Anyone who has a podcast knows the debate that goes on regarding podcast show notes. Should they be a detailed transcript? Should they just be a summary? Regardless, your show notes are a key element to helping people find your show.
When you are done recording an episode and are about to release it, you will likely create some sort of notes from the show that you release on your site letting your audience know about the episode and providing a link to find it.
Show notes take a variety of forms. You can keep them concise and focused on directing people to the new episode, or you could list out further resources and related links mentioned from the episodes.
For example, The Nightly Rant podcast keeps it fairly minimal and provides a very brief synopsis of the episode, a link to their Patreon page, and a couple other relevant links with the ability to play the episode directly from the post.
Some show notes are much more comprehensive, like how they do it at The Minimalists. For their most recent episode, they included the high-level topics they covered, their answer to some “lightning round questions” and links to every single thing mentioned in the episode.
Whichever approach you decide on, making your show notes valuable makes it easier for people to discover your podcast through the notes, instead of just coming to the notes after listening to the podcast.
Podcast Show Notes and SEO
An easy way to leverage your show notes is through doing some search engine optimization on them so they’re more likely to show up in Google.
Take a few of the main topics from the episode, then craft a headline around those topics and the guest’s name so that you can rank for searches related to what was discussed in that episode.
Dan Shure from the Evolving SEO Podcast has a special way of doing his titles. He is an SEO expert, so he knows that for each episode, he is able to use the show notes to reach an even larger audience.
He did an episode with Aleyda Solis and that episode had the title “062: The Definitive Steps to International SEO & multilingual SEO success w/Aleyda Solis.”
That’s the title he’s using on his site and for Facebook shares, but if we dig a little deeper, you can see that he actually crafted a separate title for Google. His optimized title is “062: The Definitive Steps to International SEO Success — Evolving SEO.”
By setting a slightly different “Meta Title” for the article, he can position it to rank for “international SEO steps” or “how to do international SEO.”
You have several ways you can do this for your own podcast episodes.
If you have a high-profile guest on, use their name in the title along with what they were interviewed about. As an example, “Mark Zuckerberg Interview on Dropping Out of College, Learning to Lead and More.” This is one way you can rank for anyone searching your guest’s name.
If your guest doesn’t have as much of an existing audience, you can focus on what people learned in the episode. If not many people knew who Zuckerberg was, the title could have been “How to Drop Out of College and Work on a Startup (safely).”
If your guest doesn’t have much of an audience or you’re doing a solo episode, use the most interesting topic or two that you talked about as a title.
If you are using WordPress (and you should be using WordPress) and don’t know how to change the meta title of your posts, the simplest way is to install an SEO tool like Yoast. It gives you a widget at the end of each article where you can change the SEO title and description.
In this example, we are using the built in tags Yoast provides, but you can just as easily craft an SEO title using your own text and a mixture of the tags provided. That is all up to you.
Keep the important information (guest name, topics discussed) close to the beginning of the title. Don’t let your episode number of podcast name take up important real estate over the info that draws people to listen.
Podcast Show Notes Should Be Highly Shareable
Not only should you optimize your podcast show notes for SEO, you should also tailor them to be very shareable on social media.
There are two parts to this: structuring the notes so they share nicely and creating calls to action within them.
In order to structure them so they share nicely, you should make sure you have a compelling title explaining the contents of the episode, a “meta description” that goes below the title to provide more details, and a strong image to accompany the notes. Facebook, Twitter and other social networks will feature the first image of your article unless you set a specific “og:image” in your SEO tool. To keep it simple, have an interesting image come first in your show notes so that it gets featured on social media when the show notes are shared.
If you are using the Yoast plugin, they give you a social option that you should be aware of.
As the image above shows, you would click the red box to select an image or click upload to upload an image. You can also set the title that Facebook users will see and the description Facebook users will see. Make use of this really awesome tool!
By adding an interesting image of your guest you put the spotlight on them (deservedly so). This gives them more exposure than just their name. It can also make them want to share it with their audience.
If you fail to include any image with your show notes, this will cause Facebook, Twitter, and others to either show a boring text-only link, or pull an image you didn’t mean to share, like your site’s favicon or author photo.
In addition to making the notes look good when readers share them, you can also include calls to action to share the notes within the notes themselves.
As an example, at the end of your notes, you can include a call to action to listeners to share the episode along with their favorite lesson from it using a Click to Tweet or similar approach.
When you ask people to engage with you as a host, instead of just promoting the episode to their friends and followers, it has been shown you get more follow through and build a better relationship with your audience.
Make Your Podcast Show Notes Fun
A great way to promote your podcast through your show notes is to make them fun and interesting to read. Add more context that wasn’t available in the episode or create a narrative around the show. You can also share a little known fact about the guest, or anything else that could be an entertaining bonus for your listeners.
Bryan Callen does this with some episodes of his podcast. For example, in this episode called “The orchestra is playing together. Come join in the fun!” he has a more narrative, long form version of the show notes explaining the main concepts.
They’re interesting to read on their own, such as this passage on identity:
“And here is where it becomes important to realize the challenge we face: identity. You have been told stories about yourself. We tell stories about each other. And who we are and how we behave changes often within minutes. We get cut off in traffic and we get road rage. Someone opens the door for us and we feel all is right with the world. We get hangry and become snappy. We have a nap and want to give everyone a hug. And we all have our Fundamentalisms. We have things that trigger us and make us freak out. The challenge for all of us is to say sorry and kiss and make up.”
Having fun show notes like this can help you promote your podcast. By making them fun,people finding your show online, or getting sent a link from a friend, get sucked in by your description of the show before they even press the play button.
Originally published at yogispodcastnetwork.com on January 31, 2019.