Thursday, August 02, 2007

Links are a podcasters friend

Recently a podcast I used to take such pride in being a part of, wrote about how "dull" links are. I was instantly tweaked, for a couple of reasons. One, on the personal level. To see a show I gave so much to pretty much slam my hard work by calling what I was doing "dull"- well, grrr. But I gave it up to the age and experience (as she is still learning this podcasting etiquette thing, as well as being on the younger 'all about me' side). The show has become pretty much more about the hosts than the actual content now, I'm very saddened to say. But I digress...

The other thing that bothered me was, how do you know where to find more information about things discussed on shows without good notes and linkage? I will give her that she did say all necessary links are on their show notes page. However, I've watched the show notes page of this particular show slip downhill since I stopped producing it, and just look thrown together and rushed (I realize this sounds very arrogant of me, but just looking at it makes me cringe. Just this past week they didn't even put in the correct links! They also never link to the promo's they play. It's just sloppy and lazy.)

So, in an effort to justify my arrogance (hee-hee), I went to the best source I know- and pulled out my Podcasting for Dummies book. Sure enough- Chapter 8. Posting show notes!

In an internet world where everything is now tagged and cross-posted, linking is of the utmost importance, in my opinion. I thought at first it might just be me, and with my show content needing to link to my information, but the book backs up my view. Not only for finding more information about things discussed, but simply because cross-linking and tagging gets more exposure for your show in searches, which could end up bringing more traffic to you.

My personal preference is giving a general overview of what the episode is about, then adding my links to short sentences about the particulars. Podcasting for Dummies (OMFG every podcaster or potential podcast should have this book!!) gives three basic tips for show note etiquette:

1. Intriguing and informative titles. The title is the pitch for your show. You just don't know if someone is a regular listener, or hitting your site for the very first time. You need to cover both with one title.

2. Include links to all the locations mentioned in the podcast. Good linking can only bring "good karma" as they say. Especially if you're playing a promo for a show. Why wouldn't you link to the show you're helping promote? When you think about the very high percentage of people who still listen to podcasts off their computer, it's even more important for those (like myself) who want to just click over while listening and get more information about something they heard on your show.

Again you need to keep in mind that someone might be hitting say, your Myspace page for the very first time, and not know a thing about your main show site. The point is making it as easy as possible for a potential new listener to get where they need to be. If they need to make several clicks to get around, they could get bored and just move on.

3. Be concise. (I love this) Remember, these are show notes, and not show transcripts. You tell everyone every detail of your show, well then, there's no need to listen!

This is some great advice, I think. If you really don't feel like cross-posting everywhere you talk about your show, at the very least, leave a link to get to the show notes easily. I mean, you don't have to be very detailed, and it really doesn't take that much time. But showing a little effort, and being correct in your links as well, can make you look like you have a show worth listening to.

How you put your notes together, is a reflection of how you put your actual podcast together. At least that's what I think. Take pride in your podcast from every angle. Show notes are a part of your podcast. Check your links, and put the effort into it, even if it takes a little more time than you want to spend. It's totally worth it, and I know your show is worth it too!

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