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Step 5: Build your marketing foundation

Show Design Guide

Amy Domestico avatar
Written by Amy Domestico
Updated over a week ago

New podcasters often worry about their artwork, profile page, and social media networks before they figure out the mission and ideal audience of their show. This makes it impossible for them to create a branding and advertising plan that resonates with their audience. We’ll post multiple guides related to branding and advertising. Now, we’d like you to start thinking about the three S’s: search, syndication, and social engagement. The good news, is that there are many BlogTalkRadio tools that can help you jumpstart your work in these areas.

Many listeners will find your content via search. The easiest way to start showing up in search results is to set up your BlogTalkRadio show profile, begin to generate episode pages with proper meta-data, and use episode titles that reflect subjects your audience will search for over time.

Your profile’s meta-data and images

Your BlogTalkRadio profile is the equivalent of your own show website and will generate many referrals to your content. The one benefit of parking your work here with us, is that you are no longer an island on your own site, but part of a network.  When you set-up your profile, the information you enter serves as meta-data for the page. 

Meta-data is information that describes information. Google and other search engines crawl this data and have an algorithm for figuring out what pages a user should see when they perform a search.

We’ll give you advice about your profile and page settings. You’ll learn how to optimize your:

  • Display name

  • Show URL

  • Show description

  • Show category

  • Cover art and header images

Your Display Name

Your display name is information that will be seen by listeners. It’s best to use the same name you use during your show. If you are trying to build a brand around your name and have other content on the web associated with your name, use it to boost your search results. If for some reason you use a nickname, use that. Some hosts also use a modified version of their URL or show name as their display name.

Case study

Ellen decided to use her full-name. She is going to make sure she introduces herself with her full-name at the start of each show and has her name on her blog and social media accounts. Over time, her name will begin to gain authority in search results.

Show URL

Your show’s URL is its address on the web. You can change your URL but keep in mind that all previous links you’ve given to your content will be broken. It’s best if your URL is related to the name of your show.

Case study

Ellen decided to take the URL

Show description

Believe it or not, your show description is almost as important as its name. Search engines like Google and content syndication platforms like iTunes and Stitcher analyze the written description of your show to expose your content to relevant users. This being said, it is important to remember to write natural, listener-focused descriptions instead of trying to load it up with keywords, which would make your description read badly to a listener.  You’ll write a show-level description as well as descriptions for each episode. Keep in mind that your show description is different than the descriptions you’ll write for each episode (which should be different from your show description to get best results). There is a section in this guide dedicated to writing episode descriptions because there are different strategies for writing each type of description. Refrain from pasting your show description into your episode descriptions. Right now, you should focus on writing description of your entire show that inspires listeners to click. If you do this, it will be easy for us to give you a few Search Engine Optimization strategies down the road. With your ideal listener as your guide, draft a few 100+-word descriptions for your show. Your description should include the themes, people, and events you’re discussing. Over time, you’ll learn how to use advanced copywriting techniques.

Here are a few shows with excellent descriptions:

Description: Welcome to The Dinner Party Download, a fast and funny hour of culture, food and conversation: “public radio’s arts & leisure section.” In every episode you’ll learn a joke… bone up on an odd bit of history and then wash it down with a themed cocktail recipe… meet artists of note (for instance Willie Nelson, Venus Williams and Steve Martin)… have your burning etiquette questions answered by the likes of Dick Cavett or Henry Rollins… savor an emerging food trend… and hear your new favorite song. Plus, unconventional wisdom from hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam.

Description: The Stupid Cancer Show is a live, multi-award-winning, international talk radio show that has given a voice to millions of underserved children, teens and young adults affected cancer and elevated the cause of "young adult cancer survivorship" to the global spotlight.

Description: Join Diane Sanfilippo - New York Times bestselling author and serial entrepreneur - for business tips, advice, and motivation for emerging or existing business owners. You'll learn practical strategies from Diane as well as hear expert interviews with those who have had similar struggles and have found success.

Case study

Ellen took a look at her ideal listener persona and the research she did to narrow down her topic. She knows that people looking for the content similar to that of her show will search for “youth football drills”, “football for kids”, “high school football”, “youth soccer”, “coaching kids’ football”, and other terms. Ellen drafted a few versions of her description and decided to go with this one:

“Ready. Set. Hike! Listen to this fast-paced hour of advice, humor, and motivation for busy parents of sporty kids. Fitness coach and sports mom Ellen Vega lines up athlete, coach, and expert interviews for each show. You’ll hear advice from NFL and NBA coaches, tips from child development and health experts, and reactions from kids themselves. Whether you are thinking about high school football, youth soccer, middle school basketball, or your little one in Tae Kwon Do, this podcast is for you! Check Ellen out on BlogTalkRadio, iTunes, and Stitcher. She releases episodes every Thursday.”

Show category

Most likely, your show will fit into more than one category. When you select a category, think about your ideal listener. If they were browsing the BlogTalkRadio site, which category would they click on first?

