How to Write the Perfect Podcast Description
When you start a podcast, writing a great podcast description probably isn’t high on your list of priorities (you have to find guests, produce the show, etc.). But it’s actually an essential component for growing your show and building an audience.
It’s also a bit of a balancing act. Like any sales copy, you want to get people interested, but at the same time not go too deep.
Podcast descriptions are one of the first things new listeners see and engage with when they interact with a show. Getting the messaging right is crucial. Descriptions tell listeners what to expect from your show. Very often, they’re the deciding factor between someone hitting play or scrolling past.
Today, we're going to explore the best practices for writing a podcast description so good it’s sure to get your podcast heard.
What Is a Podcast Description?
A podcast show description summarizes what new listeners can expect from the show. It should cover the main highlights or topics, such as who the host is, when new episodes are published and perhaps most importantly, who the show is aimed at.
Still not convinced that your podcast description plays a vital role?
According to The Podcast Host, consumers consider a podcast description to be of the "utmost importance”. In fact, it's such a deciding factor that listeners rank it at an incredible 7.8 out of 10. There’s no getting around it. You've got to help listeners decide by nailing your description.
Where Do You Write a Podcast Description?
A podcast's description lives within your podcast hosting site. Whether it's Transistor, Libsyn or Buzzsprout, your hosting site is your podcast description's permanent address.
When you first start uploading episodes to your podcast host, you'll be asked to submit a description. The hosting site will then incorporate that description into your RSS feed so that podcast directories and apps (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, etc.) can use it.
Like most things in life, your podcast will evolve over time. Because of that, your podcast description may also need to change. The advantage of having everything housed within your host site is that if you need to edit your description, it will automatically update everywhere your podcast appears.
In most host sites, all you need to do to change it is navigate to your account > podcast > basic info > description.
Your podcast host will update and show that description everywhere your podcast appears. Be sure to make it count.
Podcast Description vs Show Notes
A podcast description provides a synopsis of your podcast as a whole. It tells new listeners who you are, what the show is about, how often you publish new episodes and so on.
Show notes, on the other hand, provide the listener with information about each individual episode. They’ll include things like the episode title, guest information, links to content mentioned on the show, the show’s sponsors as well as the topics you cover in every episode.
The best practice is to create a unique set of notes every time you drop a new episode. This is not the case with a podcast description, which remains the same from episode to episode.
Driving Search Traffic With Your Description
Although often difficult to master, search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential part of podcast marketing. Your podcast description is the perfect opportunity to easily boost your show's visibility.
If you’re not familiar with it, SEO is the practice of driving traffic toward a specific piece of content based on what people are typing into search engines like Google. The most common way to do this is to utilize keywords.
Keywords are ideas and topics that define what your content is about.
Podcasters can include carefully chosen keywords within their descriptions to help people find their show. Using tools like Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest will help you find the right keywords to use.
Don't simply stuff your description with keywords. Most search results (especially within Apple Podcasts) are based on podcast names, episode titles, authors and guest names, so use keywords sparingly.
There are some exceptions. For example, Spotify and Google Podcasts crawl podcast descriptions as part of the search results. With that in mind, it’s best to stick to writing for your target listeners rather than algorithms.
What's the Ideal Podcast Description Length?
Nobody wants to read an essay about the inner workings of a podcast. But, neither do they want to be left to decipher a one line description that doesn't do anything to pitch the podcast.
While there's no accurate answer as to how long or short a podcast description should be, your goal when writing it should be to explain what your show is about. Our advice is to find that sweet spot between sparse and wordy: succinctly descriptive.
The character limit on most podcast directories is a generous 4000. It can be tempting to use your full quota, but the likelihood of listeners reading the entire blurb is slim. A lot of podcast apps often cut off descriptions after 150 characters, presenting potential listeners with a "see more" button to read the rest.
You can keep your description under 600 characters and still say a lot. We suggest creating a podcast description between 600-900 characters or 120-170 words in length. Take a look at TED Talks Daily's description to see just how much information you can pack into that amount of text.
Every weekday, TED Talks Daily brings you the latest talks in audio. Join host and journalist Elise Hu for thought-provoking ideas on every subject imaginable — from Artificial Intelligence to Zoology, and everything in between — given by the world's leading thinkers and creators. With TED Talks Daily, find some space in your day to change your perspectives, ignite your curiosity, and learn something new.
Think of It as an Elevator Pitch
Your podcast description should act as a short pitch to draw new listeners in. Your aim with it is to:
Grab your target audience's attention
Outline the podcast
Provide basic information e.g. the release of new episodes, the host, etc.
Keep things brief and basic. Use your show description to give potential listeners an idea of your podcast's theme. There's no need to go into every small detail. You have a few short seconds to catch their attention. Keep it short, sweet and to the point.
Start strong and if your description does run longer, make sure that your first few sentences hook readers enough to actually want to "see more".
Questions to Ask When Writing a Podcast Description
Writing an impressive podcast description lies somewhere between a book blurb (longer and more dense) and a Netflix show summary (super short). While length is a big component in how a description is structured, you need to consider a few other things to ensure you include the right information.
Take a look at these podcast description examples to see what we mean.
Who Is Your Podcast's Target Audience?
Before you go ahead and write a description to entice everyone, understand that trying to appeal to the whole planet will get you nowhere. Think about who needs to listen to your podcast. Then, create a podcast description that speaks specifically to them.
Once you've identified your target audience, write a description telling them why your podcast is ideally suited to them and how it can enrich their life.
