Show notes might seem like a very small, even inconsequential part of podcasting, but the truth is that they can make a big difference in the life of your content, listener response, and search engine rankings. In fact, show notes are an absolutely essential part of podcasting. That’s why we’ve put this list together of the top 6 reasons why your podcast needs shownotes, and the top 10 tips for better shownotes. Also check out our free shownotes checklist!
So why does your podcast need shownotes?
1. Show notes increase search engine ranking
Google can’t index audio or video content yet, so it’s up to you to let them know what’s going on in your episode! A page with just your audio content on it might be able to achieve a certain ranking just by having a title and a certain number of views, but it will never be categorized as well as it will be if you include show notes. With show notes, you can start to get ranked for some of those less searched or long form keywords that will bring you more traffic than just a simple title. In fact, if you’re looking to get ranked by search algorithms, show notes are pretty much the only way to go
2. Show notes can help you cross promote your product
Are you an author, speaker, or entrepreneur with a podcast designed to cross promote your product? In that case, show notes are the place to put links to your services, your books, or your business. Make sure that it stays relevant to the topic of the podcast, so you listeners don’t feel spammed. If someone becomes interested in you because of your podcast, these links will show them where to go.
3. Show notes make your content more credible
Show notes make your content more credible because readers know what they are listening to from the get go. It gives your site a professional edge that makes people much more likely to trust you and what is said on your show. Frankly, show notes are the industry standard. This American Life, RadioLab, Serial, WTF with Marc Maron – every successful podcast also has show notes.
4. Show notes make your content more consumable
In the modern age, consumability is everything. Most people on the internet aren’t reading (or listening) particularly hard. Show notes make your message easier to digest and, for some listeners, your show easier to understand.
5. Show notes encourage listeners to act on your call to action
Good speakers understand that repetition is key. If you want your listeners to do something, you’re going to have to remind them. Show notes are the perfect place to include reminders about your call to action and links to appropriate sites.
6. Show notes increase the life of your content
By making your content more accessible, show notes increase the life of your content. Show notes allow people to search your website for older episodes they might be interested in and allow your content to come up in response to search queries a long time after you’ve posted it.
So how do you begin to make the type of show notes that can do all these things for you? We’ve compiled a list of 10 tips to better show notes to get you started:
1. Include a captivating title
Your title is the first thing people see – so don’t waste the space! Include a captivating title that will draw your audience in and make them want to listen to your podcast. Although nothing can substitute for a creative mind, I recommend CoSchedule for help writing and analyzing your titles.
2. Include all links and references
This is a great opportunity to cross promote your products or brand. If you mention a book or a blog post you wrote (or your guest wrote!) in your episode, make sure you include it in your show notes.
3. Use headings for increased readability
In the internet age, using hierarchical text is critical. Most readers are looking to skim (yourself included, probably!) and they want informative headings that let them know in advance what’s going on. If your show notes are just long paragraphs of text, chances are they will not be read.
4. Include summaries of your content
After all, this is the most explicit purpose of show notes. Don’t forget to let your reader know what’s actually going on in your episode.
5. Use illustrations
Don’t be afraid to use illustrations to explain key concepts. They’re much more engaging than text, draw the eye, and increase the likelihood a visitor will stay on your page.
6. Use keywords that you want to be ranked for
This might seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget – use the keywords you want to be ranked for in your show notes! If you don’t know what keywords you want to be ranked for, I’d recommend this free keyword tool for help.
7. Reference previous episodes
Show notes are a great opportunity for internal linking, like we mentioned above – so mention previous episodes (and provide links) in your show notes.
8. Provide timestamps
Provide time stamps so your readers know where in your podcast you begin to discuss certain topics. This makes your content more consumable, as listeners can skip ahead in your podcast to things that interest them. If you find making time stamps while listening to your audio recording difficult, I recommend using Otranscribe – you can take notes while including timestamps with a simple keyboard shortcut!
9. Make your Call to Action part of your show notes
Don’t forget to make your call to action part of your show notes. If you want your audience to do something – donate money, subscribe to your email list, download an e-book, etc., then remind them in your show notes! This visual reminder will drastically increase the number of people who follow through on your call to action.
10. Don’t forget links to social media!
Does your podcast have a Facebook or twitter page? People who follow you on twitter or Facebook are more likely to know when your next episode is up and to tune in! Also, posting guest’s social media links (or the social media links to their business) is a great way to keep the audience engaged and give your guest something back for their time.
Download our free shownotes checklist here.
Thanks for reading!
At Podkick, we always include show notes with every episode we produce. For more information on show notes, advice on podcasting, or any other questions and concerns, feel free to email us at [email protected]
If you see the importance of show notes, but don’t think you have time to do them yourself, head over to podkick.com to see if we save you some time and do them for you!