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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!

Google Can’t Hear You – The Importance of Show Notes

Author:

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?

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