When I was 8 years old I didn’t know anything about a “podcast script.”
I mean come on, podcasting didn’t even exist then. But that’s when I first learned what a script was.
I was in my first “real” play. A drama my church was putting on and somehow I got the lead children’s part.
To me, the script was like a road map – a very clear outline of exactly what was going to happen in the play.
- Who does what, when.
- Who stands where.
- Who says what and when they say it.
Can you imagine what it would be like if you tried to put on a drama but didn’t have a script?
How would the actors know what it was about? How would they know how to act in conjunction with each other?
How would they know where the play was headed?
For a play, a script is a “must have.”
What about for your podcast? Should you use a podcast script?
There’s a lot of debate about whether podcasts should be scripted and I understand why.
Everybody has their own idea of what makes for a “good” podcast.
But I think you and I should approach the issue from an entirely different angle.
Whether or not you use a podcast script has nothing to do with what will make your podcast “good” or “bad.”
It depends solely on the PURPOSE of your podcast.
Let’s look at a handful of podcast “types” to see if a podcast script would be helpful in each case
THE LAID BACK PODCAST
There are shows out there that are intended to be informal, laid back, and easy going.
Often there are a couple of hosts who banter back and forth to make for a “fun” and relaxed atmosphere to the show.
There’s a certain appeal to those shows because they tend to be more entertaining.
If a show like that may feel like it doesn’t have much structure, but you can be sure they’re at least going by an outline, but not a script.
That sort of loose direction allows for the free-flowing nature of the show that listeners enjoy.
THE INTERVIEW PODCAST
You know about these shows… there are thousands of them out there.
Somebody is featured as a “guest” and someone else asks them questions.
It’s similar to the “laid back” show in that the outline is in the questions the host asks the guest.
Good interview shows benefit from the structure of the questions/outline while allowing for the flexibility that makes the show interesting and interactive.
If you need some tips on how to be a better interviewer, I’ve written about that before.
If you’re doing an interview podcast, a script may be helpful, but could also serve as a straight-jacket, making the show far too wooden and inflexible.
THE “SALES” OR “LEAD GENERATION” PODCAST
Some of the podcasts out there are produced by a brand-name or company in hopes that their show will generate leads or sales for the company.
You know the kind I mean.
They often cover information related to their product or niche and include a soft sell encouraging you to check out their product.
Should this kind of show use a script?
I think this kind of show could definitely benefit from a podcast script for these reasons:
- Just like a sales letter or brochure, you want to make sure you include the benefits of your product very clearly and persuasively.
- You want to ensure that you don’t forget anything vital to your product that might induce a prospect to give it a whirl.
- Your podcast is serving as audio sales copy. SALES COPY. It needs to be crafted to persuade and convince, not spoken on a whim or off the cuff.
A podcast script seems a no-brainer for a “sales” podcast.
THE “EXPERT” PODCAST
I don’t know anyone who calls their show an “expert” podcast… but you know the kind I’m talking about.
There’s typically somebody teaching or coaching, passing along information the listener needs to know.
They may do it in a straight “info dump” style or through Q & A segments.
Typically, there’s no guest – just an “expert” (thus the name) who’s teaching the listener a particular skill, body of knowledge, or tip (kind of like this post).
In my opinion, this is an IDEAL type of podcast to use a podcast script.
You’re able to lay out your content and teaching points accurately.
You’re able to say exactly what you want to say in exactly the way you want to say it.
Word choice is perfect because it’s planned.
You’re able to have exactly the impact you want to have because you’re going about it intentionally.
BUT, you’ve got to be careful that you don’t sound like you’re reading the podcast script, even though you are.
This helps our audio to be much more interesting and engaging – and your listeners will appreciate it.
Figure it out for yourself based on what type of podcast you’re producing
You owe it to yourself and you owe it to your listeners.
For the right kind of show, a podcast script could make the difference between sales and no sales – a raving fan-base and no fans at all.
The folks over at Copyblogger have written 4 Copywriting techniques for engaging podcasts.
If you want to learn how to write a great podcast script, they are the guys to teach you how!