The thought of coming up with your own podcast script might be a little unnerving when you’re just getting started. However, we’re here to tell you that writing a script is an essential element of podcasting.
The truth is that while the best podcasts are creative and entertaining, they also rely on structure to be successful. Using a high-quality podcast script and preparing for the interview or episode makes the difference between good and binge-worthy podcasts.
Before you launch your first episode for all your listeners to hear, it’s helpful first to understand how to start writing a good script. You’ll need to know the most common podcast script elements as well as the types of scripts to choose from.
Luckily, tons of templates to help you format exactly what your episode will sound like. Before we get into all that, let’s first examine how to write a podcast script and the key elements of its structure.
How Do You Write a Podcast Script?
When writing a podcast script, you don’t need to start from scratch with a blank sheet of paper. Scripting is less about coming up with your entire show out of thin air and more about using the tried and true scripting formats and plugging in your wittiest lines, best sound effects, and most intriguing interview questions for your guest.
Each episode will be unique, but you can still use a universal template to start them all off on the right foot.
The entire process looks a little like this:
- First, you should learn about every element you need to include to feel whole and complete for your episode.
- Next, explore the template options available to you.
- Put it all together and pick the right podcast style for your show.
- Now, add in the template that will set the theme for it.
- Be sure to include all script elements necessary.
- Review and practice your script with your co-host, going over your talking points and writing down any notes that may be helpful for you to reference when it comes time to record.
- Hit record, tape your podcasting show with guests (if included), and edit as needed to create a beautiful episode that your audience is sure to love.
How Do You Structure a Podcast? Common Podcast Script Elements
You don’t need to create word-for-word podcast scripts every time you need to prep episodes. If you want to, feel free. You’re welcome to do so. However, if you’re interested in a strategy that requires less detailed planning but still supports a tight, flowing episode, you can simply work on scripting certain podcast segments that should appear in all episodes.
From there, you can enjoy ad-libbing while still ensuring you hit all the talking points.
Keep in mind that you might not need every single one of these elements — they are just the most common segments found in the podcasting world and will give your listeners some structure they can come to expect.
When you create a podcast, you’ll usually tape the meat of your episode separate from the podcast intro. This is because the introduction should provide a wider perspective of the episode as a whole to help capture the audience’s attention from the start.
Your speaking introduction usually comes right after the musical intro or jingle, but before you dive in any deeper to your interview or talking points. The intro should be different every time since your episodes will vary, but each intro segment can follow the same format.
Here’s an example:
“Hey there and welcome to (name of your show), where we (explain the purpose of the show or drop your podcast’s timeline. I am your host (your name), this is (co-host name), and today we talk about (topic) with our guest (guest name). We’re going to be going over (topic discussion), and we know you’re going to love today’s episode.”
Next is the guest intro, which the host usually handles before they begin the interview (if there is an interview). This can be short and sweet — try writing down a short outline of facts and a point or two about your guest to set them up for success.
The guest introduction can look like this:
“Today, our guest is (name), and they are (title) with experience (what do they do?). We’re going to talk about (topic) on the show. Hi there (guest name), thanks again for joining us and our listeners today! We’re happy to have you.”
Message from Sponsor
Next is the segment that nobody loves, but it’s one of the most important segments as it funds the show: the sponsor message. Sometimes, the sponsor will just give the hosts a script to read verbatim. Other times, they’ll leave you free to prepare your own message that highlights the sponsor in a way related to the podcast.
Keep it simple like this example:
“This podcast is sponsored by (sponsor name), a company that (talk about the brand story and their basic values and products.”
It shouldn’t feel too forced when recording, as you want it to be a natural segue into the rest of the show.
You can create additional segues to transition from one topic to the next, like a few words, a sound effect, or even a little music jingle to keep things moving naturally. These should be placed sporadically throughout the show, and eventually, your audience will start to recognize them.
In the outro, you should briefly summarize the main point of the show for the audience. You likely just covered a lot of information, so bring it back home and reiterate the key points of the show. Then, you can use the opportunity to make any housekeeping announcements, tease upcoming episodes, and share resources that may be of value to your audience.
“Next week, we’re talking about/with (topic, story, or guests). You don’t want to miss it. In the meantime, check out (other resources) for more information about (podcast topic).
The last segment of the episode is where you’ll ask for some participation from your audience members. Depending on the structure and purpose of your podcast recording, you may ask them to subscribe to the podcast, rate and review it where podcasts are found, or join an email list.
Add a short, simple statement to close it all up.
“Thanks for listening! Be sure to subscribe to know when new episodes go live and subscribe to our email list at (show website) for more information about (topic).
Five Podcast Script Template Types
Before you set out to write a podcast script template of your own, know that all that work isn’t necessary. Several podcast script templates have already been made into great shows, so why not borrow from what you already know works well for podcasts?
Note that you don’t have to follow anyone’s script template exactly. You have total creative control to pick and choose the segment, style, and scripting of your final podcast recording. Include the words and parts you love in your episode, and exclude the rest.
It’s your show, and you get to make the final call.
We’re sharing five script themes, each with a different style and flow, so you can get started right away if you’d like.
1) Bullet Point Approach
The bullet point approach is simple. You’ll create a list of questions, tips, or basic talking points that provide just enough structure to get your show up and running without requiring too much time to plan the whole scene.
Choosing a looser show structure like this can also benefit you when you make mistakes while recording, as they naturally fit with the theme of your show.
