What are Show Notes?
I’ve been listening to podcasts for a few months now – and I keep hearing the term: show notes. “I’ll post that in the show notes.” “I’ll link to that in the show notes.” “You can find it all in the show notes.” So where you wonder are the notes? And what are they?
Show Notes for TV Shows & Movies
For film and TV, go to IMDB and use the search bar to type in the name of a show or movie. Click on the show an you will see a movie poster or episode cover, if you scroll down, you will see all of the show notes including cast and crew, a description of the show, storyline, plot, synopsis, tagline, filming locations, goofs, parent’s guide, critic reviews, message boards, trivia, quotes.
Show Notes for YouTube
When you are watching YouTube, underneath the video there is a section that says “show more” and if you click on that, you will see the show notes. Show notes for YouTube can include anything the producer of the clip wants you to know such as links to websites referenced in the clip, discount coupons from vendors of products talked about in the clips, social media “follow me” links, etc. The cool thing about show notes is that the text in the show notes is indexed, and helps your search engine optimization.
Show Notes for Podcasts
If you click on any particular episode, you will see the podcast logo, followed by the title of the show and the episode number you are listening to. Under the top fold you will see some text. Take a second and scroll through the text below – those are the show notes.
Some Podcasters even go so far as to post the show notes on their website and will tell you where to find the show notes in the podcast itself: example: Amy Porterfield will send you to her website “where you can find show notes for today’s episode at AmyPorterfield.com forward slash #100 for the 100th episode.” Often Amy will give something away for free, she calls a “content upgrade” which is a PDF file that is automatically delivered to you when you enter your email address on that show notes page. It is a win-win. You win because you got some free helpful information, and Amy wins because she captured your email and you are now in her database, where she can market to you for years to come. And if you bothered going all the way from your car where you were listening to a podcast, to Amy’s website to look up some freebee she offered, she is doing you a huge favor to capture your email address so you don’t have to keep looking her up each week – she can just email you the free things as they are available via her magic automated email program.
So what is in the show notes that is so important?
The great news is that the show notes can include anything from a written transcription of the podcast itself, to links of apps and software recommended during the show. It can include links to the show guest’s website or a book the host or guest is promoting. You might find a coupon or discount for services that were shared on the show. You can include share buttons so listeners can recommend your show, you can include instant replays, or links to previous episodes. You can redirect listeners to your social media links and so much more.
Check out the multiplicity of ways Madalyn Sklar uses show notes for personal promotion on her website: (Want to see something really super cool? Look in the tab above the screen shot and you’ll see how Madalyn has a tiny picture of herself, and the podcast title in the tab itself. Don’t tell her I said this, but I think she’s a genius marketer.)
Reasons you should check out the show notes of your favorite podcasts
- Additional ways to follow – You may find social media links, rss feeds and blog post links of the person whose podcasts you are listening to. If you listen to a lot of podcasts and you miss one of your favorites for a few weeks, some services like itunes will turn off a podcast feed, so it won’t automatically update. Out of sight, out of mind and you might forget about your favorite show hosts. But if you are following them on other social media, you will remember to reconnect with their podcast.
- Relevant links and resources without listening again – Links you’re looking for from the episode may be included without you having to listen to the entire episode again.
- Time sensitive discounts – Once a podcast is recorded and posted – it’s unlikely it will be re-recorded to reflect changes in current sales or promotions. The show notes though are easy to update. Podcasts with promotions are not evergreen, but can be kept generic enough to be evergreen, (not time sensitive) and just change the show notes to keep promotions current. For example, you wouldn’t want to say in a podcast: Meet us at booth #676 at the Sundance Film Festival because after the festival is over, the offer is invalid, and even if the exhibitor shows up next year at the festival, it is unlikely they will have the exact same booth number. You could mention that you will be at the Sundance Film Festival and to check a link in the show notes for the current promotion they are offering.
- Updates and Changes. Say you are listening to a podcast on search engine optimization, and a particular technique is discussed – then three months later that technique reverses it’s algorithm – the show notes could quickly be updated to reflect the changes.
- So you can be added to people’s automated email newsletters – you can unsubscribe at any time, but when you join a mailing list, people send you their best tips, tricks and goodies each week for free. Why wouldn’t you want that? If you like their podcasts, and they offer cool newsletters.
Below I have a couple of favorite articles I found on how to write your own notes or hire a service to do it for your own multi-media projects, but my best tips include snooping around in other people’s pages to see how they did it. Find out what you like best and copy the techniques.
“Brilliance is brilliance no matter where you find it.” – Angela Brown Oberer