If podcasts are meant to be consumed audibly, what’s the point of creating written content? Surely it’s just extra time and effort that could be spent creating your next episode? Think again.
Podcast show notes can enhance the audience experience and help listeners get more out of your podcast. Creating thorough podcast show notes will boost the reach of your podcast, make it more accessible, and help you repurpose your podcast content.
- What are podcast show notes?
- Why should you add podcast show notes?
- How to write great podcast show notes?
What are podcast show notes?
Simply put, podcast show notes describe what happened during a podcast episode.
During a podcast, hosts might reference different resources like books, interviews, articles, or TV episodes. Podcasters often write a short summary of what they covered in the show, so that the audience doesn’t need to constantly re-listen to relevant sections of the podcast or try to remember the thing they wanted to look up.
Podcasters usually choose to display show notes in the podcast description section below the podcast title. Podcasters may also choose to write up their show notes and publish them on their website as a blog post or on their social media.
Here’s an example of podcast show notes from the Adam Buxton podcast:
Why should you add podcast show notes?
Help listeners learn more. Podcast show notes allow you to share more information and create calls to action that listeners can click through to. You might want to include links to articles, videos, or other podcast episodes you mention.
Promote past episodes for more listens. Show notes enable you to link to previous episodes that may be relevant to the newest episode’s topic. Inserting a link to a previous episode helps make listeners aware of past content and makes it relevant to what you’re currently producing.
Attract more listeners using SEO best practices. The more you can improve your podcast’s SEO, the more likely it is that your target audience will see it and want to listen. Build in a solid keyword and SEO strategy to boost your podcast’s appearance in search engines and podcast apps.
Use CTAs to build a follower and subscriber list. Include a CTAs to your newsletter sign-up form, social media channels, and any other places listeners can find your content.
How to write great podcast show notes
Here are 10 key steps for writing podcast show notes that will benefit your audience.
1. Write show notes as you plan your podcast episode
A content outline will help you prepare for your podcast episode recording as well as create a solid basis for your podcast show notes.
Use this content outline to streamline your thoughts and plan out your show notes.
Once you know what the beginning, middle, and end of your podcast episode will look like, you can then fill in each section which resources you’ll be discussing.
2. Keep them short and sweet
While you don’t want to miss out any key pieces of information, don’t make your podcast notes too long. They should be easily skimmable and allow listeners to quickly find the link they’re looking for.
Podcast show notes aren’t a transcript of the episode, instead, they’re where you direct listeners to find out more details.
Pod Save America writes a short set of clear bullet points for their show notes:
3. Add guest speaker bios and other background info
Provide a short summary of your guests. Tell your readers who they are and why they’re on your show. Don’t give away any of the best bits like how they solved a problem or their top tips for anything. Instead, turn it into a teaser for why they should tune in.
Include any links for books they’ve written, episodes they’ve hosted, or videos they’ve presented, as well their social media pages. That way interested listeners can find out more information about your guests if they want to.
Podcast The Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett includes a detailed bio of his guests in the show notes:
4. Run through all the main points
Summarize everything you and your guests discuss in the episode without giving away too many details—they should want to know more after reading your notes.
Use your original podcast outline to inform your notes and remember to add in any additional subjects you talked about in the episode. Your show notes should represent everything you talked about in that episode—it’s easy for conversations to veer off the original plan.
Read more: Podcast name ideas: 15 formulas and tips
5. Include all the resources you mention in the episode
There’s nothing more annoying than listening to an interesting podcast episode only to find at the end there’s no way to get the link to the other podcast episode or article the host mentioned.
Include links to any data, tools, quotes, sources, or videos you mention. This allows interested listeners to learn more about your subject or verify any information. By including links you make yourself more credible as a podcaster even if no one clicks through.
Any resource you talk about in the episode should be included in your show notes. Make sure to include all article, video, and podcast episode links. That way your listeners won’t need to dig around to find the piece of information they’re looking for.
If you want to maximize your income from your podcast episodes, you could also set up affiliate links for the tools, products, or businesses you talk about in your episode. By doing this you can get a kickback if someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase.
Ted Talks Daily adds a full list of resources for all of their podcasts:
6. Use a clear and scannable format
While writing your podcast show notes, make your copy skimmable and easy to read. People don’t usually read every word on the page, so it’s important they can get what they need from your show notes quickly.
Write clear and descriptive headings throughout your show notes. The aim is to guide readers to what they need straight away. Include lists and bullet points when you can to provide some structure and a scannable format.
If you choose to use paragraphs, make them short. Ideally, write around 2-4 lines and make sure the text doesn’t extend to more than 5 or 6 lines when collapsed on mobile devices.
Make sure listeners know what to do next by providing some instructions. Include at least one CTA so listeners can click through to viewing a full audio transcript or performing some other kind of action like watching a related video or subscribing to your email newsletter.
7. Include key quotes
Including key quotes throughout the show notes will help you stick to a clear structure and outline all the main points from the episode.
You could also include a timestamp with each quote so readers can find it in your episode.
Next to each quote, add a line of context so readers know what each quote is about. Take care not to go into too much detail though—you don’t want to give away all the juicy details of the episode.
8. Add bonus content
Everyone loves a freebie. If you add (links to) some bonus content that’s not mentioned anywhere else, you might encourage a new visitor to subscribe to new episodes or listen through some of your previous releases.
Or you could mention the bonus content in your podcast episode so that more listeners head to the show notes and may subscribe to future episodes.
For example, podcast Serial includes maps and timelines so interested listeners can dive deeper into each episode:
9. Optimize with SEO keywords
As you write your show notes don’t forget to include your keywords throughout the page. Google and podcast app stores need to see the phrase to effectively index your page. But always remember that you’re writing for a person who doesn’t want to read robotic content overstuffed with keywords for the sake of it.
Include your keyword in a few important places like:
- The page title
- The main heading
- A few subheadings
- The introduction
- The URL
- Peppered throughout the copy in relevant places
10. Write a full audio transcript
It’s a good idea to publish a full transcript of everything you and your guests talk about in each episode, a word-for-word replay.
Providing a full transcript of your episodes also makes them more accessible. Remember people have different preferences as to how they consume content. Listeners can read as they listen or read your transcript after to remember everything you discussed.
Transcripts are also great for boosting your site’s SEO. They add loads of fresh content to your site for search engines to read and index. Doing this you’ll also attract more people to your site and encourage them to tune into your podcast.
Add the full transcript as a link at the bottom of your show notes so people can have a look if they’re interested. While it gives away everything in your episode, readers might listen to your future episodes or check out more of your content.
This American Life provides a full transcript for each of their episodes:
Create better podcast show notes to engage with your audience
Podcast show notes help your audience get more out of each of your episodes. Even though it can seem time-consuming to create show notes for every episode, there are plenty of benefits for both your listeners and your brand.
Ultimately thorough well structured podcast notes help your audience to better engage with your content. Ready to start a podcast? Why not take a look at the AppSumo Store, we have some of the best software deals available.