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Corrado Coia profile image Corrado Coia

Your intro is wrong. And it’s not your fault.

Spotted through a cluster of thumbnails, I tap the close-up image of a car’s tire as it’s jacked up on the side of a dusty gravel road. It feels right. But then the video starts...

Your intro is wrong. And it’s not your fault.

Let me set the scene: It’s pouring rain, and I’m on the side of the road

I can barely see 100 feet.

But the nail sticking out of my tire glints at me as the water runs over it.

I pull out my phone, shelter it from the rain, and quickly search for “how to change a tire.”

Spotted through a cluster of thumbnails, I tap the close-up image of a car’s flat tire as it’s jacked up on the side of a dusty gravel road. It feels right.

The video starts: “Hey guys! It’s me, Taylor!” The couch they’re sitting on looks new. Sunlight spills into their living room from a window off-camera. “I know! Two videos in one week, yeah look at me go! [quick cuts of clapping for a microphone sync, a throat clear, a false start, a laugh]. It’s a beautiful sunny day here in California! This is something everyone needs to know, and I’m so excited to show you. But first, don’t forget to like, comment, and, of course, subscribe for more great tips! I post videos every week. Last week, we talked about…”

A drop of water chills my spine.

I have a lot to say about intros, and it’s not your fault

Intros are destroying creators' success as the result of well-intended advice that’s taught and executed incorrectly.

“Be authentic.” We’re told.

“Connect with the audience.” We press record.

“Just be yourself.” We do it.

I call it Personality Stuffing

It makes sense that we want our personality to shine right from the start.

But.

Intros, like the example above, tend to do a terrible job of bringing in new viewers and subscribers. They're not what a new viewer is looking for. Everyone clicks on a video looking to get something, and the moment they don’t think they’re going to get what they want… they’re gone, no matter how stuffed full of personality the intro is.

But.

Personality-driven intros are good at speaking to committed viewers who love the creator.

But.

There’s a better way to connect with those committed core viewers, letting personality shine, while still being enticing to new viewers.

These two data points tell us everything about an intro

Go to Analytics > Audience on a specific video. Pick any video. Is the majority of watch time from subscribers, like this?

Mostly from non-subscribers like this?

Or almost exclusively non-subscribers like this?

Then, for the second datapoint, go Analytics > Engagement to understand how that intro is performing to that majority audience.

Side note: If watch time is mostly from subscribers and the intro retention is high, that means the intro is doing a great job connecting with current and core viewers but not new viewers—this is a sign of slow growth.

Understand which audience is watching and then look at the retention.

Does your intro retention look awesome like this?

or this? (this is bad, btw)

Do this to fix your intro

Intros don’t have to be robotic, but they shouldn’t waste viewers' time either. Find that happy medium of confirming that they’re in the right place while giving value that sets the video up for success.

  1. Focus your intro on immediately confirming that the viewer is in the right place and that they’ll get exactly what they were expecting to get out of the video. This will lock in both new and existing viewers.
    “Hey guys! Today, we’re going to go over the top ten ways to…”
  2. Instead of personality stuffing the intro, sprinkle that personality throughout the entire video — which, is probably already happening. Think of it like being on a date; you don’t want to come on too strong right away. Let them get to know you over the course of the video.
    “Alright, onto number 2 [a throat clear, a false start, a laugh]…”

I was completely soaked

Three abandoned videos later, I turned off my phone.

I got back into the car, opened the glove box, and pulled out the owner's manual.

Water dripped from my hair onto page 187.

 

Corrado Coia profile image Corrado Coia