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What do you do when you think you’ve nothing left to say on your topic?
Matthew: A question coming in though the website from Brian. What if I’ve run out of topics to cover? What if Brian hadn’t got in touch and we’d run out of topics to cover? I’m not even joking there because this whole series is a series where we’re answering people’s questions. There’s a very, very quick win for you. Just start answering questions.
Colin: Yeah, totally. You run out of topics, just get your emails, get your comments on your blog, start answering them. It’s a great way to engage with your audience as well isn’t it?
Matthew: Yeah. That’s 100% your starting point here is okay, let’s start with the audience. Straight away you want to find out what do your audience want to know from you rather that what would I just like to talk about. What are some of the ways that you can ask your audience what they want from you and what they want from your episodes?
Colin: Firstly on the podcast just like we did recently. We’ve been asking people to send us in questions via the podcast and this is a real request actually so send us more questions. You can either email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can send us a voice mail which is great at thepodcasthost.com/contact or you can tweet us at thepodcasthost. There’s a real life example. You should do that but also, that’s what you can do with your own listeners.
Matthew: Asking on your episodes is obviously the most logical route. Something we’ve done in the past on my own show is very now than then we’ll do a survey. You just create a free survey. There’s lots of tools online. I think we always use Survey Monkey.
Colin: It’s always the popular one.
Matthew: With surveys, I like them as easy and as quick as possible and not too indulgent that’s going to take people so long that they won’t fill it out. Just use it as an opportunity for people to ask you questions about what they want to hear. Bigger topics, smaller topics, anything. Just get feedback from people and you’ll be able to come up with some episodes.
Colin: Yeah, for sure and that works. One of the best ways that we get topics for the podcast but also for the blog, for our videos, for anything is through a survey on our email list. One of the actions that we ask people to do when they get to website, they’ll read an article, watch a video, listen to a podcast, and at the end of each one there’ll be a little sign up box saying if you want to download our How to Podcast ebook, then put your email address in here.
Obviously, that’s a marketing technique for us because it means that we can then start sending them even more good stuff. We can tell them about new blog posts, new podcast articles, all that kind of stuff. We can send them this book which increases our credibility, helps the listener, the subscriber in some way but about three emails into the automated sequence after they sign up, is a survey. I say it’s a survey, it’s really just a question isn’t it? It’s just an email that goes out and asks the question what are you struggling with? We get so many good responses to that. We get so many questions, so many issues, so many pains and barriers and struggles that we’re never going to run out of topics because people just respond to that. We get probably one every day at least. That’s a good way to do it I think.
Matthew: Another way is, even if you’ve got a very small audience, hopefully you’ve had some interaction before and you’re aware of some listeners that are out there. If you could maybe just approach two or three people who are quite engaged with the show and have spoke to you before, just approach them personally and either say to them “Look, can I ask you some questions over email or, even better, can we jump on Skype for half an hour? I just want to find out how you’re getting on, what you’re struggling with stuff.” You’ll come up with content that way as well because you’re essentially speaking to someone who’s your target audience.
Colin: It doesn’t have to be listeners either. If you’re running a business, you have people coming into the shop, into your office and you’re going out to visit people, you’re a tradesman or something like that. Speak to people. You have to anyway, obviously you’re speaking to people but they’ll be asking you questions. The mindset to get into is that every time somebody asks you a question about your job, about your trade, about your industry, write it down. Have those questions to hand. Keep a notepad in your pocket and have those questions written down every single time. Then next time you go to create an episode or to plan out your next series or something, you can just look back at that and see, what were the last 10 questions that my customers asked me? That’s the best things that you can answer because that’s obviously the things that are on your customer’s mind. That’s what’s going to help them find you.
Matthew: You touched on email lists. What’s some of the best ways that you can get feedback through you’re email list? If you’re putting questions out there basically for them.
