The big question is whether you should or shouldn’t plan your podcast script and there are people who sit in both camps. Some believe that scripted podcasts make speech feel stiff and rehearsed, others believe it’s the key to being confident, concise and keeping the content flowing.
The answer is to plan, but to plan right, as it is nigh on impossible to create great content without some sort of planning, even the podcasts which sound ad-libbed are scripted and rehearsed to some level. However, don’t think that you need to produce a rigid script which you follow word for word, you can create a guide which gives you pointers and leads you through your topics. The power of planning is that it ensures captivating content which hooks listeners and keeps you focused.
A clear summary
To get started you need to look at the bigger picture – what are the main ideas and themes you want to cover during your podcast? Start by getting the central ideas down on paper and use them to branch out into smaller subcategories – a great way of doing this is by mindmapping. Mindmapping lets you work quickly and organically, without planning as you go, allowing you to come back later to structure your content. Simple Mind is a great mindmapping app which works across iOS, Android, Desktop PC or MAC and has nifty tools such as being able to create more than one central theme, color coding your thoughts and the option to attach photos and documents.
Write how you talk
Once you have your ideas clear, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty, the writing, and there are lots of tools out there to help you get your writing in order. Apps such as iA Writer (for Mac), have distraction-free modes which allow you to write in peace, for more complex projects, a tool like Scrivener can save you time by managing the different components of your series. For editing, Grammarly is good for short pieces of content and the Hemingway app is a great editing tool for scripts as it recognizes repeated words/phrases and highlights long and complicated sentences.
When approaching the writing part, the most important factor is to write using your stream of consciousness and edit afterwards. The Podcast Host recommends improving your efficiency by: ‘following the simple plan of creating an outline, writing (or planning) the structure of your podcast and then editing as distinct phases’. Also, always keep in mind whether you’re writing for yourself or someone else. If you aren’t going to be the person reading your script you need to make it as accessible as possible for who will be, writing clearly, concisely and even going to the length of writing your words phonetically if they are difficult to pronounce!
Show Your Style
Whilst re-reworking your script you need to remember that you have a very short window in which to grab listeners attention. Your intro should pack with a punch and immediately deliver your podcast’s personality and style. Stephanie Murphy blogs about how a ‘podcast intro is the audio equivalent of a first impression’ – which means you literally have seconds to convince your audience that you’re worth listening to. Giving your podcast character and individuality is what will create a bond between you and listeners; write with a friendly style and avoid using complicated terminology which could cause listeners to lose interest.
Refine it to Perfection
The final step in getting your podcast ready for broadcast is refining it until you feel confident that it delivers with power. One of the best ways to be sure is to read your text aloud. Reading text aloud means you will become more familiar with the material, giving you more confidence and it will highlight any weaknesses or errors so you can rework them until perfection. So get reading and get perfecting!
What is clear is that great podcasts are never accidental but that different types of podcasts require different levels of preparation. Whatever your podcast style – organization will allow you to feel prepared with information to hand – adding confidence to your presentation and allowing your podcast to soar!