Luckily, at ZenCast, we have all the tools you need to plan, publish, and analyze a successful podcast. This article will walk you through your podcast description, a fantastic opportunity to pique listeners' interest and draw them into your brand.
Continue reading to learn about podcast descriptions, why they are essential, and how to craft a compelling description that will stop your audience’s scrolling fingers.
Podcast descriptions: concise and informative marketing
A podcast description is a short text accompanying your podcast on all the platforms you choose for distribution. It is marketing text like what appears on the back of most books.
Podcasters use descriptions as a creative way to entice and inform their potential audience, covering things like who they are, what the podcast is about, and what value it brings.
Keep in mind that it is not the same as an episode description. The podcast description belongs to the entirety of the show!
Suppose your title is snappy enough to convince someone to investigate further. In that case, the podcast description is your chance to convince the listener to listen to your podcast. It is both a synopsis of the entire podcast and an opportunity to introduce your style.
LeVar Burton Reads is a fantastic example of a concise podcast description.
Listeners pay close attention to podcast descriptions
Many factors drive prospects to a podcast and convert them into listeners. For example, your podcast could appear in organic search results with proper SEO. Next, a well-crafted title and attractive image might convince people to click. But, a concise and informative podcast description is your chance to reel them in.
Of all these factors (and more!), your podcast description is the most important. The Podcast Host conducted a study on how listeners discover and choose new podcasts. They found that the most critical factor in determining whether to listen to a podcast was the podcast description, followed by episode titles, release frequency, and ratings/reviews.
One description to rule them all
You may distribute your podcast to many platforms to reach a wider audience. Luckily, that does not mean you have to write and submit a new podcast description for every service your listeners use. In other words, you can write one description, which will appear on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and others.
Your podcast hosting service, which is essentially the permanent home of your podcast, will allow you to write the description and ensure that it appears on all the directories you choose. ZenCast is a podcast hosting service, publisher, and distributor. We host your audio files, episode titles, episode descriptions, and everything else – the directories merely point users back to us.
Having everything in a centralized location is convenient. If you need to edit anything (episode titles, episode descriptions, podcast descriptions, etc.), you can do it with your host, and every directory will show the changes. However, since the short podcast description is responsible for convincing everyone to listen to your podcast, you should put a great deal of time and effort into making it perfect.
Just because you have 4,000 characters, it doesn’t mean you should use them all
Podcast directories set their own limits on how much of a podcast description they will display. However, most of the limits are generous, often around 4,000 characters. But there are several reasons you should refrain from approaching the limit, even though the primary purpose of the podcast description is to inform your audience.
First, most directories will not display the entire 4,000 characters automatically. Instead, they will use a "show more” button. Furthermore, mobile apps may show as few as 150 characters of your description; therefore, you should front load yours with the most impactful text.
Since you can't fit everything in the first sentence or two, give your potential audience something that will convince them to click "show more" – something funny, controversial, or compelling. Your niche and individual style will determine the best approach, so browse other successful podcasts to see if you can improve upon their winning strategy.
Descriptions have some impact on organic search
Some podcast creators spend a ton of time, effort, and (sometimes) money optimizing their podcast descriptions for search engines. SEO is vital if you want organic traffic on any web-based content; however, not all search algorithms operate the same way. Each podcast directory has its own search, so micromanaging the SEO for all of them is not feasible.
Apple Podcasts and Spotify have been trading places as the #1 directories for the last couple of years. In June 2022, Apple caught 39.4% of the podcast streaming market, while Spotify took 26.4%. Therefore, a large proportion of listeners will find your podcast through either one of those platforms.
Since Apple Podcasts rely on the podcast name, episode titles, and author names, strong SEO in the description will not boost your results there. On the other hand, Spotify includes text from the podcast description in its search results. Our suggestion? Include a few appropriate keywords in your description, but ensure they read naturally! If you do, they will help attract Spotify traffic without putting off listeners from Apple Podcasts with awkward phrasing or poor grammar.
The podcast description might not be the best place to invest in SEO. Some successful podcasters attract listeners through their blogs or websites. Those are perfect venues for using search-friendly writing to attract potential listeners and hook them through organic search and compelling writing.
