Will Rice, host of Pro Voice Guy Podcast, has seen "podcast intros" from multiple angles. As an on-air radio personality and commercial voiceover actor, he's voiced hundreds of intros. As a producer, he's worked with clients develop and communicate their messages.
I asked Will for his thoughts on "podcast intros" and what podcasters can do to get the most from the people they hire for this kind of work.
What are the elements of a great podcast intro?
The main job of a podcast intro is to keep people listening. People only listen for a few seconds before they decide if they're going to keep listening, so you have just a few seconds to let people know what the podcast is about and what makes is unique.
An intro gives you a chance to set the tone. The delivery, the music, and the production values should give an overview of what people are about to hear and hopefully keep them listening.
When hiring voiceover talent, what can podcasters do to get the best results?
Start by thinking about you want the end result to sound like and accomplish. If you don't have any ideas, listen to some other podcasts and consider what you like and don't like about their intros. Save the links to what you like because you might want to share them with the voiceover or production person you eventually hire.
Next, find a voice that you feel fits what you're trying to do. I feel bad when people hire me and then ask me to do something my voice doesn't do. My demo (watch/listen below) does a pretty good job of showing my vocal range and delivery styles. Listen to demos to be sure you are getting what you want.
What direction needs to be provided when hiring voiceover talent?
Offer as much direction as you can. As far as direction on style and delivery goes, I like it when people send me examples of intros they like. I especially like when they send more than one. That way, I can listen to the commonalities and try to deliver something similar that the client will like.
Elements to include when giving direction to voiceover talent:
- Pronunciations of any words that may be difficult, especially names, places, slang, and abbreviations
- Recordings of foreign words
- Input on the speed and style (e.g. businesslike, friendly, cheery, etc) you want
- Delivery format (e.g. WAV, mp3, etc)
How much does a good voiceover cost?
Remember that you get what you pay for. Professional voice talent might charge as much as $300 for just the voice. That doesn't count the cost of adding music and producing the intro. I like helping podcasters succeed, so I offer podcast intros at a big discount.
Thoughts on Fiverr and "cheap voiceover" options...
Podcasters just starting are drawn to sites like Fiverr where you can get an intro for as little as $5. When you pay just $5, you're likely giving up something. Fortunately, there are a bunch of pros online who are either using sites like Fiverr to make a little extra cash or who have figured out how to pump intros out fast enough to make selling through that site worthwhile.
Before hiring somebody on Fiverr, or anywhere, listen carefully to demos and read a little about the person you're hiring. Doing a little work on the front end will dramatically improve your odds of getting what you want.
If you don't get exactly what you were looking for using a site like Fiverr, the good news is that you haven't invested a whole lot in the process. Serious podcasters might consider investing some more money and hiring a pro directly. When you pay a professional rate, you'll get someone who has the time to invest in creating something special for your podcast.