3 Ways To Create Podcast Episode Notes Listeners Will Actually Read

I do episode notes for my podcasts in one of three ways:

1. Bullet Points

The episode notes for RED Podcast use the following formula:

  • intro paragraph describing the episode
  • bullet points about the specific content (usually done in a “curiosity” style to encourage people to listen)
  • a list of links for things I mention during the episode
  • a sponsor mention and link
  • links to the Android and iPhone apps
  • a link to Apple Podcasts within a paragraph that encourages the reader to subscribe

I edit my own podcasts and it’s during this time that I write the bullet points. The reason the only “subscribe” link within the episode notes points to Apple Podcasts is because I want to focus all users there in order to maximize chart positions. If somebody wants to subscribe via another method, those links can be found under the player, which is above the episode notes.

2. A Summary Paragraph (Or Two)

As Build A Big Podcast is a more focused podcast then RED Podcast, it’s easier to get a potential listener to take a chance on it. The short episode length also doesn’t provide the volume of content to use for bullet points.

Because of these things, the episode notes for Build A Big Podcast are simply a one or two paragraph summary, followed by a call-to-action that encourages people to subscribe.

3. Written Notes On An Interview Outline

Below are episode notes from my broadcast radio show, Music Business Radio. All episodes are interviews and recorded “live-to-tape” as if they were going out live.

While I could do episode notes for this show that are bullet points, like I do for RED Podcast, or a summary, like I do for Build A Big Podcast, a scan of my “interview plan” and notes added during the interview shows listeners a different perspective on how episodes are created and my thought process during interviews. In many ways, a scan isn’t as clear as a rewrite of bullet points designed to sell the episode or a summary that boils the “big idea” of the episode into a couple of paragraphs, but it’s far more compelling for many listeners, especially hardcore fans who are familiar with me and the show.

About the process:

I start with some basic questions and topics I want to cover, thinking ahead to how things could go. After the first question is asked though, the interview becomes something completely different.

This is from an interview I did with two well-known graphic designers. Notice the “4th” marking above the third question (actually the fourth question — number mix up) on the list below. Each episode is divided into four sections (with commercial breaks in-between) and that’s a note for me to begin the fourth section

Other markups…

  • The top notes are how the guests wanted to be introduced as well as my notes on their locations and contact information
  • “Julie” was a third (and unscheduled) guest on this episode, which is why her name was handwritten
  • The “boxed” notes are answers/topics I wanted to refer back to in followup questions

Episodenotes1

Episodenotes2

Here are notes from another episode, this one with a legendary producer and session musician. The first page is basically a bio I can refer to when introducing him and coming in and out of segments (remember — this show is primarily distributed via broadcast radio, not via podcast, so new people are tuning in as its playing).

You’ll notice last-minute notes I wrote regarding his first recording session as well as a project I wanted to get the story of. There are also a couple of quotes that came up during the interview, which I put on this page simply because I didn’t have room elsewhere.

Episodenotes3

I went into this interview having done a previous interview in 2013. I’d also read his book, so all I needed were a few bullet points to help me guide the discussion.

This is my outline for this episode, which was scheduled to be 54 minutes of finished tape. He had so many great stories, we ended up talking for about three hours and it will likely be made into two 54-minute episodes.

Episodenotes4

Will this format of episode notes work for you and your podcast? Maybe.

If the people who listen to your podcast know the names you mention and are curious about the topics covered, yes — this is a compelling way to share this information. If you’re trying to attract new listeners though, most will find the “bullet point” option mentioned above more persuasive as that copy is designed to persuade.

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