Colin: I think it’s just keeping it simple actually, I’ve been guilty in the past of emailing my list and giving them five or six different questions, so an actual survey. Asking them to spend some time on it and sending them off to a survey page. We do do that and it does work but the biggest responses we get is just when I literally send an email that actually just says the question just curious, what’s troubling you just now? I’d love to write a blog post on it or I’d love to help you out. It’s one sentence, less than 20 words and it’s written as a personal email so they just hit reply. There’s no need to go off to a survey page or anything like that. They just hit reply and they just tell me and I get some great responses from those.
Matthew: Not had anyone pouring their heart out about the cat dying.
Colin: No personal, no marriage breakdowns.
Matthew: Husband had an affair.
Colin: Not quite yet but you never know.
Matthew: Looking online for Facebook communities, forums and things like that in your niche as well is great because people are always going online and asking questions aren’t they? You’ll maybe see a good discussion and you’ll have something to add and you think well why don’t we just put the recorder on here and do an episode about it? You’re always going to find content just by searching in these communities where people are asking a lot of questions.
Colin: Facebook, Google plus, Linkedin, places like Quora. Quora is a specific website for asking questions and generally you can find a topic which suits your niche. There is a podcasting tag on Quora which we watch and get questions from and use that to inspire our own topics. Loads of places out there you can get them isn’t there? Reddit actually. It’s not something I use a lot but a lot of people I know do use it quite a bit and apparently, Reddit is just a mine of questions. I keep thinking we should get in there.
I think, definitely the stuff that we’ve just talked about should be the first stop but what about if you’re just actually brainstorming some questions yourself? You just want to sit down for half an hour and try and figure out some topics yourself. Are there any techniques you can use to go about that?
Matthew: I’ll tell you what, just with you saying that, one of the best ways that I’ve found coming up with any sort of ideas is going out for a walk and not taking your phone with you. It’s amazing how, when you’re constantly sitting looking at your phone or looking at your computer screen, you’re brain’s not really working at its full capacity so it’s actually like going out for walks. It sounds silly but going and doing manual tasks, doing dishes, do a bit of gardening. I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone but it really works for me when I’m kind of switched off, I’m on autopilot and suddenly wee things just come to you that wouldn’t probably come to you if you’re sitting looking at a blank word document.
Colin: It’s giving yourself the time to think up, to imagine, to daydream and things just come to you. Absolutely. I think the one thing that I’ve done in the past, maybe more structured than that obviously, not as creative Matthew but, the more structured is to use … There’s a chap called Marcus Sheridan who does a great show, a great podcast and a great blog as well. He defined five different categories for customer questions. He’s all about customer questions, that’s his thing. The big five he calls them and they are cost, versus. Versus being like this product or that product so in his niche he does pools. It would be like a concrete pool versus a fibreglass pool so you write an article or you do a podcast episode on that. Then you’ve got reviews, so reviewing this particular make of fibreglass pool or for us, it’s like reviewing microphones or reviewing the latest Mackie mixer. Then you’ve got problems so it’s common problems like, I’ve just noticed I was doing it so I’m leaning back a bit, popping my microphone. How do I stop myself from popping my microphone? That’s a problem question, then the last one is best so people always asking, as a plumber you’d be like what is the best boiler for my house? You’d write an article around what is the best boiler for my house.
Those five topics. Cost, versus, reviews, problems and best, if you write those headers, I’ve done this before, get a piece of paper, or get five pieces of paper, even better, write those headers at the top of each and then just spend an hour just writing as many different ideas as you can, inspired by those headings. It’s amazing how that little constraint, so those little suggestions at the top of the page, can help you come up with some great ideas for your podcast. I’ve come up with 50 at a time before using that technique.
Matthew: Another method that I’ve found myself using in the past is just reading books. I suppose predominantly books in your nice but it’s not limited to that and whether it’s a fictional book or a self help book, or a factual manual or things like that, there are always wee nuggets. I’m not talking about plagiarising stuff but just mentioning on the show “Look, I was reading this book, linked it in the show notes by the way here. Affiliate link in there but there’s a really good section on this and it got me thinking about this and how it relates to this.” You can always relate stuff to your own topics. When you’re consuming other content like books, it’s keeping your brain working and you’re going to come up with ideas.
