Quality show notes matter!

Two episodes ago, I tried to convince you that you need to take the time to create quality show notes. If you missed that episode, you can go to www.PodcastfastTrack.com/20 to hear my reasoning.

In the last installment of Podcastification I showed you the first step my Podcast Fast Track team takes to begin the show notes creation process. It included:

  • Audio editing & creation of a bullet point outline of the episode
  • Keyword research

If you missed that episode, you can find it at www.PodcastFastTrack.com/shownotes2

Today I’m going to take you into the next step of our show notes creation process – The 500 word summary of the audio content.

Remember, if you’ve followed my formula so far (covered in the last two episodes), you’ve already got 2 vital steps done:

  1. You’ve got a bullet-point outline of the audio – which will come in very handy at this point.
  2. And you’ve got a list of keywords to focus on when writing – which will also be very instrumental in creating a great summary of the audio.

So let’s dive in…

Why include a 500 (or more) word summary in the show notes?

The main reason is really two reasons:

ONE: To give your readers a true TEASER (keep that word in mind… )a TEASER of what they will hear in the audio content!

You want your show notes to draw you reader IN to becoming not just a reader, but a LISTENER to the audio, which is where the true value is.

500 words is about right to do that in a way that reveals JUST ENOUGH, but NOT TOO MUCH.

TWO: 500 words is just about right to get some search engine attention.

Any shorter, it might be seen as an invaluable resource.

Any longer, it could be TMI (too much information).

500 words is just like the baby bear’s porridge that Goldilocks ate… JUUUUSSSTTTT RIIIIIGGTTT!

And before you get too anxious about the word count… let me put your mind at ease: WE NEVER COUNT THE WORDS!

500 is our target. We write what we need to write. We usually go over or under just a tiny little bit.

So relax.

What to include in the 500 word summary for your show notes…

There’s a handful of important things you need to include in your show notes. We choose to include most of these in our 500 word summary:

  • Keywords (remember the keyword list from the last episode?) You’re going to include them in your summary.
  • Deep links (that’s links to other pages on your website… just in case you didn’t know).
  • Outbound links (that’s links to other reputable web pages or resources).

Why do we include these things?

KEYWORDS – it’s obvious. We’re trying to get the show notes post to rank for organic search traffic which in turn might lead to new listeners/followers.

DEEP LINKS – linking throughout your own website to RELEVANT content improves your SEO juice.

OUTBOUND LINKS – again, SEO is improved if you demonstrate that you’re writing for your readers, providing them value, even if that value is NOT ON YOUR WEBSITE! But make sure the outbound links you include are to reputable sites, not some junky, spammy, ad-filled site.

HEADINGS – Why? We want the post to be scannable (since most people nowadays scan websites instead of reading them). Headings break up the content, highlighting some of the most important topics (hint: keywords), and ENTICING the readers to become listeners.

SHORT PARAGRAPHS: Did you get the operative word there? SHORT! We put these under each heading as mini-blurbs of what the heading-topic covers, and we do our darndest to write it in a way that makes the reader WANT TO LISTEN to the podcast audio.

How do we write the show notes summary?

ONE: We use the bullet point outline from step one.

The bullet points serve as a reminder of what we heard in the audio. It also serves as a road-map for the episode.

We are probably going to use at least SOME of the bullet points as headings.

What I suggest is that you:

  • Create all your headings first. We typically provide 4 to 5 headings.

Make them catchy, alluring, and full of POP and PIZAZZ! But don’t BE SPAMMY OR SENSATIONAL!

Write with your keywords in mind… and that DOESN’T mean you need to stuff your keywords into the headings any chance you get.

It means you want to keep in mind what your readers are LOOKING FOR when they search for those keywords, and SHOW THEM through your scannable headings that they FOUND IT!

  • Once you have the headings… create alluring paragraphs that will give a HINT of how the heading is going to deliver on the thing the reader is searching for.

Include your keywords or related phrases in the paragraphs in NATURAL ways. Make it READABLE and EASY TO UNDERSTAND.

But don’t give away the farm… keep some MYSTERY to the topic so your readers will WANT TO LISTEN to the audio you’re summarizing.

TWO: We go back through what we’ve written to tweak it, optimize it, and otherwise make it better.

You will NEVER get it right the first time. Count on it. Everything you write will need a second run-through to check for literacy, grammar, comprehension, and allure. Here are some tips for how to do this quickly but effectively:

  • Read it back to yourself OUT LOUD – you’ll be amazed at the awkward things you hear that need correction.
  • Paste it into an online TEXT TO SPEECH GENERATOR so you can hear it in another person’s voice. Make corrections as you hear the need.
  • Using your keyword list, go through and optimize for keywords and keyword phrases. BUT DON’T KEYWORD STUFF! This is a delicate balance… tread lightly.
  • Add QUALITY images that relate to the content. Make sure you can legally use them. Make sure they are high quality. Optimize them with keywords (file name, ALT tag, description).

If you do what I just taught you, and COMBINE IT WITH the content you created from my steps from the previous episode (www.PodcastFastTrack.com/shownotes2), you’ll have a pretty good set of show notes that are:

  1. Alluring and interesting to your readers
  2. Optimized for SEO
  3. EFFECTIVE in summarizing and promoting your episode.

But wait, we’re not done with this SHOW NOTES thing… in the next episode I’m going to show you ONE ADDITIONAL STEP we do to repurpose our show notes for SOCIAL SHARING!

OK, It’s time for you to take action. What are you going to do with the tips I’ve given you today?

Here’s a little assignment for you… just to try it out!

  1. Relisten to this episode and create a bullet point outline of the content.
  2. Then create headings from the bullet points.
  3. Then create your short paragraphs.
  4. Then go to the show notes page for this episode at www.PodcastFastTrack.com/shownotes3 and compare your bullet point list to the actual show notes.


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Podcast Fast Track - Audio Editing, Podcast Show Notes, Video Editing, and other Podcast Production Services