For many podcasters, one of the least-favorite post-production tasks associated with creating their audio content is writing show notes.
Ask any of the members in the countless podcasting groups and communities on Facebook, Google Plus, and LinkedIn about their favorite - and least favorite - post-production tasks and “writing show notes” will likely come in a close second next to editing the audio content itself.
This lack of desire and motivation (or in some cases, maybe even skill?) may explain why so many podcasters opt for completely avoiding the task of writing show notes for their episodes.
It may also explain why some podcasters merely write one or two sentences and a list of links below the podcast players on their websites.
Whether you realize it or not, though, poorly written show notes may be costing you valuable listeners!
What Are Show Notes, Really?
True show notes are made up of more than one or two sentences followed by a list of links.
True, high-quality show notes are designed to capture your audience's’ attention, providing enough detail and information to encourage them to click “play” while also using valuable keywords to help you drive new traffic to your website from Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
They are an outline - a recap - of what your episode is about, written in a way that encourages people to tune-in, download, subscribe, share, and visit your website.
What Show Notes Are NOT
- Show notes are not just a long list of websites, hyperlinks, or URL's.
- Show notes are not long-form blog posts based on your podcast episodes.
- Show notes are not transcriptions of your episodes. (Yes - there is a difference!)
How Poorly Crafted Show Notes Can Negatively Impact Your Podcast Growth
There are many ways that having low-quality, poorly structured show notes can negatively impact your podcast, it’s growth rate, and even your ability to gain - or keep - sponsors.
For the purposes of this post, I’ll list just a few of the ways they can have a negative impact on your show, your business, or your brand, as well as provide a few tips on how to improve your show notes.
- No show notes provide no SEO value and give your audience the wrong impression about your show - and possibly even your brand and business.
- Super short show notes (a couple sentences plus links) are too short to rank well on search engines and can also give your listeners the wrong impression.
- Long-form show notes are often too long for your ideal target audience.
No Show Notes = No SEO Value
While having only a few sentences and a list of links is not necessarily the best approach to writing show notes, it’s definitely better than having none at all!
Your audio and video files are very limited when it comes to SEO. Search engines need the written word to be able to find, index, and rank your website and content.
So, why do so many podcasters, entrepreneurs, and brands totally skip this important step during the post-production phase?
My guess - it probably has to do with time investment.
It takes time to craft the ideal show note and, for many podcasters, they simply don’t have the time or interest in sitting down at the computer to write.
But, by not creating show notes for each episode you produce - you are doing yourself, your listeners, your brand, and - ultimately - your show a serious disservice.
Super Short is Too Short
There is such a thing as too short when it comes to most content for the internet - and that includes show notes.
Too long, and you risk driving your podcast audience away or frustrating them when they try to find a particular resource or link you mentioned in your episode.
Too short and you limit the valuable SEO benefits that your website needs to get ranked and indexed by search engine giants like Google.
I mentioned earlier that too short show notes - or no show notes at all - can also give your audience the wrong impression about your brand and business.
Think about it this way - if you were interviewing someone for a job and your first impression of that person was that they tend to “cut corners,” would you want to hire them?
By not having show notes or having super short ones - you are cutting corners.
Long-Form is Too Long
What’s the main difference between “short-form” and “long-form” show notes?
While you may be under the impression that longer written content is better for SEO than shorter, more concise content - you would only be partially correct.
You can still get great SEO value from shorter, more concise show notes.
When it comes to written content for podcast listeners - chances are, your listeners don’t want to read a wall of text like they would a traditional blog post or scroll down the page, skimming the content for two, three, five, or even 10 minutes just to find a particular topic you discussed, point you shared, or resource link you mentioned.
Your podcast target audience is often different than your target blog readership.
So, what is the appropriate length for show notes?
This varies from podcast to podcast and episode to episode.
The show notes we write for our clients typically range from 350 to 500 words and in some rare occasions, they may be even longer. However, we rarely - if ever - go over 700 words. And that’s even including one or more calls-to-action.
Something else to consider when deciding between short-form and long-form show notes is where your listeners are and how they are consuming your content.
According to a 2017 study conducted by Edison Research, “two-thirds of podcasts are listened to on a phone or tablet” and many - if not most - of them are listening while driving, working out, or engaged in other activities, taking their eyes away from their screen.
Now, couple that statistic with the one from HubSpot’s research, which states that 43% of blog readers admit to skimming blog posts - and it really puts a kink in the whole thought process of writing long-form show notes.
If you’re one of the smart podcasters - which I’m sure you are! - you likely tell your listeners where to find your show notes. Especially if your content is heavy on resources or has a guest expert.
Keeping the content of your show notes more concise for your listeners than you would for your blog readers helps cater to your podcast target audience, helping them easily find the information, links, and resources they truly want.
Having high-quality, listener-centric, engaging show notes accompanying the podcast player on your website shows your listeners you care about them, your content, and your brand.
So, I encourage you to give your audience what they want, give your show and your brand what it deserves, and increase your podcasting game by creating better quality, engaging, listener-oriented podcast show notes!
Need help creating professional-quality, engaging show notes for your podcast? Contact us today or join our mailing list to claim your FREE Show Note Template!