Colin: It’s that mindset isn’t it of being a question, a topic hunter I suppose. Of being a person that every time you hear about a question, you hear a topic, you read something, you’re always thinking in the back of my mind, how can I turn this into a bit of content for my show? Do you know what? The best thing about books is that you don’t have to own them either. I’ve done this before. You go onto Amazon and you just do the preview thing and you just look through the contents actually. The contents page of a book can be a gold mine for topics. Just find a book around your topic, take all the chapters, chapters might be kind of higher level topics and then you’ve got little sub chapter headings and they can be great ideas for topics for a show.
Often a book can give you a really good idea for a series because you might do a series of say five to 10 episodes around one particular topic and maybe that will be every chapter in the book or maybe it’s actually a chapter and all the sub headings. Go through and start exploring some of the chapter listings from books in your industry.
Matthew: Another wee idea, if you’re not an interview podcast is, just to maybe go out and do three or four interviews with people in your niche that you’ve always wanted to speak to. Maybe not setting out to talk about one particular thing and again, we can’t digress on interview skills and things like that but just having a really good conversation with someone from the point of view of your audience. Some of the questions that you think that they would want answered off this person. Just title your episode based on what was the meat of the conversation. You never know, the things that get thrown up in that conversation as well could lead to other topics that you could talk about. Getting other people on the show can help to stimulate that sort of thing.
Colin: Often. If you get somebody who’s expert in an area maybe you’re not quite so confident in, something in your industry that maybe you don’t have so much experience in, then that prompts questions from you. You end up asking them questions and that can prompt a blog post or a podcast episode or something as well. It works well.
Matthew: Any other tips then?
Colin: I think that’s about it. I think people worry too much about running out of topics because if you use any of these things, any one of these ideas, especially just talking to your audience, just listening to people, listening to the people you’re interacting with every day, it’s practically impossible to run out of topics.
Matthew: That’s why we’ll never stop this season. We’ll just keep going. I think this is actually the end of the season isn’t it?
Colin: It is, yeah. This is episode 12.
Matthew: We’ve run out of topics.
Colin: We’re thinking about doing a Christmas special before Christmas. We’ll see what happens with that, see how we manage but we might do a more light hearted version. This is the official end of season 12. Is this season 12? This is episode 12. The official end of season seven. Episode 12 of season seven. Remember you can always go and get the show notes at podcraft.net/712. That’s series seven, episode 12. Thanks for following along with this season. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed answering the questions.
Matthew: I have too and if I could indulge you for one more minute, I just want to mention the scholarship as well. The Scottish Podcast Scholarship competition, open to all students in Scotland. It’s a competition running until the 31st of January 2017. We’re inviting you to pitch podcast ideas to us through the website and the winner could win 400 pounds recording equipment, free media hosting, a whole lot of other things. You could find all details about that competition at thepodcasthost.com/pitch.
Colin: Indeed. We’d love to see your ideas. Hoping to get some great podcasts out there.
What happens if you don’t launch with 3, 5, or 10 episodes? Will your podcast be doomed before it starts?
Matthew: Great question that’s came in from Mary on the website. How many episodes do I need launch a podcast? One. Is that us done now? End of the episode?
Colin: Done and finished.
Matthew: Yeah. It’s true isn’t it?
Colin: Yeah, absolutely.
Matthew: There’s a lot of different information out there about this sort of thing. You only need one podcast and that’s you up and running.
Colin: One episode. Don’t mix up the terminology.
Matthew: One episode.
Colin: We might as well clarify that actually, just in case there’s any quite early stage podcasters listening. When we talk about a podcast, we’re talking about the whole series aren’t we? We’re talking about an entire podcast which could be one episode, it could be 50 episodes. One episode is actually just that one listen. A lot of people mix that up as well.
You can launch. You can submit to iTunes as long as you have one episode live in your podcast feed, in your RSS feed. What’s the advantage of doing it with just one then?
Matthew: Because you’re up and running. That’s you in the game. With every week that passes that you don’t launch your podcast, there are people out there, your competitors if you like, who are putting out content, they’re getting downloads, they’re climbing those iTunes rankings and the longer you hold back, the further you fall behind. Even if you’ve got 10 amazing episodes recorded, they’re not out there so you need to be getting them out there basically. That’s why I’m quite a big proponent of just getting it done, getting it launched.
