The makings of a great podcast are more than just stellar recordings. Amazing audio content, while necessary, means nothing without listeners. In order to ensure your podcast stands the test of time, you need a show with high-quality audio – full of valuable content – and a loyal audience. Successful podcasting, therefore, means finding the balance between creating valuable content, promoting your podcast, and growing your audience. An effective strategy for promoting your podcast and setting it up for success can be summed up in two simple words – show notes.
Show notes can be described as the written content accompanying your podcast. They provide a summary of your episode and list not only the main points covered in the episode, but also any noteworthy quotes, statistics, or resources. In terms of growing your audience to help secure your podcast’s success, show notes are not just a good idea – they are a necessity! The extra effort it takes to create show notes is minuscule compared to the benefits they bring. Still not convinced? Here are just five of the many benefits you can experience by effectively using show notes for your podcast.
#1 Improves Search Engine Optimization
It’s a well-known fact within the industry that search engines haven’t quite mastered the accurate indexing of audio content. You, therefore, need to provide search engines with written content connected to your podcast if you want your podcast to be discoverable via Internet searches. Show notes are a great way to enhance search engine optimization (SEO), as well as improving your podcast’s discoverability, as they give search engines plenty of text-based content to “crawl” and index. The use of industry-related keywords in your show notes will also greatly improve your SEO. This will be covered in more detail further on in this post.
#2 Encourages Listener Engagement
Show notes are also a great means of encouraging listener engagement. By including such items as links to older episodes, or the handles and links to your social media platforms, show notes encourage your listeners and other users to stay engaged with your content for extended periods. This, in turn, helps to build strong relationships between you and your listeners as they learn more about you. Your calls to action (covered in more detail later on) included in your show notes, further encourage listener engagement. Whether your call to action is an invitation to ask you questions or to follow links to your website, your show notes can serve as the point of connection between you and your audience.
#3 Strengthens Your Authority
Creating show notes can greatly benefit your podcast by helping build and improve your authority in your podcast niche. One of the foundation steps in building your authority online is to have multiple ways for people to find and engage with your content. A website, a blog, and profiles on the multitude of social media platforms all serve to enhance your authority on your subject and within your niche. Not only do show notes give your podcast a professional look and feel, but they also give you many opportunities to repurpose your content. Whether you use the show notes as the basis of a blog post or turn the memorable quotes into Instagram posts, they serve to strengthen and cement your authority within your niche.
Related read: 8 Strategies To Build Authority In Your Podcast Niche
#4 Provides More Promotion Opportunities
We stated earlier that a successful podcast is one that strikes the correct balance between content creation and promotion. Another top benefit of show notes is the role they play in that all-important promotion of your podcast. Show notes provide both you and your listeners with shareable content, making it easy to copy and paste insightful or informative quotes, or other tweetable content and share these across the social platforms, which yield great returns in terms of audience growth. It is also a great way to give new, potential listeners an inside look at your podcast and what type of content they should come to expect on your show. Plus, if they enjoy the podcast, they can then in turn easily share it with their own network of family and friends.
#5 Enhances the User’s Experience
Benefit #4 leads us to benefit #5: Show notes benefit you as the podcaster as they can enhance the user’s overall experience. The readily available shareable content mentioned above is just one way the user’s experience is enhanced. Show notes make it easy for listeners to see at a glance what the podcast is about, helping them decide easily whether to invest time into this episode or not. Show notes also enhance the user’s experience by making it easy for them to find that poignant remark they heard or the title of that book or other resource mentioned in your episode. You then reap the benefit of the user’s positive experience with your podcast, as their relationship with you is strengthened and they become a part of your loyal audience.
How to Effectively Create and Use Show Notes for Your Podcast
So now that you’ve seen some of the undeniable benefits of using show notes, the next step is to actually create these show notes, and in particular, to use them effectively for your podcast. When done well, show notes whet the appetite, spark curiosity, and convert that initial interest into a download. That may sound like a daunting task! But don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work for you and created a “How-To” guideline for creating and effectively using show notes for your podcast.
