Why don’t my show notes format correctly on all podcast apps?

Imagine this: You’re creating your latest episode using PowerPress or Blubrry Publisher, taking great care in formatting your show notes in a specific way. You click Publish and find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or another platform, and the show notes don’t look the same as they do in your post editor.

It’s frustrating, but we’ll do our best to explain why. Let’s start with two of the biggest reasons this happens.

  1. If you’ve copied and pasted your show notes from a program like Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or Apple Notes, that can add “hidden” formatting in the HTML.
  2. Each podcast app has its own formatting requirements, which will force your carefully crafted show notes to display in a specific way.

Copying notes from an application into the post editor

It’s always recommended to write your show notes directly in the editor, but we know that it isn’t always the best workflow. So how do you get around the potential hidden formatting if you choose to copy and paste?

PC Users: NotePad

  1. Copy your text from the application you’ve typed your notes in (Docs, Word, Notes, etc.)
  2. Open the application NotePad on your PC
  3. Paste the text into NotePad. This will strip out any existing formatting and potential hidden HTML
  4. Copy the plain text from NotePad and paste it into the post editor
  5. Set your formatting

MacOS Users: TextEdit

  1. Copy your text from the application you’ve typed your notes in (Docs, Word, Notes, etc.)
  2. Open the application TextEdit on your Mac
  3. Paste the text into TextEdit
  4. In TextEdit, go to Format > Make Plain Text (or Shift+Command+T) to convert the text to plain text
  5. Copy the plain text from TextEdit and paste it into the post editor
  6. Set your formatting
To ensure that your show notes appear consistently across different platforms, we recommend:
  • Using Simple Formatting: Stick to simple, widely-supported HTML tags like <p><br><b><strong><i><ul><ol>, and <li>.
  • Following Best Practices: Check the documentation and best practices for each platform to see what they recommend for show notes formatting.
  • Testing and Previewing: After your episode is published, you can make changes. Adjust as needed to ensure they look good on multiple platforms.
  • Consulting Platform Guidelines: Review Apple Podcasts and Spotify’s content guidelines for any updates or changes in supported HTML tags.

The folks over at Podnews did a deep dive into formatting, which you can read through here.