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Podcasts doing it right series: the podcast intro: Steven Bartlett's The Diary of a CEO

A Case Study of the Best Podcast Intro: Steven Bartlett’s The Diary of a CEO

We’re super excited to start a brand new blog series on the Podcast Digest which we’re calling “Podcasts Doing It Right!” In this series, we’re going to be breaking down the whole podcast process. And we’re going to be doing case studies of podcasts that we feel are hitting that element of the podcast process out of the park. And for our first edition, we’re going to be tackling podcast intros. And in our humble opinion, no one does the podcast intro better than Steven Bartlett and his podcast, The Diary of a CEO. (DOAC)

Everything starts with an introduction. And when it comes to creating a successful podcast, a well-crafted podcast introduction sets the tone, engages the audience, and prepares them for the journey ahead. And The Diary of a CEO just does this so well.

And we’re going to dive into all of this in this first post of the series.

Understanding the Power of Podcast Intros

But before we dissect why the intros of The Diary of a CEO are some of the best (if not the best) in the biz, let’s unpack the significance of podcast introductions, and why they’re such a key part of the podcast episode.

Although, often not given the attention and thought they need or deserve.

First up, the podcast intro serves as the gateway to the episode. It’s how you can capture your listeners’ attention right from the very beginning of your episode. And it’s also how you will entice those tuning in for the first time to stay. In other words, a well-crafted podcast intro not only introduces the host and show overall to the listeners and helps build the anticipation for what’s to follow, but it also helps establish that all-important connection with your audience.

So, podcast intros are pretty important. But the key is getting them right. And as we’ve said, there’s no podcast that does it quite as well as The Diary of a CEO.

These intros are masterfully crafted to captivate listeners from the get-go. Obviously, Steven Bartlett is an expert interviewer. And this is the reason why we keep returning to his podcast episode after episode.

But it’s his intros that really helped propel the popularity of his podcast.

So let’s break down why his intros are so effective, so you can create amazing podcast intros for your show, too.

A Case Study on the Podcast Intro Featuring The Diary of a CEO by Steven Bartlett.

Steven Bartlett The Diary of a CEO podcast intros

1. Intrigue and Anticipation

The number one tactic used in the intros of each episode of DOAC is intrigue and anticipation. 

Just take a listen to the beginning of this episode featuring best-selling author Robert Greene. (You’re going to want to listen to the whole episode right here, right now. And that’s totally cool – just come back and finish the post afterward, okay? So that the next time someone hears YOUR podcast intro, it has the exact same effect!)

I picked this episode because it was the latest at the time of writing this post, but really, I could have picked any episode – all the principles we’re going to be talking about today feature in every one of these podcast intros.

But first and foremost, Steven Bartlett’s podcast intros grab our attention through the use of intrigue and the building of anticipation. The clips that are picked for the intro feature some of the best takeaways, insights, or shocking moments from the interview. But we only get a partial view of these. And this is so key for getting us hooked!

What will I be able to detect?

Just what is the common sign of a frenemy?

I don’t know about you, but now I’m invested and I want to know!

And that, my friends, is the hallmark of a great podcast intro.

But that’s not the only reason why DOAC absolutely nails the podcast intro.

Now let’s move on to the next element of great podcast intros.

2. Audience Knowledge

Pure and simple, Steven Bartlett knows what his audience wants. Of course, he picks incredible guests who are experts in their vast array of fields. Some are controversial. Some are risky. 

And as his audience, we want to hear it all.

But more than booking great guests, DOAC showcases their audience knowledge by the way they set up their intros. They know the best insights, the key takeaways, or perhaps the most shocking or jaw-dropping moments from the interviews, they know these are the moments we’re going to want to know more about. And so they expertly weave snippets of these into the podcast intro.

If we’ve said it once we’ve said it (probably) 1,000 times – taking the time to really know your audience will always, always, be worth it on your journey to long-term podcast success.

And when it comes to crafting stand-out podcast intros, this proves true once again.

