How to Write Effective Podcast Show Notes? – As a Tool for Audience Growth and Engagement.

How to Write Effective Podcast Show Notes

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Podcast Show notes templates

Download Free Podcast Show Notes Templates

So far, the “Podcasting Mastered” course has been all about creating great audio—from capturing studio-level sound quality to fine-tuning your podcast storytelling competencies. And rightfully so.

Podcasts are designed to be consumed audibly, after all. It’s the whole purpose of the medium. But for this lesson, audio will have to take a back seat. We’ll be temporarily shifting our attention to written content. More specifically, podcast show notes.

If you’re big on audio like us, you might be wondering: What’s the point of writing show notes? Surely, it’s just unnecessary effort and time. Time that could have been spent recording another podcast episode, right? Well, think again. Failure to have show notes is one of the B2B podcasting mistakes we urge podcasters to avoid!

In our books, show notes for podcast episodes are a must-have—and not a nice-to-have. Why? You ask. We will be getting to that soon.

But for a quick spoiler: 

Takeaway: Well-written show notes are a potent tool to upgrade the listener experience and boost your show’s discoverability.

Now, we understand that writing can be a chore, and you might be concerned about getting it right for maximum outcomes. But we got your back. 💆🏻

Let’s examine why show notes are necessary for your B2B podcasting workflow and how to create effective show notes for podcasts. You also find a couple of podcast show notes templates to make the task easier. 

This post is the 14th in a series of “Podcasting Mastered” chapters designed to help you launch and grow an enterprise lead-generating podcast.

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What are Podcast Show Notes?

What are Podcast Show Notes

First things first, podcast show notes are not to be confused with the podcast description or podcast summary.

A podcast description describes your overall show. It explains what you’re about and usually serves to complement the podcast name/title. Think of it as the ‘About Us’ page. Here’s an example from Qiological, one of the podcasts we work with here at PodcastBuffs: 

The Qiological podcast description highlights what the show is about to give new listeners an idea of what to expect.

On the other hand, a podcast summary is attached to each episode. It offers a gist of what the host or guest(s) are talking about. Coming back to Qiological, here’s an example of a podcast summary from one of the episodes: 

Keep in mind that Apple podcast and most other listening apps restrict HTML markup in the podcast description and podcast episode summary fields. This means that you can’t link listeners to additional information. And this is where the show notes for podcasts come in. 

Podcast show notes, mostly include the same information as the podcast episode summary. The only differences are that show notes typically appear on your website, and you can add all the links or resources you want.

You’ll notice that the podcast show notes on Qiological’s website are a more ‘fleshed out’ version of the podcast episode summary found on podcast listening apps. 

Now that you have a clear picture of what show notes is, let’s explore how they might come in handy for your business podcast. 

Benefits of Writing High-Quality Show Notes for Podcasts.

Benefits of Writing High-Quality Show Notes for Podcasts

Podcast show notes are not the first thing on most podcasters’ minds—and we can’t blame them. Podcasts are an audio-first medium. But there’s more to successful B2B podcasting than superb sound and compelling audio content.

A key part of what makes a podcast successful involves text. As you’ll come to realize below, podcast show notes are a powerful tool with wide-reaching benefits. 

1. Show Notes Boost Your Podcast’s SEO.

Show Notes Boost Your Podcast’s SEO

Podcast discoverability has long been pushed as a critical shortcoming of the medium. But in debunking this myth, we argued that it’s more about a failure to promote podcasts the right way.

Written content (e.g., show notes) is one way to solve the alleged podcast discoverability problem. It allows you to appear more prominently on search engines.

If you want listeners to find you, ranking favorably on search results is crucial. And how do you do this? By implementing search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.

Google has been making efforts to index podcasts so that they appear in search results. This is great! But you must remember that those sneaky search engine bots that determine your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) have spent decades fine-tuning their algorithm for written content.

By incorporating relevant target keywords in your show notes, you get to boost your performance on search engines and podcast apps. Web crawlers are able to find and index your content for ranking. And if your show notes are well-optimized and valuable, the better. 

2. Improve the Listener Experience.

The podcast show notes page is where you house everything you could not say in the audio. It’s where you reference things you’d like your listeners to follow up on or check out after tuning in to an episode.

Why is this important? 

For one, you don’t want to shove a list of hundreds of things down your audience’s throat during the episode. And second, you give your listeners the peace of mind to enjoy the content, knowing they can access key points and additional resources afterward — rather than listen intently jotting points on a notepad.

So, what are some of the things that you should include in the show notes for podcasts? Keep reading! We’ll cover the best practices later on in this lesson. 

3. Generate Traffic.

We all want to generate traffic—regardless of your reasons. B2B podcasting is a lead generation machine! As long as it’s well-implement. And one way to do this is by leveraging podcast show notes. Here are some of the ways show notes can supercharge your traffic and lead generation efforts: 

 🌐 Drive Traffic to Your Website (from your podcast): 

Ideally, you want your relationship with podcast listeners to carry over beyond listening to you talk. Getting prospects to your business website via your podcast show notes gives them a chance to snoop around and learn what you’re all about. You’ll be creating an additional point of contact. Your audience will feel more connected to you, which is great for lead generation and conversion.

