How to Summarize Long Transcripts in ChatGPT

How to summarize long transcripts in ChatGPT for podcast show notes.

If you’re a ChatGPT user, you may have been hit with this message,

“The message you submitted was too long, please reload the conversation and submit something shorter”

In this post, I’ll be showing you how to submit summarize your long transcripts in ChatGPT, without getting that pesky error message.

Before we dive in, it’s worth noting that OpenAI is constantly innovating. With the upcoming release of ChatGPT plugins and some additional beta features, this process might be streamlined even further with the new features.

Why Transcripts Matter for Podcasters

First, let’s talk about why using transcripts with your podcast is a brilliant idea. Transcripts are more than just a written record of your podcast. They can help you:

  • Reach a wider audience: Transcripts can make your podcast more accessible to people who are hard of hearing, not native English speakers, or simply prefer reading over listening.
  • Boost SEO: More text means more keywords, which can help your podcast appear in more search results.
  • Create more content: With a transcript, you’ve got a goldmine of content to repurpose for show notes, blog posts, social media, and more.
  • Increase listener engagement: Some people like to follow along with the transcript while listening.
  • Improve your podcast: Reading your podcast can help you spot areas for improvement that you might miss while listening.

If you’re looking for a good way to transcribe your podcast episodes, I get mine from

Okay, now let’s solve this problem of submitting and summarizing your long transcripts in ChatGPT.

Submit and Summarize Long Transcripts in ChatGPT

We’ve all been there. You’ve got a fantastic episode with a long transcript, you’re ready to upload it to ChatGPT, and then…BAM! You’re hit with that dreaded error message. Here’s how to fix it!

If you’re more of a visual learner, you can see the process in action here.

Step 1: Split Your Long Transcript into Shorter Sections

Rather than trying to upload a 60-min transcript into ChatGPT all at once, you’ll want to break it down into smaller sections. To do this, I use the following prompt:

Summarize Long Transcripts in ChatGPT - Step 1

I have a podcast episode transcript broken into several parts that I’m going to provide you. I want you to write podcast episode show notes based entirely off of the transcripts. Before you begin, I will provide you with a transcript in several parts. You will use the parts of the transcript to write show notes. Do you understand?

Step 2: Submit Each Section to ChatGPT Individually

I find that copying/pasting 10-14 minute chunks at a time works best. Here are the prompts I use with each chunk of the transcript:

Summarize Long Transcripts in ChatGPT - Step 2

I will now provide you with part 1 of the transcript. Only reply “ok” after you review it. Here is part 1: <insert copy/paste transcript>

ChatGPT replies "ok" after receiving the transcript.

Side Note: ChatGPT has a maximum token limit per input (at the time of writing, this is 4096 tokens for gpt-3 and 4096 tokens for gpt-3.5-turbo). So, you’ll need to keep your sections under this limit.
What’s a token? If you’re a child of the 80s, you may be thinking, “arcade money”. (I just dated myself, didn’t I?)
Here’s how ChatGPT explains tokens: “Tokens are the small pieces of text that ChatGPT uses to understand and process information. They can be individual letters or whole words. The number of tokens affects how much text the model can handle and how long its responses can be. It’s important to keep track of tokens to make sure the model can work properly within its limits.” 

Step 3: Before ChatGPT Begins Your Show Notes

Let’s say your transcript requires you to submit it in 4 parts. Before submitting the final part, you’ll want to revise the prompt. Here’s what it should look like:

I’ll now provide you with part 4 of 4 of the transcripts. Once you remember it, you may begin writing show notes. Please make sure to write it in the first person perspective of the host (Brooke Schnittman) and make the opening paragraph compelling to the target audience (people with ADHD). Do you understand?


*For these exact prompts and more ChatGPT prompts to help you with your podcasting process, check out the Prompt Library in our Learning Center.

Step 4: Submitting Your Final Prompt to ChatGPT

At this point ChatGPT should confirm that it understands and ask you for the final part of the transcript. Here’s the next prompt:

Here is part 4 of 4 of the transcript: <copy/paste your transcript here>

Step 5: Review Your Podcast Show Notes from ChatGPT

Lastly, you’ll want to review the final piece for coherence. You might need to make minor edits to ensure it flows smoothly, and we ALWAYS recommend adding any personal touches to what ChatGPT gives you. Here’s the partial result I received using a more detailed show notes writing prompt:

Example of a summary of long transcriptions being summarized into podcast episode show notes with ChatGPT.

To view these show notes in their entirety, and after a few slight adjustments, check out Successful with ADHD with Brooke Schnittman’s guest, Dr. Gabor Mate.


There ya have it! You now have a path to summarize your long transcripts in ChatGPT without having to deal with any annoying error messages. Summarizing YouTube videos follows a very similar process if that’s something you’re interested in.

But remember that even with all its intelligence, AI is a tool, not magic. It’s here to assist, not do all of the work for us.

Sometimes ChatGPT gets a little lost and confused, because, well, no prompt is foolproof. When that happens, don’t throw in the towel. Look at it as an opportunity to refine your prompts, to understand how the AI is interpreting them, and to tweak where necessary.

In some situations, you might find there’s nothing wrong with your prompts so it may be helpful to wipe the slate clean and start a fresh chat. When using AI, it’s all about how you adapt and make the most of the tool.

Happy Creating!


The content on this website is the product of a collaboration between our dedicated team and artificial intelligence. While we harness the power of AI to assist in our writing and research process, it’s important to note that we do not solely rely on it. We take pride in the fact that every article is meticulously researched, tested, or edited based on our own hands-on experiences. We take the utmost care to ensure that our content is authentic, accurate, and reflective of our extensive knowledge.



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