Podcasts have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a unique form of entertainment and education that anyone can enjoy anytime, anywhere.
Whether you’re looking to start a business podcast, showcase your creative skills, or improve how you deliver your episodes, the good news is that this article will walk you through the basics.
If you follow our steps in creating podcast topics, pay attention to the listening experience from your audience’s perspective, and strategize how you write your podcast script, you can produce a show that captures your unique natural tone and connects with podcast listeners around the world.
In this article, we’ll guide you on how to write a podcast script that engages your audience, delivers your message effectively, and evokes your desired result.
We’ll also cover the podcast preparation process (e.g., script writing structure and podcast script templates), persuasive writing (e.g., some must-have copywriting skills), common pitfalls you should avoid when writing your scripts, and how to adapt these steps.
What is a podcast script?
A podcast script is a written outline of what a podcast will cover in an episode. It includes everything from the opening hooks to the calls to action during or at the end of the episode recording session. The script helps podcast hosts stay on track and effectively deliver their message.
Podcast scripts can vary in length and complexity, depending on the type of podcast.
Conversational podcasts, for example, are usually longer because they are more or less unscripted. In comparison, narrative podcasts are concise because they use scripts with a good flow of words and sound effects.
If you are planning on starting a podcast or are already recording episodes, taking the time to write a script will instantly improve the label that podcast listeners place on your podcast.
Why Write a Script for Your Podcast Show?
Writing a podcast script saves time during the recording process and ensures the final product is of high quality. It can also be helpful to have a written record of what was covered in an episode topic in case there is ever a need to reference it in the future.
Here are more reasons why you should write an episode script:
For Organized Thoughts and Firm Ideas
A well-written episode script can help you keep your thoughts and sound effects organized, ensure your content is engaging, and provide valuable insights into the topic you are treating. Plus, if you ever decide to bring on a podcast guest or co-host, a script can help them understand your vision for the episode topic and the cause you are pursuing with your podcast name.
Helps Your Guests
In addition to serving as an outline, a podcast script can also be a useful tool for your invited guests. Providing them with a list of questions beforehand allows for better organization and brainstorming of their answers, resulting in a more engaging and informative podcast episode.
To Hook Your Audience
Crafting a script for your podcast episodes can significantly enhance the listener’s experience. A well-structured script, complete with vivid descriptions of scenes and content, provides a bird’s eye view of what the episode covers, capturing the listener’s attention and keeping them engaged throughout.
Enhances Collaboration and Promotion
A well-documented script not only benefits the production process but also enhances collaboration with podcast production service providers. With a clear understanding of the team’s efforts put into each script, you can work together seamlessly and segment out preferred audio clips for promotion. Maximize your podcast’s potential by streamlining the production process with a well-crafted script.
To improve the listening experience
Crafting a focused and organized script is essential to improving your podcast’s overall quality and listener satisfaction. By frequently reviewing the analysis data and adjusting your strategy accordingly, you can ensure that your content remains engaging and relevant.
Let your script guide you to success by prioritizing focus and adaptability.
Key Elements of a Good Script
A good scriptwriting process is an important part of creating a successful podcast. Fortunately, several key elements can assist you in making your episodes informative and memorable. These elements include ideas for catchy episode titles, key takeaways, and the main podcast preparation process.
While other factors contribute to a good script, the following are some of the most important:
- A Good Story: The best scripts have a strong, compelling story at their core to hook the entire audience. Your story should be original, engaging, and have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
- Proper Formatting: A well-formatted script is easy to read and understand, which makes it easier for everyone involved in the production process.
- Well written: Incorporating persuasive writing skills, similar to those of a copywriter, can enhance the listener’s engagement. If writing isn’t your forte, consider outsourcing for assistance.
- Well researched: To ensure your content resonates with your target audience, conduct thorough research or a survey. This gives a bird’s eye view of the problems your audience faces.
- A good script should include your signature podcast intro and nice sound effects. Attaching the podcast introduction over music is key because it will help assure your entire audience that they are in the right place.
- A clear and cohesive script: The key to hooking your audience is creating a well-organized and easy-to-follow podcast script. As a one-man team, testing your episode by measuring your personal listening experience can ensure optimal quality. Ask yourself questions such as, “Do I enjoy listening to this episode?” or “Is the content cohesive and engaging?” By prioritizing a clear and concise script, you can maximize listener engagement and create a successful podcast.
- Ensure it flows: Ensure that each episode flows into the next by developing a content calendar. Following these tips and tricks will elevate your podcast and maximize listener engagement.
