As of 2022, 62 million Americans have listened to at least one podcast episode in their lives. Of those people, 38% have listened to podcast episodes in the last month, with 26% having listened to an episode within the previous week.
That’s great news for you as a budding podcaster; it means there’s an audience for what you want to do. However, this popularity also gives rise to competition. There are thousands of podcasts out there, which means you need to go the extra mile to ensure yours stands out.
That’s where a podcast outline or script can help. With a suitable script, you stick to the topics in your podcast and flow naturally from point to point. You also create a more professional experience that engages listeners and encourages them to stick with the podcast. In this article, we offer a few tips on how to write a podcast script for your upcoming episode.
Elements of a Podcast Script
The podcast scripting process starts with understanding what you need to cover and what you don’t. As such, you don’t need a complete script that details every word you say during the episode. Instead, create a script that covers the following elements to ensure your conversation will sound natural.
The Podcast Intro
Your podcast intro is your chance to welcome listeners to your podcast. Listeners understand that the greeting should give them a sense of what’s coming up in the episode. Here are a few bullet points covering what a good podcast intro usually features:
- A simple greeting that welcomes the listener to the show
- A mention of the podcast name and the name of the host
- Intro music or a short jingle associated with your podcast
- Your podcast’s tagline, if it has one
- A few notes on the episode’s theme
Think of your intro as a bird’s eye view of the podcast episode. It’s designed to hook listeners by getting them interested in your topics of conversation.
Not all podcasts have guests. If you have a solo podcast, you don’t need to worry about this point.
If you’re welcoming a guest, make sure to craft an intro for them. This guest introduction starts with the guest name and transitions into a more thorough description of why you’ve invited them to the show.
The goal is to help your listener understand why they’re on the podcast.
Offer a brief summary of the guest’s credentials, including a short biography and any experience they have with the article’s topic. Use the scripting process to learn more about your guest so you can demonstrate their credibility concerning the podcast’s topic.
Incorporating a Sponsor Message
If you have a podcast sponsor, they’ll often provide a script for you to read aloud. Some offer a word-for-word script, meaning you must read the sponsor message while maintaining a conversational tone. Others give you a list of talking points they want you to cover, which you’ll introduce naturally in your podcast script.
If you have a regular sponsor who gives you a word-for-word script, you can use recording sessions to pre-record the message, so it’s ready to play as needed. Either way, ensure your script notes deliver a sponsor message. Mark timestamps and build in breaks for sending the message.
The Bulk of the Podcast’s Topic
Once you have the more minor elements of the script prepared, you’re ready to move on to the bulk of the content.
Aim to create a flexible script. A strong podcast script outlines your main topics, any segues you’ll use, and how long you’ll spend on each topic. If you create a word-for-word script, your listeners may feel like you’re lecturing them.
You can write your podcast script in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Here’s a solid podcast script template to follow when planning the bulk of the episode:
Intro music and sound effect
Explanation of what’s in store for today’s episode
- Main point
- Supporting points
- Additional data or audio
- Guest discussion
You can use a short musical clip or sound effect. Alternatively, write transition phrases to go from topic to topic.
- Main point
- Supporting points
- Additional data or audio
- Guest discussion
Outro and call to action (CTA)
The above is a general outline, meaning your own script may vary. What’s vital is that you have a structured outline, with delivery notes, that covers your topics of conversation. If you tend to go off-script, this structure helps reel you back in and keep your podcast focused.
Podcast Outro and Call to Action
With an engaging podcast script outlined, your last job is to figure out how to close the show.
Again, your own podcast script may vary depending on what you cover. But a good outro should thank the listener and recap the main topics of discussion. It should also tease the next episode’s topic and any upcoming episodes for which you have exciting plans. Cap things off with some outro music and deliver production credits, where applicable.
You’ll need a call to action if you’re using your podcast to sell something. A good CTA details the next steps you want the listener to take, such as listening to the next episode or getting in touch with you. Make your CTA the last thing you cover before playing outro music to ensure it sticks in the listener’s head.
Podcast Scripts by Type
You now know how to write a podcast script. How much detail you add to the above structure depends on you. Some hosts prefer a detailed script that covers absolutely everything. Others take a free-form approach, using their scripts as a set of bullet points to keep them on track.
Regardless, a well-written script provides structure to your podcast. Now, we need to cover the different types of podcasts as your basic outline will vary depending on which type you host.
Solo Show Notes
Writing a script for a solo show is more straightforward than any other type of podcast. You don’t have to remember a guest name, and you can create scripts for a few episodes in one go.
Planning ahead ensures you have something to say for the duration of your podcast. Once you have your script, the recording and post-production processes are much more manageable.
Use section headers, outline your main talking points, and give yourself timestamps if you tend to go off-track. The pointers above should serve as a script template for a solo podcast.
With an interview podcast, you’re welcoming a guest onto your show. As such, your episode script has to cover who the guest is with a guest intro and highlight the questions you’ll ask during the show. You may also incorporate a portion of the script for calls from your listeners.
Include your main topic in your show notes and create a list of questions. Remember that your guest likely has less experience with podcasts than you. Hence, it’s helpful to incorporate timestamps into your template so you can bring your guest back on course if they go off on a tangent.
Here’s a quick podcast script template from Get Welder to help you get started:
A Q&A podcast is a lot like an interview. Therefore, your podcast script still includes questions. The critical difference is that you’re usually the one answering the questions.
Treat this type of script almost like a movie script. In some cases, you can even create a word-for-word script.
Collect the questions you intend to answer, either through your own research or from listeners. Write your answers, either word-for-word or just covering the main point you want to discuss, along with delivery notes. Again, use timestamps to ensure you only spend a short period on a specific question.
Roundtables involve multiple guests, which can make them challenging to manage. Each guest has opinions to share, meaning the conversation has a bigger chance of going off-topic.
A good roundtable script offers flexibility. The goals are to raise talking points, dedicate time to the conversation, and determine when the chat should move to the next topic.
Here are what free-form scripts might look like:
Spend 15 minutes on this topic
Spend 20 minutes on this topic
Spend 10 minutes on this topic
Having a co-host can lend more life and energy to your podcast. It can also make things more complicated. You and your co-host have points to make. Thus, your script needs to combine structure with the flexibility required for a free-form conversation.
You can use the basic template introduced earlier in the article for this type of script. However, there are some issues to be wary of when creating your script:
- Make sure you’re not giving yourself room to constantly interrupt one another.
- Avoid making the same arguments your other host makes.
- Make notes to ensure all hosts have the chance to speak. You don’t want listeners to forget you have a co-host because you talk too much.
Finally, create scripted transitions for your podcast. Questions are a good choice here, as this example shows:
Host #1 – What would you say is the biggest mistake the director made with this movie?
Host #2 – I wasn’t a fan of how the director did…
We end with the simplest podcast script. With a how-to or tutorial, you have a defined topic, so you can create a word-for-word script without any worries. Your listeners are there to learn rather than hear you wax lyrical about a subject.
Your main concerns lie in getting the intro right, incorporating a sponsor message, and crafting a solid outro and CTA. For the latter issue, always ensure you highlight what future episodes will cover to give listeners a reason to return.
Master Podcast Script Writing
With the advice and podcast script templates in this article, you have everything you need to write a successful podcast. You’ll ensure you incorporate your sponsor message, stick to your key points, and create a podcast that engages listeners.
Your podcast script provides structure. With that structure, you ensure you spend less time in the editing room and offer guidance to any guests you welcome onto your show. Finally, you make the experience of hosting your podcast much easier for yourself.