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How To Write Great Podcast Show Notes (+ Templates)

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How To Write Great Podcast Show Notes (+ Templates)

Podcast show notes can be a great way to grow your podcast and provide added value to engage your existing and potential listeners. That said, show notes can take time and energy to write. 

At Riverside, we’re all about helping you make a successful and high-quality podcast. So we’ve put together this guide to writing great podcast show notes.

Follow our best practices and implement the templates we’ve included to create effective podcast show notes quickly and easily.

What Are Podcast Show Notes?

Podcast show notes are a comprehensive write up of what happens during an episode of your podcast. They vary in length and content, but usually include a detailed summary of topics discussed in the show; links to additional resources mentioned, and CTAs (calls to action) encouraging readers to listen to, subscribe to, or sponsor the podcast.

Podcast Show Notes vs Podcast Summary

Podcast show notes differ from podcast descriptions. The latter are short, usually less than one-paragraph summaries usually seen under episode titles on podcast listening apps. Whereas, podcast show notes appear on the show’s website or blog in much longer form.

What’s more, most podcast listening apps, like Apple Podcasts and Spotify, only allow plain text episode descriptions. That means podcasters can’t link external resources, as you can see in the example below from The Minimalists Podcast. So they, like many other successful podcasters, write podcast show notes on their website instead. See below for an example of one of their episode’s extensive show notes.


Birthday Gifts episode the minimalists podcast


Birthday gifts podcasts show notes part 1
Birthday gifts podcasts show notes part 2
Birthday gifts podcasts show notes part 3
Episode description (top) and podcast show notes from episode 294 of The Minimalists Podcast.

Why Are Podcast Show Notes So Important?

Great podcast show notes can offer added value to your potential and existing listeners and therefore pave the way for you to grow and even monetize your podcast by:

  • Providing one location for listeners to easily access resources mentioned during your show. Add links to your sources, guests, and other media discussed during the episode. This is really helpful for your listeners and involves very little extra effort for you as a podcaster as you’ll already have all these resources from your research.
  • Consolidating multiple CTAs in one place. For many people, visual content is a lot easier to remember and take action on than audio. Having all your CTAs in one place is a powerful reminder for your listeners to download, subscribe to, and sponsor your podcast.
  • Reminding listeners of your podcast sponsors. As in the example below from The Tim Ferriss Show, one of the top podcasts in the world, including written versions of your ads in your show notes is an additional opportunity to monetize your podcast.
example of embedded podcast player
  • Attracting new listeners through search traffic. While audio SEO is a growing field in digital marketing, search engine optimized written copy remains the most important way to improve traffic to your site. SEO-friendly podcast show notes with a focus on keywords are an easy way to create additional content to reach new audiences.
  • Creating content marketing opportunities. Show notes allow you and your listeners to share key parts of your content to market your podcast, like in the below examples from The Minimalists Podcast. Plus, writing podcast show notes about your old episodes is a great way to promote your backlog of content to new listeners.
additional show notes example
  • Being accessible on all devices. Written copy like podcast show notes does not require your audiences to have a particular platform downloaded, like Apple Podcasts or Spotify, facilitating sharing without excluding potential listeners.
  • Educating new and casual listeners about the show. Podcast show notes are a great opportunity to persuade potential audiences to tune in to your show.
  • Offering opportunities to cross-promote. By including links to previous episodes of your show that might also interest listeners, you can encourage them to listen to more of your show and become loyal fans.

How To Create Great Podcast Show Notes: Best Practices

Having seen a couple of examples of different podcast show notes and learned their many benefits, let’s take a look at what to include in your show notes and how to write them:

Do keyword research & write SEO-friendly titles and copy. Find the key terms that people are searching for regarding the topic of your episode and include those words in your title and throughout your podcast show notes. Keeping the copy simple not only helps search engines categorize it, but it also makes it easier for audiences to read.

Follow SEO best practices when it comes to HTML as well, making sure to include keywords in copy tagged with Title and Headings tags, as well as in your image ALT attributes.

Summarize the main points of the episode without giving too much away. Include the main topics that listeners might search for to entice them to listen, but don’t reveal so much that they don’t feel the need to tune in!

Save time by writing your podcast show notes while you plan the episode. While you can pay a professional to write your show notes, it’s obviously cheaper to DIY it. To make the most of your time, the best practice is to write the basics for your show notes while the content is fresh in your mind. 

Take one of our templates (in the next section of this article) and incorporate your key sources, guest information, and main discussion topics while you’re researching, planning and scriptwriting.