Social Media Marketing Podcast : Publishing weekly since 2012, this show helps marketers navigate the ever changing marketing jungle with expert interviews from leading marketing pros. Join Social Media Examiner's founder Michael Stelzner as he helps you discover new strategies and actionable tips to improve your marketing.
The whole description hits the nail on the head, but the opening line is especially good. People who fit the definition of "marketer" or "social media marketer" will be interested, while those who aren't will keep scrolling.
Calling out to your niche will only work in your favor down the line. If they read your description and think: This is exactly for me! they will more than likely subscribe, continue to listen to episodes and also interact with any additional content you provide.
Who Are You?
Your podcast summary should answer many questions for potential listeners, but the primary one is: Why am I listening? This is where your USP (unique selling point) comes in. What sets you apart from the rest?
Think about your experience. Are you an expert within your field or industry? Do you have exciting connections and guests to further enhance the quality of your show? Do you have any awards or accolades that highlight your expertise?
Statements like "respected industry expert" or "award-winning" lend credibility and can increase audience trust, so don’t be afraid to include them.
A lot of highly successful podcasts have gone stupendously simple, while others have opted for a more in-depth approach. Take a look at the examples below.
Example 1: Crime Junkie
"If you can never get enough true crime... Congratulations, you’ve found your people."
These guys are clearly fans of the crime genre. If you love a gruesome murder, you just know you’ll be in good hands. They definitely don’t need to elaborate.
Example 2: Tim Ferriss
"Tim Ferriss is a self-experimenter and bestselling author, best known for The 4-Hour Workweek, which has been translated into 40+ languages. Newsweek calls him "the world's best human guinea pig," and The New York Times calls him "a cross between Jack Welch and a Buddhist monk." In this show, he deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, chess, pro sports, etc.), digging deep to find the tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can use."
Tim Ferriss, on the other hand, has hooked listeners in with a list that tells them precisely who is at the helm.
What Should Listeners Expect?
Podcasts can focus on a great many different topics. You need to be as concise as possible with what your show is about.
Are you interviewing industry experts?
Do you have a narrative-style podcast that documents an informative story?
Are you hosting a short format show that covers the news in 10 easy-to-digest minutes?
Are you dropping an episode every Wednesday?
Do you have a couple of seasons up your sleeve?
Whatever your format, your listeners want to know what they're being offered right off the bat. For example:
The Hustle presents - My First Million. A podcast where we brainstorm new business ideas based on trends & opportunities we see in the market. Sometimes we have famous guests, and they do it with us.
From that brief description, listeners know right away that they're in for an information-filled audio experience.
What Will They Get From It?
Are you going to teach your listeners something new? Will the host and guests explore a subject to help solve a problem or common pain point? Will you be a guiding force for listeners? Someone to help motivate, encourage and inspire? Or, perhaps you're just there to be as entertaining as you can?
Tell your listeners what they will get from you by tuning in. Be upfront about it!
What Is Your Call To Action?
Another crucial element of the podcast description is the call to action (CTA). Podcasters often forget to add one, but including a request for listeners to act on is an important part of your marketing efforts.
It could be as simple as asking them to visit your website, buy some merchandise or write a review on Apple Podcasts. Your CTA will depend on your goal or goals for your show. It may even be a combination of things.
Regardless of the end game, a CTA should be short and enticing and grab the reader’s attention. Your CTA can help you grow your podcast and revenue, so make it count.
How to Write a Podcast Description
Now that you understand what you should include, let’s take a look at how you should put it all together. The simplest way to write an excellent podcast description is to break it down into three sentences. Each of these sentences has a clear goal.
The first sentence of your podcast description should engage listeners by telling them something they know or believe to be true. Some of the best examples open with a question or statement or by acknowledging a problem that's often experienced within your industry.
"Leaders aren't born, they're made."
"Successful marketing means better products, satisfied customers, repeat business and bigger profits."
"Do you struggle to understand the intricacies of Game of Thrones?"
Introduce the hosts, the style or format of your show and how often you release content. Include your call to action here to engage potential followers.
"Hosted by Nosheen Iqbal and Michael Safi, Today in Focus brings you closer to Guardian journalism. Combining personal storytelling with insightful analysis, this podcast takes you behind the headlines for a deeper understanding of the news every weekday."
"Join child psychologist and mother of five Samantha Lee each Thursday morning as she interviews regular moms with their child behavioral issues."
Use the last sentence to explain the type of person who should tune in or could benefit from listening to your podcast. Include any necessary keywords to help boost your searchability. This sentence acts as your last impression, so use this segment to neatly wrap everything up.
"Each episode contains powerful information to help you grow your online business, drive traffic to your site, and build a respected brand."
"When the news feels overwhelming, we're here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning."
Three-Sentence Structure Example
Here is a podcast description in full using the above three-sentence structure.
Sentence one: Do you struggle with marketing your business in today's constantly changing climate?
Sentence two: Join award-winning author and content marketer, Mary Healer as she delves into the complex and simple strategies of online marketing.
Sentence Three: If you need help deciphering TikToks from Tweets, crave up-to-the-minute strategies that work, or just want to be a better content creator for your business, this show is for you.
Your podcast description is a crucial element for promoting your show. Browsers and active listeners use these descriptions to find your show and decide whether or not to tune in. Without one, people won’t know what they're about to hear.
Create a strong description by utilizing the three-sentence structure and publish it to a podcast host, so it appears everywhere that your ideal audience browses.
Remember, a good podcast description gives users the opportunity to learn about your show in a few short sentences. Get it right and they’ll be clicking to listen rather than scrolling right past.