Colin: Just getting something out there.
Matthew: There obviously are benefits from going with the likes of three episodes as well aren’t there?
Colin: The other benefit I would say of one episode is that as soon as you’ve got one out there, like you say, that’s you started at least but it’s motivation. You’ve got one live and suddenly, if you think that it’s going to take you two weeks to create another episode then that’s quite a big gap so it motivates you to get on and just start creating the next one. There’s no procrastination.
Launching with three. The first thing that always comes up when you talk about launching with three is the fact that if somebody subscribes to your show then if there’s three episodes there, then if they like the first one, they’re more likely to listen to the second one and the third one straight away. That is what starts to build engagement. They spend more time with you and therefore, they’re more likely to become fans of your show straight away, subscribe and keep listening next time. They’re more likely to just become addicted almost to your content. What else is there do you think about going with three episodes? I say three but it doesn’t have to be three. I just mean multiple episodes.
Matthew: If people are spending a bit more time with you like you say, they’ve just got a chance to settle in with you don’t they? If you just listen to one episode of someone, might be a decent episode, there’s always a chance that you might just if it’s a 10 minute episode, just move on.
Colin: And forget about it. Never listen to it again. I think actually, the bigger question, this is probably one that suits you really well because you’ve helped a tonne of people launch shows particularly. Launching with three. We’re talking about having three live when you launch but actually, is that all you’re going to have ready?
Matthew: Well if you’re doing something like an interview show I suppose it might be a good idea but again, I’m wary of using this as a procrastination thing. Doing some interviews in the lead up to it. Again there’s so many pitfalls with this. You start doing interviews, you start putting them away, you end up with this massive bank of recordings. Another thing as well is, is your podcast evergreen or is it time sensitive because a lot of people if they’re doing time sensitive stuff, don’t have the opportunity to be getting stuff in the bank. As soon as they’re putting out content, maybe it’s a sports show or a politics show or a news show.
Colin: It needs to be really up-to-date.
Matthew: There’s no point in recording stuff for like three months ago because if you’re not putting that out there, it’s gone.
Colin: I think the vast majority of people can benefit from having a few episodes queued up at least. Gives them a bit of a buffer. More likely to stay regular I would have said so yeah, it’s a good idea. What do we aim for? We tend to think about three live and maybe three or four in the bank so it gives you up to a month buffer.
Matthew: Yeah, and again I think, sounds like I’ve got no consistency here but, a benefit of doing three is that you’ve got the experience of recording three podcasts. You probably know more that it is for you. it’s something that you want to do. Literally, if you’re entire podcasting experience is recording a 10 minute episode, you’re still very inexperienced. Maybe it will be halfway through episode two that you realise that you hate it but you’ve already signed up, you’ve already launched the podcast, you’ve told everyone about it. There’s that as well. I guess there’s no right or wrong answer is there?
Colin: When it comes down to it what we’re saying is don’t procrastinate. If creating three is going to make you hold back for ages on launching then don’t bother. Just put one out and see what happens. If creating three and not having another three ready is going to make you procrastinate again then just create the three and get it ready and then actually just try and keep up beyond that. Whatever helps you get your show out quicker is better. Any last thoughts on that?
Matthew: Just the whole New and Noteworthy thing as well. Don’t obsess over that, getting featured on iTunes and that. That’s all great.
Colin: It’s a wee boost but not much.
Matthew: Exactly but don’t make that the crux of your podcast launch. When you’re doing a podcast it’s a long term thing. It’s like getting a dog. It not just for Christmas. The real benefits that you’ll get from your podcast are going to come after nine months, 18 months, five years. It’s a slow burn and you’ve got to put the work in and work hard at it. You’re not just going to throw two or three episodes out there, start getting thousands of downloads and make loads of money and retire. That’s just not going to happen so I suppose be realistic as well. Know that you’re going in to this as a long term project.