A well-structured content plan is one of the reasons why it is best to hire a podcast production service provider with personal experience in persuasive writing.
- When creating an ad-libbed podcast, it’s crucial to balance authenticity and structure in your script. Avoid unnecessary fluff or filler, particularly in conversation-friendly episodes. While scripting every conversation can produce a focused episode, it can also result in an overly-scripted interview with guests or co-hosts.
To maintain an authentic and engaging tone, prioritize a loose structure with room for improvisation. Strive for a natural flow while keeping the conversation on track. Achieving this balance is key to creating successful ad-libbed podcasts.
- A good podcast script is well-edited, has clear action phrases, and contains no over-complicated processes so that the host, co-host and guests will understand the next course of action in the shortest time possible.
- Crafting a clear and professional-quality script is crucial for a smooth podcast production process. By prioritizing a well-written script, you can reduce editing time and streamline the recording-to-uploading process.
Emphasize clarity in your script, avoid overly complex language and tangential content. Additionally, ensure that the script reflects the overall tone and branding of your podcast. By doing so, you can create a cohesive and polished final product that resonates with your audience.
- The podcast should be enjoyable to listen to, with a pleasant and engaging tone. A well-written script should have a unique tone that resonates with the podcast topic. You can achieve this with tone annotations, that is, words or phrases that indicate the use of a certain expression or emotion.
Tips for Recording Your Podcast
After creating a well-written script for your podcast, the next step is recording with an audio medium. In this part of the article, you will learn how to record a podcast like a pro. And the bonus is that you can use it even if you are recording a video podcast!
- Plan your content. Whatever you do, don’t wing this tip. It will help you record all the major takeaways while staying on track. If you always need more time for planning, we recommend you delegate some podcast preparation duties, such as the scriptwriting process.
- Choose affordable recording equipment. You don’t need the fanciest, most expensive gear to record a great podcast outline. However, you should record with a good microphone in a quiet environment to make your podcast sound clear and professional.
- To create a successful podcast, it’s important to treat your guests and co-hosts with the same level of respect and appreciation that you would give to your best customers. One effective way to show this respect is by introducing your guests in a memorable and respectful way after your stable podcast intro. By doing this, you can create a more enjoyable and engaging listening experience for your audience.
- Spice up long podcasts by using dramatic effects to create interest and engagement. These can include sound effects, music, or changes in tone to emphasize important points and gain the listener’s attention to the current episode.
- End your podcast with an amazing closing remark, a call to action, or something that will evoke a loyal attitude toward the next subject matter you will cover in upcoming episodes.
- Getting feedback from an audience member (e.g., a family member, co-host, or guest) on your specific podcast topic is extremely valuable. They can tell you how the episode flows, if it’s engaging, and whether the audio quality is good.
- Promoting your podcast is critical for attracting new listeners and expanding your audience. Begin by publicizing it on your social media accounts, website, and email list.
- Determine your target audience and encourage them to leave reviews and ratings on podcast directories, which can help you gain visibility and attract new listeners.
- Before you hit record, take a few minutes to test your equipment and do a quick dry run of your podcast. Doing this will help you avoid technical difficulties and ensure your listeners are happy with the sound effects and quality.
- Hit the record and have fun! Now it’s time to let your personality shine through. Relax and enjoy yourself; your listeners will appreciate it.
How to Write an Effective Podcast Script in 10 Simple Steps
There are a few different ways you can approach effective script writing. You can start with a basic outline that includes an introduction, main body, and conclusion.
Or you can use the evolved podcasting approach that includes a stable intro and outro, thorough research on the guest, and audiences likely interested in the current episode subject matter, using an expression that adds a colorful visual and makes the script double as the podcast show notes.
Here are some simple steps that every podcast host should take for effective script writing:
Know Your Audience
Having a firm idea of your target audience is essential for writing a successful and effective podcast script. It will allow you to understand your listeners’ needs and interests and tailor your content to provide them with valuable insights, entertainment, and information.
To have a solid understanding of your target audience, you can ask yourself the following questions as a rule of thumb:
- Who are your target listeners?
- What are their interests?
- What do they want to learn from your podcast?
Answering these questions will assist you in establishing your podcast as a go-to source for your target audience and give you a better idea of what kind of content plan your script should execute.