🎙️ Drive Traffic to Your Podcast (from Your website):

On the other hand, some prospects find you through your website (thanks to SEO). Value-packed show notes can prove to be a potent tool by convincing them to hit the play button and hopefully subscribe to your podcast.

🗣️ Via Cross-Promotion with Guests:

Promoting guests on the relevant show notes page is a small gesture with an impactful ripple effect. You not only get to show gratitude to the previous guest, but also improve your odds of attracting more guests in the future. Plus, if they also promote you to their audience, you both get a boost in traffic. Win-win.

4. Encourage Audience Engagement.

Encourage Audience Engagement

Show notes give listeners more power to interact and engage with your content.

For example, you can grow a community of engaged and loyal listeners by including social media links in your show notes. Redirecting the qualified audience to your social media channels allows you to create and strengthen your relationship with them.

You can also highlight useful tips or quotes mentioned in an episode on the show notes page. This may give your listeners more incentive to share your content. You can even take your efforts up a notch by taking advantage of a tool like Click to Tweet.

Another way to drive engagement using podcast show notes is linking to previous episodes relevant to the current topic. This is a way to add value and keep your content ever fresh. 

5. Increase Your Credibility and Authority.

Would you feel confident in a business when you follow them to their website only to find they barely have any content there? Most probably, you wouldn’t! Well, neither do your listeners nor search engines.

The more VALUABLE content you have on your website, the more credible you appear to cyber passers-by—and the more likely you are to be ranked favorably by search engines.

Podcast show notes are an effective way to easily create valuable content without brainstorming from scratch. You can even repurpose content and create a more detailed blog post or an e-book. Get creative!

Information-packed show notes also tell your listeners that you know what you’re talking about, and you’re intently exploring ways to be of value to them. And who doesn’t want that? 

How to Write Effective Podcast Show Notes?

How to Write Effective Podcast Show Notes Content

The benefits of podcast show notes are undeniable! And if you’re convinced that creating show notes is a great idea (and you should), the next step is doing the actual work. But not all show notes are created equal.

Some show notes do little, and others are game changers. We want yours to lean on the ‘game-changing’ side, so we’ve compiled a “How-To” guide with the best practices for creating effective show notes for podcasts. 

1. SEO-Friendly All the Way.

Remember when we mentioned show notes improve your podcast’s SEO? Well, it doesn’t always come automatically. You have to put measures in place to appease the search engine bots. 

SEO for your show notes starts with finding a primary keyword to target. Ideally, this must be relevant to the topic discussed in the episode, have relatively high search traffic, and have low competition. 

For example, let’s say your main topic of discussion in your latest episode is marketing strategies for B2B and B2C businesses. After some keyword research, your primary keyword could be “B2B marketing vs. B2C.”

The target keyword has decent volume and pretty low SEO competition of 9/100 (with 100 being the highest difficulty). Optimizing your content for this keyword gives you great odds of ranking high on SERPs.
Ensure your target keyword appears in the following places: 

  • Page Title (the <title> tag)
  • Page’s URL
  • Main heading (<h1>)
  • Some subheadings (<h2>, <h3>, etc.)
  • First 100 words of text
  • Last 100 words
  • Reasonably sprinkled in copy
  • Image ALT attributes

Remember NOT to cram your keywords so much that your content is unreadable—or worse, the search engine bots may flag and punish you for keyword stuffing. 

2. Keep Show Notes Clear, Concise, and Scannable.

Keep Show Notes Clear, Concise, and Scannable

What would you like from the show notes of your favorite podcast? You’d appreciate something easy to read and understand, right? Perhaps a little bit enjoyable? Definitely value-packed? And if you’re in a hurry, skimmable content would be a lifesaver, wouldn’t it?

Always have your podcast listener in mind when creating show notes. This means you should be as clear and descriptive as possible. Give your content some structure. Keep your paragraphs short and sentences straight to the point.

And make the show notes scannable or skimmable! This is something most podcasters miss but could be of great value. Your audience should be able to quickly find what they need. For this purpose, consider using bullet points.

Regarding how long podcast show notes should be: Don’t make it too long that you overwhelm listeners. Think of your show notes as a highlight reel—where you only capture the key moments and lure your audience to listen in. But don’t make them too short either that you offer little-to-no value. 

A good example of a podcast that does a great job of creating clear, concise, and scannable podcasts is Art of Charm by AJ Harbinger and Johnny Dzubak.

Notice how the content is clear and easy to skim through? Aim for something similar. 

3. Start Strong.

The first paragraph is where you bring your A game. It needs to intrigue the page visitor and give them useful information to influence their decision to hit play.

While the format is not set in stone, here are some things you might want to cover in your first paragraph:

1. Lead with a Hook: 

Start your podcast show notes with a thoughtful question or a catchy one-liner. It should be something that makes them go; “Hmm, what else is here? I want to read more.” And drawing on inspiration from Tim Ferris podcast show notes, you can also lead with an interesting quote from the guest.

