How to Script a Podcast: A Beginner’s Guide
When it comes to creating your podcast, multiple questions can come to your mind, such as: What is the best way to engage your listeners? How do you make my content more entertaining? What can you do to speak more confidently?
You can overcome all these challenges, at least in part, by creating a clear outline for your episodes. In other words: a good script.
But, how to script a podcast? What are the guidelines? Are there guidelines to begin with? In this post, you’ll learn all about it.
Today, we’ll share:
- Why you should script your podcast
- How to structure your podcast script
- Narrative tips
- Improvisation tips
Ready? Let's go!
Why You Should Script your Podcast
Basically, your podcast depends on the structure of your script. If it’s strong, everything will go smoothly. If it’s somewhat weak, you might experience some unexpected bumps in the road.
We recommend you plan out how your episodes will go, and write a script using a structure that you’re comfortable with.
That way, you’ll be able to:
- Speak confidently
- Unfold your ideas clearly
- Anticipate any difficulties
- Minimize blind spots
- Engage your audience purposefully
Your script’s sections can vary depending on your podcast’s topics and goals. However, you’ll probably want to include:
- An introduction
- Calls to action
- The main section of your episode (whether it’s a story, an interview, or an unscripted dialogue between the hosts)
- An outro
What’s more, we highly recommend that you customize these sections. For example, you could divide your main section into segments and give them clever names that your audience will remember and have fun with. This will give your podcast a personal touch and help it stand out.
Now, let’s take a closer look at how you should structure your podcast.
How to Script a Podcast: Structure and Features
Now you know some of the key sections your podcast needs. But let's discuss them in more detail. In this section we’ll cover two fundamental questions:
- How to begin a podcast script?
- What does a podcast script look like?
How to Begin Writing a Podcast Script
It’s always good to start with a very general outline of your ideas. The amount of planning and preparation you'll need will depend on the type of podcast you’re running and the specifics of the episode.
For instance, if you’re conducting an interview, you will not need much writing. The spontaneity of the interviewee will play a very important role and it’s usually convenient for your structure to be as flexible as possible.
On the other hand, if what you want to do is closer to an essay, you’ll need to state your position firmly and as solidly as you can. It may be best to write at least a large part of your episode so that no false step can shake your credibility.
Yet, remember that you should sound as natural and spontaneous as possible. Don’t be afraid to make slight adjustments as you go. It’s okay if you don’t fully stick to the script.
Moreover, all podcast genres require research. A deep understanding of what you’ll be talking about will not only provide you with a ton of ideas, but it’ll also give you room to improvise if necessary.
What Does a Podcast Script Look Like?
Broadly speaking, there are two basic types of scripts:
- The outline script
- The word-for-word script
For example, a literary podcast episode with an outline script would look like this:
- Musical intro
- Greetings to the audience and reading of audience’s comments about the last episode
- Announcements (i.e.: next episode’s guest, upcoming meet-ups, etcetera)
- A look at today’s topics
- Some news from the literary world
- An interview, today’s guest is a writer
- Introduction to the guest
- How long have you been writing?
- What advice do you have for new writers?
- What will your next book be about?
- Final remarks and CTA: “Check out our guest’s book on Amazon, affiliate link on our blog”
- Some key takeaways
The main advantages of the outline script are:
- It’s simple and brief
- It offers great room for improvisation
- It’s easy to craft and it doesn’t make much time
However, there are a few disadvantages to the outline format:
- It’s a bit imprecise
- You’ll have to remember all the details for every section
- There’s greater room for error, which could make post-production overwhelming and time-consuming
A podcast episode about surfing with a word-for-word script would look something like this:
Laura: Good morning! We meet again on WaveWood, our surfing and beach stuff podcast. So many new followers! This week's strong wind surely brought you here. What are we going to talk about today? There are new board models, important recommendations for the upcoming storm, and the announcement of a big podcast party next month. Plus, there will be a special guest at the end of the show... it's a surprise you won't want to miss.
The main advantages of the word-by-word format are:
- You won’t have to improvise
- Mistakes are far less likely so that post-production will be smooth
- You can practice reading your script as many times as you want
- The final product may be more polished and energetic
Yet, the word-by-word format has some disadvantages. For example:
- It can take a long time to write
- If you get lost in the reading, it is not so easy to track yourself again at a glance.
- It makes it hard to find room for improvisation
- It may not be viable for certain formats, such as interview-driven podcasts
Now that you’ve decided on the script format that suits you best, let’s dive into how to write your podcast.
A good script follows a clear narrative structure. This implies an introduction, a knot, and an ending. To make your podcast consistent, we advise repeating this triad across segments.
Besides, it’s important to manage:
- The amount of information you provide in each section
- Their duration
If you manage your sections purposefully, chances are your audience will be hooked.
Also, you must establish transition sentences between different sections, paragraphs, or blocks. This will make your podcast flow better and your listeners won't lose track of what you're saying.
Finally, remember that, unless you’re running a video podcast, listeners can’t see you. Hence, don’t overlook descriptions and be as detailed as possible. It is quite common to forget that, for example, when something spontaneous and unexpected (and usually funny) happens on set.
Is It Okay to Improvise on Your Podcast?
One of the most common questions new podcasters have is: To what extent should you improvise on your podcast?
Well, this will depend on the following:
- The clarity of your ideas - perhaps, in front of the microphone and without the support of a word-for-word script, you may lose focus or say something you didn't mean to.
- Your speaking skills - it is normal to get nervous and get a bit stuck when speaking in public. Yet, all of us can become more loquacious with practice.
- How comfortable you feel - Some people just don't like to improvise, others prefer the whole episode to be that spontaneous. For the best results, pay attention to your preferences.
In any case, it's always good to leave at least a little room for pure spontaneity. This will also add a unique touch to your podcast and let your personality shine through.
At first, scriptwriting will take some time, rewriting, and a lot of effort. But eventually, the learning curve will quickly lead you to the format you're most comfortable with.
Scripting a podcast is the first milestone, but promoting it is the next step to expanding your audience. Sharing video transcripts of your podcast is a great way to attract new listeners, and Audiotease makes it easy.
With Audiotease you can turn your podcast’s highlights into engaging videos without any editing skills. Want to give it a try? Create your first video today, for free.