Colin: That’s one of the reasons people procrastinate a bit over having five episodes ready and five in the bank, because they want to make sure they take full advantage of that first eight weeks. I’ve seen people putting things off for six months or even a year because it’s quite a big bit of work to get all of those episodes ready, to feel like if you don’t take advantage of that first eight weeks, I say eight weeks because that’s what’s known as the new and noteworthy period. People thinking if they don’t take full advantage of that then they’re podcast is scuppered but it’s nonsense because we’ve had lots of evidence in the past which has shown that it doesn’t make that much of a difference. Even if you’re on the front page of the entire iTunes store, we’ve not seen it increasing downloads that much. Don’t worry about that stuff. Just get an episode out there, try and keep to a regular period and that’s about as best you can do.
How do you put your show on hiatus without losing a chunk of your audience?
Matthew: So this was a question that we got in through the website from Derek and to be honest this is something that I’ve wrestled with in the past as well with my own podcast, so what if you need to take a break from your podcasts? So for example, I don’t know Derek’s situation, but I’m sure it might be quite similar. My own show, we were putting out weekly episodes. Sometimes life gets in the way, other commitments get in the way. So we made the decision to switch to fortnightly then we were able to get back to weekly and then we went a spell where it was almost monthly and there are certain points around the festive period or the summer holidays where you have to say to your listeners that we’re going to take a month off.
so it’s difficult isn’t it. Colin, you’re a big advocate of podcasting and seasons so this is something you might argue can help you to get around that sort of treadmill feeling isn’t it.
Colin: I think so. I mean before we jump into the seasons stuff, I think it’s the biggest… it’s arguably the biggest problem I think people have with podcasting. The most common problem they have with podcasting. It’s the thing that people get in touch with us more often than not about. It’s like how do I keep coming up with ideas, how do I keep consistent, how do I keep regular? I just feel like I’m running and not keeping up with the schedule.
So even if you don’t jump into seasons, you said the exact right answer there I think, which is to communicate with your audience. So many people get to the stage where they get up on a Monday morning and they think “oh, I should record a podcast this week, I’m just not feeling it. I’m too busy, I can’t do it…” and they just leave it. And then they leave it the next week and then they leave it the next week and that’s when the trouble starts. It’s because listeners are going “What’s going on? The last episode everything was normal. It was going weekly until then and now suddenly there’s been nothing for three weeks…” but if you tell them what’s going on, you just communicate… it might be that you’re in that situation so you didn’t say it on your previous episode but you say “do you know what, I do need to take a break” and you just record a quick two minute clip.
you just say “Hey folks, thanks for listening. Do you know what, we’re going to take a break on the podcast for the next month or so. So today’s date is blah blah blah. The reason is I’m struggling for time, what I’m going to do is I’m going to come back even bigger and even better, more motivated. Here’s some topics we might talk about so stay tuned, don’t unsubscribe. We will be back, we’ll see you on December 25th…” That’s a bad day [laughs]. But you know, communicate, tell people what’s going on. Just tell them what’s happening and then they’ll hear that and they’ll go “Ah, that’s fine. I can understand that…” and they’ll stay around and they’ll not unsubscribe, or a few of them will.
Did you get any responses from that when you did that on your show?
Matthew: When we told them we were taking a break?
Matthew: Yeah I mean we’ve got a pretty good active community so we’re fortunate in that sense and everyone understands from our point of view, we’re doing a podcast, talking about making audio drama but we’re also making audio drama’s and we’ve got to try and juggle it. If we never make audio drama, how are going to talk about making audio drama. Again, before we get on to the seasonal thing another thing that I should probably mention is just because you need to personally take a break, does that necessarily mean that your podcasts need to take a break too? What I mean by that is, if you have developed enough audience, there might be the opportunity to find someone in the audience that you know and trust, that you could get to maybe take over as a temporary presenter or ask some of your listeners if they wouldn’t mind doing some interviews with people and your topic.
You might get a batch of these back and you could just put them out, so you’re still getting stuff out there. Again, it’s not possible for everyone but just because you need to personally take a break, there are still ways that you could get stuff out there. But again, make sure it’s going to be good stuff. There’s not point putting stuff out there just for the sake of it.
