PodSchool Podcast | How to write great podcast descriptions


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Why should people listen to your show?

After your podcast name and logo, the next thing potential listeners look at is your podcast description.  So you’ve got to make it good.

While you don’t want to write an essay, you’re not as restricted in your word count as you are with your podcast name.  That means you’ve got more real estate to tell listeners exactly what they can expect from your show.

So how do you write a podcast description that makes people think “OMG!  This show is exactly what I’m looking for!”?

Apple Google Spotify

The two types of podcast description

Your show description

This is the blurb that explains what your show, as a whole, is about.

Often it’s the thing that will get people to subscribe so it’s important to create something compelling and entertaining.  It’s also important to clearly explain to a listener what’s in it for them.

Are they going to learn something?  Will they laugh?  Are they going to be on the edge of their seat?

Make sure you give them a reason to listen.

How to come up with a great podcast name


Your episode description

This is the blurb for each episode that explains what listeners will hear if they press play on that specific show.

Even if you’ve got subscribers who love your podcast they’ll often pick and choose which episodes they listen to so keep that in mind when you’re writing your episode description and titles.

Also, since platforms like Google and Spotify have started surfacing individual episodes these descriptions are even more important. 

Instead of coming through the traditional path of finding your show in a podcast app, potential listeners can now find an episode by Googling keywords in your show’s niche. 

This means your episode description might be the first interaction they have with your show, so make it good!

When you’re writing your episode title and description do this with brand new listeners in mind as well as existing ones. 

Ideally, you want to write something that would entice someone who’s not familiar with your show to give it a try.

How to write great episode titles for your podcast


Some tools that will help…

Use questions

Want your audience to know the minute they read your podcast description your show is for them?  Why not kick it off with a question?

With my podcast, PodSchool, I start my description with “Do you want to create a kickass podcast that people want to listen to?”  So, if somebody is scrolling through and that’s their goal they’ll know immediately this show is for them.

After your question, you can go into more detail about what they can expect if they listen.

What are show notes and why do you need them?


Don’t forget to get tone into your writing

Since you don’t have vision or audio to play with you have to try and get as much of your personality into the copy as possible.

This requires some copywriting skills but the main thing is to not overthink it.

The reason people struggle to get tone into their writing is they often think they need to be overly formal. Or they try to write like somebody else.

The best way to write your podcast description is in your own words with as much of your own personality as you can capture.

Is your show cheeky and irreverent?  Then be cheeky and irreverent in the podcast description.  Is your show funny?  Then be funny.

If you’re trying to convince a potential audience they’re going to be entertained by your content but your copy isn’t very entertaining they’re probably not going to believe you.

Should you write a script for your podcast episodes?


Make use of keywords

This has become even more important since Google stepped into the podcast space so think about the terms people might be searching for that relate to your show.

Just remember that while keywords are great your copy still has to be “human-readable” so don’t just stuff your podcast description full of search terms.

It’s got to read like something a human would say to another human.  Not something a human would say to a bot hoping it’ll rank them higher in Google.

A beginner’s guide to podcast SEO


Share your episode highlights

When you write your episode descriptions it’ll often be after you’ve recorded your episodes so why not share highlights from the show?

Does your guest tell an amazing story you could tease to?  Is there a tip you’re going to share that you might be able to hint at?

Give your potential audience a taste of what they can expect so they’ll want to listen.  And as you add to your back catalogue of shows you can always update your main podcast description with examples of killer content you’ve done in some of the episodes.

How to promote your podcast


Don’t clickbait your audience

While it might be tempting to use phrases like “the most amazing interview of all time” it’s important to deliver on what you promise.

You don’t need to claim something is the “best thing ever” to get someone to listen.  Just highlight the strongest moments from the show and be clear about what your audience will get and that should be enough.

Be entertaining, engaging and honest.  And always have your audience, and what they’re going to get out of it, top of mind.

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

Got some time on your hands? Read the full episode transcript

Hello and welcome to the show. Today I’m following on from last week's episode where I talked about how to come up with a name for your podcast and talking about the other place where you can shove a lot of words in your podcast and that is your podcast description.

There are of course two different descriptions. There is your show description which is the bigger description about what the show, as a whole, is about. And then there is the episode description. The ne you do for each individual episode. Next week I will be doing an episode specifically on how to title your episodes but in this show, I'll talk about descriptions generally for both your show and each episode.

Last week I said the first thing people look at is your cover art. And then of course the title. That's basically like the front cover of a book. That’s the first thing you look at when you’re going to buy a book. And the next thing you do is turn the book over, look at the back jacket and read the description. I have picked up plenty of books in my time where I thought “Ooooh, that’s a snazzy cover!” then read a couple of lines on the back and thought “That’s not for me.” So, what you want to do with your show description is get people into the idea behind your show. And that is the back jacket of your book. It’s the thing people are going to read to work out if this is the show for them. So, it’s important they get a sense of whether it’s designed for them. So rather than being a place where you wax lyrical about your own achievements and how fabulous you are. Your description should really be benefit driven and detail what they’re going to get out of it. Are they going to learn something? Are they going to be entertained? Is there a specific niche area of you’re going to explore? You want them to read your description and think “That sounds interesting!” So, this requires a little bit of copy writing skills. You need to get tone into your writing and draw people in so you can engage them. You don't want it to be boring. You want to highlight the best bits of your show and shove a few key words in there as well.

