What You Should Know about Outros for Your Podcast
Now that you have reached the end of your message or the time limit you have set yourself for a podcast, what do you do? Do you just say “Thanks, everyone, see you next time …” or just a basic “Bye,” and then it’s over? Or do you want to go out with a bit of fanfare? Whatever you decide, an outro is much like an intro — as simple or elaborate as you want to make it. Your outro is your final word, closing statement, and grand finale (at least for this episode).
In practical terms, putting together an outro is no different from putting together an intro — same approach, only you’re doing it at the end. So review the earlier suggestions for intros and consider what seems a likely direction for an outro.
Some podcasters figure there’s little more to think about for an outro than what to say and how to present it. Sure, you could keep it simple — say “Until next time,” and switch off, no fuss, no script, just do it, done, and then upload. But other podcasters see the outro as more of an art form.
Leave the audience wanting more
Continuing your podcast to its final moments is a gutsy, confident, and exciting outro, carrying your audience all the way to the final second. This is one of the toughest ways to end a podcast, but if it’s done right, it can only make your podcast better.
For example, the Geek Wolfpack Podcast ends every episode with the segment “ADHDD&D” featuring three families connecting on Roll20 to play Dungeons & Dragons in between silly tangents. The dungeon crawling usually builds up to a cliffhanger of some description — an upcoming battle, a battle that appears to be turning on the party, or some kind of tension — and then comes an audio cue of a musical sting. The theme kicks in, quickly followed by a (prerecorded) Creative Commons attribution. The D&D cliffhangers offer a quick and easy way to say, “Tune in next week…” without doing so.
Catch phrase sign-off
Your outro can be the final word from the host, and it should be your bow during the curtain call. A signature farewell is a classy way of saying “This podcast is a wrap. Thanks for listening.”
For example, throughout the years that journalist Walter Cronkite reported the news to America, he always ended with the words, “And that’s the way it is …” followed by the date. On Technorama, Chuck and Kreg have taken a similar approach with their signature sign-off starting with Chuck saying, “And until next time, a binary high five.” To which Kreg always responds “1–0–1.” It has become such a well-known piece of the show that listeners writing or calling to leave feedback close their pieces with the same tag.
If you can’t think of anything overly clever, a consistent exit such as “This has been my podcast, protected by a Creative Commons license. Thanks for listening …” works, too.
Another possibility for your outro could be a scripted list of credits: websites where past shows can be downloaded, resources can be endorsed, and special thanks can be given to various supporters of your podcast.
When listing credits, take care that your list of thank-yous and acknowledgments doesn’t ramble on for too long after every podcast. Some podcasters reserve a full list of end credits for special podcasts, such as an end-of-the-season or even final episode. By and large, a minute can serve as a good length for ending credits — plenty of time to mention relevant websites, tuck in the obligatory “Tune in next week …” statement, and ask for a vote of support on your favorite podcast directory.
Coming soon to a media player near you
Just as television shows drops teasers of what will be coming up next week, podcasters can also give quick hints as to what is planned for future podcasts. The many podcast fiction titles from Mark Jeffrey and Scott Sigler had already been prerecorded for the intent of podcasting. This gave both authors a terrific advantage to edit together montages of audio clips and even record a quick synopsis of what will come in future episodes.
Previews for future podcasts tend to be difficult to plan — mainly because of the spontaneous nature of podcasting that the medium prides itself on. Many podcasters have no idea what will be on the agenda for their next show until the day or even a few hours before recording, and then there are other podcasts that start up the audio equipment and speak with no prep time for their latest installment.
However, for those podcasts that can provide glimpses of things to come, this kind of outro serves as a commitment to the audience that there will be more content coming through the RSS feed and that programming is being planned for future installments.
Your outro can use one of these approaches or combine them. Find what best fits your podcast and stick with it. The more consistency your podcast can follow, the more professional it sounds — spontaneous but focused, right?