Colin: Don’t do padding, absolutely. There’s always easier ways to do episodes too isn’t there. Maybe you normally do a 30 minute interview with somebody or an hour long conversation with your three co hosts and that is what’s taking up the time because it’s either just logistics of organising it or getting everyone together, whatever it is. Maybe you can just get together one time, spend an hour recording three, four, five ten minute topics and just get them all cued up and tell people “we’re going on a break for a month and a half but we’ve recorded these responses to commonly asked questions or listener queries” or something like that and put them out. Schedule them for a month and a half or two months or whatever so you’re still getting stuff out but you’re doing it in an easier way.
Matthew: I like the idea of that, doing short episodes answering a question you’ve received in. Clever idea.
Colin: But yeah, to go over the seasons stuff quickly. You find loads of materials around seasons on the website. If you just go on to thepodcasthost.com and search ‘seasons’ in the top right hand search box you’ll find it there. We’ll link to it in the show notes as well. Show notes are at podcraft.net/708. But I mean, seasons I think they help with that whole treadmill problem like your just running to keep up with your schedule for a few different reasons.
The first of which is planning I think is the big one because it means that you can plan out say 8, 10, 12, 15 episodes all at once because you just choose a topic. You choose like one of our previous ones was monetization. So I said “I’m going to talk about monetization on season 6” and I just sat down for an hour and I just wrote down all the different aspects of monetization that I could think of. I spent a bit of time fleshing them out, putting four or five different bullet points in each one and by the end of that I had a plan for a season which had, I think there was about 7 or 8 episodes in it and that was that plan done.
Then every week I just sat down, I just pulled open that plan and I spoke for 30 minutes and it was easy because there was no procrastinating over choosing a topic, over planning it out or for doing a bit of research. All of that had been done ahead of time.
So once you’ve got that, you can do that batching as well so once you’ve got that plan I mean you can batch those. You can record three or four of them at once and that makes the whole keeping up with your schedule so much easier.
Next beyond planning you’ve got obviously the fact that you’re working towards the end. So you’re working towards an actual legitimate break and it makes much more sense to do a break between a couple of seasons doesn’t it. You finish a season of a TV series and you expect there to be a break before the next one comes out and there’s just something really motivational actually about you working towards the end of a season. Like we were working towards the end of this season just now. Once we finish this we’ve done 8 episodes, answered 8 questions and that feels quite significant. You’ve finished a chunk of work about one topic and we’re working towards that.
So it motivates you to get up and record those episodes every single week and we’re working towards that break as well so we know we’re going to take a rest for a few weeks. Re cooperate, evolve it , ask for feedback from the audience, think about what we’re going to do next time and be really excited about starting the next season because it’s a new topic, it’s something new to talk about. It’s something that your listeners have maybe inputted into as well.
I think there’s a bunch of reasons that seasons are great but yeah here’s just a few of them. Go on and get more on the articles on the website if you want to know my full arguments about them.
Matthew: Yeah and I suppose like if you aren’t doing seasons and your dealing with different topics, it could be completely disconnected from one week to the next. You could review your back catalogue and work out some seasons going forward. You can always make the change cannot you.
Colin: Absolutely yeah. You can stop at any point and say “right, we’re going to start… that was season 0, those first 100 episodes. Now we’re going onto season one, or even season two” whatever you want to say. There’s plenty of examples of that. Micheal Hyatt is a pretty high profile podcaster who did that. He stopped on his 100th episode and then said “right, we’re starting again, we’re going to a seasons format and we’re now starting season 2. Episode 101 is the first episode of season 2.”
So yeah it’s never too late to move on to that format.
Matthew: It’s never too late.
Colin: Never too late [Laughs]
Matthew: Maybe one day for my own show we’ll get round to that.
