Download: MP3 (10.7 MB)
If you have a podcast and you don’t have show notes, you need to start writing show notes.
What a lot of people think show notes mean when it comes to podcasting is writing a few bullets on what you talked about.
What I mean is writing exhaustive show notes, like a transcript. Write down everything that you said.
Audio Files Aren’t Easily Consumed
There’s so many reasons you need to be doing this, but let me just give you the first one: when someone shares a podcast episode, that audio file is impenetrable.
I have no idea what’s behind the audio—I can’t skim it and I can’t gloss over it. This is why podcasts never go viral.
Have you ever thought about that? Podcasts never go viral.
Videos go viral all the time because it’s quickly consumable. People can drag through the timeline and they can preview the video. They immediately get a sense of it. A picture is worth a thousand words, right?
People can immediately see the video and understand what it’s about. They get at least half of it by seeing a picture. With a podcast, you don’t have that. You just see a play button on an audio player. You have no idea what’s in there.
You hit play and it’s usually half a minute of intro music or two minutes of sponsors for many podcasts. You don’t know what it’s going to be so that barrier to entry is super high.
It’s really hard to get people to listen to your podcast and get into your podcast because it’s such a huge commitment.
It’s easy to watch a five minute video. That’s why we created seanwes tv. A lot of these topics I bring up are things I’ve talked about on the seanwes podcast.
We have nearly 250 episodes of the seanwes podcast and they’re each an hour long. There’s a ton of value in there, but it’s a huge commitment.
Being asked to listen to an hour-long audio file isn’t going to work for a lot of people in the middle of their day. If they can take a five minute break or a three minute break, they’ll do it.
Make your audio digestible and give people entrance points.
When you write show notes for your podcast, you can have headers for different topics that you brought up during the show and people can scroll through, read the whole thing, or gloss over it.
Show notes allow people to immediately see if your podcast is worth listening to.
If there was a really good takeaway, you can bold it, make it bigger, or use a pull quote. People can gloss over it and get the value much more quickly.
They can more accurately discern whether or not they want to commit that one hour to listening or if they can simply get the information by scrolling through the show notes.
You’re so worried about your download metrics that you’re thinking, “If I put show notes up there, then people will just read it and they won’t listen to my audio.” That’s the entire point!
You want to give the message in whatever format people want to consume it.
People learn differently. Some people like to read, some like to listen, some like to watch, some like to do all of the above. They will consume it in the formats that you provide.
This is good for you because the more times they consume it and the more media formats they can consume it on, the more quickly they internalize your message.
This is especially good if you want people to get on board with a concept or you’re simply trying to sell or promote something.
Forget the vanity metrics of how many people have downloaded your podcasts, the point is the message.
Show Notes Audit You
How would you feel if every word you spoke on your podcast was being transcribed?
For most podcasters, they would feel pretty foolish because it would quickly be illuminated that they’re wasting peoples’ time talking about nonsense. When you transcribe yourself or have yourself transcribed, you’re going to see that. That scares most podcasters.
Frankly, it’s kind of frightening to imagine every word that you’re saying being transcribed because it’s probably not valuable. Do you want to hide behind that, ramble on, and not provide value to an audience, or do you want to actually improve what you say, improve the time to value ratio, and actually help people with the time they’re spending listening to your show?
Search Engine Optimization Value
There’s plenty of benefits to having exhaustive show notes of your podcast and one is the SEO value—that’s the Search Engine Optimization value.
When you have written content on your site, it is scannable by Google, so when people search for certain words, phrases, or concepts, your podcast will show up in the search results.
Your podcast will not show up in search results if all you have is an audio player.
I can’t tell you how many times on Twitter I’ve seen someone I follow share a podcast, I click on their link to go to their podcast page, and all that’s there is an audio player and three sentences.
I don’t have 30 minutes to click play and listen to the audio to even see if it’s something that’s going to give me value. Give me the transcript right there! Give me exhaustive show notes and I can parse that value.
If you had show notes, I’m going to be that much closer to trusting you, liking you, getting value from you, and to possibly buying your product.
I don’t know why people aren’t doing this except maybe they’re just playing the short game. All they care about are download numbers.
Podcasters think if they give people all of the podcast content in the notes, then people won’t listen to the audio, which means the download numbers will be lower, which means spots can’t be sold for as much money to sponsors.
Only caring about download numbers is short-game. You’re missing out on so much and so many people, not to mention accessibility.
People with hearing problems or who are hearing impaired will read the notes and some people read because they’re just pressed for time. Maybe they’re a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t have the one hour of silence to listen to your podcast.
Repurposing Value of Show Notes
When you have exhaustive show notes of your podcast, you can turn them into any other media.
I talk a lot about how everything starts with writing. When you have something written, it can turn into anything else.
Then, when I started seanwes tv, I did an It All Starts With Writing seanwes tv episode. Guess where I got the content? Straight from the show notes for the podcast!
I already had the outline. Think about how easy it was for me to create a video from an outline of something that was already written.
Show notes can turn into anything, like an eBook, a course, or a conference talk.
That’s exactly what happened with me actually. I took the six points I had from seanwes tv episode It All Starts With Writing and I turned that into a conference talk I gave in Los Angeles last year.
Then, guess what? I took that conference talk and I turned it into a workshop that several hundred people bought in just a couple months.
Now, I’m taking that workshop and I’m producing a full blown Supercharge Your Writing course. All of this came from the original source of show notes for my podcast.
It’s overwhelmingly obvious that you need to have show notes for your podcast and for your video show too. Put in the extra work to have show notes. It’s so obvious to me after having done this for years.
I used to do it myself and it took me four to six hours to transcribe every single podcast episode. I did this for about 100 episodes before I hired people to do it for me.
I did the work myself, so you can’t just say, “Oh, that’s great for you Sean. You can hire people to do it.” That was the bane of my existence to do it, but I just believe in them so much because of the their repurposing value.
I get messages from people all the time saying, “I’m so glad you have show notes or I wouldn’t have been able to listen otherwise.”
Revisiting Value of Show Notes
It’s not just the people who can’t listen to the one hour or half hour of your podcast audio, it’s also for the people who want to revisit.
Because every word I’ve spoken is transcribed, not only does it bring about a certain level of integrity, but there’s also the searchability and revisitation value of having show notes.
So many of my listeners go back and listen to past episodes. How do they find those episodes? What they end up doing is searching “seanwes” in Google, plus some keyword, and they always find it.
They search the page, find that one point they remembered, and listen again. This is accelerating the Magic of 7—the seven impressions that you need to be able to retain new information.
If you do this, you are going to have more audience members.
Not just people who are going to find you through search because it was transcribed and they share your podcast, but also because people read and that’s how they consume information.
You’re going to have a lot more “listeners” who are actually just readers of your content and your audience will be bigger.
This is one of the best tips I could provide to anyone because this is why you will win at podcasting.
There’s so many people podcasting. Everyone’s starting a podcast in 2016.
I’m 250 episodes in and I’ve been transcribing every word, and no one else thinks it makes sense. No one else understands it and that’s exactly why I’m going to win.
Not only do they not understand it, not only do they think it’s purposeless, but they don’t have the willingness to do the work themselves. It’s a ton of work to create show notes for your podcast.
If you have a valuable show, podcast show notes are the smartest investment you can make.
I guess the reason I’m sharing it with you is because I think you probably don’t have the guts to do it yourself.
I think you honestly won’t work hard enough to do it yourself and that is my unique advantage. That’s why I’m going to win.
Supercharge Your Writing
If you want to learn more about writing and how to use writing to grow your business, check out the Supercharge Your Writing course.