Scripting and structuring your podcast

The word script probably makes you think of a word for word verbatim of what to say. Whilst we don’t work that way on our podcasts, it can be useful for certain types of shows. That said, we don’t run totally freestyle either! We have found that having a structure makes the whole recording run a lot smoother and saves a lot of time on editing. It’s also great for giving you extra confidence if you’re just starting out.

The amount of scripting you choose to do is up to you – a few bullet points or a simple list of questions might be all you need. If you have a guest, however, emailing a list of topics you’d like to cover in advance is always a good idea. It gives them time to prepare and might also help put them at ease, whilst setting you up for a good conversation.

You could think of your script more in terms of an outline of what you’re going to cover in the main segments of your show – the basic structure that will help the natural flow and hopefully stop you getting lost or rambling! 

Here are some of the key elements you’ll want to put some thought and planning around:

Show Intro / Opener
A short and snappy introduction to your show – what it’s about and what listeners can expect so you capture their interest from the outset. Whilst the topic may change from week to week, using the same opening message each time will build familiarity. If your show has a tagline here’s the place to use it.

Guest Introduction
Their name, what they do, and why you’ve got them on the show – their credentials so to speak. Include a little bit of background and their latest work or projects. Notes are definitely a good idea here so you have the facts to hand as you definitely don’t want to get these wrong.

How you move from one segment to another is an important part of the listener experience, especially when taking edits into account. A well-placed sound effect or pop of music can help the flow but a well-tested bank of natural sounding transitions are worth their weight in gold. We are big fans of ‘I love that you said’ or ‘I wanted to pick up on’ and ‘let’s switch direction’ for this.

Wrapping up your show leaves listeners with a lasting impression. You will likely have covered a lot of ground over the course of the episode, so a summary of the key points or takeaways is a good idea. You might want to signpost to your website or further resources and you can also use this to make any announcements about other things you have going on. Don’t forget to include a teaser for your next episode!

Call To Action
What is it that you want your guest to do when they’ve finished listening? What action do you want them to take? It could be visiting your website to sign up to your newsletter, subscribing, leaving a review or sharing on their social media. Remember to keep it clear and simple.

A note about Sponsors & Adverts
To some degree these will depend on whether these are being automatically placed or whether you are going to be reading them out. But if you are given the option of introducing sponsors yourself, do give careful thought as to how best to tee them up so they come across in as best a light as possible and an authentic and natural fit for your show or brand.

If you’d like more in-depth help with scripting your podcast we’ve got a great masterclass in our members’ area led by BBC producer Ella Watts. Find out more and sign up as a community member here.