. (In an earlier lesson we’ve gone through how to do that.) Note that some distributors (e.g. Apple and Spotify) will also allow you to nominate an episode to be a trailer (via their dashboard.) This will pin the trailer to the top of your feed.
You can use the trailer as marketing material in other promotion places – like your social media platforms and your website.
Embed the trailer on your website. You should be able to pick up code for a media player from your host and drop it onto your site.
If you have contacts at other podcasts, you could see if they might give your new podcast a mention and include your trailer along with the mention – at the end of their podcast and even in their social media.
As you come up with new seasons you can adapt and update the trailer as you get down the track.
Some podcasters make a video of the trailer. Once you have a video of it you can post it to YouTube and other social media platforms. There are a few different ways you can do your video.
How to do a podcast trailer video
A video version is going to bring your trailer to life and give you great content you can use in places like social media, your website and youTube. Let’s start with some simple ways you can do this along with some examples. (While you’re there have a listen even from a straight audio point of view to these podcast trailers.)
Visual with sound wave
Your video trailer could be as simple as a still image with sound wave along with the audio – like this one from Vice –
Visuals with text
Or you could simply show text of the voices in your trailer in sync with your audio – like this one from Quartz –
Visuals with text and photos
This video from BBC Earth adds still photos to give the visuals some variety –
Footage of you interviewing guests
You could also get a videographer in to shoot a proper video for you. It could include footage of your guests and you interviewing guests. Like this podcast trailer from Gimlet and Ebay –
Of course the best podcasts tell a story. So why not tell a story in your podcast trailer? Here’s an example –
Each of these trailers is interesting in its own right – even simply for their audio. Have a listen without looking at the visuals. They are delivering on our key points – they are compelling and snappy. They get the essential information across and provide a call-to-action.
But you can also see see here how video adds another dimension.
If you want to see and hear more podcast trailer examples check my list –
This should provide you with some inspiration. There’s different styles here. And as I say, even the audio alone will help you imagine how you might do your own podcast trailer.
Got your own tips or examples of best practice? Let us know in the Comments.
Want to learn more about how to create your own podcast? We run a regular podcast training course – online and in Sydney.