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5 New Reasons To Write Better Podcast Show Notes
Episode 1313th July 2022 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
00:00:00 00:14:03

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Too many podcasters skip a key step when publishing: the episode details.

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Or show notes, as you likely have called them.

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This helpful text isn't optional, podcasters.

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It's required.

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And I'll give you five new reasons why.

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Hello, and welcome to another Podcast Pontifications with me, Evo Terra.

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Look, man, I have been there, slogging through all of the pre-production work,

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multiple recording sessions, a slew of paper edits back and forth, writing out

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all the VO parts, working with their talent to get their reads nice and tight.

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Then the episode assembly happens with multiple revisions, adding in

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the music, mixing, mastering, and then all that promotional stuff you

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have to do from getting sound clips to making audiograms, writing social copy.

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Am I really going to tell you to do one more thing with your podcast episode

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before you release it to the world?

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Damn skippy, I am.

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I'm gonna tell you the same thing I told you almost four

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years ago, back when Podcast Pontifications wasn't even a podcast.

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You need to stop writing shitty show notes, or episode details

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as I prefer to call them.

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That's the copy that you enter into your podcast hosting company that describes

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the episode you are about to publish or schedule for future publishing.

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My position is now what it was then that episode details

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are required and not optional.

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Not if you wanna make your podcast better, that is.

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Though my point is still the same, I've updated some of the

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reasons why this is important.

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And I'll get to them in just a moment.

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But let me first be extremely specific as to what I mean here.

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I mean episode details, again, which you probably call show notes.

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I do not mean a transcript.

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Although, I do think a transcript is another crucial part of your podcast and

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you shouldn't skip that either, but that's not the same thing as episode details.

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I do not mean a webpage or an article that you create and post on your

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website or Medium or somewhere else.

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Yes, I think that's also important and I highly recommend that you make

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excellent-looking webpages or articles for each one of your podcast episodes.

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But that's not the same thing as the episode details I'm speaking about now.

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I do not mean a video version of your podcast.

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I do not mean an enhanced episode.

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I don't mean adding chapters.

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All of which, or at least some of which, are likely things you should

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seriously consider, even if you've previously seriously considered them.

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Things change fast in podcasting.

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But I don't mean any of those things when I'm speaking of episode details and

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the importance of getting them right.

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I mean a written piece of text that goes in the description area when you load the

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episode to your podcast hosting company.

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Now, they probably call that section show notes and they probably don't require you

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to put anything in there, which is a shame because in case you haven't caught my

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drift by now, this text is not optional.

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Or at least it shouldn't be.

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Not only should you consider it not optional, but you shouldn't

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half-ass these things either.

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But you're probably wondering why.

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Well, I have five good reasons for you to stop making shitty

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episode details updated for 2022.

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Back in 2018, I said you should stop making shitty show notes and all of

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those reasons are still solid and valid.

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But now, of course, I call these things episode details and I've come up with

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five new reasons for you to spend the time crafting episode details for

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each and every one of your episodes.

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Here we go.

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Number one, podcast players are getting better.

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And by better, I mean more functional, especially when it comes to displaying

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information to people who are listening right now to your episode.

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Now, these apps are far from perfect and I have plenty of beefs with all of them, but

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as more and more apps start allowing for, if not downright encouraging, listeners

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to interact with the app as they are listening, it's going to become a more

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normal behavior for people to seek out information on an episode that they're

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listening to in real time in that app.

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And if you're not supplying the app with that info, your audience is gonna start

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to wonder why you are not doing that.

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Number two, the other people who help make your podcast and everybody

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else's podcast are finally getting the attention and respect that they deserve.

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Now we still have a long ways to go, but I'm encouraged when I hear lengthy credit

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roles at the end of podcast episodes.

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That, to me, is wonderful.

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But why not take the next step and add those same credits that you mention

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in your audio to your episode details?

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And you can do it with lots of things you can only do in text like links, like

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bios, heck, even images of the people will now display in some podcast apps.

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There's literally no reason for you to not do this.

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And creators who keep ignoring this option?

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Well, I think eventually they'll become ignored themselves.

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Number three, it's good SEO practice.

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Now, look, I'm not here to give you SEO tips.

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I did that long ago back in my career in marketing, and I

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don't wanna do that anymore.

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And also we have the problem within app search algorithms and the fact that

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they are really terrible for podcast apps, but it should be rather obvious

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that the episode details should be, and I think will be, a rich source

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of information about an episode.

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Now that is obviously if more people, more podcasters, actually took the

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time to write out detailed episodes.

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Now, yes, parsing transcripts of the actual audio is oftentimes the best

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way to find that information about the episode, but solid episode details could

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reinforce that transcription much in the same way that a page's description

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tag is designed to be a reinforcement of the contents of the webpage itself.

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Filling out episode details will eventually make podcast search better.

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Number four, it's great content that you can repurpose into other areas.

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You can take your episode details and turn them into a Twitter thread or

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even a long form post on LinkedIn, where you're actually linking out

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to the episode's webpage for other parts of your social media posting.

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That's likely to gather you a lot more engagement than just posting

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a link to the podcast episode's audio, or maybe an audiogram, or just

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the title linked to your website.

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In my experience, those things aren't nearly as helpful, but

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having helpful summaries that you could maybe post on your website?

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Sure.

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Although, I think you should post more than just a summary

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of your episode on your website.

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That might hap- that might help you as well.

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A topic for another day.

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I've even used my episode details to put out a mini version of this very podcast.

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Lots you can do to repurpose that content.

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Finally, number five, writing detailed, helpful episode details, which are

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designed to be read in a podcast listening app primes you to do more.

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Yeah, more.

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Like adding chapters for one thing.

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Now, I don't have chapters in the episodes of Podcast Pontifications

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because each one of my episodes is about one thing and one thing only.

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But I chapter the hell out of the episodes of The Download, the weekly

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podcast I produce for Sounds Profitable that covers the most important

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news of the week for people who work in the business of podcasting.

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Soundsprofitable.com/thedownload if you wanna see how that works in practice.

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Or, I'm putting in a screenshot and a link to every single article we cover.

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Now, no, that's not universally supported.

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And sadly, the media hosts that we're using has a tendency to not

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preserve those chapters when I put them in, but that support is becoming

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much more universal and it starts by you writing better episode details.

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So there you go.

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Five reasons for 2022 why you should stop writing shitty episode details, or

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show notes, for your podcast episodes.

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A big part of the process of making podcasting better is making

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your podcasts better and having well-written, detailed episode details

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on each episode is a part of that.

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So do it for me, please.

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And with that, I shall be back next week with yet another Podcast Pontifications.

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Cheers!

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Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra.

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He's on a mission to make podcasting better.

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Links to everything mentioned in today's episode are in the notes

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section of your podcast listening app.

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A written-to-be-read article based on today's episode is available at

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podcastpontifications.com where you'll also find a video version and a corrected

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transcript, both created by Allie Press.

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Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.