One thing I learned from the few podcasts that I’ve run or have been on, is that “show notes” are darn important. Show notes are the text that describes your show in detail and is typically used as the content of the blog post for your podcast episode. Why spend the time to write show notes?
Google can’t index the words in your audio or video… yet
Google can’t index your audio for your podcast, so you (or someone) are going to have to make this easier for them. Without show notes, search engines won’t know what you are talking about on your show and people won’t be able to find your content when searching for it. Writing show notes isn’t fun, but there are a few ways to do this to ease the pain. There are also some great benefits in taking the time to write them.
Take notes as you record.
While recording your podcast episode you take notes during the recording. I find this very hard to pull off and is quite distracting for me. When recording to disk (not streaming), I’ll take small notes of edit points in the show, but I’ve never had success in writing while recording a show.
Have someone else take notes as you record.
This seems to be a good way to do this since you can get your podcast episode released quickly after you are done recording. I have a few folks that I sometimes ask to do the show notes for WPwatercooler when I’m too busy to do them myself.
Listen to your recorded audio after it’s done and write the show notes
This is the way that I’ve been doing it. I take the bit of notes that I did during the show and just play the recording back and write my show notes. It takes at least the same amount of time as your recording unless you speed the playback up.
Pay a service to transcribe the show for you.
For those of you that are making money on your podcast, paying someone to do a transcription would be great. Applying money to the problem seems like an easy way to go. If you aren’t looking for a full transcription, but just need notes then the options above may work better. I’ve heard great things about CastingWords.com. You pay per minute and pay more to have it done quicker.
With Google Hangouts, YouTube can and will transcribe your show using Google Voice technology.
Google is always trying to apply an algorithm or automation to something which sometimes leads to varied results. If you haven’t used Google Voice, the voicemail service has this feature where it will attempt to transcribe your voicemail to text, but it isn’t very accurate and is sometimes quite comical. I recently found out that when you record a Google Hangout On Air they will use the Google Voice technology to transcribe your recording. Your mileage may vary with the resulting transcription, but it may be a decent place to start if you are attempting to do this on your own.
Be informative with your notes, save your listeners time
The best show notes I’ve seen are the ones that the host or their staff has taken the time to do what is essentially a link list of all of the website they talked about during the show. If you at least do this, you’ll end up with happy listeners and have them navigating around on your website looking for more. Going the extra mile and detailing out various topics discussed and adding more context I think provides the most value. It may not be a word for word transcription, but it’s just as good if not better.
Reference your previous episodes in your show notes
Apparently your podcast is informative, why not help some of the newer listeners out by linking back to some of your past episodes, so you can win them over and convert them to full-time subscribing listeners?
There is nothing wrong with affiliate links in your show notes, as long as you are honest.
Look, you are providing a service to your listeners and most shows out there aren’t making a dime or trying to make any money on their show. You should at least try to cover hosting costs and such by doing some affiliate links. Back in the days of GeekFit when we talked about a new product or services that we really liked, we would link off to Amazon or some website that was selling the item for a good price. If that website had an affiliate program going, on we’d sign up and use our affiliate code in our show notes. I justify this by simply stating that I’m acting as an authority in this space. My listeners are wanting my opinion on something, and since my opinion provides value, I don’t see any reason in not doing an affiliate link. I feel that as long as you aren’t trying to scam you listeners or “just doing it for the money” then I think you are in the right to do so. Even in these posts here on this site, I’ve used affiliate links to various products that I endorse.
Show notes add value, spending time writing them is a worthy investment.
It’s been a long while since Steve and I recorded GeekFit. For kicks I sometimes go look at Google Analytics and see the search terms people use that lead them to the episode pages. That show is still listened to and still provides value to its listeners. Those people wouldn’t have found the show without the show notes that we made for each episode. Spending some time writing quality notes, or at least spending some time building a list of links for them to reference will greatly improve your listeners experience.
What do you do for your podcast’s show notes? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to take a look at some that you have written.
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