2) Outline Approach
If you are craving more structure than a few bullet point notes provide, an outline option may be a better approach for you.
This falls somewhere between rough notes and a word-for-word script and usually includes elements such as a show intro, voice directions, music jingles, sponsor segments, segues, and any final tips to share in the outro.
Including all of these elements ensures you won’t miss anything important when recording the podcast live.
3) Verbatim Script
A verbatim script is just that. It’s going to require a lot of work from you up-front, but it’s beneficial for a very informative podcast.
If you do this, be sure to write in your voice so that you do not sound stiff when you record the show. Practicing this script can help make it sound natural when it’s showtime.
This style is great for audio dramas or solo shows and for anyone who prefers being overly prepared.
4) Solo Format
If you’re doing an episode on your own, try to keep your outline detailed enough to keep you afloat as you record but not verbatim, so there’s still some flexibility.
If you know you’re going to have a guest on your show, you should rely on an interview-style format to keep things flowing smoothly.
There’s nothing more awkward than a choppy interview, even if you can edit it afterward. Include a list of questions you plan on asking so they’re not blindsided when you and your other hosts welcome them to the show.
You should prepare this ahead of time and then send it out to other hosts and your guest, so everyone’s on the same page before you meet.
Creating Your Podcast Script: Step by Step
Now that you understand the foundation of a good podcast let’s put it all together and create a podcast script step by step. Then, we’ll share some tips to ensure you’re creating the best podcast possible.
1. Choose Your Podcast Style
What do you want your podcasting episode to sound like? Do you want it to be informational, conversational, comedic, a storytelling show, or an interview? Make the call. It will set the tone for the rest of the script.
2. Find a Template That Fits
Next, you need to find a podcast script template that fits the style you want to convey. Use the types of templates we listed above to find your perfect podcasting fit. You could choose a bullet-point approach, outline, word-for-word script, video podcast, interview style, or solo format. There are tons of downloadable options you can find online to make your life a lot easier.
3. Include All Script Elements
Regardless of the template you’re using, be sure to include all key script elements, so there’s no risk of forgetting important aspects when you’re recording your podcasts. They’ll also keep a regular structure among all your shows.
As a review, you should include:
- Your podcast intro
- Music jingle
- Sponsor message
- Sound effects
- Outro with closing remarks
- Call to action
In the meat of the episode, be sure to list at least topic 1, topic 2, and topic 3 to give yourself a rough guide of where to direct the conversation.
You should also include the technical script elements, like the page number, to keep everything in order and logical.
Further reading: What makes a good podcast great!
4. Review and Practice
Next, get together with your co-host to go over the podcast scripts you’ve created for the episode. This is super important when recording a podcast remotely. You want to come off natural before your guest joins the show, so try to keep the tone conversational and avoid reading things verbatim.
It’s good practice for when you have your guest on, whether in-person or virtually, so you can connect more with them rather than have your eyes on your paper.
5. Hit Record
Now you’re ready to join your co-host and begin recording your podcast episode with your guest of honor! And since it’s not radio or anything live like that, you have the additional benefit of editing as needed until it’s perfect. Your listeners will love it.
Podcast Script Tips
Now you know how to make a podcast script from scratch all the way to a beautiful final show that is ready for your listeners.
We’ve covered how to pick your podcast theme and the technical elements to include in your podcast script, but now we want to share some script tips to ensure you’re preparing the best guide that will then turn into the best episode of all your podcasts.
Write how you speak
Don’t use overly technical jargon to sound professional. You want to write the same way you speak, so when you use your voice, your listeners will get to know you and not some overly technical version of you.To check, read each sentence out loud after you’ve written it. If it sounds weird, go back and change it until it sounds normal.
Create visual depictions with your words
Your listeners don’t have a visual aid to go along with what you’re saying, so if you’re talking about something they can’t see or might not understand just from hearing about it, paint your listeners a picture using your voice to bridge the gap.
You’re bound to add anecdotes and extra talking points here and there, so make space for that in your script by keeping things concise. Don’t get overly wordy and make the podcast too long because you know there will be more to say when recording the audio for your listeners.
Make it feel like you
Don’t feel the need to be like any other podcast hosts. Help listeners get to know the real you by being honest and transparent in what you write and how you speak.
Conclusion: Writing Your Podcast First Episode
Writing your very first podcast script is a process all of your favorite show hosts had to go through. Know that you’re not alone and that with hard work and planning, you can craft a script that will kick off a great podcast.
Think of your podcast script the same way you’d think about an outline for a paper you’re writing. The outline serves as your customizable foundation for the episode to keep it flowing, clear, and to the point.
You may not get an amazing podcast script on your first try, so we recommend planning plenty of time to prepare and get the structure exactly how you want it.
If you are in doubt check out this: Should I start a podcast?
How long is a podcast script?
It completely depends on the type of script you want to write. A verbatim script could be several pages long, while a bullet-point approach may only take half a page.
When should you write a podcast script?
You should try to write your script a few days in advance of your recording. If you’re going to have a guest on the show, you should have it prepared at least a week ahead of time to send to them prior.
Do all podcasts need a script?
No rule says you can’t fly by the seat of your parents when you hit record, but that’s not likely what your listeners are looking for. Even the most basic scripts can provide the structure you need.
How can you include music in a podcast script?
You should make a note of when you will play the music as well as the duration of your music clip. For most podcasts, the music is listed after the intro and after the outro.
What segments do I always need to include for my listeners?
You should always include an intro segment, sponsor message, guest introduction if applicable, and your outro.