Use a Conversational Tone
When we advise that you use a conversational tone, we mean that you should keep your tone natural, consistent, and approachable during the actual recording process. Include action phrases to help your listeners understand your episode discussion or do something—maybe subscribe to your email list. Doing this will allow you to monetize your podcast and introduce all your interesting personalities.
However, avoid using formal language or complicated words that make the listener feel like you are lecturing them. To avoid over-formality, consider including personal anecdotes or jokes to keep things light and interesting.
Write in short, concise sentences.
No one wants to read a long-winded podcast script that drags on forever. Keep your sentences short and to the point so you and your co-workers can create the episode for listeners with just the first recording.
And if you’re worried about sounding too stuck up or boring, remember that you can always edit your recording and add a few inconspicuous voiceover segments.
Include a mix of content.
Including different content formats in your script is important to keep your listeners hooked. You can achieve this mix of content by creating an extra bit of content on various subject matters with several insightful perspectives that may inspire or connect with listeners.
You could create podcast interviews, factual episodes, and news podcast episodes for listeners to provide them with well-rounded content on your brand values. Whatever content plan you choose to use, make sure it’s relevant to your target podcast listeners and that it helps to further your overall podcast content plan and goals.
Start with a Bang
You only have the first few seconds to make a good first impression, so it’s important that your opening packs a punch. Consider what you want your listener to take away from your podcast and ensure it is reflected at the beginning of your script.
Remember, there are better times to flex your phonetic pronunciation skills or add dramatic voiceover segments. Instead, note the key dramatic action phrases in your entire podcast show notes/script, then ease into them after the usual podcast intro.
Include a call to action.
At the end and during the initial recording of each podcast episode, it is necessary to include a few calls to action. This key action item could encourage them to follow your podcast if you distribute it via an audio medium or ask them to subscribe if you are distributing the current episode via video.
The calls to action could inspire them to rate, review, and share the episode on booming social media platforms.
Make it flow.
Once you have all of your content written out, it’s time to start thinking about the overall flow of your podcast episode. You can use the classification of the podcast you are currently recording to decide the flow.
For example, narrative podcasts and movie scripts can have words with a dramatic flow from one section to the next. While an interview script may have a flow that is not synergistic because of the list of interview questions.
Asking these questions can help you decide.
- How will each section fit together?
- Can you use any natural transition points to segue from one topic to the next?
Once you have written the first draft of your script idea, it’s time to start editing and summarizing the podcast show note.
Go through your entire episode, cut out even the tiniest bit of content that doesn’t add value, ensure that you use easy-to-understand tone annotations, and take suggestions on additional edits from fellow podcasters or your team of copywriters (if you work with a podcast production service).
Have a clear structure.
You should also ensure that the structure of the podcast script template you are following is clear so that invited guests will quickly grasp the concept of the script. A clear structure leads to better conversational and engaging podcast episodes.
The more you rehearse your script, the more natural it will sound when you go to record your podcast episode.
So read it out loud a few times before you hit record and ensure you’re comfortable with the material.
You can even record a practice run of your episode to ensure that everything flows smoothly and that there are no hiccups when the time comes for recording the real thing.
Follow these 10 steps, and you’ll be well on your way to writing a killer script for your next podcast episode!
Types of Podcast Script
When it comes to writing a script for your podcast episode, there are several different types of scripts that you could use. Each type of script serves a different purpose and will enable you to create the most engaging content for your listeners.
Here are the major types of podcast scripts you need as a first-time podcaster. Yes, it is useful if you are a seasoned podcaster too.
The Monologue Podcast Script
The monologue podcast script, also known as the solo podcast, is the simplest type of podcast script. It features a single host speaking to the audience. This type of script features knowledgeable podcasters, whether beginner podcasters or experienced podcasters.
It involves careful consideration of the intro, the words you use to introduce the episode title, how you communicate the meat (value) of the podcast, and how you incorporate your monetization deals, e.g., sponsorships.
And remember, there’s no one perfect way to record a solo podcast; the most important thing is that you have fun and enjoy the podcast preparation process. If you want to improve your solo podcast, we recommend breaking down your podcast preparation process before delegating your podcast recording-related tasks.
If you want to create a podcast script that ought to cover news-related topics such as breaking news, celebrity news, economy news, etc., the news podcast script is your best bet. It includes five major points, which you can also write in bullet-listed points (preferred for its scannability) or as you would write any web content.