The best descriptions impart specific info
As mentioned above, your podcast description is a marketing blurb that needs to hook potential listeners with just enough info to entice them to click "listen." You need to pique their curiosity with a few well-placed facts that leave them wanting more – too short, and they don't have enough; too long, they feel satisfied or bored. Here are 5 pieces of crucial information to include in your podcast description.
Identify your audience
People have diverse interests, temperaments, and experiences. Trying to appeal to everyone will lead you to appeal to no one. What is your niche? A great podcast description speaks directly to its target audience. Since the podcast holds the most value for them, they are more likely to become loyal listeners.
Example: The Mindset Mentor™ podcast is designed for anyone desiring motivation, direction, and focus in life.
The first sentence of The Mindset Mentor's description is a clear call to a specific set of people for whom the podcast holds value. Since it points directly to “anyone desiring motivation, direction, and focus," it will not attract highly conscientious and driven C-suite execs. Nor should it – the podcast offers (in theory) something that group already has in abundance. Instead, the sentence grabs its target audience and pulls them toward more info.
Explain your format
Tastes and preferences can differ even within a target audience. For example, fans of a particular movie genre might prefer a podcast discussing acting methods. In contrast, others want to learn about film production or the philosophy of the plot, etc. The best podcast descriptions let the target audience know what you will usually do on an episode of your podcast.
Example: Each week Jenna and Angela will break down an episode of The Office…
Fans of the show know from this sentence that episodes of Office Ladies will each focus and comment on a single episode of the sitcom. Also helpful is the reference to a weekly release schedule which (as mentioned above) is an important factor people consider when choosing a podcast to follow.
In addition, having a specific expectation will help you brainstorm podcast segment ideas as you move further into the life of your podcast. Essentially, it can become your formula for developing a signature format that your listeners appreciate.
Make strong value propositions
Podcasts are a growing medium, and it's common to find similar shows even in a specific niche. Let the potential audience know what sets your podcast apart by telling them what value it brings to the table.
Example: Each episode tackles a different disease, from its history to its biology, and finally, how scared you need to be.
This line from the description of This Podcast Will Kill You gets into specifics. It lets the prospective audience know what type of knowledge they will gain by listening.
Leverage Your Brand
If you already have a personal brand or possess experience or credentials that make you an authority on a podcast's subject matter, you should tell your future listeners who you are. Your identity could increase audience trust.
Example: Be a “Fly on the Wall” as Saturday Night Live alumni Dana Carvey and David Spade take you behind the scenes…
This podcast, Fly on the Wall with Dana Carvey and David Spade, relies on its hosts for credibility – they were cast members of SNL who witnessed or worked with people who saw the events each episode covers. Similarly, identifying yourself as a degree holder or professional in the niche of your show is a great way to achieve the same effect.
Introducing yourself is optional; don't worry if you have no professional credentials. That can be a selling point, too. For example, if you are not an expert but want to host the podcast to learn and share simultaneously, being upfront about it is a great introduction.
Cross-promote whenever possible
For podcast hosts with other content like a website, blog, social media, or YouTube channel, ensure you include some of that info in the podcast description. Your podcast description offers you a chance for cross-promotion that is too good to pass up!
Examples of successful podcast descriptions
You can find many podcast description templates online. However, it is best to examine the descriptions of several successful podcasts and see what they have in common. Each example below has most or all the elements discussed above. In addition, they act as guides for the creators as they continue to produce their content.
Example 1 – The Daily
The New York Times' daily podcast has a short, effective description for its daily news summary. It explains what the audience can expect, leverages the news anchors' reputations, and gives episode duration, release schedule, and time in a quick paragraph.
Example 2 – Brand Land
Brand Land gives prospective listeners the information they need to make an informed decision. A weekly release schedule, the overarching topic, the format, and a list of specific value propositions.
Example 3 – Morbid
Another brief but effective podcast description. However, this one focuses on quirky style, humor, and the incongruity of the hosts' professions to deliver wide-ranging content in a unique brand voice.
Podcast descriptions give listeners the info they need
Podcasts are an excellent and inexpensive form of content marketing for any business, large or small. However, without a solid description that gives your prospective audience-specific information, you can miss an opportunity to entice listeners to give you a chance.
Luckily, by focusing on your audience, your niche, and the specific value your show will impart to its listeners, your podcast description can take advantage of an excellent opportunity. It can pull new and existing customers into a higher level of engagement with your brand.
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