Podcasting is not only about having the right tone and voice. Do not overlook graphic design (for the cover) and communication (on social media). Being a skillful writer is also a great quality to have as a podcaster; or at the very least showing how much you care about the written presentation of your episodes. If you want to reach as many people as possible, you should always choose your words wisely.
Whatever the platform on which your podcast is hosted, there is always a field to fill in prior to uploading an episode, and it happens to be the most important one: the title. The reasons are manifold:
- The title gives clear and precise information about the content of the episode;
- The title helps with search engine optimization, so more people find your show when searching;
- The title entices the listener want to listen to the episode.
It is hard to tick these three boxes in a single title. You may have to be funny or play on words to appeal to the audience, but this may be detrimental to search engine optimization or even affect the clarity of your message. In fact, you must find the right balance, even if it means dropping your pun for a slightly less funny but definitely more efficient phrase.
Put yourself in your potential listeners’ shoes: which words related to the topic of your last episode are they likely to search? The answer to this question will help you choose the right words for your title. Don’t skip this step: adding a few keywords to your description text won’t change anything, as they will hardly have an impact. More often than not, your title is the key that will make the difference.
These guiding principles are also ruled by common sense:
- Never go the easy way by simply adding a number or a date.
- Keep it short to avoid having the final words cut off.
- If you can’t keep it short, then make sure the most important words appear at the beginning of the title.
Once you have found a title, write a presentation page. But don’t look at this as a formality or even as a chore. Avoid the lazy cut-and-paste job but copying a big chunk of the episode description; be as creative as possible and transcribe the tone of your podcast. This will allow you to strengthen the bond you share with your listeners, even if only a few of them will read it to the end.
A couple of short paragraphs will do. No need to write a book, nor try to explain every tiny detail. In other words, tease but don’t spoil! Stick to the main information because you want the random listeners to press "Play". Your description should sell your podcast, just as a pitch sells a movie, or a back cover blurb sells a book.
The closing paragraphs of your description will give you the opportunity to thank your guests or contributors, as well as the authors of your opening theme, your jingles and your audio samples. Never forget to mention them! Finally, you can also use these few lines to talk about what you may have omitted to mention, whether on purpose or not, such as your social media handle or Patreon page.
Should the episodes be numbered ?
Not necessarily, as they will be displayed in a chronological order on most platforms, but it could be useful for podcasts recorded as documentaries or fictions, where the episodes are linked to one another.
In all cases, the number of each episode should appear at the end of the title. As strange as it may seem, it ensures that the most important words feature right at the beginning of the title. Don’t forget that on some platforms, your title will be cut off before a potential listener clicks on it, so you’d better stack all the odds in your favor.
Should the episodes be presented as chapters ?
When your episodes are quite long and deal with several themes or topics, it’s a good idea to time the main parts in your description. Three or four will suffice.
This extra effort will be appreciated by your listeners and may convince those who come across your podcast randomly to listen to it, at least in part. Who knows, they could end up liking your tone or your concept so much that they’ll subscribe. Splitting episodes into chapters is not necessary, but it can be a true delight for your audience and a step further into the world you’re creating.