Over 50% of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast before. That’s over 140 million people. And 70% of the population is familiar with the term podcasting. Let’s face it, podcasts are the new radio, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Live radio definitely has its place, but what happens if you want to learn about a specific topic or subject? That’s where podcasts come in. Podcasts allow you to listen to pretty much anything you could possibly think of. Whether its sports, politics, pop culture or religion. There is a podcast for everyone (well, maybe not the guy passed out on the corner, but there’s potential there.)
Currently, there are over 700,000 active podcasts online. So how do you make your podcast stand out from the crowd? How do you make people hit that subscribe button?
Creating a podcast script is essential in developing a professional sounding show that will make people want to come back for more. Keep reading to find out how to craft that perfect script!
Podcast Script 101
Podcasting has never been easier than it is right now. In fact, you could start a podcast today by just using your phone. But the ease of starting can also make it harder for people to find you if you’re just starting.
So how can you make the best podcast possible?
Scripting your show can give it that extra touch of professionalism you need to set yourself apart from others. But don’t let the word “script” scare you.
Writing a podcast script doesn’t mean you have to have everything written down word for word. Unless you are doing an actual scripted audio drama or true crime style show, you still want your conversations and content to sound natural.
Step 1: Develop a Structure
The most important thing you do before you ever hit record is to figure out your format. How is your podcast going to be laid out? That means mapping it out from beginning to end.
Do you want a special musical intro? There’s plenty of royalty-free music to be played with on archive.org or freesound.org, amongst other places on the web. Or do you want to come in right away with the conversation?
Do you want different segments of your show? Or do you want it to be more free-flowing?
While the content itself doesn’t always need to be laid out, the structure of your podcast does. People like consistency, and if every episode of your show sounds like a completely different podcast, it’ll be tough developing a real audience.
Starting your episode with a somewhat scripted or familiar-sounding introduction helps welcome your listeners into your show. And closing out the show with a scripted outro will help to wrap every episode up in a perfect bow leaving your audience satisfied.
Part of creating your structure also includes deciding what additional things you want in each episode. Do you need to take time for a commercial or sponsor break? Do you have fun little bumpers to lead your listeners into each segment?
Structure is your best friend. And you should establish it before you ever record your first episode.
Step 2: Nail Down Bullet Points
Nobody wants to hear you read a script word for word on a podcast. It’s boring and for many podcasters, just sounds stale. Most people who are podcasting are not voice actors or someone who is trained on how to read a script.
When people listen to a subject-based or topical podcast, they want to hear authenticity and truth in what you say. People can smell fake excitement or fake emotion from a mile away.
Instead, take some time to prep before each episode. Write down important bullet points that you want to talk about. Generally, you will know what you want to say, but sometimes you might forget certain things in the course of conversation.
If you make sure to write down the topics you want to cover, it will help you to remember them during recording. But again, it doesn’t need to be anything intense. One short sentence or even a couple of keywords can be a major help.
Keeping your script short and vague allows you to speak authentically and from the heart about each topic. The more people believe you are being yourself, the more they will want to hear more.
Even if your opinion differs from theirs, if you are likable and relatable, people will still come back. And isn’t the whole point? To build an audience that likes your podcast for you?
There are hundreds of thousands of podcast that talk about the same thing. Your topics and subjects aren’t what will get people to subscribe. People subscribe because of YOU.
Step 3: Be Yourself
When you are putting together a script for your podcast, make sure you are being yourself. People don’t want to hear you trying to imitate other podcasters. Write your script using language that you would normally speak in outside of the podcast (If you normally speak in Esperanto, I’d look for some other form of self-expression).
Sometimes when you are writing a script, the words as written sound great, but when they are spoken they sound stale. Here at The Podcast of No Return, we try to have a rehearsal or “spitball” the scripts before recording. Often, suggestions are made that really liven up the material. Take whatever you’ve written and practice saying it out loud. If it sounds awkward or jumbled, tweak it a bit to sound more natural.
This is especially important for brand new podcasters. If you’ve never been on a recording or have no experience podcasting, you want your script to sound like how you would actually talk in conversation.
People want to know about you and be able to connect with you. If they can relate to things you are saying, they are more likely to become long-time listeners.
As you grow and gain experience in podcasting, eventually you will become comfortable. Both with the structure of your show, but also with how you are doing things. This will allow you to be more freeform and really let your personality shine through.
Let’s Get You Charted!
Now that you know how to write a podcast script, it’s time to take your show to the next level. It’s never too late to incorporate new skills you’ve learned. In fact, nothing is better than upgrading your podcast, and having your listeners contact you letting you know how much they love it.
For some examples of scripted podcasts, head to our episodes page! Then get out there and make the best podcast you possibly can!