Follow our tips on how to get your podcast show notes just right.
Should your show notes be bullet points, or an article overview?
You spend your precious time getting your podcast just right. The perfect audio mix, thoughtfully crafted topics and questions, snazzy intro music and a marketing plan to call in new listeners and engage current ones. All the elements are there, yet there is a question still lingering and a decision to be made before you’re fully off and running to the podcast races – how do you want to build your show notes? It’s a question every podcaster goes through at least one time during their journey, and it’s not uncommon for people to experiment and even change up their show notes as they go along and determine what feels right for them.
First, We Must Get Clear on “show notes” in General
There’s the general description or blurb that you write once to describe your show on platforms such as Apple and Spotify, but these are different – and they are referred to as the show description. Show notes are the description of each episode, a synopsis of what that particular episode is about. They often include a title, two to three sentences about the episode (“In this episode, we chat about …) and a brief section mentioning relevant links, resources mentioned in the episode, where to find the show, and a social media handle or website link for guests. They also could include tweetables / pull quotes, a thank you to sponsors or discount code to advertisers and other goodies you feel add value. Almost always they are either in first- or third-person, and the style of your show notes should be similar to the style of your podcast and the universe you’ve created around it. For example, is your tone playful, serious, detailed, fast paced or succinct? Is it more straightforward and fact based, or loose and conversational? This will help you determine the answer to the question, should your show notes be bullet points, or basically an article overview?
Here are some reasons why you may choose one or the other. There is no right or wrong, it’s just more about the style of your show and what will be more sustainable for you to put out. It’s also important to think about your audience and the type of attention they are spending on notes. Is it a 1-minute quick read as they walk to work, or are they poring over the notes to reference as they listen along?
- Great to encourage people to listen, and can pique curiosity.
- Helpful for people just skimming the notes to see what they can expect as they’re diving into a listen or download.
- Bullet points in your notes may be a little more mysterious and vague, not giving away the meat of your episode or spoiling everything you talked about.
- Bullet points can drive home the important broad strokes of an episode for both you and the listeners.
One example of a show that does bullet points in their notes is Ballard Design’s “How to Decorate” show. They create interest for teasing what you can get in the episode rather than giving it all away.
If you find your bullet points are getting too lengthy, an article overview might be better for you. An overview is also great if you are repurposing it for a blog or newsletter, an article on Medium or another writing site. Long blocks of text that give people too much info could lead them to feel like they don’t need to listen to the podcast, so if you do opt for an article overview, you can still use the teasing structure to create mystery and interest.
An example of a show that does a good job of show notes that are more article overview style without making them too long or overly complicated is Mike Poznansky’s “More Than a Job.”
Whether you choose bullet points or an article overview style, you can still get in the key words and phrases that can ramp up your SEO. For more ideas on using your show notes for search engine rankings and discoverability, become a Blubrry Podcast Insider.