SEO experts tend to say that keywords in your description don't necessarily help that much with search but there is a lot of research to suggest that it does actually help with subscriptions. So, when people read that description that’s the thing that makes them think “this is the show for me!” I'm going to press the subscribe button and of course the more subscriptions you get the better you rank in the charts and that's really important to the long-term life of your show. So, getting the description right is very important.

It's like you're sitting down on a first date with your potential audience and you’ve got to wow them and make them think “I want to date this person for a while. I want to get them in my ears and spend a bit of time with them.” Think about this as prime real estate to be as impressive as you possibly can.

One of the tactics you can use in your description is asking questions. If there is something your audience is interested in, why not ask them directly at the beginning of your podcast description? So, for example in the description for this show I say “Do you want to create a kickass podcast that people want to listen to?” So, if somebody is scrolling through and they find my show that that’s what their goal is they’ll think “Yes! This is exactly what I’m looking for!” So, try and ask a question so as soon as your audience reads your description they’ll know it’s for them. Then you can go into a bit more detail about what they can expect from the show. Kicking off that way is a great way to hook people in and make them realise immediately, without having to read through 300 words of copy, that the show is actually designed for them.

Try and get your tone into the copy if at all possible too. You don't want to bore people to tears with a list of all of the things that you're going to be covering. If it's a cheeky show be cheeky in your description, if it's a funny show try and be funny in your description. Easier said than done but try and get as much personality into that copy as you can so people can get a bit of a vibe of you and the show. If you’re a sparkly jazz handed personality person, then you want to express that in the copy of your show so try and get as much of your own personal sparkle in there as you can.

Of course, I mentioned SEO and the fact that putting keywords into your description perhaps doesn't affect this search engine optimization in iTunes but of course is still important to put those key words in. You just want to always make sure that what you're writing is “human readable.” Remember it's humans that reading these things so you want everything you do with your descriptions and titles to make sense in a sentence. You don't want to be putting keywords in there so that you're appealing to the bots that read them and rank your podcast higher. You want to be writing those descriptions for people so they seem natural and normal and like words humans would say to each other.

The only other thing I would say about when you're doing your episode description is don't be afraid to repeat the name of the guest in the description. Sometimes we'll put the person’s name in to the episode title but then you won't repeat it again in the description. Experts might say that descriptions don't matter that much but to be honest we don't know a great deal about what's going on in iTunes and those things might change. So, it's always best practice to put as many key words, without it being crazy and not human readable, in there as possible. So definitely put the name of your guest, if it's somebody people might be searching for, towards the front of your episode description. That episode description as well as the title will be the reason people click on that show so even if you've got subscribers who love your show and subscribed to the whole thing they are still going to be picky about what episodes they actually listen to. The combination of your episode title and description are your opportunity to flesh out more than you can get into a title. It’s your chance to tell your audience exactly why they should listen to the show.

If it's an interview series, then make sure that each episode gives an indication of one of the highlights of that episode. This is the same if you're an educational podcast. What's the best tip that they're going to learn? What’s going to make them click on that episode or want to learn more about it? Again, you can employ questions here. Whatever you need to convince someone to listen.

It’s not a foregone conclusion that people who’ve subscribed to your show will listen to every episode so you have to convince them this is content they are going to be interested.

So, the description of each of your episodes is gold territory and you don't want to waste it. Don't think of it as an afterthought or as something that doesn’t really matter. Especially if you’re using more creative or cryptic titles. We do this with our Mamamia show, Mamamia Out Loud. We often write more clever titles that reference something funny that was said in the episode or give the essence of what was discussed. But you can’t get a sense of exactly what the episode’s about from the title, so the description is where that comes in handy. So, make sure you’re making the most of that real estate. And again, make sure the copy is in keeping with the tone of your show. You want it to sound like it's you talking in those pieces of copy.

You often only have a small few moments to get the attention of an audience that is so distracted with a million other things. So, it's really important to make use of all of the ways that you can get them to click on your show and listen.

And please, never click bait or promise something that you can’t deliver. You know I know that it's tempting to use “the most amazing interview of all time” but that's a pretty high benchmark to get to so don't over promise and under deliver. It’s always better to be realistic about expectations. Yes, you want to excite your audience but you don't want to lie to them. We’ve all been click baited for so many years you can smell it a mile off when somebody is telling you “this is the best most amazing story you'll ever hear.” So, make sure you’re mindful of going too over the top.

Be excited, be compelling and get people interested. But don't click bait whatever you do.

I hope that's helped you think a little bit more about how you can get the most out of those episode descriptions and show descriptions so you can get people onboard and interested in your show because that's the main thing. We're trying to get more people to put your show in their ears.

If you want a bit more help with your podcast, then make sure you head to PodSchool.com.au and sign up for my online podcasting course where I take you step by step through everything.

And if you are enjoying the show please leave a review or rating as it helps other people find it as well who might need help with their podcast.

I'll see you next week and until then, happy podcasting.

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Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!