Case study

Ellen had a hard time choosing a category for her show. It fits under family (moms and family, parents), sports (football, basketball, soccer), health (fitness), and women. Ellen pulled out her listener persona and realized Joy would probably head to “parents” first. She selects that category.

Cover art

You cover art will show up in search results, iTunes album art, and the BlogTalkRadio site. It is the face of your account and must appeal to your ideal listener. Your art must be 1400 by 1400 pixels (px) tall. 

Keep it simple:

  • Use as little text as possible

  • Make sure the background image isn’t too “busy” - sometimes, colors work better than textures or background photos

  • Pull out your listener persona. Ask yourself “Would my ideal listener click on this image?”

For $1, you can design your image on Canva. They have many pre-designed podcast art templates. We recommend it highly. Here’s a blog post they’ve written with additional design advice. If you select the “Album/Podcast Cover” designs, it will generate a 1400 x 1400 px image. After you pay for your image, there will be no watermark. You can use it as you please. 

If you are a Premium, Plus, or Pro BlogTalkRadio member, you can also add a 1600 by 400 px header image. To create an image with these dimensions in Canva, click the “Use custom dimensions” link on the right-hand side of your screen. 

Here is an example of how the profile and header image look together on a BlogTalkRadio profile:

We also find that thematic images without text are wonderful for headers. You can find free beautiful, free images on Unsplash, Little Visuals, Superfamous Studios, and New Old Stock.

Case study

Ellen used the top template in the Album/Podcast Cover section of Canva. First, she added her title to the template. Then, she changed the background and text colors. She wanted the word “MOM” to stand out and for the background to reflect the core topic. 


Syndication is another word for distribution. The evolution of Internet technologies like search, RSS, and high speed site connections make it very easy for you to distribute your podcast to a potential audience of millions. The good news, is that BlogTalkRadio automatically syndicates feeds for hosts. We submit your feeds to Stitcher and iTunes after you successfully host and archive 3 episodes. This section is designed to teach you how syndication works so you understand the full reach your podcast can have.


RSS stands for Rich Site Summary and is sometimes referred to as Really Simple Syndication. RSS generates feeds of frequently updated information (blog posts, podcasts, news headlines, videos, etc). These feeds include meta-data like headlines, podcast art, author information, keywords, and summaries. Listeners used to have to subscribe to RSS feeds but now directories like Stitcher, Tunein, and iTunes use these feeds to make content available to listeners.

The good news, is that BlogTalkRadio generates an RSS feed for your podcast that has all of the meta-data iTunes, Stitcher, and other directories need to syndicate your content. To find the URL of your RSS feed, simply find your podcast URL and add “/podcast” to the end of it.

BlogTalkRadio automatically submits feeds to iTunes, Tunein, and Stitcher after a host’s 3rd episode. The submission process can take 24 hours to two weeks (feeds are validated by Apple and Stitcher). Please email if you do not see your podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. We can check on it for you and re-submit if necessary. 

Social engagement

Remember - new podcasters should dedicate most of their time to improving the quality of their audio content. This requires planning, data gathering, reflection, and experimentation. We will write a guide about advertising. The guide will include advanced social media strategies.

Connect your BlogTalkRadio account to Twitter and Facebook

We suggest you start building your social media following on Twitter and Facebook. If you notice your ideal listener is highly engaged on other platforms like Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google Plus, you can add in those sites later. 

Twitter is a great place to tap into and grow interest-based communities. The ability for users to retweet means that your content will be seen outside of your immediate network. If BlogTalkRadio links are used on Twitter and Facebook, the audio will play directly in the feed of users. Here’s an example:

This means that users don’t even need to visit the site to hear your content. It’s also a bit easier to get started on Twitter and Facebook because you can rely on text content instead of having to think about visuals right away.

You’ll notice that some shows have dedicated Twitter and Facebook feeds while some hosts use their personal accounts to engage with users. If you already have Twitter and Facebook profiles with an audience, it might be wise to connect those accounts. There is evidence that suggests content from humans (as opposed to companies or brands) performs best. Once you’ve gotten into a steady flow of releasing episodes, you can think about creating an account specific to your show.

Connecting your BlogTalkRadio show to Twitter and Facebook automates some of your social media strategy. After you’ve connected your accounts, BlogTalkRadio will only post in these situations:

  1. When you schedule a public show

  2. When your show airs

BlogTalkRadio does not post to Facebook or tweet outside of these two situations.  

Our automatic posts make it easier for your listeners to learn when your new episodes are available. If they are excited about your show, they may even retweet and share these announcements with their communities. 

To connect your account to Facebook and Twitter, head to your BlogTalkRadio “Settings” and click on “Social Networks”.

Click on the “Connect with Facebook” and “Connect with Twitter” buttons. 

Action items

  1. Design a 1400 x 1400 pixel image for your podcast. Remember - you need to think from the perspective of your ideal listener and avoid using too much text.

  2. Draft a show description, select a category, and choose your URL. Enter this information into your BlogTalkRadio settings.

  3. Connect BlogTalkRadio to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

  4. Celebrate! You’ve put together the skeleton of your show. In the next guide, you’ll design your first episode.  

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