How To Write A Podcast Script

Last updated on May 12th, 2020

How to write a podcast script is one of the biggest questions new podcasters ask when recording their first episode. The best podcast episodes may sound like casual, free-flowing conversations, but that’s due to the hours of preparation and planning the hosts do before hitting the record button. 

Ahead, we offer some best practices to get your started, whether you plan to prepare a word-for-word script or want to leave room for ad libbing. We’ll give you a high level view of what a podcast script looks like, go over some tips to help you write your first script, and discuss the three podcast formats that require scripting for cohesive episodes.

Podcast Script Outline Templates

When you write a podcast script, it helps to start with a bird’s eye view of your show. This outline will create a guide that keeps you on track and ensures you hit all the right points. It will also help you prepare transitions and get everything in within the allotted time. 

Here’s a sample of a podcast script template. Notice how it includes all of the important segments we listed above. In the case of an interview podcast, replace each topic with a question for your guest.

  1. Sponsor message
  2. Introduction
  3. Musical jingle/sound effects
  4. Longer explanation of what’s in store
  5. Topic 1
    1. Main point
    2. Supporting point
    3. Supporting data
    4. Supporting quote
  6. Segue
  7. Topic 2
    1. Main point
    2. Supporting point
    3. Supporting data
    4. Supporting quote
  8. Sponsor message
  9. Topic 3
    1. Main point
    2. Supporting point
    3. Supporting data
    4. Supporting quote
  10. Segue
  11. Outro
  12. Call to action
  13. Sponsor message
  14. Musical jingle/sound effects

Obviously your podcast script doesn’t have to mirror that outline. Customize it to fit the needs of your show and your preferences.

Podcast Script Tips for Beginners

We recommend all newbies prepare some kind of podcast script before they hit record. Talking intelligently, smoothly, and clearly is challenging without practice. During the recording, you can focus on your mechanics, like enunciating, removing filler words, and controlling your tone and volume. Over time, you’ll be able to reduce your podcast script to a simple outline with notes. 

Here are a few tips that will help you craft an engaging podcast script. 

Keep it conversational

The biggest challenge of writing a podcast script is keeping it conversational. If you aren’t careful, reading a podcast script can lead to a flat, monotone delivery. 

A lot of podcasters find it useful to speak their script (like a rehearsal for their recording) with a speech-to-text tool open to dictate their words. This creates a natural pattern and puts your words on a page so you can read them during your recording. Just make sure to give it an edit to smooth out rough patches and include all your information. Google Docs has a free tool that comes in handy here. You can even use this as your podcast transcript.

Use delivery notes

Another trick every good podcast script includes are delivery notes. These are notes within your script that indicate pauses, emphasis, laughs, sighs, and other dramatic effects. These elements breathe life into your podcast script so it feels natural. Make sure to read your podcast script aloud with your delivery notes so they sound genuine. 

podcast script delivery notes
Script template example including delivery notes.

Allow for some riffing

Just because you write a podcast script before your recording doesn’t mean you are bound to it. It’s quite alright to go off script during your recording if you think of something important or valuable on the spot. If you decide you don’t like it, you can always edit it out later.

That said, be mindful about going off on irrelevant tangents. If you add a bunch of fluff content to your recording, you’re just a waste of time in front of the microphone and you’re editing software later.

Describe the scene

Podcasting is an audio medium, which means our audience doesn’t have any visual cues. If you refer to something, like an image, person, or video, make sure to describe it well so your listeners can picture it in their mind. Your descriptions should be detailed and vibrant.

It sounds easy, but this is a hard skill to master. You may find it is odd to speak to people who aren’t in the room who can’t see what you see. It may help to think of recording a podcast like talking to someone on the phone.

This doesn’t mean you need to give a detailed description of everything you say, but you’ll want to be aware of any concepts, images, or topics that need extra description for your listeners who are effectively blind.

Maintain a reasonable pace

The best podcast episodes maintain a consistent space that keeps listeners engaged. A good pace is not too fast and not too slow. There shouldn’t be any long, unexplained pauses. And there shouldn’t be any moments where you talk too fast to be understood.