Colin: But do you know, the communication thing still stands with seasons too so you still need to make it clear that “this is a season on this topic, this is how many episodes it’s going to be” and on the last episode of that season say “right, thank you so much for listening through this season.” Give them a call to action, whether you want to ask for feedback, suggestions for the next season, whatever it is but tell them how long your taking a break. Tell them when you’re coming back and that cuts down massively on any unsubscribes or anything like that or even people that find your show during that season break. That’s probably the biggest concern, people that are brand new to your show. They find you, they see that you’ve not put anything out in 3 weeks, but if you explain why in that most latest episode, they’re going to listen to that and they’re going to find out why. They’ll maybe go back and listen to the rest of that previous season.
So final thing I’ll say on that is we’ve got resources on this stuff in the community to. So in fanfission.com that’s our community based on all the work we do at the podcast host and we’ve got some resources in there recorded webinars on how to run seasons. All the different ways you can use seasons as well and also we’re doing a lot of support and helping people create seasons. Actually move to that approach. Like in the forums, just chatting people through what their topics might be, what their plans might be, all that kind of stuff.
So if you need some help with this, by all means pop over to the community. Join us in there and we can talk you through it all and help you get the most out of it.
Hey folks, and welcome to another episode of Podschool!
The task for today is to move on to writing a Podcast script, ready for your first recording. We’re going to graduate to real podcasters today and you’ll start the process of creating your very first episode.
If you’re someone who has been podcasting for a while, this might still be useful to you. If you want to refine your scripting process, have a listen and see what the options are.
Option 1: Writing a Word-By-Word Podcast Script
Now, the way you go about creating a script is a very personal preference. Some people create a traditional, fully-fledged, word-by-word script which they then read out in full. And this can be really good to ensure that you cover everything you need to. Reading right through, you’ll make sure you don’t miss anything out and you’ll get all the facts right. It’s also good for people who are a bit less confident in speaking and who’d rather be methodical about recording, those who would rather be methodical and you don’t feel comfortable speaking off the cuff in front of a microphone. Also, for more complicated subjects or talks in something you’re not quite so au fait with, it can be really useful. It’s obviously a lot more difficult to speak on the fly when you have to remember a lot of facts that you’re not so familiar with.
The disadvantage of this approach, though, is that it can often lead to a pretty stilted, monotone delivery as you read right off the page. And you forget to inject a bit of you know, tone or personality into that information. That’s not always the case, though. And some people can read a script and still make it sound really natural. And there’s also a skill to actually writing more like you speak, so when you actually write your script, you create it in that kind of speaking tone, so that when you then read it, word-for-word, it still sounds conversational. So that’s something to think about that approach.
Option 2: Writing a Detailed Podcast Episode Plan
The alternative of course is just to write up an episode plan. So this can take a few forms. You can include a fair amount of detail still, although not quite as much as in a script. So you wouldn’t have word-for-word, but you’d have pretty much all the information in there that you need, just not how you’d actually speak it out. It’s a good compromise between writing a full script and doing it on the fly, because you’ll have the detail there, but you’ll need to ad-lib a little to introduce the kind of conversation and introduce a bit more personality.
Option 3: A Flexible, Rough Bullet Point Podcast Plan
At the other end of the make-it-up-as-you-go-along list, you could have a list of headers of which you could speak. This would be the most kind of, on the fly or off-the-cuff approach. These headers which remind you of the subjects you’re going to talk about and you’d hope that your expert knowledge on the subject will fill in the gaps. So this leads to the most conversational type of podcast. And often the most engaging is, it’s obvious you’re speaking from experience, and when you ad-lib much of it, your voice becomes a lot more active, a lot less monotone. The problem is, of course, that there’s a great chance that you might miss things out or forget material that you’re supposed to be talking about.
So, whatever method you choose is perfectly fine. You’ll find one you prefer and it’s pretty likely that you’ll start off writing full-on scripts and reading them word-for-word before moving onto slightly less structured material, if you’d like. So, basically the tasks for today are start writing.
Start Your Podcasting Journey: Write a Script
So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to create your own podcast. The first job is a script.
Just start writing a script for your first two to three-minute podcast. Keep it nice and short, and about a subject that you’re interested in.
That’s it for today! It’d be great to see some more comments on the site, so please do let me know how you’re getting on. Drop a comment in below, or tweet through on @thepodcasthost. Look forward to hearing from you!