2. Introduce the Guest: 

If you had a guest over, introduce them early. Your guest is the star of the episode, and the reader/listener needs to know this. Please note that this is not a guest bio. It’s just a sentence or two about who the guest is and maybe their most significant achievement or title.

3. Give a Short Summary: 

This is where you explain what the reader should expect from listening to your episode. In a few lines, highlight the theme of the episode or state the hardest-hitting points.

The Marketing Made Simple podcast is a good example of how to start strong. They do a splendid job of capturing the listeners’ attention, introducing the guest, and summarizing the topic of discussion. 

4. Outline the Main Points.

What are the main takeaways from your episode? After the podcast show notes intro, the next thing you want to do is highlight the key points from the episode.

You can start from scratch or use the podcast outline (if you made one before recording). Either way, do not give away too much. Remember, you still want readers to turn into listeners. 

Here is an example from an episode of the Qiological podcast:
In This Conversation, We Discuss:

  • What is qi, really? Understanding qi from a unified physics viewpoint
  • Three decades of Shiatsu: Beth Hazard’s journey through East Asian medicine
  • Developing a capacity for sensing
  • The nuts and bolts of looking and being attentive to the field
  • Tuning into the field and peeking through the veils of time in the clinic
  • Focusing on pathology vs. working with the innate intelligence of a patient’s qi. 

You can also create a list of clickable timestamped show notes. This makes navigation a breeze and improves the listener experience. 

Offering such convenience may work in your favor in terms of engagement. Here’s an excellent example from the “Marketing School” podcast by digital marketing gurus Neil Patel and Eric Siu: 

And depending on your conversation in the podcast episode, consider lifting some compelling and memorable quotes. Tim Ferris podcast show notes are a great example of how quotes can add value to your content. He has an entire section in his show notes page dedicated to guest quotes.

You might also find show notes that include a transcript of the episode. This is a bitter-sweet idea. On the one hand, it’s good for SEO and makes the podcast more accessible to people who might not be able or want to listen to the content. On the other hand, you risk giving away everything—which beats the purpose of enticing readers to listen to the podcast you’ve worked hard to record and edit. 

5. Share All Relevant Resources.

Share All Relevant Resources

Include any additional resources you mentioned in the episode or anything you wish you could but couldn’t. Some of the resources you should link to include: 

  • The guest’s bio and contact information.
  • Links to explore discussed topics in more detail. Maybe a website, research article, or book.
  • Newsletter sign-up’s. 
  • Promoted products/services mentioned in the episode.
  • The visuals you mentioned in the episode (videos, images, charts, graphs, infographics, etc.).
  • Previous episodes mentioned or those that are relevant to the current episode.
  • Sponsor information.
  • Affiliate links or discount codes.

Again, the Tim Ferris podcast show notes do a great job with this. They include a well-researched and detailed list of their sources. 

6. Don’t Forget the Call to Action.

Don’t Forget the Call to Action

It’s a good rule of thumb to cap off your show notes for podcasts with a call to action (CTA). It’s a great way to build relationships with your audience and aid your lead generation efforts. 

A CTA is a request asking your readers to take further in the form of subscribing to the show, sharing and following you on social media, or listening to more episodes. Whatever your CTA, don’t overdo it. No one likes to be flooded with requests. 

7. Stay Consistent.

Lastly, keep your show notes consistent. The layout and structure should carry on from one episode to the next. This gives your audience a good idea of what to expect with each episode, and the familiarity allows them to navigate the content seamlessly.

Consistency also makes the task of creating the written content easier for you. For this, we recommend you have a podcast show notes template to guide you every time you publish an episode—and we have some examples to get you started. 

Podcast Show Notes Templates.

By now, you should be well informed on the importance of having show notes for podcasts and the best practices for creating compelling content. But we would like to go a step further in helping you make the most of this strategy by creating podcast show notes templates. 

Podcast Show notes templates

Download Free Podcast Show Notes Templates

Create Effective Podcast Show Notes – Grow and Engage Your Audience

Create Effective Podcast Show Notes

Starting a successful podcast takes more than just nailing the audio content. Effective show notes for podcasts can significantly boost your lead generation by cracking the SEO code and improving audience engagement. In other words, it’ll be easier for prospects to find you—and those that do find you will get more value and reason to stick around.

If you’re a beginner and about to start a podcast, add show notes to your workflow! And if you have a running podcast and haven’t been writing show notes or haven’t put much thought into whatever you have, we suggest you start doing so.

We want to see your business podcast succeed as much as you do.

Implementing best practices covered in this “Podcasting Mastered” course lesson should make your task of creating an effective podcast show notes easier. But if you don’t have the time or need a professional touch to take your podcast to the next level, you can use a podcast show notes service.

Don’t know where to begin? Get started with our free B2B Podcasting course.

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Praveen Telu

Praveen Telu

I'm the founder of PodcastBuffs - In this blog, I share all my thoughts, experiments, results, tips, and tricks to help you succeed as a B2B podcaster.

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