3. Compelling Storytelling

The intros of The Diary of a CEO understand the power of compelling storytelling. At first listen, it may seem that Steven Bartlett’s intros are just a collection of random outtakes. But really, they’re carefully chosen and carefully cut to create a compelling narrative.

The intros are always engaging – whether they leave cliffhangers or only give you half of the full picture. But they’re never jumbled. There’s always a clear narrative that arcs the intro. 

And by framing the episode within a narrative arc, he hooks us as the audience and keeps us invested in the journey ahead.

This brings us to the next element every podcast intro of DOAC uses…

4. Clear Narrative

Something else that DOAC does exceptionally well in their intros is creating a clear narrative. Even though he’s just sharing snippets or hot takes in the intro, there’s a clear arc of where the episode is going. 

Why is this so effective in a podcast intro?

Because it paints a great overview of the episode and it sets our expectations sky-high. 

Through the use of some of the most intriguing snippets, takeaways, or some out-of-context insights from throughout the episode, we get a pretty good idea of where the episode is going…and we also we want to go along for the ride!

5. Emotional Impact

Emotions play a pivotal role in Steven Bartlett’s podcast intros. Whether it’s eliciting connection to the topic, creating intrigue, or even going in with the shock factor, his intros are consistently eliciting some kind of emotional response from us as the listeners. 

And utilizing emotional responses in an intro is incredibly effective because it heightens your level of investment. Whether the emotions the intro invoked were good, bad, or a weird mix of the two, you’re now invested in the process of unpacking these emotions, ie, listening to the episode. 

6. Concise and Punchy

Despite hinting at some seriously big topics or thoughts during its intros, another reason why the podcast intros of DOAC are so effective is because they’re also concise and super punchy. If you take a listen to any of the intros on Steven Bartlett’s podcast, you’ll notice there’s one massive statement after the other in pretty quick succession!

And that’s an amazingly effective tactic for grabbing our attention! Just while you’re processing that first major bomb, you’re hit with another.

And another.

And possibly, another!

And all this does is get you primed and ready to listen to the whole episode. Because now you need the context, the advice, and the amazing insight that’s going to accompany those punchy statements.

Pulling some of your key stand-out moments from an episode, or using parts of those hot takes your guest dished up, and stacking them up back-to-back is another way to amp up your podcast intro and keep your listeners hooked on your show! 

7. Visual Attention Grab

Last but not least, there’s a visual element to the success of The Diary of a CEO’s intro. Besides creating an effective audio hook, take a look at how DOAC effectively uses visual elements to grab the attention of us as viewers.

the power of the podcast intro

I don’t know about you, but I’m tempted to stop writing RIGHT NOW and check out any and all of those episodes shown above! They’re super attention-grabbing, right? Wouldn’t it be amazing if this was your podcast we were talking about? Well, follow Steven Bartlett’s example and incorporate some attention-grabbing visuals, and it could be!

Now, you may not have a video podcast, but you can still use this element to your podcast’s advantage. As we always say, your podcast is a brand, and you have to treat it as such when it comes to marketing and promoting your podcast.

So take a page out of the DOAC’s playbook and create visuals that grab the attention of viewers on whatever platforms you’re using to promote your podcast. Create images, audiograms, or videograms, use a variety of the tactics we’ve mentioned above, and your visual elements will stop the scroll, get more eyes on your content, and more ears on your podcast!

Related read: The Most Effective Ways to Promote a Podcast

Conclusion on the Podcast Intro

Steven Bartlett’s “Diary of a CEO” really nails the podcast intro. IMHO, there are very few podcasts that do it better. 

But by using DOAC as a case study, any podcaster can learn the effective techniques for crafting intros that captivate audiences and set the stage for a compelling listening experience.

Bottom line? Podcast intros are a vital part of your podcast episode. And they could be the key to expanding your reach and achieving podcast success. 

So put the time into studying those doing the podcast intro well, and use this to craft stand-out intros for your own show!

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