Use segments and transitions to keep your podcast script organized and help listeners understand where they are in your episode. For instance, you might divide your episode into chapters with their own titles, or turn your lessons into numbered steps or tips.

Write transition phrases into your podcast script to move between segments. For example, you might say, “Now that you understand the importance of user data, let’s talk about the tools you need to collect it.”

Get started with Castos today

And see just how easy podcasting can be.

No Credit Card Required

Be yourself

You are a unique person with your own personality. It’s much easier and more natural to be yourself than to try to be someone else, even if that someone else is a successful podcast. While it’s useful to take lessons from the pros, don’t try to mimic them. Write a podcast script that serves your needs and shows off your personality. 

Basic Podcast Script Segments With Templates

While every podcast script is different depending on which type of show you host, you’ll want to prepare some standard segments ahead of time to make sure you hit all of your talking points. When it’s time for your prepared content, simply read from your prepared segment, then dive back into your episode’s unique podcast script.

Show introduction

A show’s introduction has three key qualities: It’s short, welcomes listeners to the episode, and includes a brief pitch about the podcast. Generally, you’ll use the same script for each episode to consistently welcome listeners to your latest episode. The easiest intro to script follows this basic setup:

“Welcome to [podcast name], the show that [brief podcast pitch or tagline]. I’m [host name] and today we’re talking about [episode topic] with [guest name]. We also have a surprise guest for you at the end of the show, so make sure you listen all the way through.”

Guest introductions

If you interview guests on your podcast, you don’t want to fumble their name or credentials as they’re introduced to the show. Writing out a basic introduction script will ensure that you get it right the first time. This is also a great opportunity to provide context around why your listeners should care about your guest’s expertise. The introduction can be as simple as:

“Now it’s time to welcome [guest name] to [podcast name]. She/he/they are here to [purpose of guest: provide expertise, answer questions, tell their story, etc.]. Hi, [guest first name], thanks for joining us.”

Sponsor ad messages

The scripts for your sponsor’s messaging will depend on how much control the brand wants over their ad placements. A sponsor may provide a word-for-word script you need to follow while others will give talking points where you can add in conversational elements that are unique to your show. In either scenario, you’ll want to chart out exactly what to say so your ads sound natural, your listeners buy their products, and your sponsors keep coming back.

“Today’s episode is brought to you by [sponsor name]. [Sponsor name] is [launch into the benefits of the sponsor’s product or service and why the listener should buy it].

Some sponsors will supply you with a pre-written segment that they expect you to read on your show. These save you the trouble of writing your own segment, but they may feel cold and unengaging. Work with your sponsor to come up with a message that’s right for your audience. 

Show outro

Your outro is your opportunity to thank your guests for participating, recap what you discussed (and the value you gave your listeners), and thank your audience for their time, and announce upcoming episodes, events, or promotions. 

“Make sure to join our Facebook group [name] if you haven’t already where we break down this episode throughout the week. Get your tickets to our live show in [place] at our website [url] before they sell out.”

Calls to Action (CTAs)

Your calls-to-action are a chance to ask for more listener support, from subscribing to the show on Apple Podcasts or writing a review. These are important for increasing podcast downloads.

The best CTAs sound authentic and emphasize how easy it is to do the action you’re asking of your audience. Remember, your CTA priorities will shift over time as you start selling merchandise or offer premium subscriptions so you’ll end up writing a few different scripts to fit each need. Here’s a good place to start:

“Thanks for listening to [podcast name]. Before we go, show some love for your favorite podcast by leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts. Then stay tuned for next week where we [next episode’s topic].”

Types Of Podcast Scripts With Templates

The type of show you host is a big factor in whether you decide to write a podcast script. There are generally three types of podcast formats that are best served with a script. 

1. Solo show podcasts

If you host a podcast by yourself, it helps to prepare at least a basic outline before you start recording. You may find it difficult to come up with things to say for 30 or 45 minutes if you don’t plan ahead. But many solo shows write a complete word-for-word script of each episode. Once the script is finished, recording and editing are quick and painless. 

If you decide to write only notes for your podcast script, organize them in a logical order that leads through your content. Start with a few section headers that include supporting data points and relevant anecdotes. Here’s a sample of an outline from GothamCast.

