Why do I Need an Episode 0 for my Podcast?

Recently I got a question regarding creating an “episode 0” for your podcast – namely, “do I need an episode 0, and when should I do it?” The short answer is, you should do it as soon as you know you want to have a podcast. But let’s take a deeper look at Episode 0 and launching your podcast.

What is Episode 0?

First of all, what is an episode 0? Basically, it’s the very first episode in your podcast feed. Most people treat it as a show trailer, and cover the following talking points:

  • Name of the show
  • The host
  • What listeners can expect from the show
  • A very general time frame for launch
  • A call to subscribe (don’t miss the first episode!)

Hook them with a narrative

It should be a more structured narrative than that, but that information above should be included. Here’s an example from my show:

The trailer for How I Build It (my show)

Start with a Story

Much like a good talk, you should start with a story to hook the listener. It can be personal, or something from pop culture.

Once you hook them, tell them how it relates and the problem you’re trying to solve with the show. Then tell them who you are, and what they can expect.

Finally, tell them to subscribe wherever they listen to podcasts.

But WHY do You Need Episode 0?

The main reason you should put out an Episode 0 is because you need at least one published episode for podcast directories, like Apple Podcasts / iTunes, to accept your feed. And while most directories approve within a couple of days, you don’t want to have to delay your launch because your show isn’t approved yet.

Serving 2 Purposes

So Episode 0 really serves 2 purposes:

  1. Introduce your show to people in a trailer-like format to get them interested
  2. Ensure your podcast feed is approved by all the major directories before the official launch date, you can plan around your own time

So…When Should You Publish Episode 0?

I recommend you do things in this order, but it’s totally up to you:

  1. Determine your show topic and format
  2. Record a couple of episodes to see if you like podcasting
  3. Write a script for Episode 0 hitting everything above
  4. Record Episode 0 and publish it as soon as it’s edited

You’ll want to make sure you actually like podcasting before you officially announce your show. You don’t want to announce and never launch, so you want to make sure you’re ready with a couple of episodes. That said, you don’t want to announce too late and delay launch.

To be honest, it’s not as delicate a dance as I’m making it seem. The real take away is this: think about your show, what you want to say in Episode 0 to hook people and get them to subscribe, and record it.

What do you think?

Are you working on your own podcast? Have questions about recording an Episode 0? Let me know!

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