Scripting a podcast tests creativity to the maximum, especially if it’s not your own. There are numerous factors to take into account when writing a podcast script that maintains and grows listeners. Here are some tips to consider in order to ensure your text will transfer into voice in a way that improve your audience figures:-
Like any other form of content writing or copywriting, you’ll need to spend time researching. Research your style, theme, the topics you will cover and your audience. Choose whether the podcast is going to be informational, educational, humorous etc. Writing your own podcast script won’t be as difficult as writing for somebody else. If you are writing for somebody else’s podcast you’ll need to meet with the host, at least remotely, to gauge the characteristics, mannerisms, tone and style of the podcaster. The trick is to make your script as personal as possible.
02. Prepare an Outline
Once you have finished your research, create a general outline of how the show will be presented. Defining some structure will give you a clearer idea regarding how long the podcast will take to record, who the participants will be and how to make sure that the show’s primary points flow into each other. Once again, if it is not your show, dealing with the format and outline with the host is imperative, so that you’re on the same page right from the start. This will minimise the need for constant communication during your writing itself.
03. Format Your Script
Include all the segments between your main body dialogue that you’ll need. Details like this make it easier to write your final content in a flowing, comfortable manner. So include slots for jingles, your introduction, any guest intros, advertising and promotions, to give thanks to sponsors and guests and where you’re going to include your calls-to-action.
04. Create an Introduction
Bearing in mind the research that you’ve done, create an introduction for the podcast. Include the podcast’s name and episode, the host’s name and the names of any co-host or guests that may be participating. If it is the first episode, provide a little background detail about the host/hosts, otherwise just provide details about any attending guests. Then summarise the episode’s primary topic and credit any relevant sponsors.
05. Keep Your Content Conversational
It is important to keep all that you write relaxed and conversational. Remind yourself that you are dealing with your listener’s auditory sense only and need to paint pictures with your words and create a comfortable environment for your audience. If the dialogue is forced and rigid you’ll be likely to lose listeners early on. Think of how your favourite radio hosts do it and tell a story right from the beginning.
06. Be Real
Make sure that your (or your host’s) true personality shines through. Don’t try to be somebody you’re not – for your podcast to be continually successful you cannot deceive your audience. Sooner or later you will forget who you’re supposed to be and the proverbial cat will leave you holding the bag.
07. Add Lib
Don’t be afraid to add lib through the podcast. Sticking rigidly to a script can create an unnatural tone which is the last thing you want. If you’re writing for somebody else, encourage them to be spontaneous and add lib whenever they feel comfortable doing so. Build a conversational repartee with the listeners.
08. Be Descriptive
Be descriptive when writing about the essential points of your message. Details are necessary to make sure that your listeners are grasping any concepts as the only way to gauge this is from figures of returning listeners or from comments left afterwards. When you’re in the moment of recording, you need to be comfortable that your points are being sufficiently made, without over-emphasising. You, as the copywriter, are responsible for getting this balance right.
09. Be Concise
As much as you need to be descriptive, it is important to stick to describing the major points well and being concise around them. You want to get your primary message across and being too glossy and flowery in between will possibly cause listeners to lose concentration and focus.
10. Keep Your Tempo in Mind
Always maintain a tempo that will carry your audience through the podcast alongside you. Obviously this tempo depends on the topic (humorous content may require a faster tempo) and the mood and tone you want to set, but ensure that any increased or decreased tempo is done by design and not by accident.
11. Be Flexible
There may be times when you neglect to include an important point in your script and this realisation only becomes apparent during recording. Don’t be afraid to include it if it’s going to improve the podcast. It’s not going to help sticking rigidly to the script and regretting it afterwards. Encourage any podcaster you’re writing for to do the same if the need arises.
12. Include Calls-to-Action
Always include calls-to-action. These are, after all, why you’re podcasting in the first place. You want to grow your following and regular calls-to-action remind listeners that you’re serious about what you’re promoting. Conversely, don’t make your whole podcast a call-to-action as this will end up with more eye-rolls from your audience than appreciation. Be tactical – the podcast must be about your listeners first – their appreciation and future attendance will depend on what they take away from each episode.
13. Create an Outro
Summarise the message you’ve just relayed, emphasising the main points again, and inform your listeners about what they can look forward to in your next episode. Build and maintain future interest. Drop in a call-to-action afterwards.
14. Make Notes In Between the Script Text
Whether you’re writing for your own podcast or for another host, it’s a good idea to make notes in between the spoken text. Whether it be “ruffle papers”, “pause for a second” or “go to ad jingle”, this will maintain the flow that you’re creating and ensure that the host is not rushing to catch the last train with his dialogue. The trick is to maintain an even tempo throughout the podcast which will relay the air of relaxation to the listener. Always remember that you’re painting the picture that your audience is imagining.
15. Practice, Practice, Practice
Read your script aloud. Repeat this until you feel comfortable with what you’ve written and how you’re presenting the information. While practicing, make any changes that will help you to do better when recording. Assess how long the podcast episode will take by timing yourself during practice. Obviously, if the podcast host is somebody else, encourage them to do the same.
Growing a podcast audience depends on the content of the podcast itself and also on how well it is vocally delivered. Writing a script for your own podcast will be simpler than writing one for somebody else so be sure that, if you take on the task, that you are very familiar with the host before writing the script. If you’re doing the recording yourself, good luck, you’re braver than I am!
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