seanwes tv 182: Why Your Podcast Needs Show Notes

seanwes tv 182: Why Your Podcast Needs Show Notes

Hey, it’s Sean McCabe with seanwes tv. 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 “write a few
bullets about what you talked about.” What I mean is writing exhaustive show notes. I
mean like a transcript—write down everything that you said. 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 and I go to that page—they share it on Twitter, they share it in a newsletter—I
click on the page and go to that episode, that audio file is impenetrable. I have no
idea what’s behind the audio, I have no idea what people said. I can’t skim it; 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, they can preview the video. They immediately get
a sense of it. A picture is a thousand words, right? So, immediately they see the video
and they get 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, a little player—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 to get into your podcast because it’s such a huge commitment. It’s
really easy to watch a five minute video. That’s why we did 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 that’s a huge commitment. “Hey, in the middle of your day, I want to interrupt
you and ask you to listen to this hour-long thing,”—that’s not going to work for a lot
of people. If they can take a five minute break or a three minute break, they’ll do
it. You need to make your audio “parse-able”. You need to make it consumable—digestable.
You need to give people entrance points. When you write show notes for your podcast, people
can scroll through, they can read the whole thing, they can gloss over it. You can have
headers for the different sections, the different topics that you brought up during your podcast.
People can immediately see, is this worth listening to? If there was a really good takeaway,
you can bold it, you can make it bigger, and use a pull quote. People can gloss over it
and get the value much more quickly. Number one, they can more accurately discern whether
or not they want to commit that one hour to listening or they can simply get the information
by scrolling and not the spending the hour. 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 them to get the message—give
them the message in whatever format that they want to consume it. People learn differently.
Some people like to read, some people like to listen, some people like to watch, some
people to do all of the above, and they will consume it in all of the formats that you provide.
This is good for you because the more times they consume it—the more media formats they consume it—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.
Writing show notes also audits you. If you were to think about every word you spoke on
your podcast being transcribed, how do you feel about that? For most podcasters, they
would feel pretty foolish because it would quickly be illuminated that they’re wasting
peoples’ time. They’re wasting a bunch of time talking about nonsense. When you transcribe
yourself or you have yourself transcribed, you’re going to see that. When you know that
every word that you speak is going to be transcribed, just as I do on this show—none of this is
scripted right now, I have a few bullet points and an outline of things I want to talk about
just as prompts, but I know that every single word I say is being transcribed and is something
people can read. That audits me. That makes sure that I’m not wasting anyone’s time and
I’m getting straight to the point. 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, and just ramble on, and not provide value to an audience, and hide
behind the fact that it’s obscured because nothing you say is being transcribed, it’s
just an audio file? Or do you want to actually let that help that improve what you say, improve the
time to value ratio, and actually help people with the time that they’re spending listening
to your show? That’s not the only benefit though. There’s plenty of benefits to having
show notes of your podcast and I’m talking exhaustive show notes. There’s the SEO value—that’s
the Search Engine Optimization value. When you have written content on your site, it
is scannable by Google, it’s scannable by search engines, so when people search for
certain things, they will find your podcast. Your podcast will show up in the search results
and it will not show up in the 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
the link to go to their podcast page, and all that’s there is an audio player and three
bullets—three sentences. That’s all I get for what’s inside this episode. 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. I’m going to be that much closer to trusting you, to liking
you, to getting value from you, 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 and they think, “If I just give people all of the content there,
then they’re not going to listen to the audio, which means my download numbers will be lower,
which means I can’t sell my spots for as much money to sponsors.” That’s the only thing
I can think and that is super short game—super short game! You’re missing out on so much,
so many people, not to mention accessibility. People with hearing problems who are hearing
impaired who read, or they’re just pressed for time. Maybe they are a stay at home mom
who has kids and doesn’t have time—they don’t have the one hour of silence to listen
to your podcast. There’s so many reasons, not to mention the repurposing value. When
you have exhaustive show notes of your podcast, you can turn that into any other media. I
talk so much about how it all starts with writing—when you have something written,
it can turn into anything else. Let me give you an example: I talked about it all starts
with writing. I did a podcast episode on this, this was way back before I even did seanwes
tv—talked about how it all starts with writing. 100 episodes later, I talked about the topic
again—episode 139 of the seanwes podcast, It All Starts With Writing. Then, when I started
seanwes tv, I did an episode on seanwes tv—39, It All Starts With Writing. 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. You can repurpose things. Show notes can turn into an eBook, it can
turn into a course, it can turn into a conference talk. That’s exactly what happened with me
actually. So, this tv episode, It All Starts With Writing, I took that, I had six points
there, I turned that into a conference talk and I gave that talk in Los Angeles and then,
guess what? I took that conference talk and I turned it into a workshop and several hundred
people got the workshop in just a couple months and they paid for it. Now, I’m taking that
workshop—this is, by the way—I’m taking that workshop and
I am producing a full blown course. All of this came from the original source of show
notes for my podcast. The benefits of show notes are just overwhelming.
It’s overwhelmingly obvious that you need to have show notes for your podcast. You should
have show notes for your video show too. Put in the extra work. It’s just so obvious to
me after having done this for years. I used to do it myself. It took me four to six hours
to transcribe every single podcast episode. I did this for like 100 episodes before I
hired people. 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.” I did the work. I mean, that was the bane of my existence, was writing show notes, 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 these because I wouldn’t
have been able to listen otherwise.” 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.
See, because every word I’ve spoken is transcribed, not only does it bring about a certain level
of integrity—imagine if every word was transcribed on your podcast. Would you be proud of those
words being written, being permanently on the internet forever? Would you be proud of
that? First of all, there’s a level of integrity, but also there’s the searchability and revisitation
value of having show notes. So many of my listeners go back and listen to past episodes.
Now, how do they find those episodes? What they end up doing is searching “seanwes” in
Google, plus some key word and they always find it. They go to the page and they can
find that one point they remembered, search the page, jump right to it, and listen again.
This is accelerating that Magic of 7—the seven impressions that you need to be able
to retain new information. It’s accelerating that process and there’s a lot more revisitation
value for my listeners. If you do this, you are going to have more audience members. Not
just people who are going to find you through search, not just people who share your podcast
with someone else and they’re able to do that because they could find it because it was
transcribed, but also because people read and that’s who they consume information. You’re
going to have a lot more “listeners” who are actually just readers of your content. Your
audience will be bigger. I don’t even know why I’m telling you all of this because this
is one of the best tips I could provide to anyone. This is why you will win at podcasting.
There’s so many people podcasting. Everyone’s starting a podcast in 2016. Everyone is starting
a podcast—they’re just now starting to get it. I’m 250 episodes in and I’ve been transcribing
every word—exhaustive show notes—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 even have the willingness to do
the work themselves. It is a ton of work to create show notes for your podcast, but if
you have a valuable show, it is the smartest thing you can do. It’s 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.

