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The Art of Creating an Invisible Podcast Script | Engaging Episodes #1

Guide

This is Episode 1 of the Engaging Episodes series, all around creating the most engaging, compelling, powerful podcasts possible.

To script or not to script… that is the question.

One of the things we’re often asked, especially by new podcasters, is “should I write a script for my podcast?” The answer is almost always ‘yes’. At least to some degree.

In the real world, it’s unusual that complete scripts are written. More commonly the bulk of a show will be planned out with bullet points, and the host will script the set-piece elements. Examples of this include the intro, the sponsor message and the call to action, all of which benefit from being really polished.

The end result of this type of process is a bullet point plan for the entire show, with some sections fully scripted for clarity and slick delivery

If you think this sounds like overkill, then in some cases you’re quite right. Many hosts simply wing it on every episode, and do just fine. There’s an assumption, though, that the most inspiring or successful podcasters don’t script anything. Well, the opposite it often true, and that extra work is just one of the many things that gives them their edge.

You see, many of our podcasting idols just happen to be masters at crafting invisible scripts.

Scripts, though well intended, are dangerous beasts. They have the ability to squeeze the very soul out of the spoken word. But a well-executed, invisible script is worth it for five key reasons.

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  1. Helps create your Podcast structure, ensuring you cover all points.
  2. Ensures your content flows and engages.
  3. Builds your reputation as a slick podcast host.
  4. Gives you the roadmap to deliver confidently.
  5. Cuts down on production time.

What is an Invisible Script?

An invisible script comes across so naturally that the listener thinks it’s been ad-libbed. It’s easier said than done because writing to be read and writing to be heard require a different thought process.

Our earliest podcasts definitely don’t sound as natural as our most recent efforts. We’ve learned, over time, that the way we write our blog posts, and the way we write our podcast needs to be different.

With the aim of helping you shortcut that process, here are our top tips to turn your obvious script into an invisible script.

Map it Out - One Step at a Time

A great way to start is by mapping out the structure of your podcast. Breaking any task down into smaller components is good advice generally! Here are some specific examples you can apply to your podcasting.

Suggested Script Elements

  • The ‘Welcome To’ Message
  • The ‘Thanks for listening, hope you’re well.’ Rapport Builder
  • The ‘This week we’ll be discussing’ episode introduction.
  • The ‘Here’s a message from our sponsor’ commercial.
  • The ‘Our guest this week is’ introduction.
  • The ‘Thanks for listening’ close.
  • The ‘Please leave an iTunes review’ call to action close.

Your podcast map should be linear. In other words, each step leads on naturally to the next. Don’t force your listener to rewind to an earlier part of the podcast. Keep the flow simple, logical and consecutive.

Write Like You Talk

Invisible Podcast ScriptThe best podcasts are conversational in nature. It’s a familiar voice speaking directly to you with personality and warmth. Tune into the way that you talk in everyday life. Compare that to how you write. Listen to how those around you talk. (I recommend taking mental notes, not real ones…. that would just be weird!)

Just listen and be aware that there is a pronounced difference between speaking and writing.. That’ll give you the general idea, but next let’s explore some of the specifics

Use Contractions

  • Use I’ve rather than I have.
  • Use I’ll rather than I will.
  • Use Don’t rather than Do not.

Ignore the aghast looks your english teacher would shoot your way. Contractions make reading your script 10 times more natural!

Use Plain English

“Someone pinged over an email and asked…”

Is better than

“I recently received an email enquiry from a listener, who proceeded to ask…”

Cut Out The Jargon

Even if you’re Podcast is technical in nature, try to cut the jargon from your script. Don’t assume a base level of knowledge from your audience. Spend the time to script a simpler version of anything you feel is too technical.

Regards jargon and plain english, it’s really easy to fall into the ‘writing to impress’ trap. You want to prove your knowledge, after all. To sound intelligent and confident.

