The beauty of podcasting is that it reaches people in multiple ways. You have your audio component, of course. If you wish, you can add a video component to your show that will give those guided by visual stimulation additional incentive to get hooked on your show.
And then there’s those who prefer written word. This is where creating exceptional show notes comes into play. All of these items combined transform your podcast into a content machine that attracts more listeners and spreads your message to a wider listener base.
When it comes to show notes, you want to use this space to get your point across without writing a book. Show notes are designed to give listeners a preview of what they’ll experience when they download your episode, as well as give them links for resources mentioned on the show, giveaways, products you want them to consider purchasing, how they can support your show, and other places on the Interwebs that they can find you.
Your show notes will be just as much of a catalyst for growing your audience as your actual episodes.
When people pull up an episode of your show, your show notes should give them reason to take the next step…which is to hit play. If your notes don’t provide the proper snapshot of your episode, they’ll move on. Additionally, if your notes read like a lengthy blog post, they may get turned off and bail.
If you look up any given podcasts that you’re interested in, you’ll most likely find a mix of approaches to show notes. Some podcasters will do long-form show notes. Other will be more brief. Some skip this step altogether, which is not recommended.
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Again, your notes play the role of movie trailer for your podcast. Without having to dive right in, a listener can get a feel for what’s to come by checking out your notes. And if they’re written in a way that’s appealing, the likelihood of them hitting the play button goes way up.
In order to ensure your show notes are treated with importance, here are four tips you can implement immediately:
1. Keep it Simple…but not too simple. You want to be brief and to the point so your potential listener can quickly understand what your episode is all about. But you don’t want to be so brief that you fail to showcase the content of said episode. My recommendation: 3-4 short paragraphs of 2-3 sentences maximum that contain keywords to boost SEO and summarize your episode in an informative, inviting way.
2. Write your show notes first. Writing your show notes before you record is a great way to begin a framework for your show’s direction. Most likely, you’ll also be producing a script or list of bullet points you’ll want to talk about or a list of questions for your guest if you’re doing an interview. When preparing these items, include the first draft of your show notes. You may need to edit them to some degree after recording, but doing them first will contribute to the mold in which your episode is built.
3. Be consistent with your notes. Don’t go from two sentences to War and Peace from one episode to the next. Develop the format that works best for you and stick to it. Be sure to mention your episode’s title and show number in your show notes, too.
4. PROOFREAD. Before your episode and your show notes go live, proofread. While we’re on the subject – before ANYTHING you post online goes live, proofread. There is so much content on the web these days that clearly isn’t proofread. Don’t be part of that. If you’ve written your notes in advance of publication of your show, take a day, then come back to see if any glaring mistakes jump out. If possible, have another person look over your notes for errors and omissions. Two sets of eyes are better than one. This is your brand, your business, your creation, your work – be proud of it and represent it by proofreading your show notes to ensure they make sense.