In this article, we discuss why podcast show notes are important, and the 6 things that your show notes should include.
Because podcasts are a primarily audio-based medium, it’s easy to forget that there are visual elements to consider. The importance of cover art is obvious, but it’s easy to overlook another crucial visual component – show notes.
If you don’t already know, show notes appear as a podcast episode’s description in podcast listening apps. They are a critical tool for any podcaster trying to grow their audience, as they are often one of the first impressions a potential listener has of your podcast.
Show notes are important for three reasons: discoverability, growth, and engagement.
Discoverability comes into play with SEO. Short for Search Engine Optimization, SEO is basically modifying your show notes in a way that it’s more likely to be promoted by the algorithm.
Google is the world’s most popular search engine, so you’ll need to optimize everything to their algorithm’s liking. To do this, add links to articles about the topics you discussed in your episode. Links related to your topic help establish you as an authority on your topics in the eyes of Google’s algorithm. With your authority established, people who Google your topic are more likely to be shown your podcast – leading to more listeners.
SEO can also refer to in-app SEO, which is essentially the podcast app’s search bar. Your related topic links will make you more discoverable for in-app SEO as well.
When listeners stumble upon a podcast they might be interested in, they often scroll through the episode list and see if anything piques their interest. This first impression is a make-or-break moment. If a listener is intrigued by what they see, you might have found your next loyal listener. But if your show notes don’t grab their attention, then you’ve missed an opportunity to grow your audience.
To grow your audience, it’s critical to write a catchy episode summary at the beginning of your show notes. We’ll go into more detail about episode summaries later on in this article.
Adding links to your podcast show notes doesn’t just help find new listeners, it also keeps your current listeners more engaged.
Podcast listeners are hungry for information, as 74% say they listen to podcasts to learn new things. When you discuss something on your podcast that piques your listeners’ interest, they’ll likely want to follow up to learn more information.
If you direct your listeners to your show notes for more information, they’ll feel more connected to your podcast, which means they’ll continue listening and maybe even purchase a product from one of your ads.
And if someone is reading your show notes, it’s likely that they are interested in more of your content. That’s why show notes are a great way to direct listeners to follow your podcast on various platforms like Podchaser, Patreon, and social media.
With all this in mind, remember to make your show notes visually appealing. It helps readability for those looking to dive deeper and pretty show notes are more appealing to a potential new listener.
In any podcast listening app, under the title, the app will show a 5-10 word snippet of your show notes. If show notes are a listener’s first impression, then the beginning of your show notes is even more so.
So at the beginning of your show notes, add a summary of the episode. This should be short (40-100 words), and extra attention should be given to those first few words of the summary.
Write the first line in coordination with your episode title. One or the other should be a crystal clear description of what the episode is about. For example, If you have a mysterious episode title, concretely explain the mystery in the summary. If you have a direct title (like the name of your guest) your summary can be a little more free form.
In the end, always make your summary catchy, as you’re trying to attract new listeners with how interesting your show is.
Brand advertisements with unique coupon codes are the bread and butter of how podcasts make money. To make it as easy as possible for your listeners to redeem your code, add your discount code or clickable link directly after your episode summary. The closer it is to the top of your show notes, the more likely listeners will see and purchase your advertisers’ products.
There are other links besides advertisements that are crucial to getting your listener’s eyes on. With these links, you’re trying to entice the listener to learn more about your podcast, and potentially give you money through your Patreon, or purchasing your merchandise.
Include links to your official podcast website, Podchaser podcast page, a link to the episode’s Podchaser page, a link to your merch store, and a link to your Patreon.
All of these are what’s called CTAs (Calls-to-action). Word the lead up to each of these CTAs in a way that entices the listener to take action. For example: “Review My Podcast on Podchaser” or “Support the show on Patreon”
You can merge many of these links into one by claiming your podcast on Podchaser. Once claimed, you can edit your Podchaser page to act as your official podcast homepage, merch store, and review hub all in one place.
Now it’s time to plug your guest and share any links that they’d like promoted. This often includes their social media, their Podchaser creator page, and links to any specific product they are trying to sell.
Following up with your guest after you’ve recorded the episode can sometimes be cumbersome, especially on a tight publishing schedule. So we recommend asking your guest to provide all of their plugs ahead of time.
Everyone who’s worked on your podcast deserves credit for their work. Like a movie, state your collaborator’s name and their role in the creation of the episode. Be sure to include links to their Podchaser creator profiles.
Adding credits benefits everyone involved, as more links mean more SEO credibility for both you and your collaborators. Google’s algorithm will associate your collaborators with your show and vice versa. Meaning that people will find your show when they search for your collaborators and they’ll find your collaborators when searching for your show.
On Podchaser this mutual discovery process is streamlined, as potential listeners can quickly discover your podcast from your collaborator’s credits on their Podchaser creator profile.
This section can often be the longest in your entire show notes, so it’s good to have last. If you have it earlier in your show notes, the wall of blue underlined text can scare listeners away from reading your full show notes.
That doesn’t mean that your show topic links should be an afterthought! Many listeners find a podcast’s show notes purely for this section, so be sure to make it as useful as possible.
Be sure to organize your links in chronological order from top to bottom. Include timestamps with each link if possible, as this helps listeners select the topics they are interested in if they don’t have time for your full episode.
While they don’t include timestamps, the podcast Do By Friday’s show notes are a great example of how to include show topic links into your episode’s show notes.
The presentation of your show notes is almost as important as the content of your show notes. If formatted incorrectly, listeners will have a hard time finding what they are looking for. Here are a few tips to increase the readability of your show notes.
Ponies and Unicorns, friend or foe? In this episode, we discuss everything about ponies and unicorns (height, width, manes, credit scores) to finally get to the bottom of their trustworthiness. Are they with us or against us? Listen to the episode to find out.
💸 Get 25% of all quadrupedal merchandise from horsemerch.example.com using my code: HORSEY
⭐ Rate this episode, buy our merchandise, and learn more about the show on Podchaser.
🙏 Support the show on Patreon
Guest and Credits
✂️ Edited by Noble Steed – Follow Him on Podchaser
🎤 Produced by Mare Edith – Follow Them on Podchaser
🎵 Music by Cowgirl – Follow Her on Podchaser
What we Discussed in the Episode
Show notes help you in a variety of ways, from discoverability to providing resources for your audience.
And once you learn the formula, show notes are really easy! You can copy and paste most of it from episode to episode, only updating your summary, guest plugs, and episode links.
But it’s always good to double-check you have everything in your show notes before you publish the episode. To help, remember the acronym SPATCO (Summary, Plug your guest, Ads, Topics, Credits, Official Links).
Show notes are crucial, but unfortunately, they won’t grow your podcast entirely on their own. To continue growing your show, claim your podcast on Podchaser. Then you can add credits, add merch, and customize your Podchaser podcast page.