Instead, have the confidence that you’ll be credible no matter what language you use. And that’s because you are! You don’t need flowery, complicated language to prove it. Simple explanations that clarify are much more impressive than complicated words that confuse.

Use Short Sentences

Keep sentences short. Longer sentences, when spoken, come across as a bit rambly. Restrict a sentence to one point or idea. If you have any more than one comma, consider breaking it into a new sentence. Similar with the word ‘and’.

If All Else Fails…

Use the ‘mate test’. In other words - would a friend recognise you if he heard your podcast? Or, would he shake his head in disgust while uttering the words ‘he’s changed!’. Be yourself, be authentic and have fun.

It might take you a while to get there but before you know it you’ll be creating invisible scripts that mark you down as a podcasting Superhero.

We’re great believers at ThePodcastHost.com that you learn more by doing, than you do by reading. Here’s what we’d like you to do. Take any element of your podcast and write a script for it. Once you’ve done that - share it in the comments.

Don’t be shy, go on - give it a try.

Resources

You might find our ‘How to script your podcast’ blog post helpful.

Written by:

Kevin Anderson

Kev Anderson is a freelance copywriter and owner of Square Tree Marketing. After a 20 year career in marketing, Kev decided that he wanted to make his living as a writer. Kev’s an avid podcast fan and his favourite podcast is The Self Publishing Podcast. (He’s listened to all 191 episodes!)

January 15th 2016

5 Comments

  1. Gaege Root on 9th April 2017 at 12:04 am

    I can’t believe this is over a year old and hasn’t had a single comment on it….

    Anyhow, I’m grateful you’ve put together this series focused on the actual content of a podcast.

    So many posts are focused on the hardware, software, marketing, prospecting, etc., so this is a breath of fresh air.

    I’m just in the beginning stages of organizing an interview-style podcast focused on entrepreneurs that aren’t necessarily in the spotlight. This is to contrast with the many other “entrepreneur” podcasts that all seem to go through the same rounds of interviewing whoever has a new self-help book out that month. It’s surprising how quickly podcasting took to commercializing and producing the same bland BS that was traditionally reserved for daytime talk shows.

    Anyhow, here’s my working draft for my intro!

    “Hello to all my fellow hustlers out there! This is Method & Madness, where we talk with unsung heroes of entrepreneurship to get real, actionable advice to help you turn your side hustle into your main hustle. I’m Gaege Root and I’m joined by my hetero life mate Brad Simmons. This is episode 15 and today we’re chatting with Kevin Anderson. He’s a freelance wordsmith, marketing genius, and all-around genuine fellow. Are you ready to get crushed with value? Let’s get to it.”

    Would love any feedback you’ve got!

    Again, thanks for the killer series.

    • Cristel sias on 4th January 2019 at 7:22 pm

      Awesome intro script. Where can I listen to your podcast?

  2. Vincent Erick on 14th July 2018 at 6:04 pm

    Thank you for this!

  3. Theboardrider on 25th October 2018 at 8:43 am

    Welcome to “The Best Revenge is Living Well,” the podcast by men, for men, going through that toughest trial of life….divorce. I’m Matt and he’s Todd, and together, relying on our experience, some research, and a lot of advice and help from those who have been there and have the t-shirt to prove it, we will share with you what to expect, what to do, what not to do, and help each of you answer the most important question you should be asking what’s next. That’s really what it’s all about, helping you to move on, and we know from experience, it’s a lot easier said than done.”

    Thanks for the series! And look for us on iTunes or wherever you find your podcasts.

  4. Hirinjay on 20th November 2018 at 1:25 am

    “Welcome to Perpetual Narratives, where we bring your stories to life! I’m your host Brian, and I will be traveling with you through the world of Mokaal, the setting for today’s story. We begin, as always, in a strange little room…”

    I’ve been wanting to get a storytelling business up and running for a while now, and I felt that getting a podcast started might be a good way to really get moving, so thanks for this series! I am hoping that I will be able to apply much of what i learn here to get started on the right foot with my podcast.

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