The success or failure of your podcast ultimately boils down to your ability to get people to click “play” on your episodes.
And while there’s a lot that goes into getting (and keeping) people listening, the majority of the battle is won or lost within the first few seconds of a potential (or existing) listener coming into contact with an episode.
I think of this phase of a podcast episode’s marketing as “Running the Gauntlet”.
To give your episodes the best chance at making through and earning the play, I recommend building your podcast episodes around what I call The 4 Hooks Framework.
The 4 Hooks Framework
The 4 Hooks Framework is designed to address potential podcast listeners at each of the 4 primary decision points while assessing a new episode.
The goal at each point is to entice them to take just one step further down the rabbit hole that will ultimately lead them to listening.
The 4 Hooks are as follows:
- Title – There are two simple and straightforward jobs of every podcast episode title:
- Grab the listener’s attention.
- Create enough curiosity for them to click through to learn more.
- Episode Description – The description should build on the title, providing more context & relevancy to convince the ideal listener that this will be worth their time while building the intrigue by introducing (or upping) the stakes of the episode.
- First Minute – A podcast episode’s first minute should immediately affirm a listener’s decision to click play by pulling them straight into content that is worth their time. Usually this is best achieved through a narrated intro that builds on the title and description to introduce the episode’s central point of tension and why it matters.
- First Question – For interview podcasts, the first question should jump straight into juicy territory. A unique and compelling first question sets the tone for the audience and the guest that this is a podcast that doesn’t waste their time and that has been thoughtfully and intentionally constructed.
Nailing each of these hooks for each and every episode you produce is no easy task.
But if you’re serious about growing your podcast, you should be spending as much time on these four elements as the rest of the episode combined.
Over time, you can earn the benefit of the doubt from long-term listeners who will listen to anything and everything you produce.
But before they get to that point, you’ll need to first win them over dozens of times with each new episode you release.
The 4 Hooks will help you do just that.