Podcast Writing 101: Should you add show notes to your website?

One common question I get is whether to include show notes on your website or not.

The short answer: yes.

Let’s walk through two scenarios to find out why.

  • Scenario 1: your ideal listener searches keywords on a podcast platform and finds your show. Hurray! Show notes help them decide if they want to press play or not.

  • Scenario 2: your ideal listener happens upon your website but there’s nowhere to learn more about your podcast or individual episodes. If your website had show notes, visitors would be able to find out more about your podcast, maybe learn something new, and add you to their “listen later” list.

So how do you create show notes for your website? Are they different from traditional show notes?

The good news is, you can use the same content in both places. You’ll just need to make some adjustments to improve SEO. In this post, we’ll walk through how to create effective show notes for your podcast website.

How to format show notes on your website

1. Use headings (H1, H2, etc.)

Why are headings so important? What’s an H1 or H2 tag?

Headings make content easy to digest by summarizing different sections for your reader. The more skimmable your show notes, the more respect and care you are showing your audience.

Basically, think of heading tags as a fancy way to say font sizes. Here’s what they look like in practice:

  • H1: Title of the episode

  • H2: Main points or sections

  • H3: Subheadings

2. Start with a brief introduction

At the beginning of your intro, make sure you entice skimmers and listeners with an engaging hook or thought-provoking question. Something to encourage them to read on.

Introductions can be anywhere from one to three short paragraphs, depending on the length of the episode. When you have a guest, your intro will be a little longer to provide some background and extra context.

3. Summarize highlights in 3-7 bullet points.

For your first round of show notes, no need to write seven paragraphs summarizing the podcast. You don’t have time to go into deeper detail right now, so use bullet points to cover the main topics of the conversation.

Later, if/when you go to repurpose your podcast into a blog, you can expand on your main topics, sprinkling in extra research, anecdotes, and examples in a longform post. But for now, keep things short and simple.

4. Include a link to your transcript.

Here are three solid reasons to add a transcript to your show notes:

  • Promoting accessibility. Promote equitable access and serve audiences of different abilities and preferences.

  • Improving SEO. Use plain text or HTML transcripts to give search engines immediate access to all of your episode content.

  • Providing extra value. Transcripts give your audience the opportunity to skim before they listen. Or read rather than listen.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to manually type up your transcripts. Use a program like Otter.AI to import your audio and automatically create transcripts. Just be sure to proofread everything before you hit publish.

5. Share links to further resources

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. I can’t count how many times a podcast host or guest says “We’ll link it in the show notes,” only to find no such link.

You want to build trust with your listeners. Always, ALWAYS add links to the resources you promised.

It’s not easy to remember what you said or to make notes of links while you’re talking. So instead of trying to keep track during the moment, you can:

  • Import your audio into your transcript program

  • Search words like “link” and “show” to gather the links you promised your listeners

  • Skim for any authors, books, or other resources that would be helpful to link

Make show notes more than a surface-level summary. Provide extra value by including links to any other blogs or templates that might be helpful for them.

More ways to serve your audience

Show notes help you grow your reach and build your community. Give listeners more opportunities to connect with you.

Then, when you have the bandwidth (or are ready to hire!), you can expand your show notes to blog posts to boost SEO and drive ideal clients to your website.