Perfect podcast ‘hook’ analysis (of Rich Roll’s episode on My First Million)

Bite-sized action items to go from dreaming to streaming your podcast.


    Misbah Haque  00:00

    Hey Misbah Haque here and in this video, I wanted to talk to you about hooks the same way you are judging this video. And if you’re gonna keep watching it or not, based on the first 15 seconds, 30 seconds a minute, that is going to dictate if you decide to stay for the remainder of this video. And if you’re somebody who’s creating podcast episodes, then the same rule applies if you want to intentionally have your first 30 seconds be very compelling, you want it to be giving an accurate representation of maybe what your episode is going to be about. And so a very strategic way that you can do this, and I’m going to show you something to give you the context of gray hook. 

    The podcast, that clip that I’m sharing with you is from my first million, it’s a top-ranking business podcast, Sean Puri and Sam Parr are the hosts of that show. And they basically talk about business ideas, they get really into the weeds with some of their guests. And they reveal a lot of numbers and struggles with growing podcasts or YouTube channels or businesses in general. So they had Rich Roll on recently. And this is a really, really big guest. He’s someone that I personally was not super familiar with, until my co-host for the Human Evolution Project brought him up to me and was like, Dude, I love his work. 

    And I’m helping him build a website. And so one of the references like love ritual stuff, let’s use this for inspiration. He has his own podcast, it’s very, very successful. His success in some way can almost distance you from him. Until there is a story or something that bridges the gap and brings you close together. The first 30 seconds of this podcast episode with Rich Roll was a story that is so compelling that humanizes him if you’ve never seen his work or consumed it before, you’re like, oh my gosh, I resonate with it. And I want to know more about what he has to say. Without further ado, let me go ahead and play the clip. And then we’ll break it down after.


    Rich Roll  02:02

    It was really rough for quite an extended period of time, we couldn’t pay our mortgage, we had cars repossessed I’ve told this story before. But it was so bad at one point that we didn’t have enough money to pay for our garbage collection. So they took away our bins, we had to put our garbage bags in the back of this beat-up minivan that we had and look for, kind of bins like behind the grocery stores and stuff to like throw our garbage me it was pretty humiliating, and quite frankly, pretty emasculating and somebody who’s supposed to be, head of household and taking care of shit, like I was unable to make sure that my house was in order. And so we went through a really rough period of time. And it was not clear that we were going to be able to kind of persevere.


    Misbah Haque  02:49

    Okay, so I hope you enjoyed that story that allowed me to kind of root for the underdog. And that story allowed me to see that ritual was in a very, very tough position for quite some time. It’s just something that you don’t think of when you see his Instagram grid, his podcast catalog, it’s not something that comes to mind until you consume more of his work. And I know it’s this idea that we’re judging a book by its cover. And so we want to keep that reality in mind when we’re creating podcasts. And not waste the first minute or two minutes of your show. 

    This clip is also very powerful is because the story wasn’t something that you just opened the episode with in real-time. But this was a moment a story that their producer was able to capture that clip and move it to the front of the episode. So that it gives you a preview for later on. And you just want to make sure to make a mental note of what that timestamp is, is it 15 minutes and 30 seconds, did it happen at the 55-minute mark? Because if that is showcasing instead of just telling you it’s showing you like what this episode could be about, then that’s definitely something that you want to prioritize as your hook. 

    So you play that hook and then move on to the intro music or whatever’s going on on YouTube. And then it goes into the beginning of the episode now because my first million podcasts is about making money starting businesses entrepreneurship and things like that. One of the first comments that I noticed on this YouTube video was people saying I would love to hear more stories like this, that are people in their 40s and 50s that are struggling with entrepreneurship and not natural entrepreneurs, people who have it kind of figured out the whole way through. And to me that was so inspiring as both a creator and as someone who I think identifies as like, I’m not a born entrepreneur, I’ve had to really like learn through hard and expensive errors. 

    And it’s taken time for me to figure things out. I’m still figuring things out, but be People who are coming from that it shows you a desire to hear those types of stories. In this context, the story that he told allowed me the listener or viewer to go, what this person says has a little bit of different weight now, because this person hasn’t been through a lot, for whatever reason I trust this person. Now I trust what they’re about to say, or share with me, even if I’m not going to use it. I’m very curious to hear how the rest of that story unfolded, if you’re not using the strategy of a rolling star, where you just kind of pick up in the middle of a conversation and it feels like oh, what’s going on? What’s happening? Joe Rogan and some podcasts like that do it a lot, where there’s no real formal intro, sometimes it’s just you’re talking and you catch people in the middle of air. This is not the only strategy for having a compelling hook. 

    But it is one of the easiest ones for most podcasts because it allows you to be yourself from the very beginning. And later on, figure out what the first 30 to 45 seconds will be. And making it a story that represents the rest of what the episode might be about. Or it gives people a teaser for the change that they might experience. So we know rituals doing well now, but him sharing that story of not being able to afford anything that’s a far gap from having a top ranking podcast, and being super successful in different ways to where I want to know the steps, I want to know what happened. I’m very curious, I hope you check out their full episode, I linked it up in the description if you want, I hope to watch this video. And this little clip helped you see the example of a great hook and how you can incorporate this similar type of storytelling and structure for your own podcast episodes in a way that makes it really engaging and really compelling and creates enough curiosity that your listener wants to go all the way to the end. So I’m really curious what you thought of it, make sure you drop a comment, and I think you’ll enjoy some of these videos and save them for later or watch them now, but I really appreciate you taking the time to hang out. I’ll talk to you soon.


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