Podcast House Keeping: How to Craft the Perfect Podcast Description and Cover Art

Welcome to week three of our podcast housekeeping series. We’re going to talk about your podcast description and cover art today.

First, let’s talk about podcast cover art. 

It’s a weird graphic in our overall visual brand because most of the time people see it as quite small. Even if your brand elements tend towards eclectic, my instinct was to say busy but it doesn’t seem like a fair summarization, if you tend towards more is more, if you are a maximalist, you have my heart. That’s not going to play as well on my iPhone and Apple Podcasts where I’m scrolling through. It’s not going to catch my eye. It’s not going to grab my attention.

What we’re looking at is where can we have maximum bang with the minimum buck as far as attention-grabbing. That often means bright and simple. That often means a contrast to what’s around it. 

Be paying attention to the trend in podcasts like your podcasts, so you can go the other way. 

A great example of this is if you’re somebody in the financial sector, you’re going to see a lot of blue, you’re going to see a lot of red, and you’re going to see a lot of black. That’s pretty much it. You can come into the financial sector and have a bright yellow or orange. You’re going to stand out. 

If you are looking to target female-owned businesses or female-owned service-based businesses, you’ll notice that my graphics are quite intentionally not pink. They actually were for a long time, mostly because I had pink hair for five years.

When I had that pink, it was part of the brand, but with Uncommonly More, it’s actually quite neutral. It’s actually quite calm. Do you want to know why? Because if you go look at podcasts geared towards women entrepreneurs, there’s a lot of strong pinks, and a lot of lavender and I wanted something mellow and calm.

Also, when you look at the podcast base, they tend to, for female podcasters again, be pink, but geared towards a lack of gender, they tend to be quite masculine and very black and white, sometimes red, occasionally blue; you’ll notice none of those colors, well, black, occur in our branding. We have shades of grays, we have some like taupe colors, we keep it very neutral, calm, and chill because that is the energy that I wanted to disrupt this manic high intensity aggression. I wanted to soften that.

When you go look at podcasts where ours would show up next to, ours looks different. I want you to be looking at where you can stand out against the competition. I also want you to be realizing what’s recognizable for you. You’ll notice on our podcast cover, you’ll see a big ol image of my face. You want to know why? I’ve had a personal brand for, honestly in internet years, a really long time at this point and so I have a certain amount of facial recognition. People see me and they occasionally know me.

I also wanted it to feel, again we talked about when we talked about our intros and our outros, I wanted it to feel like a conversation. I wanted this to feel like a note, granted a voice note, from me to you because that’s how I approach the show and so you see my face just like you would on your caller ID, just like you would up in the top of your message app, just like you would on your social media channel when we’re DMing, you’re going to see my face because that’s what’s there.

It also is a really great way for me to be really transparent about the fact that this is a service-based expert-hosted show. 

This is not machinery I’m going to put you into without a face. Humanity is a core part of our brand and so that element is there. You need to balance differentiating yourself from the competition with being really in line with your brand values, your brand messaging, and your brand aesthetic while keeping everything as simple as possible, which is another reason I go with a photo of me because it’s easy to keep simple when this primary image is just my face and a microphone.

I want you to notice also that if you are a subscriber to The Podcast Newsroom, and you have both podcasts sitting in your feed, and maybe you see them next to each other from time to time, you’ll notice that it’s the same image flipped. I know, it’s again that recognition. I want you to feel like you’re in conversation with me all the time, because you are. I very much so think of the show as a start of a conversation. I talk here and then you talk on the other side. You DM, you email, you comment on something, whatever it is, that’s your part of the conversation. That’s your half of the conversation.

Now, for me, that really made it obvious that I would want it to be my face and I would want it to be consistent. I think for a lot of people who listen to the show, you probably have a very similar approach. A lot of who we work with are coaches and consultants and so it’s you in the room with your clients. It’s you and your expertise coming in and talking to people, building relationships with people, helping them scratch their itch, solve their problem. I want it to be clear that I’m here right from that initial point of contact, and that’s the cover art.

Again, reinforcing what we’ve talked in the last two episodes, that’s why it’s a host-read intro. That’s why it’s a host-read outro because, again, this is a conversation. I don’t want to introduce another voice unless I’m introducing you to someone, and we have them in the structure of a guest.

Let’s shift gears here and let’s talk about our podcast description. 

