One of the most impactful elements of a podcast are show notes. Think of it as the glue of a podcast’s brand. Writing good show notes requires an understanding of your overall podcast and basic writing skills. Ensuring you’re able to effectively inform and intrigue anyone who comes across the podcast you’re writing for. Here are effective ways to write stand out show notes.
What are Show Notes?
Show notes are descriptions of an episode of your show. These descriptions can feature corresponding information used for the contents of the episode. The information can include sources for topics, profile websites and social media handles for whoever is on the episode.
What is the Purpose of Show Notes?
The intent of show notes is to inform the audience. Show notes tell the podcast’s audience what the episode is about, who is hosting it, who is featured, why they are doing the episode and how it pertains to the overall show.
Where are Show Notes Found?
You can be find show notes within each episode description. Although each description should look they similar in structure that does not mean they should be exactly the same. The content of each description should be able to stand out and not rely on the information of other episodes.
How do Show Notes Impact Your Podcast?
These episodic descriptions are a way to solidify a podcast’s identity. Unlike the visual aesthetic of your show, structured writing is the glue of branding. If you can’t effectively describe what your show or episode is about how do you expect people to understand it?
Strong show notes keep people from second guessing what the podcast is about. It reduces the chances of them listening to something they didn’t expect or avoiding the show because it’s not what it claims.
The Basics to Writing Show Notes
Now that we’ve detailed what show notes are and their purpose, it’s time to start structuring your own. If you have access to typing and understand the basics to summarizing you are technically set. Taking show notes will require you to listen to a show multiple times while taking notes at the simultaneously. The most important aspect of show notes is having an understanding of the overall podcast.
Knowing Your Show
While listening and taking notes these are the most important points to identify. First identify who the host of the podcast is. Find out their preferred name and pin-point 1-3 of their personal descriptors.
Second, what is the name of the podcast. Then briefly detail what the show is about. If possible, specify when the show typically updates. If the show has to go on hiatus be sure to write that in the description as well.
Next, list where people can listen to the podcast. Platforms can include Spotify, Apple Podcast, Transistor.fm, and so on. Identify why the show is being made. Is the podcast a way to spread awareness of a topic? A way for the host to share personal experiences? Is it to learn and analyze a specific topic?
Lastly, list off the contact information of the host. This can be in the form of an email, website or social media handle. The general structure of the podcast’s description should look similar to the example below.
The structure of the podcast’s description is another aspect. It should be about two paragraphs long. The first paragraph is more about the show while the second paragraph is more about the host. Each paragraph show be 3-5 sentences because you want to inform the audience but not overwhelm them.
Remaining important information should have it’s own block. This is easier for the audience to read compared to wedging it into the description to be overlooked. We suggest pulling a quote from the show as a tagline and having it as it’s own block. Then all the contact information should be in it’s own separate block in a list format. Same goes for where your audience can listen to the podcast.
Show Notes for Episodes
Once your show is realized with a structured description it will be easier to structure episodic show notes. Keeping a similar structure reduces the amount of hassle during production. There are very minor differences between an episode description and your overall show description.
First remind the audience who the host of the podcast is. Not only is it a reminder to the existing audience but also an introduction to anyone who might be visiting the show for the first time. If the episode features a guest be sure to introduce them with 1-3 descriptors.
Next briefly summarize what the episode is about. We suggest pulling an influential quote from each episode as a tagline. If the episode has a guest, have the quote be from said guest. Be sure to highlight main topics that also contribute to the overall show.
Finally include plugs to the social media, websites and/or emails of your guest and optionally your host. We suggest dedicating an episodes plug section to the guest. It will be more personalized that way. The show notes for a podcast episode should look similar to the example below.
Like the show’s overall description, keep it two paragraphs with 3-5 sentences each. The first paragraph being about the overall episode and the second paragraph being about the featured guest and topics. Remember keep it informational but not overwhelming.
One of the best parts about show notes is that the content of them can be used for other platforms. This includes the podcast’s social media page, website or articles about the podcast. The content will have to be tailored to their own platform structures.
Having effective show notes proves that you care about current and potential audience’s understanding of what the podcast is about. With these tips, you should be able to workshop your very own show notes. It’s a matter of figuring out the most effective structure for the podcast and the show’s audience. Make it reflective and manageable to work with. Information is key but being able to structurally summarize it is more professional.
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