Decide whether short-form or long-form podcast show notes are best for you: 

  • To attract new listeners through search traffic, SEO-friendly long-form podcast show notes published on your website or in dedicated blog posts are ideal.
  • To provide simple notes as added value for established listeners, short-form podcast show notes for each episode will be sufficient.
  • If you don’t have time to write long-form show notes, you could consider writing short-form notes and including your podcast transcript in the copy. Although bear in mind that unedited transcripts are not the perfect solution for written accounts of your show as spoken language varies greatly to written!

Include short but sweet guest bios. Like with your episode summary, you don’t want to give away what your interviewee will say on your show. Instead, demonstrate the expertise of your podcast guest(s) to convince audiences of the value of listening to the episode.

Include all resources mentioned during the episode. Add a list of external links, internal links, visuals, videos, graphs, and statistics, etc to your podcast show notes. For example, if you’ve played an audio or video clip in your recording using Riverside’s Media Board, add a link to its source to tell listeners who originally created it!

In doing so, you’re not only providing your listeners with a one-stop-shop to find everything you’ve talked about in your show, but you’re also giving credit where it’s due for your research.

Create a dedicated section for your CTAs. Make sure you include links for your audience to listen, rate, and review the episode on all main podcast platforms, as well as links to your Patreon or other monetization sites if relevant.

Include a memorable episode quote to hook potential listeners. Podcast show notes are a powerful way to convince new and casual audiences to listen to your show. Including a key quote from your guest, as The Tim Ferriss Show does with the below example featuring Matthew McConaughey, will intrigue audiences and persuade them to hear more.

Add timestamps to your episode summaries. For long-form podcast show notes, adding the timecodes to the list of main points discussed in your show helps listeners tune in to the exact moments in your show that most interest them.

Include your podcast transcript. Provided your transcript is edited to create copy that’s easy to read, it can give your podcast show notes an SEO boost as well as make it accessible to people who are hard of hearing. While some potential listeners might just read the transcript rather than listen, including a transcript may well convert them to future listeners when they realize the value of your content.

Embed your podcast player to give easy access for readers to listen to on your website.

Podcast Show Notes Templates

Now that you know what to include in your podcast show notes and how best to write the content, in this section, we’ve created two templates to guide your podcast show note creation. Having decided whether short- or long-form podcast show notes are best for your show (or for your particular episode), adapt and implement the relevant template accordingly.

Shortform Podcast Show Notes

Episode Title

Include SEO-friendly keywords, for example: “How Faraday Cages Work”, an episode of Stuff You Should Know.

Embed podcast player 

Episode Introduction

Write a brief summary, like you would do for your episode description, and make sure to include your SEO keywords.

Main Topics

  • Bullet point the key topics discussed during the episode. (mm:ss)
  •  
  •  
  •  

Additional Resources

  • Bullet point links to the main sources you used in your research, to additional clips and media played during the episode, to your guests’ websites and social media, and any other further reading.
  •  
  •  

Listen, rate, and subscribe!

Include links to all the podcast platforms where people can listen to your show. Include links to your Patreon or other membership sites too. 

Longform Podcast Show Notes

Episode Title

Include SEO-friendly keywords, for example: “How Faraday Cages Work”, an episode of Stuff You Should Know.

Embed podcast player 

Episode Introduction

Write a brief summary, like you would do for your episode description, and make sure to include your SEO keywords.

Guest Bio

Write a short introduction to the guest(s) featuring on your show, including keywords if possible.

Main Topic 1

Describe the main topics discussed in the episode. Include the timecode of when the topic is mentioned. (mm:ss)

Main Topic 2

Main Topic 3

Main Topic 4

Additional Resources

  • Bullet point links to your main sources, to additional clips and media played during the episode, to your guests’ websites and social media, and any other further reading or listening.
  •  
  •  

Episode Transcript

Include the full (edited) podcast transcript or a link where the audience can access it. You can divide them into sections with timestamped headings.

Listen, rate, and subscribe!

Include links to all the podcast platforms where people can listen to your show. Include links to your Patreon or other membership sites too. 

Create Quality Podcast Show Notes To Grow Your Audience

Writing great podcast show notes can seriously boost your listener numbers by providing extra value to your audience and increasing search traffic. Plus, as we’ve covered in this article, writing them doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process.

Follow our best practices and implement the podcast show notes templates we’ve included to write effective podcast show notes and inspire more people to listen to your show. Looking for more ways to boost your listener numbers? Check out Riverside’s guide to growing, promoting, and monetizing your podcast in 2021 for more ideas and tips.

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