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Understanding Dynamic Show Notes Builder Shortcodes & Custom Shortcodes
Understanding Dynamic Show Notes Builder Shortcodes & Custom Shortcodes
Ben Dodd avatar
Written by Ben Dodd
Updated over a week ago

Shortcodes are single pieces of information that can be used manually in show notes or included in Blocks and templates. There are two types of Shortcodes:

  • Captivate Shortcodes - pieces of data from Captivate, that Captivate makes automatically available to you in your show notes. Examples include your single promotional link, show & episode information such as copyright or episode link, each of your Captivate attribution links, guest information from your guest bookings and more.

  • Custom Shortcodes - single pieces of custom data that you may want to include in show notes templates, blocks or other repeatable places within Captivate. Useful for temporary pieces of information such as hiatus messages that will be made blank later.

When Shortcodes are used in Show Notes Templates, Blocks or elsewhere, they’re treated as placeholders for the “real” information that they store.

For example, inserting a Shortcode of [Podcast Title] into a Block or Show Notes Template, when you publish your episode, that will be replaced by your actual podcast title. If you insert Shortcodes dynamically (recommended), when you change your podcast name, your show notes will automatically update across all previous and future episodes.

Captivate has a range of data points that are available to your show notes templates or blocks automatically. As Captivate creates more features for the serious indie podcaster this list grows.

Currently available podcast show notes builder Shortcodes:

Podcast level:

  • Podcast Title

  • Podcast Copyright

  • Podcast Author

  • Podcast Website Link

  • Podcast Single Promo Link

  • Podcast Donation Link

Episode level:

  • Episode Title

  • Episode Link

  • Episode Author

  • Episode Season

  • Episode Number

  • Episode Type

  • Episode Explicit Status

Guest Interview level - available per guest, per booking:

  • Guest Name

  • Guest Bio

  • Guest Facebook Page

  • Guest Facebook Group

  • Guest Twitter

  • Guest Instagram

  • Guest YouTube

  • Guest URL

Attributable shortlinks:

  • Each of your attribution links are directly available


  • Captivate Affiliate Link

  • Single Promotional Link

Creating & Managing Custom Shortcodes

Shortcodes are intended to be used for short, repeatable pieces of information that you want to use in different places such as Blocks and Show Notes Templates.

An example of this would be a “show on hiatus” message: if you have a Shortcode [hiatus-message] and the text that you’ve setup behind that Shortcode is “Hey, I’m on a short hiatus and will be back on January 1st with new episodes.”, when you insert [hiatus-message] into your show notes, Captivate will transform it to the real text when you publish.

Whether that Shortcode is updated throughout all of the show notes that it appears in depends on whether or not you insert it dynamically or statically.

What’s the difference between Blocks and Shortcodes?

Think of Shortcodes as singular content elements and Blocks as a mixture of content that can be repeated elsewhere.

You may have three overall Show Notes Templates, for:

  1. Solo episodes

  2. Interview episodes

  3. Seasonal bonus episodes

Each Show Notes Template may have different content to suit each particular type of episode, which is not uncommon.

However, you may have two different types of “footer” content: one for seasonal bonus episodes and one that you use in solo or interview shows.

In this instance, you would create two Blocks and use one inside your seasonal bonus episodes Template and the other in both your solo and interview Template.

However, regardless of which type of episode you publish, you want to include the [hiatus-message] Shortcode within your show notes because you want any listener, listening to any episode to see the notice that new episodes will resume on a certain date.

By using a Shortcode for this message, you can include it in both Blocks and all three Templates but, when you need to change the hiatus message, you only need to update it in one place for it to update every episode in your library automatically.

Does this work with Captivate Sync?

At the moment, Sync does not support the dynamic show notes feature, since Sync pulls from the Captivate API as opposed to the RSS feed. We’ll be updating Sync to support this feature

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