The thought podcast script writing for every episode might sound quite overwhelming. But, the reality is that creativity blooms with a definitive structure in place. The highest ranking podcasts out there achieve this with proper planning, preparation and scripting.
There are a few things to consider when writing a script:
- Will it be a skeleton list of bullet points to keep you on track of the subjects you wish to cover?
- Will it be a word-for-word long winded script like a conversation?
- What type of episode will this be to ensure the conversation flows well (Solo show, guest interview show or co-host show)
Quite often you’ll also find your shows have the same structure:
- An intro
- Guest intro (if applicable)
- A sponsor message (if applicable)
- Your main content
- The outro
- A call to action
Getting this structure nailed down, along with a well prepared script is fundamental to a great podcast episode. Lets take a look at the different show types and find what works best for your show and scripting style:
1. Bullet point list
If you’re more the freestyle type of host, a simple list of topics or questions are quite often the best way to go for your podcast script. These style scripts are by far the quickest to put together and often make you sound a little less robotic than reading from a word-for-word script.
Given the nature of the script it can sometimes be easier to make mistakes with this style or get side tracked. If you’re a solo only show then this is easy enough to edit out but less so with co-host or guest interview shows
2. Word-for-word script
If you’re like me, you might prefer to write sentences that are longer, with conversational words thrown in that don’t make it sound like I’m actually reading from a script! Read the script aloud as you write the first few to make sure the words feel right leaving when you read it out.
If it’s a more technical topic, I always try to find some interesting stats or research to share on top of our advice and experience. It lends greater expertise to the topic and gives our point of view even more credibility.
Even though you’ll be reading from this script, its often good to sometimes go off script during your recordings. Someone just talking about a strategy or a technical lesson for 30+ minutes straight can get boring, so inject your personality in smooth and subtle ways! Don’t be afraid to joke around, or throw in relatable fails, personal lessons, and stories.
3. Solo show
A lot of solo show hosts often find it pays to make a detailed outline of the in the order of your story you’re trying to tell. With the weight of each show purely being focussed on you, it can be beneficial to list out each heading include key points. Use supporting research then flesh these out to make the script sound like a conversation but also stay on track.
4. Guest interview podcast show
If your guest has done other interviews, listen in to a few. Check out their website and social media to study up on questions you can ask! What would be interesting to dive into more? What’s an angle that hasn’t been discussed? What would your audience want to hear more about? What topic do you hope to cover or what will the end result of the interview be for a listener? This will help you to reverse engineer questions to ask that will hopefully guide the conversation along!
Before recording, ask your guest if there is anything they are not comfortable with discussing prior to the interview. Next, ask them if there is anything they’ve been dying to talk about that would make this interview exciting for them to share. Come up with the main questions that you want to ask this person that would lead to an interesting discussion. Then, send these questions for approval pre-interview to ensure your guest has time to prepare and is comfortable with the questions.
5. Co-host podcast show
A more detailed bullet point style is often best for these type of shows, while it gives great structure, it doesn’t take away too much from fluent conversation that quite often is why listeners love this style of show. It also allows the host to ensure they hit all or most of their bullet points and not go far off track.
This type of show can often take more preparation time and there’s often more editing to complete. However the bullet points will ensure the show goes to plan, you don’t talk over one another or you forget what topic is coming next.
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