#1 Create a Compelling Intro
The common practice when creating show notes is to use an episode summary as your intro. This is a short description of what the episode is about. For effective show notes, you should aim to make this summary no more than three to five sentences. Aim to craft sentences that tread the line between not giving away too much while still capturing the reader’s interest enough for them to want to listen to the whole episode.
Top Tip: The intro of your show notes can be used as the episode description across the different podcast platforms, giving you added incentive to keep these brief, yet informative and intriguing.
#2 Outline the Main Points
The second step in creating and using show notes is to outline the main points of the episode. This is most often done in bullet form, as this makes it much easier for the reader to scan through the content and find the point they are looking for. Plus, if you add in timestamps for each key point, this will further improve the user experience to help your readers find the section they are looking for in a jiffy! Keep in mind that if you create an outline before you record, you will already have your main points laid out. You can then just tweak these for easy reading in the show notes, and add any additions that may be needed.
Top Tip: Creating a show notes template can be a great way to use your time effectively, making it even easier to create show-stopping show notes! Make sure that your template is simple and provides for easy reading by using bullet points and clear headings.
#3 Include Necessary Content
Besides the main points of the episode, there are other bits of necessary content your show notes should contain.
Include the most memorable or noteworthy quotes in your show notes. Remember, quotes are great for sharing across social media platforms, such as Twitter. By having these quotes in the show notes, it makes it easy for listeners to share your content. You can make sharing even easier by creating “click to tweet/share” options for the quotes in your show notes. In addition, these quotes can be turned into audiograms, which are great for sharing on Instagram.
Related read: How to Use Podcast Audiograms to Engage Your Audience on Social Media
Resources And Links
Any additional resources mentioned in the episode must also be listed in the podcast show notes. These could include books, shows, websites, or blogs referenced in the episode, but could also include other resources your listeners may find useful, thus giving them additional value as well as additional incentive to check out your show notes! The links, wherever possible, for these resources must also be included.
Top Tip: Include all details of the link, i.e. write the link out in full. Some platforms are not enabled for clickable links, and so having the full link available in the show notes makes it easier for users to copy and paste, and follow the link.
If you have a guest on an episode, include their email address or website (depending on how they wish to be contacted), their social media handles, as well as links to any products or services they are promoting or are connected to. This is important, as the main reason for appearing as a guest on a podcast is to garner exposure. You then need to play your part of a good host by making it easy for your listeners to connect with your guests.
An important point to remember when creating show notes is to include industry-specific or subject-specific keywords. Including keywords in your show notes can greatly improve discoverability. Do a little research regarding keywords associated with your topic and podcasting in general. These are incredibly effective in growing your audience by connecting your podcast to listeners via keywords specific to their needs.
Top Tip: Think about including images and time stamps to make your show notes even more effective!
#4 Keep Show Notes Concise
Your show notes must be informative, but they must also be concise. You don’t want to bore your readers or deter them from reading your valuable content because of the sheer length of your show notes! Show notes should also not be overly complicated. They should be detailed enough to showcase the value of the episode but it should also be easy for users to find what they are looking for.
#5 Include a Call to Action
Show notes can also help build relationships with your listeners, your sponsors, or any user engaging with your content. This is accomplished through including calls to action in your show notes. These calls could be to sign up to your mailing list where users can glean more valuable content or subscribe to your podcast. Other types of calls to action include encouraging listeners to share your content via the platforms you make available or providing an incentive to encourage support via your Patreon or PayPal accounts.
Top Tip: Use variety in your call to action. Using the same phrase repeatedly will very quickly diminish its effectiveness! Rather change or modify your call to action every three to four episodes to ensure they have the best chance of being followed.
Show notes don’t just serve as an episode summary, they can be used as a great platform for engaging with your listeners and increasing your discoverability. Show notes should, therefore, be valued as highly as the audio component of your podcast. In terms of your show’s success, you really can’t afford to neglect this practice. The benefits far outweigh any extra effort required to put effective show notes together, and with the help of the above guidelines, the task of creating effective show notes should be even easier. We want to see your podcast succeed just as much as you do – and creating show notes for your podcast is a key element in that success!
Looking to improve your podcast’s authority and discoverability even more? Check out the following related read: The Top 5 Benefits of Transcribing Your Podcast