Show Notes: Long or Short? Does It Matter?

This week I was looking into conferences to speak at and found a few, and I also found someone else speaking about show notes (someone who does both audio and show notes). I looked at his examples on his clients’ sites, the ones he linked to on his web page and noticed he mainly writes show notes in a short, formulaic style with timestamped bullets.

In other words, completely unlike my style.

Which got me thinking: what are the advantages of short show notes over long show notes?

Personally most of the shows I work on have lengthy show notes, like 10 paragraphs. Granted the paragraphs are under 6 lines of copy (anything longer than that is hard on the human eye, FYI) but the overall word count is still around 800-1000 words.

But why would he (or anyone) go with short show notes over the lengthier style?

First, short is easier of course.

Second, if you have a formula you only have to fill in the blanks. I am certain that saves time and definitely saves energy!

Third, you can outsource your show notes easier since you only have to train someone to fill in the blanks and pick out a handful of bullet points.

For those three reasons I get it from a business model perspective, he must be successful with it and it must work for him and his clients since he’s speaking at a conference about it. Good on him and I’m sure his clients are happy to have that process done for them.

Show Notes: The Long And Short Of It

So why bother with long or longer show notes?

While you don’t have to write 800 words to get the benefits of longer form - 400 to 500 will do - there are advantages to having more written content on your podcast’s web site.

The first is SEO.
Google still rewards longer content over shorter stuff. It’s just that simple. Google’s algorithm still prefers longer content on web sites over a two or three paragraphs. Until that changes longer copy like lengthy show notes is your better bet for higher rankings. You can do it with short copy I assume, but I know it will take you longer to reach your ranking goals.

Second is your audience and potential audience.
If someone is interested in your topic but they want to know more before they listen then longer show notes are going to give them a bigger, fuller picture of your episode and can help seal the deal. Obviously more listeners equals more downloads which is better for you and your show.

Third is content upgrades.
Since you’re building an audience you want to be providing engaging content for them. Having lengthy show notes is going to do a large chunk of that work for you ahead of time.

For example, if you have 5 experts you’ve interviewed and they’ve talked about the benefits of setting short-term goals then you can take the show notes from those 5 episodes and pull out copy for a content upgrade on short-term goals. You’ll want to be sure your audience is interested in that topic first, but the point is the content is already there for you. With some minor tweaks it can be a new lead magnet for you or an additional bonus to an existing program or product you offer.


There you have it - the long and the short of it! I couldn’t resist a pun, sorry. 😉

While I naturally favor longer copy for show notes, I do understand the appeal and the reasoning for going shorter. Ultimately it’s up to you (or you and your show notes writer) what you choose.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below or get in touch with me via the contact page.