Can show notes be effective in promoting your podcast?
Show notes are a relatively underused means of promoting your podcast. As a matter of fact, a large percentage of shows don’t even produce show notes outside of the default excerpts that are shown on iTunes, etc.
And while the jury is still out on exactly how effective show notes can be in promoting your podcast, here are a few ideas about how to utilize them, what you can do with them, and why you may want to take a closer look at them if you aren’t using them to your advantage already.
Without going into too much technical detail here, the “show notes” that you are promoting your podcast with should be part of the Excerpt normally – unless you have a very long or complex set of notes, and in that case, you’re probably already bored with this article. No problem, go work on something else ;0
Let’s start with an example of the show notes on our podcast –
For our show notes, we use the Excerpt section of our WordPress install to craft them, since that’s what our podcast player displays on the Podcast page and it feeds it to iTunes, Google Play Podcasts, etc in the same format. Depending on your podcasting software, you may need to customize your output in a different place. Since this isn’t a technical article, I’m going to leave it at that.
What order should the items in your show notes be displayed?
Like everything else on the innerwebs, the actual structure and reasons for that structure are a matter of open debate.
Our podcast show notes not only feed our iTunes, etc listings, they are also displayed on our podcast episodes page on our site – https://dominoresearch.com/podcast – doing double duty for us. We want our audience to know what the episode numbers are, in case they are looking for something specific that we have mentioned on another episode, or they are searching by genre or topic and want to listen to more than one episode in a particular order.
We also include the full URL of each podcast episode page in the show notes – we do this in case someone is browsing iTunes or another player and are interested in seeing the episode page, it’s an easy cut and paste or tap to get there, depending on where they see the show notes. Since we do an in depth commentary on each of our episodes, on its own page, those could be considered extended show notes, if you like.
What else can you do with the show notes to help promote your podcast?
Show notes are great for SEO relevance. If you detail the essence of the show on either the full podcast episode page or in abbreviated notes, you’re creating a record for Google, etc to use in search results. Of course there is a fine line between SEO optimization and readability for people who are actually clicking through to your show notes or episodes pages – keep that in mind.
We push our podcast episode pages to our social media accounts, and not just when we first release an episode. Every single day, on every one of our accounts, we repost an earlier episode, much the same way that our new episodes are published and shared to social media.
This enables us to utilize our previous work again, it helps to build popularity for specific episodes, and we get a lot more traction with older episodes than we would if they were just sitting in an iTunes or Stitcher list waiting for someone to find them and hit the play button.
We also use the excerpt or show notes to build our mobile campaign around each new episode and then we send out lock screen notifications to each of our mobile subscribers when the latest episode is released. We do a new episode every other week, so we hold the mobile update until the next week, instead of sending it out with the social and blog post updates.
This gives us a more drawn out marketing period for each new episode, and we normally see another bump on the new release during the ‘in between’ week when we push the mobile update to our subscribers.
We also leverage the excerpt in RSS feeds – many feeds are happy to pull in the excerpt if you have one, instead of the first X number of words in the post or podcast episode. Just a thought for you.
If you’re not doing show notes, you should certainly think about it. We recently added a blurb at the beginning of our audio that mentions show notes and where to find them for audio users who may be interested in finding out more about a particular episode or browsing the archived episodes easily and quickly.
Using show notes is all about maximizing your efforts across all mediums and media to promote your podcast more efficiently.