I got a question this week from Kirill of the Rad Dad podcast: 

What's the difference between episode summary and show notes? Could you provide some guidance as to where those go, and how to update them best?

That is a great question. In this article, I'll show you:

  1. What an episode summary is and what it looks like in podcast apps
  2. What show notes are and what they look like in podcast apps
  3. How to add lists and hyperlinks and other formatting to your show notes with Markdown

I'll also provide you with a show notes template that you can download and customize for your show.

Let's dive in.

1. The Episode Summary

The episode summary is a brief description of your episode that shows up in Apple Podcasts and other apps. This is your chance to convince someone to listen to your episode, so keep it short and interesting. The first few sentences are especially important.

This is what you'll see inside your Simplecast dashboard when you create a new episode:

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You aren't able to do any special formatting to your episode summary, so keep it plain text. 

Here's an example of how it looks in a few apps:

iTunes (Mac, Desktop) 

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Apple Podcasts (iPad)

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2. Show Notes

Your show notes can contain your episode summary, in addition to other information that you'd like to include about the episode or your show, or what you'd like your listeners to do next.

I usually provide additional information about the guest and the topics discussed in the episode, along with a list of links to anything mentioned in the episode that listeners might want to check out while listening.

Bonus: I've started adding MP3 chapters to a few of the shows I edit/produce. If you're interested in adding time stamps and additional images to your episode file, I wrote about that process here.

Formatting your text

You can add special formatting to your show notes, like hyperlinks, bold and italic text, and lists. Here's how show notes look like in a few different apps:

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Apple Podcasts (iPad)

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Overcast (iPad)

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3. Using Markdown to quickly and easily create formatted show notes for your podcast

Markdown is a way to format your text without having to write HTML code. It's especially useful for podcast producers because there are apps/websites that can quickly turn text formated with Markdown in HTML (if you need it).

Simplecast supports Markdown formatted text inside of the Show Notes field, and this will allow you to easily create show notes with bold and italic text, hyperlinks, and lists.

  • To create a hyperlink, simply surround your text with square brackets (e.g., [like this]), then add the URL inside of a pair of parentheses right next to it.
  • To bold some text, place two asterisks **on either side of the text**.
  • To italicize some text, place a single asterisks *on either side of the text*.

For every episode I produce, I end up with a show notes document that looks like this:

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When I paste copy/paste that text into the show notes field in my podcast episode in Simplecast, it'll be converted to HTML before it goes out to Apple Podcasts and the other podcast players.

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Another benefit to writing your show notes this way is that you can use almost any text editing app (I keep plain text files in a folder in Dropbox), and you won't have to worry about losing your work if you accidentally close your browser window. 

If you have a website separate from your Simplecast hosted site for your podcast, you can also paste the Markdown there, or convert your Markdown to HTML quickly yourself (either with your text editor or this website).

Here are some additional resources to help you get started:

So Kirill, I hope that answers your question about summaries and show notes. Happy podcasting!

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Still have questions? Our support team would be happy to help. Just click on the chat icon down there on the right. If you'd like to learn more about Simplecast, head over to Simplecast.com.

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