The Building Blocks of a Great Podcast Episode

Spreaker Improve Podcasts

Take a look at the top rated podcasts in any podcast directory. They all take an enormous amount of care in producing each episode. Serial, for example, took over a year for a team of researchers to compile and organize all the content to produce just 12 episodes.

So how do you prepare your show notes for your epic podcast episodes?

The three areas to focus on are Collection, Organization and Production.

In order to come up with great content for each podcast episode, you’ll need a system for gathering and storing information. You will then have to organize that information into groups that reflect each podcast episode topic you’re working on. In this way, it will be easier to produce an outline of your show with sources and references on hand when you record your awesome episode.

Finding content is easy. You just have to know where to look.


Coming up with episode ideas is easy if you have systems in place to capture ideas and information as you find them. The main content collection tools I use are,, and Flipboard.


The number one source of content for me is Zite. I love this app – it’s well designed and easy to use. It learns what you like over time, and soon you’re only getting top notch content targeted specifically to you. Unfortunately, Zite isn’t being updated or supported anymore as it was purchased by Flipboard, but it still works and I’ll keep using it until it breaks.

My second source of content is Add all the top authority blogs in your niche to your account and scan the headlines as they come in. You’ll get great content ideas for your show.


As I mentioned before, Flipboard acquired my favourite content aggregator app, Zite, about a year ago. Since then, Flipboard has been incorporating Zite’s content discovery technology into its app and it has improved as a result.

I also use Twitter Hashtags, Google Alerts, Google+ Communities, Facebook Groups, Linked-in Groups, and Stumble Upon to find content ideas. There is no shortage of apps and tools to help you find great content, just use what works best for you.


How do we organize all these ideas and decide which ones to use?

As you find blog posts and articles throughout the week you need an easy way to capture these for later. There are many tools you can use for this. OneNoteEvernote, and Trello are great tools for gathering information. Each of these tools allow you to collaborate with co-hosts and / or production assistants. My tool of choice is OneNote.

When I see a great article about a topic, I clip it to OneNote using the Chrome extension, or if I’m using a mobile app, I’ll send it using the share bar. You can also email content to OneNote if you get the find something through a newsletter, for example.

In a short period of time I can accumulate a lot of content in my OneNote unfiled notes section. The app is organized much like a physical notebook. Each Notebook you create in OneNote has sections (tabs), and within each section there are pages. I use my Unfiled Notes section as my content collection bin.


When I start writing my podcast show notes (or blog post), I create a new page in OneNote. Then I’ll move the content I’ve collected for this post under this new page as subpages. This helps me keep everything in one place as I work. In OneNote, a page can consist of many content boxes. I can click anywhere on the page and create a new box and then drag it around the page and drop it wherever I want. I can drag and drop emails, voicemail feedback and images into the page. I can add Tweets, Facebook comments, and screenshots into my show notes.  As I write my show notes I add any feedback I received for the show that I want to include in this episode.

Once you have your show notes organized the way that you like them. Give it a quick read through and make sure that you have enough material for the length of your show.

Adding images to show notes:

I like to add everything into my show notes including the featured image for the podcast blog post and the episode specific album art. My tool of choice for creating podcast episode art is Share As Image. It makes it super easy to create a great looking image. Just highlight some text on website and click the share as image browser extension icon and BAM – just like that you have an image with a text overlay. You can easily customize the text and add a background image or pattern in seconds.

Canva and Pic Monkey are other great tools that you can use to create your album art and featured image.

Coming up with great podcast episode content isn’t always easy, but helpful technology and tools will save you time and effort in your podcast production workflow!



Andrew McGivern is the voice (and text) behind Podcast Hero

A podcaster, blogger and social media marketer, Andrew has a strong belief and passion for social media, podcasting, the natural health industry, green energy and technology.

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