If you’re a podcaster, you’ve likely heard of show notes. And if you listen to podcasts, you’ve probably heard hosts refer to “leaving it in the show notes.” But what are show notes for a podcast, and why do they matter?
What Are Show Notes For A Podcast?
In short, show notes are a written summary of a podcast episode’s content, as well as additional info related to the podcast itself. They can be found on the podcast’s website or in podcast player apps (like Spotify). Quality show notes are an essential part of growing your podcast.
Why Are Show Notes Important?
There is a multitude of benefits to including quality show notes with each episode. Notice the emphasis on quality – a couple of bland sentences won’t grant the same results. These benefits fit into three groups – for the listener, the host and the guests.
For listeners, show notes provide a way to quickly glance at what will be covered in an episode before listening. This can help them decide if the episode (or even the show) is worth their time. If a podcast makes use of show notes, the listener has more of an opportunity to be persuaded to listen.
Additionally, show notes often include links to resources, articles, or products mentioned in the episode, making it easy for listeners to take the next step.
Show notes are especially useful for hosts. If they help to persuade more listeners to jump on board, that can only be good, right?
Show notes can also help to get your show discovered through search engine optimisation (SEO). The show notes can be repurposed as blogs for your website. This gives Google more copy to crawl through and potentially promote your episode in search results when a potential listener searches for a question that your episode answers.
And speaking of repurposing, you can also use your show notes as copy for your social media posts when you announce a new episode.
Finally, they also help you to organise and catalogue what’s been discussed in an episode.
Show notes can be beneficial for guests, too. Most guests will have their own business or project to promote. Show notes can include links to their website, social media, or other relevant resources. This can help guests promote themselves and their work to your audience. Ideally, you’ll be booking guests that your audience will get value from.
And what this means for you as a host is that top guests will be more inclined to work with you, and your listeners will get the most value possible out of your interview episodes.
Podcast Show Notes Elements
So, what exactly do show notes look like? While the content will vary depending on the podcast, here’s the general layout that we follow when writing show notes for our podcaster clients:
Let’s dive into these elements.
Start off your show notes with something attention-grabbing! Keep in mind that most listeners won’t see past the first sentence or two on their app. Start with something that encourages them to click through and read the next sentence.
“On this week’s episode of [podcast name], we are pleased to introduce…” doesn’t count as an attention grabber! Try starting with a quote or surprising fact from the episode or by asking a relevant, thought-provoking question.
You can then give the listener a brief summary of the episode’s main focus, and what will be covered. Similar to a podcast intro for an episode, before going into more detail in the next section.
2. Episode Summary
This is where you can dive deeper into the key topics of the episode with another paragraph or two. Keep it conversational and keep paragraphs short and easy to read. Include keywords here that your ideal listeners will be searching for. These should also be included in your title, ideally. But don’t go overboard with stuffing keywords, and keep it natural sounding.
If your episode features a guest, you can introduce them here.
3. Bullet Points
Bullet points are an excellent way of keeping people reading any kind of copy. They’re easy to read and are very useful for conveying a lot of info in a few words.
Write 5-10 bullet points that summarise the most important learnings that a listener will get out of the episode. This might simply be the questions that were asked of the guest. You can also use bullet points to include captivating points of interest that didn’t fit in the details.
Some podcasters choose to include timestamps with their bullet points, so listeners know where to find the part they’re most interested in. This can be helpful for listeners who want to skip around or revisit certain parts of the episode.
4. Call to Action
Finish the main section of your show notes with a call to action (CTA). This can simply be a call to listen to the episode or for listeners to leave a review or subscribe to the podcast. You might choose to include your CTA link here ahead of the next section.
5. Links & General Info
After the main copy, add links to anything mentioned in the episode if needed. Then add any other relevant links. These could include a link to your website or landing page, your email address and social media or website links of your guest.
Use this section to include any general info if needed as well, such as a disclaimer.
How Long Should Podcast Show Notes Be?
We aim for around 150-250 words for the main part of the show notes (episode summary, description and bullet points). This gives the listener enough details to know if an episode is for them, and gives you enough content for a blog post.
The length of your links and CTA will depend on your show. Your links section will ideally be shorter than your main copy, though. This is so that the majority of the blog isn’t duplicate copy.
Are Show Notes Essential?
You should now have an understanding of what are show notes for a podcast and why they’re needed. Show notes are an important part of any podcast. They provide listeners with additional info and resources, help hosts stay organized, and give guests a platform to promote their work.
To ensure that your content is working for you as hard as it can, include quality show notes with each episode!