Would you put on your shoes without tying your laces? Well, that’s essentially what you’re doing if you publish your podcast without show notes. You’re leaving the job incomplete.
Podcast show notes are important. Especially if you’re hoping to drive traffic to your website off the back of your podcast. They bring new visitors to your site through two main funnels: organic SEO and direct traffic from your podcast.
In this post we’ll look at how and why those funnels work, and walk you through a simple process for creating effective show notes.
What are Podcast Show Notes?
You’ve probably heard about show notes before. But if you haven’t created any, you might be unsure how they should look.
On the most basic level, podcast show notes provide a written overview of each of your episodes. They are similar to the episode description you input on your hosting platform, but more detailed.
Tip: As a general rule of thumb, the more detailed your show notes, the more effective they’ll be at pulling traffic to your website.
They typically offer things like more information about the episode, a time-stamped breakdown of topics covered, some background on your guest(s), and a list of useful links out to any resources you mentioned in the episode. Basically, stuff that’s of benefit to your listeners. Show notes come in lots of different layouts and styles, but they usually look something like this:
Show notes act as an information hub where interested listeners can go to engage with your show on a deeper level. And they also make sure your episodes can be found on Google.
How Show Notes Help Podcast SEO
Search algorithms can’t “hear” your episodes, so they need to be able to “read” them instead.
In order for your podcast to rank on Google (or any other search engine) you need to create at least some associated text to go along with your episodes. This will allow the algorithm to crawl your episodes and index them in the results pages. No show notes = no organic traffic to your podcast episodes.
But you’ll need more than a title and a few slap-dash sentences to get on page one. For optimal performance, your show notes need to contain at least 300 words and be optimised for a single target SEO keyword. Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through the process below.
How Podcast Show Notes Drive Direct Traffic
You know all those stats about how engaged podcast listeners are? Well, they’re true. And if people are tuning in to your show regularly, some of them will want to go beyond simply listening. They’ll want to dig deeper into the topics you discussed. So be sure to remind them about your show notes during episodes.
Genuinely helpful show notes can act like a magnet, drawing listeners to your site. Make it easy for them to continue engaging with your content - use clickable links to signpost listeners to relevant resources, encourage them to post their own thoughts in the comments section, or entice them to check out other areas of your website.
If listeners know there is usually lots of helpful stuff to be found in your show notes, it’ll keep them coming back again and again. And over time, this significantly increases the chances listeners will purchase your product or service.
How to Create Great Podcast Show Notes (Quickly)
If you’re working hard to create great episodes for your audience, then it’s well worth investing a bit of extra time in show notes to maximise the ROI of your podcast. Because ultimately, more relevant site traffic translates to more sales.
But of course, you haven’t got endless time. You need a process that will allow you to be as efficient as possible. So here’s what to do.
Match Your Episode to a Specific Search Intent
What was the main theme of the conversation you had? What’s the central message of the episode?
For example, if your guest happened to be a marketing expert, then the central theme might be effective strategies to increase your Twitter followers. If your episode covers lots of different topics, choose the one you feel is most important.
Use the focus of the episode to select an appropriate SEO keyword to rank for. In the example above, the most appropriate keyword would be something like “how to get more Twitter followers”. You then need to optimise your show notes around that particular keyword.
Tip: You can use free SEO tools like Moz to review the monthly search volume for any given keyword.
Keep the focus narrow. It’s very unlikely you’ll be able to create show notes that will rank for several unrelated keywords. So select your keyword and stick to it. Put it in the episode title, URL slug, and scattered throughout the notes. For more on the fundamentals of SEO, check out this article.
Write A Google Friendly Intro
Write up a short introduction for the episode (150 - 200 words). Introduce your guest and focus on communicating the central theme of the episode. Make sure your keyword is found in the intro at least once. But don’t go overboard. It will read terribly and even worse, Google may penalize you for keyword stuffing!
Embed Your Podcast
Embed the episode so it features prominently on the page. If you’re using Podcast.co to host your show, you can do this by simply copying and pasting a short bit of HTML code, just like we’ve done below. Again, you can also use Podcast.co to embed a handy multi-platform subscribe button underneath the player. This stops the page from being cluttered by lots of different subscribe links.
Timestamped List of Show Topics
Breaking your episode down into timstaped bullet points will help appeal to the different audience types that come across your show notes. If your episodes are quite long, having this list will allow them to quickly skim the page and pick out the information most relevant to them. (Not everyone has time to listen to entire episodes!).
Limit yourself to one descriptive, tightly worded sentence per bullet point. Something as simple as saying: ‘In this episode we discuss’ followed by your list is fine:
Further Background on Your Guest
If a guest was kind enough to come on your show, then you should return the favour by linking to their site and promoting who they are and what they do. Show your appreciation by including some additional background in your show notes, you should be able to find more than enough background with a quick search on Google and LinkedIn. You should also point listeners towards their social media profiles.
List of Relevant Links
Of all the elements on your show notes page, this is the most important part for drawing direct traffic from your podcast. If listeners want to learn more about something interesting they heard in the episode, they should be able to find everything they need here.
Feel free to include anything you feel is relevant. You might want to list websites, books, news articles, movies, research, or other related podcast episodes. Helpful signposting like this allows you to develop stronger relationships with your listeners. It essentially highlights the fact that you are creating the show with the intention of helping them as much as you can.
These essentials provide a solid template for creating great show notes. But feel free to get creative. There may be other elements you want to add in as well.
By increasing your podcast’s visibility on Google, and giving listeners a reason to visit your site, your podcast should help boost your site traffic. The next step is then to convert those visitors and listeners into paying customers!