A podcaster without an audience is just talking to himself. While that can certainly be theraputic, the goal for every podcaster I’ve ever known is to have listeners. I’ve recently written about expanding your reach and influence, but one thing that I left out of that article was the importance of show notes. That, I felt, needed its own article.
What are show notes?
Show notes give site visitors a reason to push play. Yes, titles are important. But even more important is the block of text that describes what the episode is about. If your podcast about movies features an interview with an actor in a certain episode, your show notes will convey how great it was to potential listeners. If your podcast about social media has an episode that reveals the results of an in-depth study of Facebook, your show notes will convince your site visitors to listen by offering a synopsis of the data—a tease.
Those are examples of what happens when someone gets to your site, though. Show notes are far more powerful than that. Your show notes help get people to your site to begin with. Google doesn’t listen to your show. Bing has no idea what you said on the episode you’re posting. The search engines need to be fed, and your show notes are what they love to dine on.
What isthe best way to do show notes? Here are some general guidelines that I recommend.
First, text. Start with two to five good, keyword-rich paragraphs. Recap all the main topics that you covered in the episode. Mention any guests and give your readers a short bio on them. Write for the readers, not for the search engines. Google is smart. You don’t need to get tricky. Be compelling. Remember, after your awesome show notes feed the search engines, they still need to convince your visitor to push play.
Second, links. Include links to sources or sites of interest where appropriate. Be smart though, and don’t overload. The search engines like to see relevant links and visitors don’t want to be overwhelmed by a list with dozens of links.
Lastly, give your visitors a reason to listen to your show. I’m not a fan of transcriptions in most circumstances. If you write so much text in your show notes that listening becomes pointless, well, then you‚ Are you’re just a blogger, aren’t you?