Podcasting is a great way to attract and grow your audience, be seen as an authority figure in your industry or niche, and interact with amazing people along the way.
As this recent research on podcasting indicates, Podcast listeners in the US have doubled since 2018 with 51% of the US population now actively listening to podcasts. 80% of podcast listeners follow an average of 7 shows per week.
That’s an incredibly involved and content hungry audience waiting to be engaged by businesses of all types and sizes.
A successful podcast involves a well-planned strategy and content distribution tactics – one of which is to create podcast show notes for your episodes.
Usually, there’s a lot going on when developing a podcast.
You’ve got to prepare your topics, reach out to guests, commit a date for an interview, record the actual episode, edit out the audio, and finalize an episode before promoting it online.
These tasks are all something that are fun create but on the flip side, writing podcast show notes can be quite a time-consuming effort.
Before we dive into some tips and tricks to creating world-class show notes, below are a few reasons why they’re so important to promoting your podcast.
Why is it important to write quality podcast show notes?
There are multiple benefits to writing quality podcast show notes, here are the top 5:
- They help attract your audience. Someone who’s skimming through your episodes and looking for a new show to follow; compelling show notes can really hook a visitor, resulting in new listeners and an engaged audience.
- They enable visitors to easily share across their networks, be it via social media, email or other mediums.
- They help in giving your search engine ranking a solid boost (as detailed in this great piece on podcast SEO from Search Engine Land). Using relevant keywords along with ensuring quality content, helps search engines to push your podcast up in the SERP (search engine ranking position) against your competition.
- They help increase visitor traffic (thanks to strategically placed links within the content) to your website, resulting in increased interest and exposure of your podcast
- They help you build a list of resources that your listeners can come back to since you will list every tool or service mentioned in a show in the notes.
Podcasting is increasingly becoming a competitive market – Apple podcasts feature well over 18.5 million episodes including content in more than 100 languages, so it’s absolutely critical to hook your audience in before they can even think about going for an alternative.
Also, from our blog: Why podcast marketing is so hot right now
Compelling and high-quality show notes is the way to go when trying to grab your listener’s interest.
Think of your podcast show notes as a good movie-trailer; they should be action-packed (or knowledge packed in this case), short, straight to the point and written in a way that makes people want to listen to the full-episode.
Tips to writing compelling (and quality) show notes
Alright. Now that you’ve understood the important role of compelling show notes towards marketing of your podcast and not to mention its positive effect on SEO, let’s have a deeper look at why show notes matter and a few really unique tips to creating some for your podcast:
Write show notes before recording an episode
Usually, show notes come as an after-thought, so to speak. They are postponed until after the episode has been recorded, just before the publishing deadline.
That’s because writing show notes is dreaded by many and is postponed right until the end. That’s when people usually create half-baked content without really thinking it through.
Instead, always aim to write your show notes as part of your preparation process. Even, compile some talking points before an episode recording to make the whole creative process much easier afterwards.
Working on your show notes as part of the preparation process, will not only allow you to craft your content more quickly, but it’s also a great way to mentally recap the main topics of a particular episode, enabling you to present your content in a much more effective manner.
Once you’re actually finished recording, all you’ll need is to finalize your pre-written notes and modify them for any missing information.
We realize this strategy might not always be possible; say in case of multiple hosts but even then, if the co-hosts prepare a list of talking points before recording, it can smoothen the show notes creation process.
Give valuable resources inside your show notes
Often times, podcast guests are asked a similar set of questions on their favorite apps, books, tools or whatever they would like to recommend to the audience.
Usually, what happens is that listeners miss out on the specific links and mentions during the episode. Placing all these links, resources and tools in a neat little order within your show notes is a perfect way to keep your audience engaged.
As podcast owners, you have a great opportunity to enrich your show notes with recommendations and links talked about by your guest.
It’s a great plan to keep a specific section within your show notes dedicated to such content. For example, you can title this section “Talked about in the show” or “Tools and Resources”.
As you can see, it’s totally up to you what to include in this section. You can even break down this section into multiple sub-sections including:
- Apps / Tools mentioned in the episode
- Other people mentioned in the episode (here, you can either include each person’s twitter handle or website)
- About the Guest (this might include links to the guest’s own website, blog, social links, email).
Not only can these links allow your listeners to engage further with your show, but you can also take advantage by inserting your own affiliate links, wherever applicable.
For example, your guest mentions a specific tool or app in the episode. You could easily look to see if that specific tool has an affiliate program you could sign up for. Once accepted, inserting your own affiliate link within your show notes can bring in the extra cash on the side.
Also, mentioning third party products/services can generate interest from such businesses – which they’ll be happy to promote and spread the word – making it a win-win for both.
Create default templates and structure
Top-rated and successful podcasts usually have a few things in common.
They’re well-planned, look highly professional and have a structure to them.
For example, ‘The Side Hustle Show’ podcast makes sure every published episode online contains:
- Branded visuals representing the podcast
- Featured image of the guest
- Introductory lines about the guest
- A quick bullet point summary of what to expect from the episode (main topics discussed)
- Detailed deep dive content (usually quoting the guest multiple times from the episode itself)
- Mention sponsors of the particular episode
- Closing remarks and where to subscribe to the show to stay updated
So instead of remembering the above list, you actually go in and create a sample show notes template (preferably in a word document), with all the required content you’ll need – which includes images, bullet points, sponsor details, linking etc.
This way, once you have a template ready, you can always add/remove content based on the requirements of a particular episode – all the while keeping a consistent layout for your show notes.
Bonus Tip: Use Shortcodes plugins (like Shorcodes Ultimate) in WordPress to include anything that you regularly insert within your show notes. Content such as feedback request, social media links, sponsor information and more.
Once implemented, WordPress displays these codes in brackets ‘’, but replaces them with the pre-saved content in the published version.
Take notes while recording
This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, so take caution before attempting to take notes while recording live. Think of it being like texting while driving – things can definitely end up in a crash.
However, it may be possible for you to jot down a quick note every now and then while recording. Even small pointers like that can help immensely when crafting your final show notes.
Alternatively, you could invent your own system of marking down important moments while recording; like developing your own symbol, color coding or timestamp references to mark which spots within your episodes contain certain topics.
Then, while crafting the show notes, you could quickly skip to those marked spots and extract any discussion pointers that you may have missed.
On the other hand, you could take help of an assistant to take notes for your during live recording of an episode so you’ll have detailed notes waiting for you as soon as you’re done recording.
Bonus Tip: In case you never marked any spots during live recording or if you had no assistant helping you out with taking show notes, and you aim to extract pointers for your show notes after the recording process – try listening to the episode at a faster speed.
Yes, it can be that simple. You could use a multimedia player software that has the ability to playback audio/video at a faster rate (say VLC for example). Go to Playback -> Speed and select a faster rate to adjust the playback speed.
Concluding thoughts – ‘Keep it consistent’
The key to quality podcast show notes is being descriptive, but not repetitive. Always keep in mind how your show notes will actually look like in different apps and platforms.
Ideally, you would want your podcast show notes to help out your listeners, so always keep the most important stuff right at the top.
Many podcast show notes start off with a quick punch-line summary of the episode before going into the details.
Podcast show notes should never be an after-thought in your overall podcast marketing strategy. They’re important to attract the right audience and essential to the success of your podcast.