Podcast Show Notes Done Right
Podcasters often leave their show notes until the last minute. This bundle of text that accompanies each episode definitely shouldn’t be an afterthought, though. Most podcast enthusiasts listen while they multitask, drive, or exercise. You want your listener to be able to get more information about your hard work, without having to stop everything and fumble for pen and paper. Think of it as a condensed, elegantly crafted bookmark, slid in between the pages of the book you’ve created.
5 Tips For Amazing, Actionable Podcast Show Notes
How do we make an effective reference point for your listeners? Here are five tips for amazing, actionable podcast show notes.
Brevity is the soul of wit
For Apple Podcasts to display your show notes, your summary has to be no longer than 512 characters. Most podcast apps pull their data from Apple Podcasts, so you want to adhere to that principle.
That isn’t to say your shownotes need to be short. It just means you should have an exciting, enticing ‘introduction’ right at the top which fits this size.
A tweet is 280 characters or less. If you can create a shownotes intro that fits into the length of a tweet and a half, you’re doing well. To get into the “less is more” mentality, practice reading and writing haiku. Try asking yourself this: Why would anyone listen to this particular episode, and what will they get out of it?
Here’s a very brief example, using the podcast Hostile Worlds:
Would you like to go on an audio tour around some of the most fascinating yet deadly places in the universe? Of course you would.
Well, consider this inaugural episode of Hostile Worlds to be your invitation and boarding pass.
I say boarding pass, because we’d like you to join us on board The Tardigrade. An all-purpose exploration vehicle that can float, fly, dive, or dig through any environment.
It’s (nearly) time to go and visit all the places you’d die to see, and places you’d die if you saw.
Be careful with links in your show notes
Not all podcast apps make those links clickable. Some podcast apps make them read-only. If you have an anchor link and HTML, some podcast apps might show only the anchor text. As a result, you want to spell out that link, and make it make it easy to copy and paste, or remember.
Have a look at this example:
Good: Do you have questions, or want to share something with us? Visit our website for details!
Better: Want to send us a message?
Best: Want to send us a message? Reach out at https://your-podcast-url.com/contact .
Build a community
If your podcast has a guest, link (and spell out that link) to whatever they’re trying to promote (for example, their web site or project). It’s only polite for the effort they put in!
Make sure your notes include information about how to contact you, too. A Twitter handle is easy, and so is an email address. Spell out your website’s URL, as well as links to crowdfunding pages.
Finally, always thank your listeners. If you mention supporters in the credits by name, you can list them here too.
Lead with the reward in your Call To Action
What will your listeners get from following this action? “Support us at Patreon” is a command, but “Want behind the scenes stories, visual art and more? Visit our Patreon page,” is inviting.
Don’t use the same Call To Action every time
If you have one place for a call to action, switch the action up every few episodes. I believe that you should be running the same CTA over a set of episodes, so that it becomes familiar, and starts to drive action. In my experience, between 3 and 6 episodes of repetition gets the most value, before the CTA starts to blend in, and become ignored.
So, after 3 or 4 episodes, start to think about the next CTA. Perhaps just a different wording, or a different action altogether. To make this easy, you can pre-record a set of short intros and outros with nice, concise calls to action. Then, use a podcast editing app to really easily insert those clips into your show, and mix them up every few episodes.
Alitu: The Podcast Maker app is one example, letting you upload clips to your library and then slotting them them into your episode, every time.
But, what goes into those CTAs?
“Don’t forget to Like and Subscribe” is used so frequently on YouTube that it’s less meaningful than it could be. Try, “if you like us, then share this with a friend,” “You can reach out to us on social media!” Or “Our merchandise store has everything you need for summer, why not take a look?”
Show notes aren’t just a credits sequence, they’re a springboard to engagement. With careful planning and forethought, a good set of show notes can help you engage listeners, build build relationships with sponsors, and expand your podcasting horizons.
Need More Help with your show notes?
Feel like you need more help on driving action from your show, growing that audience, or any number of other podcasting skills? More tools, strategies and live coaching await you inside our own Podcast Host Academy.
If you fancy joining us there, you’ll have access to hundreds of articles and videos, plus a community of experienced podcasters that are happy to talk shop with you, either in live Q&As or in the forums. Have fun!
As mentioned in the article, podcast show notes are highly important. All of our WordPress Podcast Themes support show notes by default, and you can even customize those notes to include multiple types of content (text, links, audio, video, embed Tweets or other social posts and more)
By cleanly presenting show notes on your podcast website, you could increase engagement with your current audience, providing links, images, videos and any other type of additional material you wish to provide as an extra layer on top of your podcast.
In addition to that, show notes would help your website being indexed and crawled by search engines, and after a little while, organic traffic can also be expected – and this means another channel to reach new potential listeners.