How to Script a Podcast
Updated: 14 hours ago
Podcast production overflows with a wide array of creative strategies. Each podcaster has their own method of preparation and delivery. Some just launch with a title and others do meticulous planning. Is there a right or better way? No. But it's good to consider the options and design a style to optimize your success.
Table of Contents
WHY SCRIPTING IS IMPORTANT
· 1. Write your script in your own voice
· 2. Keep it simple
· 3. Visualization
· 5. One size does not fit all
· BASIC PODCAST TEMPLATE
· 11 Points
TYPES OF PODCAST SCRIPTS AND FORMATS 1.Bullet Points
3. The word-for-word script
Why Scripting is Important
If you've never scripted before, no worries, this is not a feature film. Podcast scripts function to create the overall feel of your show. It secures a rhythm, free of uncomfortable pauses and is natural in style.
Also, If you are not a natural at ad-lib, then a script will ensure you don't miss any points, maintain a flow and keep you focused.
Remember, there is no right or wrong method. You should experiment with different approaches and then customize to what suits you best. Try out some of the methods below to get started.
1. Write your script in your own voice
Fortunately, writing a script in a natural speaking style is relatively easy. I often start by recording an unscripted topic aloud. Then I listen to it and shape it from there. I insert any points I've missed, of which there are always a few. I don't try to stuff any terms or vocabulary that is not natural to the conversation. It needs to sound genuine. This is a key point for listeners to feel included. Your goal is for you to cover your topic while sounding approachable and human, not robotic.
2. Keep it simple
Don't overcomplicate your podcast script. It does not have to be super lengthy either. Sometimes just an outline creates an opportunity for more creativity. It also reinforces the natural-sound that is so important. Focus on key points and key words, Only use words and sentences that ensure you are laser focused on your topic and draw a bold, straight line to each point.
People love stories. The more descriptive visual picture you can paint for your audience, the better. A good podcast will lead your listeners into a mental picture of what your podcast is all about. So, add additional information, an inspiring quote, news, any colorful example to facilitate deeper understanding. Certainly, don't do this throughout, but inject this concept into the points you want to stand out or are foundational to your topic. Then it becomes truly memorable and they'll tune in for your next episode.
Flexibility makes a podcast more expansive. That's why outlining specific words, anecdotes, examples or anything else you deem supportive is a good starting point. For example, you could refer to a current news topic that would escalate an emotion. From there, comparisons and contrasts could evolve and broaden the subject matter. You'll find the more flexible you are, the flow and content expands more naturally. This point creates a freedom to develop the topic exponentially.
5. One Size Does Not Fit All
Whether you are writing a script verbatim or using bullet points, every podcaster has a different approach depending on their needs. Many experienced podcasters don't use a script at all. But when you are starting out, a well-planned format is key.
If you are interviewing guests it is imperative that you create lists of key points and interesting questions beforehand. If you are co-hosting, pre-planning who will cover what topic, how to transition between co-hosts and an overall focus of the episode so you don't meander off-topic will help engage your listeners with a clear concept.
Basic Podcast Template
There is a standard formula for creating a podcast script. They are no actual rules because you want to have room for creativity. For example, in using the template below for an interview podcast, simply switch each topic with a question for your guest.
1. If you have only one sponsor, include them at the top of your show
2. Introduce your topic in a succinct and attention grabbing way
3. Ensure you have the legal right to use music, jingles or sound effects
4. Unlike the introduction, provide an overview of what is included in your podcast
5. Announce your first topic like this...
A. Main point B. Support your point C. Support with facts, quotes and data
Segues are critical transitional breathers that connect one topic to another. The formula is to briefly recap the preceding topic or sub-topic and then create a bridge to arrive at the next topic or sub-topic smoothly. Some useful phrases include, “in relation to that, moving forward, piggy backing off that idea.”
6. Your next topic follows the same A - C format above followed by a second sponsor message if you have one. By segmenting your sponsor messages they are heard more clearly and also don't interrupt the flow of your podcast.
7. For your third topic, continue with the formula. Make your segue imperceptible and creative so it doesn't mimic your first one.
8. An Outro is the opposite of an Intro. It is a culmination of your podcast information that includes definitive outcomes and a sense of having gained something valuable.
9. Are you selling a product? Are you asking your listeners to do something specific? Then a clear call to action is a power point not be missed. Perhaps you don't yet have something to sell. Then at least thank everyone for listening, add when your next podcast will air and include any email, website, references, or contact information.
10. If you have any other sponsors, include them here
11. Finish using the same catchy musical introduction.
3 types of podcast scripts and formats
Before choosing a podcast format, it is a good idea to understand and examine your personal communication style. Are you spontaneous, laser focused, seasoned or new to podcasting? The script styles below are skeletons to be developed. They contain the bones to create a wide spectrum of delivery offerings that are flexible and customizable.
If your show uses freestyle exchange with guests or co-hosts this is a common format. This is frequently used for radio shows, those with co-hosts and/or regular guest appearances and interviews.
Pros & Cons The advantage to this style is that they are super easy to create and edit. They also provide a solid structure to keep the episode focused in yet adaptable enough to accommodate unforeseen tangibles. They require less time to create. As with all things that have minimal structure you run the risk of forgetting important points, getting sidetracked and verbose, then finding it difficult to get back on track.
Some popular Podcasters that use the bullet point format include:
This format addresses the needs of most podcasters and is suitable for podcasters who want more structure for their episodes. It includes an intro, sponsored ad, music jingle, an outro with closing remarks, plus segues where necessary. Essentially, it has all the structural elements needed for a well-executed episode.
It is ideal for:
· Interview-style podcasts
· Shows with a co-host
Pros & Cons:
This delivery will guarantee that all the main topics, as well as, sub-topics of interest
are addressed. Your structure will be efficient, have a definitive flow and hopefully maintain the ever so important feeling of being casual as you rehearse it. Although this requires more planning, time and editing, you have a more complete format which is particularly useful if you are just starting out.
Some of the podcasters using this method include:
The Word-for-Word Script
Certain niches such as medical or highly technical content necessitate this style. If you are using this format you really need to understand your audience. For an audio drama,
educational or solo show podcasts, this is a good choice. Since this format is not a conversational style, be mindful that it doesn't sound robotic and boring.
Pros & Cons:
The structure of this style adds an air of confidence and professionalism. Reading a script naturally is an art and not everyone can do it. It takes lots of rehearsal to get it right, which can extend production time. If your show is live, there is no room for error.
Here are some podcasters using this format:
A podcast script is the roadmap for a successful show. As you develop your style and skills you will attract more listeners. When used effectively, a script offers you the ability to hit all your points, flexibility, and the ability to sound natural to keep your listeners engaged.
Don't just listen to successful podcasters, but analyze their styles and try to determine which format they are using. By dissecting and studying episodes you can unravel and learn tips and tricks. Try the different format types and find the one that is right for you.