Simple tips and tricks for content and basic equipment
What is a podcast trailer and why do you need one?
Recording a podcast trailer boosts the discoverability of your show and gives you the opportunity to hook new listeners by giving them a sneak preview. Think of this as your elevator pitch of your podcast concept. This grabs their attention and convinces them to listen to your series. This is your chance to tell listeners about you, to tell your story and reach out to new listeners. As a podcast listener, trailers are a great way to test the sound, feel and content of a podcast to see if you will like it or not, before committing to an episode.
How do I record it?
If you have a good phone with a good quality mic then you can just use your phone to record the voice work. Otherwise you can either use a podcasting app (again either from your phone or computer device) and record your voice directly into the app, or you can use an external microphone (either attached to your device or to a separate audio recorder).
However you choose to capture your audio it is really important to:
1: Be in a quiet place, no background noises or hubbub to distract you or to make your audio difficult to hear. Even if you will use audio editing software to clean up your recording, it is really hard to edit noises that happen over your own voice, as they can become distorted. So it is much better to have a clean and clear recording, you can always add in some background atmosphere later.
2: Be sitting comfortably, on a non-creaking chair or table.
3: Have your text (this can be either notes or a script) in front of you or on the screen.
4: Do a couple of practise rounds so you sound fluid and natural. Don’t try to sound monotone, or over rehearsed like you are in a pantomime, as this will be really boring and annoying to listen to.
5: Don’t put your mouth too close to the microphone, no one wants to hear swallowing or lip or tongue sucking sounds!
6: Don’t speak to fast otherwise you will trip up on words or run out of breath half way through a sentence. You don’t want to sound like you’re speaking klingon. Try to make your sentences have a patter to them, and end each sentence on a different note, again so it doesn’t sound like you’ve descended into cockney rhyming slang.
6: Record a couple of takes and select the best one with a nice rhythm and clear pronunciation of the words.
Where can I find background music?
Depending on the theme of your podcast you may wish to include some background music or sounds to link your podcast trailer to the rest of the series. You can find background music in these and other sound archive sites:
Free Music Archive: is an incredible resource of free music. Once you’ve found a track you like, find out what kind of licence it has, so you know how to credit it and where you’re allowed to share it.
Bensound: Access to a selection of free to download tracks (you must credit bensound.com) and check how you are allowed to share it, otherwise tracks are available for purchase (start at €34) or as part of an annual subscription €139/Year.
Filmmusic.io: another free resource, but again please check the licence and credits.
Pond5: track prices start from £21 per clip if you have a free account
Epidemic sounds: 30 day free trial, then prices from £79 per track
Audio network: subscription based from £49 per month, or single track from £6.99
Audiojungle: Single track purchase from as low as $5. Or you can subscribe to EnvatoElements (parent company) for €14.50/m for free downloads
All of these sites are royalty free. This means you just need to pay for rights to use the track once per end product. You don’t need to pay additional or ongoing fees for each person who sees or uses it.
Also you may wish to include snippets from pre-recorded podcasts highlighting interesting guests, topics or quotes to help bring an extra dimension to your trailer.
What information do I need to include in my podcast trailer?
1: Aim for your podcast trailer to be approx 1 minute long.
2: Short, focused and feels like you.
3: Explain the message of your show concisely.
4: Tell your story. Listers want to know who they are listening to, your motivations for starting the podcast, why it’s important to you. This helps make you distinctive to other podcasts who might be talking about similar topics.
5: Quick overview of show and format e.g. is it every day, week, or month. How long is each show, maybe if it is daily it’s only 5–10mins. Is it an interview panel with experts or celebrities, or a one person talk show, panel discussions, or reportage/documentary style?
6: It must make sense after you start publishing episodes. This is a stand alone trailer which sits on top of your podcast series as an introduction.
7: Sell your strengths and make your case to new listeners.
8: Why should they listen to you over others and what will they gain by tuning in.
9: Always finish with a clear call to action (CTA) e.g. Follow us to find our latest episodes in your listening queue, review us or click a rating.
How do I edit my trailer?
If you feel like your trailer needs a bit of cleaning up, cutting or you’d like to add some intro/outro music to it then you may need to put it through an editing tool. Here are some podcast audio editing tools you might like to investigate to edit your podcast recording:
- GarageBand: if you own a Mac, then you own GarageBand. If you can use it to make and edit music, you can use it to make and edit podcasts. Free with macs
- Audacity: is an easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder. Free and open source and has everything you need to start podcast editing. Free
- Pro Tools: it has every possible tool imaginable for recording, editing, and mastering your audio. But comes a heavy price tag. £249.00 1-Year Subscription
- Descript: is a collaborative audio/video editor that works like a doc. It includes transcription, a screen recorder, publishing, full multitrack editing, and some mind-bendingly useful AI tools. Free and paid versions starting from $12/mo
- Adobe Audition: comes with everything you need, but best purchased as part of the Adobe suite so you can link it up to the Adobe ecosystem can create audiograms in After Effects. £19.97/mo
How do I put it onto podcast aggregators?
Many podcast aggregator sites will have an option to say indicate whether this recording is a trailer or not. Click that option and it will show up as a trailer. On other sites you may not have this option so you may need to manually move the position of the trailer to where you want it. Also on sites such as Spotify they also have a tool where you can assign a recording as a trailer.