Often, it features a host of journalists with journalistic backgrounds who can communicate messages in a speedy yet understandable manner. Below are the two major types of news podcast scripts you should know:
- Straight news podcast script
When podcasters use this type of news podcast format, they write the headlines as a complete list and may take careful consideration of the tone they use. However, they don’t analyze or share their opinion on the news after sharing it.
They simply use their stable podcast intro and outro, then go from headline to headline.
- Editorial news podcast script
This type of news podcast script is the complete opposite of the straight news podcast script. Here, podcasters can present the news headlines more conversationally by sharing their opinions on the happenings in each headline.
The Interview Podcast Script
A typical interview script contains a list of interview questions that the majority of the podcast audience finds valuable. Its major goal is to write down easy-to-understand prompts for guests to discuss during the podcast recording. There are several forms of the podcast interview.
The most common forms of the interview script for podcasts include the following:
- Bullet List Podcast script
Bullet list podcast scripts are a popular choice for hosts and guests looking to engage in a natural and insightful conversation. This format allows for a more spontaneous and dynamic interaction between participants, leading to a more authentic and enjoyable listening experience.
Bullet lists help structure the conversation, ensuring that the hosts and guests stay on track and cover the intended topics. Additionally, the informal nature of the bullet list format encourages a more relaxed and conversational tone. By prioritizing compatibility and genuine liking between hosts and guests, you can create a successful and enjoyable podcast episode that resonates with your audience.
- The Q&A interview podcast script
The Q&A Interview Podcast Script features a host asking a guest with expertise in a certain niche a list of interview questions. This list of questions has substantial insight that can potentially hook audiences.
Additionally, this bullet-pointed list of interview questions is a common format for the interview podcast script because it works well for shows featuring multiple guests.
- The roundtable podcast script
This type of podcast script usually features multiple hosts who are experienced podcasters or speakers carrying on insightful conversations with each other. Podcasters always write a roundtable script with a plan and use the ad-libbed method.
The ad-libbed method involves the host understanding the podcast title, so there is no need for an actual podcast script since the host has enough knowledge to discuss the episode topic. However, it requires users to have a relatively high ability to think.
It is worth noting that an ad-libbed podcast such as this roundtable script helps the episode have a natural tone and therefore attract quality audiences. Lastly, the roundtable podcast script is usually ad-libbed, as the host is experienced and knows how to record a podcast that seems natural yet is insightful enough to hook audiences.
The Narrative Podcast Script
The narrative podcast script commonly uses a podcast episode to describe a story in a structured and interesting way, much like how a storyteller structures how they tell a story.
It can feature a narrator who tells the story, a voiceover segment, and stimulating sounds that create dramatic effects for a more exciting listening experience for the podcast’s target audience. This type of podcast script requires heavy planning and well-structured script writing.
Similar to story genres, it has various classifications. They are:
- The fictional narrative podcast script
The fictional narrative podcast script involves exactly what its name implies, i.e., describing the settings, characters, action, and dialogue that make up a story that can be serialized or standalone (generally preferred).
It uses an immersively planned and structured script-writing process and also includes signals for when editors should include the sound effects and voice-over segments. The fictional story (imaginary story) is either told by one person or multiple people.
It is based on the imagination of the host as a rule of thumb and works well for shows that feature dramatic audio clips (if the host outsources the story).
- The non-fictional narrative podcast script
The non-fictional narrative podcast script involves the description of everything that makes up the true story. Everything is included, from the character to the scene’s content description. In fact, the host could add some drama by using sequenced voice-overs and audio clips.
This type of podcast script features the host telling a story that has happened in real life. It is common among shows based on true stories or real-life experiences.
- The documentary-style narrative podcast script
The documentary-style narrative podcast script uses a non-fictional scriptwriting format. The plot twist comes in the form of journalism, an interview show with the victims, witnesses, and related audiences, and some scene content that dramatizes the experience the documentary is explaining.
This script is usually free of persuasive writing techniques because it conveys a realistic situation and important information. It features the host and guest recording only their true experiences so that the podcast remains valuable and trustworthy.
As you can see, the narrative podcast script involves an overwhelming amount of deep thinking, planning, and structuring. This is where podcast production services come in handy. Their services include overseeing your narrative podcast production.
The Hybrid Podcast Script
A hybrid podcast script combines the features of one or more of the types of podcast scripts, i.e., monologue, podcast interview, narrative podcast, and news podcast. This podcast script is unique because it involves the combination of the above podcast scripts to produce an ideally engaging show.
For example, it might include script ideas from the podcast interview and monologue podcast or combine the narrative and news podcast features.
