Over the past few years, it’s become popular for brand new podcasts to first publish an “Episode 0”, or something like “Introducing the xx podcast”. While introducing your podcast isn’t a bad idea, that’s not the real purpose of these initial episodes. Consistency is.
The way they were built, with the exception of some shows like Joe Rogan, podcasts use the open RSS format to share their episodes. This means any podcast player out there could find the feed for your show and offer it to their listeners, which is a great thing. However, given the huge number of podcasts out there, those players aren’t just randomly finding shows and adding them — you need to request to be added, and then you need to wait. Apple Podcasts is generally the biggest one to get into, as it powers many other apps, but it can take a few weeks to get accepted.
The other challenge is that places like Apple Podcasts won’t accept a show that doesn’t have any episodes. You need to publish at least one episode before you can apply to be added, and then you need to wait a few weeks for approval. As a result, it can be a messy few weeks trying to get approved by all of the major podcast apps (including others like Google Podcasts, Spotify, etc).
If you produce “Episode 1” at the beginning, you can’t really promote it for a while, as some of your potential audience might be able to download it, and others can’t. With “Episode 0”, you never really promote that episode. You publish it, start getting accepted to the various apps, and then you can hit the ground running with your real “Episode 1” a few weeks later.
It’s kind of an awkward way to do it, but it works well. If you’re planning to launch a podcast, I encourage you to create a super short intro episode, get it out into the world, and then focus your efforts on a proper promotion for your first true episode a few weeks later.