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What Podcast Listeners Really Want from Your Show Notes

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Your podcast is recorded, edited, uploaded, and ready to promote. Now you can sit back and enjoy lots of traffic right? Well, maybe. But don’t forget about writing some show notes! Although blogging is my personal preferred medium, I’m starting to listen to more and more podcasts, and was even previously part of a weekly video game podcast for a few years.

What I’m discovering as I continue to explore the world of podcasting is that everyone has their own style for show notes. From a listener’s perspective, here’s what I like to see in show notes to enhance my podcast experience:

Links: Lots and Lots of Links

I asked my Twitter followers what they consider to be the top characteristic of good show notes, and without fail, everyone said links. I concur. When you’re listening to an episode and the host or guest talks about something but doesn’t provide a link in the show notes, it can be infuriating.

Yes, I can just Google it. But I shouldn’t have to. As a podcaster, your job is to entertain me or teach me, not make me do that work for myself. When I’m forced to look up something by myself, you also run the risk of me finding the wrong information and not really understanding your podcast.

Bottom line, to not have links in your show notes when necessarily is just lazy. It’s a must for any serious podcaster.

Bullet Points

I can appreciate a few paragraphs along with your episode. I’m a writer and I like to read. Just make sure that actual “notes” section of the page is written in bullet points or another format that is extremely easy to skim. I want to know really quickly whether or not the episode is going to interest me.

Times and Topics

Something I’ve noticed that some podcasters do is include not just a list of topics, but also a time when they start talking about this topic during the episode. I absolutely love seeing this as a listener. Sometimes, a specific podcast isn’t super interesting to me, but they are cover one topic that I love or talking to a special guest I want to hear. If I can avoid listening to segments that don’t interest me, I’m a happy camper.

Advertisement Information

Yes, believe it or not, I want ads. If you talk about something on your show, even if a commercial, it might interest me, so I want to know where to find more important about the company. Make sure you note when something is an affiliate link, so I’m not caught off guard. It’s also helpful if you note whether you use the product/service yourself and recommend it or if it’s just a sponsor and you have no opinion on whatever they’re advertising.

Having links to sponsor’s sites in your show notes is not only good for your readers, but it also adds additional value for your sponsors. In some cases, you can up your ad prices significantly or make a lot of affiliate money if you include a link.

A Brief Note About the People in this Episode

Don’t take for granted that I know who you are just because this is your 193rd episode. It might be the first one I’m listening to. At the top of your show notes, include a brief line about each host and guest on the podcast. Don’t assume that new listeners will seek out this information themselves.

Explanations of “Inside” Jokes

I absolutely hate it when I don’t understand a joke and it isn’t explained to me. You can certainly strengthen your community by having inside jokes and references only they “get” because it makes them feel like part of a club, but share that secret handshake with your brand new listeners too. Link to the episode where the joke originated and give a brief explanation.

Pictures

The best show notes out there have images. As I’m following along with your podcast, I want to see what you’re talking about. Of course, podcast listeners don’t always have show notes in front of them, so you can’t rely on visuals, but having images where relevant is a nice touch.

Your turn to tell us what you want from show notes. Whether you’re a podcaster yourself or just an avid fan, what do you look for in show notes? What makes some podcasters’ show notes better than others? Leave a comment!

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


Feedback

7
  • Mary-Lynn

    Allison, we do a podcast and a blog post for each BIGG Success Show episode. Looks like we are doing what is preferred above except for including times. We try to keep our shows to about 5 minutes. For the longer versions we’ll be launching soon, we’ll be sure to include the times there. Thanks so much for your informative post!

  • Melitsa

    Good tips. I’ve tried lots of different types of show notes on Raising Playful Tots as my listeners have emailed me.
    I’ve tried times before but we’re not doing it at the moment. I like using an image it makes it much easier to share on Pinterest and Facebook

    I like it when there’s a call to action to do something. There’s probably plenty in the show and I’d like to do something when I’m at the site.

  • Cal

    Allison, great post…
    I, unite with others who have posted opinions, I too, agree with your assessment.
    This is concise and informative, and brings structure to content we desire to share.

    One major point I like to raise, is that I like your points so much, I want to save them..
    …… wish there was a link to a “PDF” file….
    some thing to think about, NO?

    I always enjoy reading your post.
    Cal

  • Georg

    Chapter Marks are very usefull too – especially for long episodes!
    Especially if you already have some times noted …

  • Paul Colaianni

    Hooray! I do about 95% of what you suggest. And I agree, inside jokes without explanation means you forgot I’m in the room! Include me when you’re talking to your guest and I’ll feel like part of the show (and want to come back for me).

    Great article!

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