Podcasts are an excellent way to get your message out there, as long as you can find a topic that people care about. But if you’ve been struggling with podcasting, it may be because you don’t know the secret of podcasting: using a script. Scripts allow for more coherent and better-organized content, which is key in a medium where time is limited and listeners have short attention spans. “Hang on!” I can feel you yelling at me right now. Joe Rogan doesn’t use a script, and he’s got one of the biggest podcasts in history! But Joe Rogan is a special case. He has over 20-years of a head start on where you are right now. So let me tell you why the secret to podcasting is having a script.
Having a script is important because it makes your content more coherent and more organized. It’s particularly important in the podcasting environment because time should be limited, and listeners have short attention spans. More importantly, having a script allows you to fulfill your original intentions while maintaining consistency for your audience.
Plus, by maintaining consistency, you can build loyalty with your audience. And that right there is the secret to podcasting. Building loyal relationships with your listeners so they come back for more! That’s how you get people to listen to every episode of your show, not just this week’s episode.
The Secret to Using a Script is to Not Use a Script.
While you are going to use a script for your podcast, you shouldn’t let it completely dictate how you talk on-air. Scripts are extremely helpful, but they shouldn’t be the only thing dictating what’s spoken and what’s not spoken on-air. The secret is to avoid rigid adherence to the script. It should be loose enough so that if your mind goes off-track, you can still navigate back to the main point. Think of it as a trail through the woods. The trail is your script, and you can veer off of it and explore new areas but you should always be able to find your way back.
If you use a script too rigidly, then by the time you get to the end of it, you run the risk of sounding boring, wooden, or worse yet like you’re reading from a book. So open up your script and highlight the main point you want to make, but leave some wiggle room for yourself.
This might seem counterproductive to you because if you wrote an entire script, why wouldn’t you want to stick to it? Well, when you’re in podcasting mode, your mind might wander—and that’s when you want the flexibility of improvising. That’s where having pre-planned content comes into play.
So why not just write the main points that you’re going to highlight?
There are two reasons for this. The first is that you’re not writing a script to creatively deliver the material, but instead to write out an outline of what content you want to cover and in what order. Consider it as an early rehearsal of your podcast episode where you test out every word that you’ve written.
The second reason is that you want to keep your mind loose and avoid stress. If you have pre-planned content, then it’s one less thing for your brain to worry about doing well. And if your thoughts go off track? No problem. You’ve already highlighted the main point of what you were going to say anyway and you can even read the transitional phrase that you already came up with into a new thought.
A bonus reason to use a script is that you will know about where you need to be to hit any goals you have with the length of your episode. A human-speaking voice is somewhere around 200-250 words per minute. If you know that you want a 10-minute long episode then you better not have more than 2,500 words in your episode.
OK, how do I get started writing a script?
Using a script can seem daunting at first, but every step you take to make your podcasting life easier will go a long way towards improving how people perceive your show. The first step in writing a script is to write your main points (use as many as you think is appropriate) Some people like to do this like a traditional outline, while others like to do brain maps- the bubbles with ideas that interconnect.
Next, write some transitional phrases. If you’re using a script, then it’s important to develop the ability to make on-air transitions between two or more thoughts. You don’t want your listeners sliding off of a cliff because they didn’t hear what you said. If you’re going to highlight the main point, then the complete thought should be contained in that section of your script. You can use transitional phrases to ease into and out of other thoughts that you want to make on-air.
This will give you a great start to writing your script. Once you have these then you can spend some time filling in each section because you know the main point and where you want to go from there.
Don’t Write for your English Teacher
When you are writing a script for your podcast feel free to throw grammar, punctuation, and spelling out the window. This is not a paper that you are turning in for an English class assignment, this is a spoken podcast episode. No one will see this but you and I promise, no one actually writes the way that they speak, and if they do they have messed up grammar and spelling. Your English teacher would not be impressed, but your audience will love you for it!
For instance, sometimes I want to add emphasis to a point I am making, so I’ll use multiple exclamation points. Do you want to have a dramatic pause? then feel free to use three full stops (periods) like … I … am … doing … right … now. Maybe you bold words that you want to have an upward inflection and underline important words that you want to make sure are said exactly as you’ve written them.
Feel free to break any rule that you’ve ever been taught and just write the way that you speak and think. Your audience will connect better with how you really sound than to try and imitate someone else, and remember what we said earlier: no one writes as they speak, so why do it?
Writing Scripts Quickly
If you are concerned about the fact that you aren’t a writer, or that you don’t have time to write 5,000-10,000 words for every episode that you’re going to record, then let me introduce you to your new best friend. His name is Jarvis and he is an AI copywriting tool. Specifically, he has a tool called the Long Form Assistant that will help you to write all of this super quickly.
As you start to put together your main points Jarvis can help write the words that you choose to use to introduce your topic, transition between topics, and any other thought you have. The great thing about the Long Form Assistant is that it can do things like writing out entire scripts for you so that even if you’re not great at writing you can present a polished episode by just reading what your new assistant wrote. As a matter of fact, this whole blog post was created using Jarvis’ Long Form Assistant in just a few minutes.
If you want to give Jarvis a whirl, then I have a link for you that will give you 10k free generated words, but even more than the trial, I recommend that you sign up for my Podcast With Jarvis email course which over the course of your 5-day trial will teach you the basics of using Jarvis and how you can use Jarvis to help you create way more content than you were doing before.
If you feel like writing out a full script will help you to stay on topic and be as polished as possible then do it. If you feel more comfortable just sharing your thoughts naturally, then go for it. I’m not going to tell you that you can only podcast my way, but at least try both ways and see what works better for you. If you have questions about this or anything else about starting a podcast please hit me up!
Thanks for reading!