There is a two-fold problem when it comes to writing truly epic show notes1 Good show notes have to be optimized, which takes a certain degree of expertise.
As with any blog post or web page, optimization includes some or all of the following:
- Keyword research (the most time-consuming part)
- Formatting that makes best use of those keywords and related phrases
- Proper use and optimization of images
- Formatting that is easy to scan, so readers can find exactly what they’re looking for.
I know the headaches of being a part-time podcaster. I began doing my first podcast as part of a side-hustle while I was working full time at another job.
I also know the headache of having to do something like show notes when there appear to be so many other pressing things to make my full-time business more profitable and effective.
So if you want to do quality show notes, there are only two solutions:
- You figure out a system that enables you to do the job in the least amount of time possible.
- You outsource it.
I don’t know any other solutions.
This episode of Podcastification is all about the first of those two options. I want to equip you by sharing the system the Podcast Fast Track team uses to write quality show notes.
So, here we go into the process…1 Create a bullet point outline of the episode as you do the edits on your recording.
I know there are a variety of approaches to recording a podcast. Some of you create a bullet point outline to begin with that serves as the talking points of your episode. I’ve talked about how to do that that on a previous episode. If that’s how you approach your podcast recording, you’ve already got this step done. Congratulations!
The reason the Podcast Fast Track team pulls out a bullet point outline first is because it’s the easiest and most effective thing to do while editing.
- Main topics are easy to hear and write down on fast speed without losing our place (yes, we use fast play speed while editing).
- This enables us to get a firm grasp of the entire episode’s content the first time through, which will enable us to do our keyword research before we write the full show notes.
Did you notice that I said we do all this while editing?
That may sound like crazy multi-tasking, and in one sense it is. We search high and low to find people skilled at both audio production and writing so we can optimize our process in this way. If you know someone like that, I’d love to hear from them (firstname.lastname@example.org). Making this a high priority enables us to make the entire process faster without sacrificing quality.
If you’re going to take this approach (pulling out bullet points while editing) , it will require you to develop the skill of listening for audio that needs to be edited while you ALSO listen for changes in topic. You can do it, it’s really not all that hard. After 2 or 3 times, you’ll have it down. A tip to make it easier is this: On interview style shows, the questions the host asks usually indicate a topic worthy of its own bullet point.
One other thing:
The Podcast Fast Track team also inserts [TIME STAMPS] on the bullet point outline. That means one additional thing we’re doing as we listen/edit/write – we’re watching the editing software closely and making a note of the time stamp when we create a bullet point. It sounds complex, but again, it’s something you can train yourself to do and will not be that difficult after a few times of doing it.
Why do we include time stamps? It’s part of what we provide to readers to make the post more scannable, more consumable. It’s all about the end user in our minds.
That’s step one – the bullet point outline. Once you have a good bullet point outline of the audio recording, you’re ready to move on to the next step…2 Do keyword research based on your bullet point outline.
Once you’ve listened to the audio all the way through, you have a very good idea of the main topic of the episode. The first thing my team does is try to boil down that main topic in one, punchy sentence. We’ll come up with 3 or 4 of these – and we write them down.
In the end these may serve as our post title or some sub-headings, but for now, they simply help us solidify the main topic in our minds.
Then we take that topic as the starting point for our keyword research.
How do we do keyword research?
- We type our main keyword, or keyword phrase into a google search – then we look at the “related searches” at the bottom of the resulting page. That gives us a great idea what people are searching for surrounding that topic.
- You can also use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. It’s designed to figure out good Google Ad campaigns, but using the “Find new keywords” tab, you can get a good idea of the popularity and phrasing of searches surrounding your topic.
- There are some other “free” keyword research tools you can use – http://keywordtool.io – http://www.spyfu.com – and http://ubersuggest.com/ among some of the simplest and best.
But if our team feels they’ve gotten a good grasp on the popular searches that are going on around the topic of our audio through Google search and/or the Keyword tool, we’ll move on from there. Remember, we’re trying to maximize efficiency and save time in our process.
What do we do with our keyword research results?
We open up our Google Doc, the one where we’ve already placed our bullet point outline, and at the TOP of the page, where we can easily see it, we type or paste in our list of keywords and keyword phrases. These will serve as reminders to us of what we’re aiming to rank for as we write our show notes.
And that takes us to step #3…3 Start writing our show notes – a 500 word (or more) summary of the audio.
This step is pretty involved – a lot goes into it – so it’s going to be the topic of our next episode of Podcastification.
Show notes call to action…
What is your biggest takeaway from what I’ve shared so far?
What are you going to DO as a result?
I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments of this episode, on the show notes page at www.PodcastFastTrack.com/shownotes2
And if you’ve heard enough and simply want to hire my team to do all this for you… we’d be happy to consider your needs. We’ve got a pretty demanding load of clients, and can be kind of picky with who we work with as a result, but if you’re willing to talk, so are we. Contact me at email@example.com