How to write a great podcast episode heading and show notes

Show notes are often a misunderstood art which takes time and skill to create.  But, why bother with episode show notes at all? Three reasons:

  1. To entice new listeners or persuade previous listeners to return.
  2. To provide in depth information pertaining to the episode.
  3. Attract new listeners through search traffic.

This post focuses on number 1 – to entice people to listen!

Podcast directories are so crowded these days – more than 400,000 podcasts to choose from.

To entice someone to listen to yours, you need to summarise each episode succinctly. Don’t waffle!

Despite Apple’s woeful iOS11 update with its podcast app, more people listen to podcasts on Apple Podcasts than anywhere else.

And because Apple prizes cover art over text, there is very little real estate for a podcast episode‘s title or to explain what that episode is about.

In the Listen Now tab for example, only around 50 characters are allocated for your episode’s title, before an ellipsis (…) is generated to reflect omitted text.

If you insist on including episode numbers in the heading, then abbreviate them; i.e.,  Ep1 or E1, or simply 1; but not “Episode 1:” as it takes up too much real estate.

Still in Listen Now tab, Apple will display only up to 40 characters of the show notes.

So, don’t start the show notes with something like:

“Episode 127: In this episode of [podcast name] we speak with…etc.”

You’ll soon run out of real estate to describe your show’s content. Get to the point!

Think like a newspaper journo.  Grab the reader’s attention with a powerful heading, then open the “article” with an enticing first sentence.

Here are some examples from popular podcasts. We have included the heading and the first sentence of each podcast episode’s show notes .

Bad examples…

Waking Up Podcast with Sam Harris
#97 – The Impossible War
In this episode of Waking Up Podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick about their latest film, The Vietnam War.

Embracing Yoga with Brett Larkin
Join Deb and Samantha for an exciting interview with the host of the popular yoga podcasts Sivana and Yoga Hacks with Brett Larkin.

A Skeptics Guide To Conspiracy
Conspiracy News for W/E November 24, 2017
Conspiracy News for the week ending November 24, 2017

Good examples…

The Digiday Podcast
Tatemade’s Oren Katzeff on moving beyond food and into lifestyle
Tastemade now boasts 2 billion video views a month, across platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

Brand Newsroom
BNR 168: How to use games to drive profitable business outcomes (no really)
Brands are using computer games to drive business outcomes from customer engagement and profit to brand awareness.

Business Essentials
Ep32 Blockchain: what it means for your business
What are those technologies which are changing the way we work?

Good show notes will also attract new listeners through search traffic. We’ll cover that in a future post.

If you have any questions about show notes then contact us and we can answer them and schedule a review of your podcast.