23 thoughts on “seanwes tv 182: Why Your Podcast Needs Show Notes

  1. Totally agree, until there is a technology that will auto-transcribe audio podcasts we NEED comprehensive show notes. Good video Sean! ^Mike

  2. Love it so much, needed to hear this before my first Ever show-noteing. Thank you Sean as always, you're the best. p.s. Honestly, there are plenty of times I consume your information through reading just because of time, although I always prefer listening. Show Notes gives extreme value. Each and very single time.

  3. Sean, I'm starting a podcast and hopefully a YouTube channel to get into video sometime soon. Can you inform me how to create a 'jingle' and/or intro video? Much like something you have at the beginning of this video. Thanks.

  4. Hey man, just discovered your channel. You are right. Everyone is starting a podcast. I mean, even I am. The Addictions Podcast. Thanks for this youtube channel. I also will be subscribing to your podcast. Thanks again man!

  5. I have shared this video with several people. I LOVE IT! It's not easy to hear (or do) but everything you are saying is the truth. Love your work!

  6. Hi Sean, how do we edit the "shownotes" or the iTunes description for our episodes? Right now it automatically reflects the episode summary from WordPress. Not sure how to change that.

  7. What system or software or whatever do I need for getting comments/questions from your audience about the video or podcast?

  8. I wanted to start a podcast. But after watching this now Im scared. I thought starting a podcast would be fun and inspiring but now it seems so daunting. But I totally agree with what youre saying. Not only about providing valuable content but also saying something you may later regret. Everything bad DOES sounds worse when transcribed. That's why we should also be mindful of what we say and share.

  9. As I was thinking the question, you answered with something I say all the time! "give them the message in the format they want to consume it in!" No more excuses for lame 'teasery' shownotes.

  10. Loved this video! Thank you. I was the 222 person to like the video and I seen your video on my feed, couldn’t remember what it was called so I typed your name in the search bar and a key word to what I thought it was and hey 👋 presto! Your advice and guidance is 💯 real talk.

  11. Thanks for this. It has built on other ideas I have had and ideas I have come across. Re-purposing your original work makes so much sense. Make it once and keep selling it. 👍

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