GothamCast podcast script
Solo show podcast script template example from GothamCast.

Section headers represent the important topics or themes of your episode, helping you stay on track to avoid forgetting important points. Having this general outline also helps you speak in an active, conversational tone that listeners find engaging. As you gain experience recording from a basic outline, you’ll find it creates some of the most natural sounding and authentic podcast episodes.

One of the biggest advantages of hosting a solo show is you can do a lot of post-production that other podcast formats can’t. If you aren’t happy with the way you said something, you can simply say it again and cut out the mistake later, repeating this process until you’re satisfied.

2. Interview show podcast scripts

Interview-style podcast episodes generally require more podcast script preparation compared to other formats for both you and the interviewee. As the host, it’s important to know exactly what you’ll ask your guest for two main reasons.

Detailing a list of questions and main talking points will stimulate conversation, helping you avoid running out of things to say. If you cut the session short because you’re unprepared, your guest may not arrange another time to record. Not only does this leave you looking unprofessional, but you’ll also end up with a partial episode.

Second, your guest likely has less podcast experience than you, so they’re not as comfortable thinking on their feet. Providing a list of questions and comments before the show allows them to prepare the thoughts and anecdotes they want to share during the recording. Essentially, the more comfortable the guest, the more conversational the interview so you create an amazing episode.

Create a list of questions and topics that you hope to address on your show. Send them to your guest a few days before the recording so they have some time to prepare their thoughts. 

3. Co-Host show podcast script

When you work with a co-host, it’s best to use a hybrid approach. You’ll want to script some things, but leave other areas of your episode open for organic conversation.

Some organization beforehand will help you avoid some classic co-host mistakes, such as…

  • Interrupting one another. (“This is important and I want to mention it before you move on.”)
  • Making the same argument your co-host made a moment ago.
  • Talking so long people forget your co-host is on the show.
  • Transitioning abruptly from one point to another.

Map out your episode with a basic outline (like you would for a solo show) and add supporting points, data, and anecdotes under each heading. Then tag each line item with someone’s name so you distribute the talking smoothly. You’ll want to script and note who will take care of the basic podcast segments of the episode too, like your show’s introduction and CTAs.

Finally, add scripted transitions to your outlines. Questions are the easiest way to do this, sort of like you’re interviewing each other. Here’s an example:

Jim: “…and that’s when the judge sends the jury to deliberate. How long would you say deliberation usually takes in a case like this?”

Mike: “It’s tough to say, but I would expect at least three hours. First, the court has to re-explain the charges…”

Notice how this script with a podcast script written for co-hosts leave space for each person to enter smoothly, and how each is given enough speaking time to make a point without crowding out the other person.

co host podcast script
Co-hosted podcast script template example.

With a co-host, it’s important to remember to record each person on different tracks. This way you can edit your voices independently later on, saving you a few headaches and a lot of editing time.

Preparation Is Key

Preparation is a critical part of producing high quality podcast episodes. Writing a podcast script is a key way to ensure your audio is clear, tight, and valuable for your listeners. You don’t have to write out every word you intend to say, but it’s important to have notes for each episode to keep you on track, especially if you’re new to podcasting. 

Do you create a podcast script for each episode? How detailed do you make it? Let us know in the comments!

Get started with Castos today

And see just how easy podcasting can be.

No Credit Card Required

Share with a friend!

One Reply to “How To Write A Podcast Script”

  1. Thanks for the great starter guide. I’mentioned just starting out on my podcast journey.

    A few “comments” for improving that I could see:

    1. Template: you put the guests plug last. Most listeners I hear fall ofor (putting the plug at the end has less value to the guest). I was advised to plug themy just after intro of guest then possibly mid-way (where naturally flows; when opportunity rises)

    Then people hear the plug up front. Could be a good Segway into the first question.

    Recording Audio seperatly I’m wondering if it is best to edit in stereo (one channel (left or right)) per talker (so the audio edits nicer when splicing audio in editing (then in post, end: make 2 tracks stereo tracks (1 talker per track) Then slightly pan each talker to their own end with a little spill over to the other talkers channel. May make post editing easier.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *