How to Write Podcast Episode Descriptions, According to Spotify Writers
Writers at Spotify share tips for crafting episode descriptions that entice potential listeners and maximize your show’s visibility.
You may have fans who press “play” any time you upload a new episode. But if you want to convince new or casual listeners to tune in, you need to quickly grab their attention and communicate what’s in it for them. Enter podcast episode descriptions.
A podcast episode description (or just podcast description) is a short bit of text that tells listeners what to expect when they play your episode. This may include the main points you discuss, who your guest is, and other information relevant to the episode. Think of it like the blurb you read on a TV streaming service when deciding whether to watch a show.
When you’re focused on producing content and growing your audience, it’s easy for podcast descriptions to fall to the bottom of your to-do list. But in a world of nearly infinite options, they can help persuade listeners to give your show a shot. This article covers six tips from professional writers at Spotify to help you write podcast descriptions that grab attention.
Lay the foundation with keywords
Keywords are your building blocks for an engaging podcast description. These are the buzzwords or phrases that catch people’s attention as they browse their listening platform.
Paige Ransbury, a copywriter who works on episode descriptions for Spotify’s Parcast Studios, suggests making a list of those important terms before you start typing up a storm.
“When I'm writing descriptions, I look for strong keywords first,” says Paige. “That includes specifics like names, places, timely topics, and guests.”
In addition to enticing potential listeners, weaving keywords into your episode description can improve your episode’s discoverability on Spotify and other platforms.
Say you create an episode about hiking gear; including the keywords “hiking boots” and some brand names in your description increases the likelihood of someone searching for those things stumbling upon your episode.
If you have a guest in your episode, make sure your description includes their name, something specific they’re known for, and the topics you discuss during the episode. “That Was Fun? With Addison and Sheri” did an awesome job of naturally incorporating keywords and their guest’s name into the description for this episode.
Keep it short (three sentences, max)
You may only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention when they’re scrolling through podcast episodes. That means you have to pack a lot of value into a small space.
Jared Silverman, a copywriter at Spotify, recommends limiting your podcast descriptions to two or three sentences.
“It’s incredibly easy to say too much,” says Jared. “Descriptions can turn into paragraphs summing up the whole episode—no one wants to read that, and it spoils the episode. Keep the listener experience in mind.”
Don’t worry about writing a perfectly concise description right off the bat. It can take a few drafts to cut the fluff—even for the pros.
“When I start writing, I'll do a stormy first draft—usually four or five sentences,” says Ransbury. “That will include what I think is interesting and what needs to be included. Then I start cutting it down.”
Looking for words to cut? Paige recommends removing filler language, like “On today's episode of [podcast], our host [name] talks about...”
“This gives you room to make those first 90 characters really count.”
Pique interest with a teaser
The No. 1 goal of your podcast episode description is convincing someone to press “play.” That’s easier said than done, but writing teasers instead of simple summaries puts the odds in your favor.
“Tease enough so that it lets the listener know what they’re in for, but be sure to leave them wanting to know more,” says Jared Silverman.
If your podcast is story-based, reel the audience in with the most compelling part of the narrative (the hook), then leave them wondering: What happens next? or How did they do that?
One podcast with super enticing episode descriptions is “ Incredible Feats with Dan Cummins,” and the majority of them are only two sentences! Check out this episode for inspiration. It doesn’t take much to create a thumb-stopping description—you just need to be judicious with your words.
Teasers work beyond narrative podcasts, too.
“For talk shows, I find the most interesting parts of the episode and include those in the description, even if it's not the majority of the show,” says Rob Matheson, a copywriter for Parcast Studios.
Here’s a one-sentence episode description from “The Misfits Podcast” that leaves some loose ends untied:
What kind of critters have infested Fitz’s house, and what does that have to do with Jay’s favorite film? The more intrigue you create in your description, the better your chances of getting listeners.
Align your description with your episode title
Podcast descriptions work with your episode titles to set the tone for what listeners get out of each episode. Think of the steps of discovering a new podcast like a funnel: People at the “top” read the title, people in the “middle” read the description, and people at the “bottom” listen to the episode.
Of course, not everyone who discovers your podcast will press play—that’s why it’s important to make sure your episode titles flow naturally into your description.
One mistake that’s easy to make is spoiling the takeaway in the description.
“I’ve found myself writing what I think is a great teaser description, only to realize the title of the episode gives away who committed the crime,” says Rob Matheson. “Making sure you don’t repeat information between the title and description is a big thing to pay attention to.”
Also watch out for disconnects between your episode title and description. For example, if your title is “How to Double Your Income as a Freelance Videographer in 2022,” avoid starting your description with something like “This episode is sponsored by...” Instead, build upon the title with something along the lines of “I wish I would’ve know these tips when I started doing freelance video work ten years ago.”
Write your podcast descriptions collaboratively
Like any creative work, writing podcast episode descriptions benefits from feedback.
Bounce ideas around until you come up with a hook that’s impossible to ignore. A second pair of eyes also helps you avoid typos, punctuation errors, redundancies, and wordiness.
Here are a few questions to ask your collaborator:
- Is this easily skimmable?
- Can this be simplified?
- Would this entice you to listen?
The dos and don’ts of podcast episode descriptions
We covered a lot of ground in this guide—let’s recap the best practices for writing better episode descriptions:
- Include keywords (guest names, locations, topics) to enrich your description
- Keep it concise (three sentences, max)
- Ensure your title and description work well together
- Summarize or spoil the episode
- Repeat the same information from your episode title
- Use generic filler language (In this episode...)
- Write alone—get feedback!
Here’s a challenge for you
You’re well-prepared to incorporate these tips from Spotify’s copywriters into your future episode descriptions. In the meantime, we have a challenge for you.
Revisit some of your recent episodes (maybe ones that didn’t get as many plays as you expected), and revise your descriptions based on what you learned. Small tweaks can make a big difference in your number of listens.
Want to show off an episode description you’re proud of? Tag us on Twitter @forpodcasters!