The hybrid podcast script is a common format for shows that don’t fit neatly into one category, and it works well for shows that feature a variety of segments, with the hosts changing up the format from week to week.
Tips for Writing a Script for Your Podcast
- Start with the basics, i.e., state who your audience is and what you want to achieve with your podcast, just before writing the introduction. Writing this will give you a clear direction and purpose for your show.
- Write a catchy introduction that will grab attention and make people want to keep listening.
- Keep your episodes focused and to the point. Plan out a content calendar for your podcast to know the list of questions you will generally cover in each episode and the exact order you will upload each episode.
- When writing the podcast episode, introduce advertisement or podcast sponsorship messages with natural breaks. Doing this will help you sound more like a friend than a salesperson.
- Include reminders and appreciation for listeners who listen, review, and share your podcast. It will encourage new and existing listeners to engage more.
- Remember to write a teaser part in the podcast script, then send it to your podcast email list. Doing this will help keep your loyal listeners interested in the values your podcast has to offer.
Common Pitfalls When Writing a Script for Your Podcast
The script is one of the most important elements in producing a successful podcast. With an effective script, the entire show becomes easier to follow. Here are some common pitfalls you should avoid when writing a script for your podcast:
Pitfall 1: Not Defining the Purpose of Your Show
Before you sit down to write a script, it is better to think about the purpose of your show for an extended period of time. Answer several podcast-related questions, such as: What overall goal are you hoping to achieve with your podcast?
Once you clearly understand your show’s purpose, you will develop more promising topic ideas for individual episodes.
Pitfall 2: Not Having a Clear Structure
One of the most common mistakes podcasters make is not having a clear structure for their show. Without a defined structure, your episodes will likely meander and lose your listeners’ attention.
It’s important to have a general outline of what you want to cover in each episode and to stick to that structure as much as possible.
Pitfall 3: Not Preparing Your Materials
Another common pitfall is not taking the time to prepare your materials before you start recording. When you start recording with little to no preparation, it can lead to many problems, such as losing your place in the script, forgetting important points, or having to stop and start the recording multiple times.
By thoroughly preparing your materials beforehand, you can avoid these issues and record a smooth, professional-sounding podcast.
Pitfall 4: Not Editing Your Show
One of the most common mistakes that new podcasters make is not editing their show before releasing it.
While hitting the “publish” button immediately after recording is tempting, taking the time to edit your podcast will make a huge difference in quality.
Editing can remove any unwanted noise, improve the flow of the conversation, and generally make your podcast sound more polished and professional.
Pitfall 5: Relying on Music to Carry Your Show
While music can be a great addition to your podcast, please only use it to carry part of the show.
Too often, podcasters rely on music to mask awkward silences, fill in gaps in the conversation, or generally provide background noise. However, this often ends up turning off the interest span of listeners.
If you want to use music in your podcast, use it sparingly and only in moments where its musical effects truly enhance the listener’s experience.
By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can set yourself up for success in the world of podcasting. By taking the time to prepare and structure your show properly, you can create a professional-sounding podcast that will engage and entertain your listeners.
Frequently Asked Questions for How to Write a Script for a Podcast
There are three major ways to get a podcast script.
You can either write the script yourself and post it in the podcast show notes of the podcast service, request it from the podcast service you are using, or use team effort by hiring a team from an experienced podcast production company to help write the podcast show notes.
The number of words that a podcast script usually contains varies. It can be short, long, or lengthy, depending on the length of your choice of words when writing the script. Ordinarily, a podcast episode 15 minutes long should be 2,000 to 2,250 words.
When writing your podcast script, it is important to think about the topic or idea you are trying to convey. Start with an interesting introduction that will grab your listener’s attention. Introduce the podcast before mentioning yourself and the guests, explain the topic of discussion, and encourage engagement with persuasive writing.
The first topic idea that you should record and air for your new podcast is to answer the question, “What is the core value or problem that my podcast solves?” In short, your first episode topic should explain the why behind your podcast title.
Yes. Most seasoned podcasters understand how to monetize a podcast. You can monetize your podcast by using it as an advertisement opportunity for brands. When brands ask you to inform your audience about their existence, they pay you.
Writing a successful podcast script requires clarity, engaging tone, and valuable content for your audience. With these tips in mind, you can create an outstanding podcast that resonates with your listeners. For more insights on creating a thriving business podcast, be sure to explore our other blog posts on podcast businesses or contact us today to discuss your unique needs and goals. We’re always happy to help.