I’m going to say something right here at the top about it that I want you to promise before I say it that you will listen to the whole thing and not just the first half. Do you promise? Do you promise, like really, really promise? Okay, almost no one’s going to read your description so it doesn’t matter from that perspective what you say there. This is not a place where we’re trying to sell someone on the show. This is not an intro that’s going to be read before you step on stage. That’s not what a description is so don’t give it that weight.

Here’s the weight you do need to give it: the robots care deeply about your description. 

It is an SEO mother-loving gold mine. Don’t devalue it to the point of it not existing. Just devalue it from the perspective of someone reading it. Occasionally, people will read it, it certainly needs to read like a human, even the robots will care about that. But it needs to be keyword-driven. It needs to be connecting with the people you want buying. It’s not just those people listening.

Yes, when you’re approaching the show the way we approach shows, when you’re building the kind of show that you and I have, who we want listening should be who we want buying, but you’re going to end up with people who don’t buy who still listen. When you’re using these keywords, don’t just use the keywords for the people who listen, use the keywords for the people who are buying because we want more of them finding a show. That’s who we want to be creating everything for.

I talked about this on a TikTok recently—we’re talking about content. We’ll actually talk about this briefly in our next episode—when I talked about the best place to get content ideas because I’m seeing so many freaking TikToks about answer the public, which by the way, not a new tool, has existed forever, and is only as good as the hands it goes into quite frankly. Because as much as there is good, there’s just utter crap in there too.

Where I want you to be looking for content is in the people buying from you and what are they asking? Answer those questions in your marketing content. Again, we’re going to talk about this more next week, but the same is true when we’re doing our keyword research. It’s not about who we want consuming our content. It’s about who do we want buying. That’s what we’re looking for those words.

When my clients are talking to me about dynamic ad content, I’m not talking about it with a podcast expert perspective. I’m languaging the show notes, I’m languaging the episode description in words they’re using, in the way they’re asking me about dynamic content. Because that’s who I want to find more of.

If that’s what you’re searching into Google, if that’s what you’re dropping into your podcast player, I want to make sure my show is showing up for you the way you’re looking for it. It’s then my responsibility to give you the language it’s going to help you move forward towards your solution. This is a place where we get so, so sticky, especially for those service providers who have niche jargon.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, is finding me based on looking for some niche-tech podcasting reference. You’ll notice I don’t particularly use a lot of jargon in this show. I don’t even use a lot of jargon when I talk to clients because it’s not language you use. Why would I use it? Because it’s not helpful to you.

There are some things we teach you along the way like when we did our episode on dynamic ad content, I didn’t talk about dynamic midrolls. I didn’t talk about pre-rolls and post-rolls. I, in the course of the show, define and explain those terms so that when you saw them somewhere, you would know what they were. But that’s not how we talked about it in the description. It’s not how we talked about it in the show notes. That’s not how we talked about it in the title. That’s not how we talked about it anywhere where it would be part of your discoverability of the episode.

We’re really conscientious about that in your descriptions. How do they define themselves, not how do you define them, but how do they define themselves? What are the terms they’re using to explain their problem and the solution thereafter? That’s what your description needs to be about.

Your podcast description needs to be updated at least annually. 

This needs to be connected with what you’re talking about now, and who you serve now. This is probably, of all of the things we talked about in the course of this series, and even above what we’re going to talk about as we wrap up the series next week, we talk more specifically about content, this is the thing that gets missed the most often.

This is the low-hanging fruit that can help your show grow with the right audience so make sure you’re checking in on this annually. Make sure you’re going in, you’re playing with these pieces, and you’re getting the things you need together because it’s absolutely important that it be speaking to, and using the language, to the ideal clients you’re after now are using, the problems they have now, and the solutions you provide now.

I’ve absolutely been guilty of forgetting this. If you’re somebody who launched your show three years ago and hasn’t touched their description, not just you, but I’ve been there too. In fact, it’s one of the things we’re doing this month as we do our own version of this audit is we’re going through and we’re making sure where are we tweaking our cover art? Where are we doing things with our intros and outros? Where does our description need to be loved up?

If this is something you want some help on, again, this is an absolutely wonderful way to use the Podcast Strategy Intensives, reviewing cover art, reviewing descriptions, this is exactly what we’re doing in those sessions.

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