show notes

Why you need Otter in your life

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For the last couple of episodes of Level Up Human, I’ve been using Google speech to text to transcribe sections of the show for our show notes.

it works pretty well within the auphonic engine.

You can playback the sentence you’re reading to correct errors, and it’s possible to download the results as a .vtt file for YouTube.

But I think I’ve just found something better.

The Otter service uses AI to transcribe voice notes. It’s also possible to upload audio files to the program.

The user interface is so much nicer to use.

The playback feature is better, and the accuracy is superior to Google speech to text in the experiments I’ve done so far.

You have to check this out.

If you’re a performer, you might also enjoy the ability to riff into your phone and have an app transcribe the results for future reference.

I’ve just uploaded the voice memo recording of a gig I did in July last year, and Otter has transcribed it for me, for a performance on Friday. Having not thought about the show for six months, I now have a script!


If you’re on zoom calls at the moment, Otter will transcribe your meeting notes, with fully searchable results.

Which apps do you use every week to make your show?

Podcast Show Notes

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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?

1% Better

I’ve been reading James Clear’s brilliant book, Atomic Habits.

In it, he tells the story of the British cycling team, who went from mediocrity to winning everything there was to win at the 2012 London Olympics.

And they did this, says Clear, by improving everything they could think of just by 1%.

They improved the cyclists’ sleeping habits, attitude, gear, clothes, nutrition, even bike storage came under scrutiny.

If you’re reading this and thinking – wasn’t there a doping scandal though – James covers this in the British Cycling Update on his website.

Doping scandals aside, the team were making a million and one improvements on a day-by-day basis, which allowed them to improve exponentially overall.

And you can too.

With small improvements every day, we can reap the benefits of what Team GB’s cycling coach, Dave Brailsford, calls The Aggregation of Marginal Gains.

When you’re writing, podcasting, making the thing you create every day, ask yourself this.

What can I do to make my system 1% better?

Recently, I’ve been trying to put this into practice on my podcast, Level Up Human.

We’re 70 episodes in now, and I’ve been working on the show notes. For the first 50 episodes, we didn’t write any. It wasn’t a huge thing in podcasting.

Then I noticed other shows released extensive show notes every episode. I’ve tried to improve ours by 1% for the last 10 episodes in a row.

Having done this, I also discovered it’s possible to feed your podcast into a Google speech to text translation service, in order to create an edited transcript of the show.

We now have extended show notes available to our Patreon community, and on our website, which are too long for our hosting service, Acast.

This allows our listeners to get a deeper understanding of the episode. Hopefully, it extends their enjoyment of the show.

This can be applied to multiple aspects of life. If you make a 1% improvement change every day, over time these build into systems that make it easier to succeed.

Clear says in his book,

“The more tasks you can handle without thinking, the more your brain is free to focus on other areas.” – James Clear

Building routines can lead to exponential growth and improvement.

It takes time, but after a while, these small changes build on one another to allow rapid improvement and growth.

Just don’t expect the returns to show up immediately. You have to keep at it!

I’ve been enjoying the Streaks app recently, which makes it easier to track small habits and build streaks to incorporate them into daily routines.

If you’re a science podcaster or love science podcasts, I run a new facebook group you might like to join.

What are you working on making 1% better?