Podcast tech is changing all the time, so we shouldn't be surprised when Apple makes a change (unannounced, as is often the case).
What's the latest change?
Apple's newest version of the iOS app (14.5 update) is now MISSING the "Subscribe" button. It also has no "Follow" button (which we've previously thought was coming).
What users will see now when they click into a podcast they are considering is a button that says "Latest Episode."
...what happens? It plays the LAST 60 SECONDS of your most recent episode.
Did you get that?
Your MOST RECENT episode is going to be the Costco Sample for potential listeners. That's a big deal.
It's easier for listeners to check out your show than ever before... but Apple is DICTATING how they do that... through the most recent episode.
So you should consider if what you're doing during that first 60 seconds is...
If it's not, this is a good time to make a change.
What kind of change might you make?
START WITH A TEASER
My episode this time started with what I'd call a "teaser." It's a creative way of introducing the topic.
You can do this like I did, with unique or interesting music underneath.
You could add a quote or clip from your guest that highlights the most interesting or compelling aspects of what they had to share.
You could tell a story from your experience that illustrates the topic of your episode in an engaging way.
There are so many ways to do it.
Advertisements or sponsor spots should NOT be in the first 60 seconds of your episodes from now on.
Think about it...
If YOU were a new-podcast-searcher and found a show you thought might be interesting... and you clicked that "Latest Podcast" button... and you hear an...
ADVERTISEMENT for the first 60 seconds...
what would YOU think?
What would you do?
What would you wonder about that podcast and its creator?
You may feel you still need the canned intro you've been using. You know, the radio-announcer-gal who says the same blah-blah-blah at the beginning of every one of your episodes.
That's OK... but don't put it within that first 60 seconds.
You want to use that 60 seconds of audio real estate to its fullest potential.
Hook your listeners.
Make them WANT to keep listening.
I don't think I've ever heard a canned intro that has made me WANT to keep listening.
Apple is well-known for making unannounced changes like this, and then tweaking the change for weeks, months, sometimes years.
So keep your eyes open. This feature is likely not going to stay exactly like it is.
I'll do my best to keep you informed.