Adding podcast show notes to your workflow to promote your show can go a long way to increasing your discoverability and strengthening your audiences’ connection to your show.
Without a doubt, your notes should be unique to your show. The content you produce will depend on your show’s format and your brand’s personality.
Here’s a look at four reasons to start publishing show notes for your podcast and how to create them.
1. Create opportunities for listeners to find your podcast organically
Publishing podcast show notes on your website for each new episode means more fresh content posted more often. New content creates a lot of compounding action for your website and podcast.
Fresh content provides an incentive for your existing audience to come back regularly and increases your chances of bringing in new listeners who find you organically from search results.
The compounding effects of building a robust and growing library of content is a long-term plan. To illustrate, the SEO Digital Group explains the potential pay off like this:
Publishing fresh content regularly can help you build a returning audience, which drives more regular traffic to your site. The more that people come to your website and bring traffic, the more authority your website has on search engines. This will improve SEO and help your page rank higher on search engines.SEO Digital Group
Podcast show notes don’t require a huge commitment
Creating show notes for each episode doesn’t have to be complicated. Think quality and value to your listener over length.
Even Neil Patel, the biggest name in SEO, suggests that good content doesn’t necessarily correlate with word count. In his article The Nine Ingredients That Make Great Content, he concludes that “There is nothing better than a brief, to-the-point blog post or article that is filled with information.”
Create show notes that make sense for your podcast, and know that they will likely evolve. Readers know when you’re filling space and lose interest quickly if your notes are full of fluff to hit some arbitrary word count.
2. Build Your Authority
If you’ve created a podcast on a particular topic, it means it’s something you’re passionate about. You have probably done and continue to do a lot of research, reading, and networking in your area of interest.
Your podcast is an outlet for you to share what you know (or what you’re learning) on your topic of choice. Adding show notes to your publishing process will give you an additional opportunity to build your authority.
Establishing yourself as an expert can also open other doors to increase your reach, like:
- Guest appearances on other podcasts
- Writing opportunities for other publications
- Speaking engagements (conferences/panels/workshops/webinars)
- Teaching opportunities
3. Create additional content using work you’ve already done
You’ve put so much time and energy into researching, recording and, producing your podcast. It only makes sense to squeeze every bit of content you can out of it.
Show notes are a perfect opportunity to leverage the work you’ve already done and provide a valuable and engaging resource for your audience. Also, these notes are a great place to house your episode transcript, either directly on the page itself or as a downloadable resource.
Share show notes on social media
Your show notes can act as an episode announcement on social media. As you post these notes over time, you’ll be training your listeners to expect notes with each episode and use them as a convenient way to consume your content.
And, as always, we recommend you include an audiogram in your social post highlighting the new release. Creating an audiogram for your episode only takes a few minutes using Headliner’s Audiogram Wizard.
Learn more: Increasing Podcast Discoverability With Video
Leverage show notes in an email newsletter
Show notes, which will include an embed of your audio, are the perfectly packaged piece of content to send to your fans in the form of an email newsletter to announce a new episode.
By sending them an email pointing to your website rather than directly to a streaming service, you’re building traffic to your website and giving them other items that will enhance their listening experience and help them get to know you and your show a little better.
If you aren’t building an email marketing list yet, start now. Communicating through email is one of the very best ways to stay in touch with your fans. According to data shared by Castos, there are roughly 3.8 billion people who actively use email, and the average open rate for email communication is around 22%.
4. Add details and context not possible with audio alone
Audio is an amazing medium. It’s convenient for listeners to enjoy on the go, it’s perfect for storytelling and sharing information, and it’s relatively easy and fast to produce compared to long-form video.
Think of these notes as the companion package to your audio. Everything you include should either give more detail on what was discussed or help your audience get to know you and your guests better.
Things to include in your podcast show notes:
Embed audio of the episode
This is a no brainer. First and foremost, you are promoting your podcast. Place it prominently on the page and make it extremely convenient for your reader to access.
Links and further reading
Links to things you shared or further reading: In many cases, during a podcast episode, hosts will reference other resources: books, articles, even other podcasts. Listeners potentially won’t remember or be able to look up those resources on the spot. Your show notes offer the perfect place to list these in one convenient location for the listener.
Bodies is a feminist documentary podcast. Each episode follows one person (specifically women and marginalized genders) on their journey to solve their medical mystery.
Given a topic as in-depth as medical diagnoses and healthcare, Bodies depends on their show notes to provide resources to understand the episode’s content better. Depending on the subject, sometimes they’re also able to share support networks and groups for people with the same diagnosis.
For example, the episode “Invisible Impact” tells the story of a woman who escaped domestic violence and the long-term effects on her mental health even years later. For such a serious topic as domestic violence, it was important for the hosts to have the outlet to share hotline numbers, support groups, and advocates for other women who may be in the same situation.
See podcast show notes for Bodies: “Invisible Impact.”
Photos or videos
Photos and videos are crucial in telling certain stories like true crime, biography, or current events. They also come in handy when showing something you’re describing yourself doing, as is the case for Home Cooking.
Home Cooking is hosted by podcast personality and composer Hrishikesh Hirway and Samin Nosrat, cook, teacher, and author of the James Beard Award-winning New York Times Bestseller Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.
Each episode features a guest chef and theme for the recipes they discuss. One of my favorite episodes, “Bittersweet (with Helen Zaltzman),” is all about cookies. When talking about recipes and food, it’s beneficial to show what you’re making and provide one convenient place to publish the recipes included in the episode.
See podcast show notes for Home Cooking: “Bittersweet (with Helen Zaltzman).“
Transcript (or link to transcript)
If you produce a transcript for each episode of your show, this is the perfect place to share them. You have the option for including the text directly on the page or as a downloadable PDF, which is the route taken by the podcast Floodlines, which tells the story of Hurricane Katrina through first-hand interviews and accounts.
See podcast show notes for Floodlines.
More information on your guest
If your show format depends on the amazing guests you bring on, your show notes for each episode could give a deep dive into your guest. Rather than just a 150-word bio, you can share their credentials, photos, links to their work, and links to their social media.
Using this medium to share more information on your guest and promote both them and their work is a nice perk to guests and will help you continue to attract more guests with more extensive reaches.
- Intro to the episode
- Access to multiple versions of the recording, including un-edited interviews with each guest
- Short bio for each of the guests
- Books the guests have written which both promote their work and strengthen their authority on the topic being discussed
- Bonus! Music credit from the episode allowing you to support artists and find the tracks you liked from the show
- Quick links to the previous or next episode (if available)
Documents, timelines, additional recordings
Some of the most popular podcasts out there are incredibly intricate and detailed stories like Serial, Up and Vanished, or Undisclosed. Stories like these include lots of characters and many locations that can become muddled to the listener.
By including show notes, you’re able to help the listener parse out the episode and the story you’re telling.
In The Dark does a great job of including interactive timelines, phone call recordings, and a review of the people included in each episode.
See podcast show notes for In The Dark.
In conclusion, podcast show notes have benefits for both you as a podcaster and the listener. Remember, your notes will evolve based on what resonates with your listener and what you’re able to add to your workflow reasonably.
In terms of show notes, the most important things you should start doing right now is building your email marketing list and creating a post for each episode.