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Listening to a new podcast can be daunting.

“I hope this is good”

“What is this anyway?”

“Who is this person?”

“Who is this person?”

Podcast quality is widely variable. There are some shows I would listen to over watching a multi-billion dollar film. Others are almost unlistenable.

When I start listening to an episode of a new show, there’s a chance it will be on one of the unlistenables.

I’m nervous. I don’t want it it to be that.

There’s an equal chance I’m going to disappear down a rabbit hole listening to everything they’ve published for the last six months, and see a new episode dropping as my personal equivalent of Christmas morning. I’m a bit weird like that.

The point is, it could go either way.

Here’s where show notes can help.

As I stand in my kitchen, speculatively listening to an episode of a podcast I haven’t heard before, I’m looking at the show notes.

Hoping they’ll shed some light on what exactly I’m listening to.

Good show notes can hold the hand of your listener, introducing yourself, sitting them down in a comfy chair, making them a cup of tea.

And it’s worth remembering that whilst podcast listeners likely have an auditory learning style, most people learn visually as well. Your podcast show notes can tell them what your vision for your show is in one sentence.

That’s why our show notes start like this: ‘Level Up Human is a podcast panel show on a mission to redesign the human body.’

Here are some more potential benefits.

  • Writing show notes improves the SEO of your podcast. Podcasts now show up in Google search results. I’m no SEO expert, but notes sprinkled with keywords must help your podcast show up in relevant searches.
  • Hook new listeners. Your show notes can provide as much of a hook as the first 60 seconds of your show. Tell us in the first sentence why this episode is worth our time.
  • Help your fans. Podcast listeners multi-task. They’re not going to take their hands out of the washing up to write down the name of the book you just mentioned. Link to it for them.
  • Help yourself. It’s much easier to search your back catalogue for a quote or a clip when your show notes tell you what’s in each episode.
  • Call to action. At the end of every episode, you can ask your listener to support you on Patreon, write a review or join your mailing list. Why not put handy links to these things in the show notes?

Show notes don’t need to be lengthy.

You don’t need to transcribe the whole programme, although there are some podcasters who do this.

If you’re interested in transcription, I highly recommend auphonic’s transcription editor, the smartest way to create podcast transcripts I’ve found so far (drop me a comment if you’ve discovered better.)

It’s important to find a balance between the benefit to you and your listener vs the time it takes to write them.

On the notes for my science podcast, Level Up Human, I’m putting brief notes on acast and extended show notes for our Patreon community.

This includes short transcripts and a lot of links.

If you’d like a template for writing your own show notes, you can download one here:

Podcast show notes template

What podcast do you make? What do you include in your show notes?

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