How to Plan a Podcast in 2021
It may seem like everybody is launching a podcast nowadays, but that doesn’t mean that each new podcast you hear about just materializes out of thin air. In fact, behind every good podcast is a whole lot of podcast planning.
So, if you’ve ever wondered how to start a podcast of your own, you’re in luck. Read on to discover all the essential steps to planning your podcast.
While many podcasts sound like natural, free-flowing conversations, don’t be fooled. Most podcasts actually follow a script template that helps them sound as conversational and presentable as they do.
Even the most popular and prolific podcasters in the world map out a strategic plan that addresses what they’re going to talk about before they begin recording a new episode. In order to replicate the conversational style that the podcasting medium is known for, you’ll need a great podcast script template to guide you.
But drafting a podcast script is only one piece of the podcast puzzle. Before you’re ready to mold your script template, you first need to know what kind of format your podcast will follow and, of course, what your podcast will be about.
Let’s start by going over the 10 essential steps of planning your podcast.
How to Plan a Podcast in 10 Steps:
|1.||Brainstorm Podcast Topics: Make a list of subjects that you’re both passionate and knowledgeable about, take a look at what’s already out there, and determine how your podcast will function as an extension of your content strategy.|
|2.||Decide on a Podcast Theme: Although your conversations will vary from episode to episode, this will be the overarching theme that your podcast is built around.|
|3.||Give Your Podcast a Name: The right podcast name will help your show stand out and attract the right listeners.|
|4.||Write Your Podcast Intro Script: You need to grip your listeners in the first few seconds of an episode, and that’s why you’ll benefit from plotting out your words using a podcast intro script.|
|5.||Get a Microphone, Voice Recording Software, and Other Home Studio Equipment: For a professional-sounding podcast, you’ll need a good microphone, some voice recording software, and a home studio setup.|
|6.||Hire a Musician to Compose Your Podcast Theme Music: If you’re not a musician, you can always purchase stock music or hire a talented musician to write a musical theme for your show.|
|7.||Design Your Podcast Cover Art: Good podcast cover art will perform the same function as a movie poster, enticing listeners to check out your show.|
|8.||Invite Guests to Speak on Your Podcast: Featuring guests on your podcasts is a great way to add some variety to your episodes, consult subject matter experts to bring authority to the topics you cover, and even expand your listenership.|
|9.||Devise a Podcast Advertising Strategy: Podcasts often have devoted audiences who are more willing to act on an advertisement served to them via a podcast they enjoy compared to a TV or radio ad. Breaking into the podcast advertising space is a must if you want to generate some revenue and collaborate with like-minded brands.|
|10.||Generate an RSS Feed and Submit Your Show to All the Major Podcasting Platforms: In order for your podcast to circulate to your audience’s ears, you’ll have to generate an RSS feed and ensure your show is available wherever listeners find their podcasts.|
How to Write a Podcast Script
Before getting granular with each word of your podcast script, try to look at your show from a bird’s-eye view. Are there elements of your script that will make the listening experience feel consistent for your listener each time they press play on a new episode?
You should start with bird’s-eye view approach first, so that you are aware of what is coming up in the show and can make your show sound like a cohesive, flowing conversation with great segues.
Podcast Script (Template)
1. Opening: A quick musical jingle or your brand’s sonic logo.
2. Introduction: A monologue-style intro outlining your guests and what you plan to talk about on your show.
3. Segue: This can be achieved using music or podcast sound effects.
4. Topic 1: Discuss the first topic for about three minutes.
5. Vocal Segue: “We are going to move on and talk about…” or “In other news this week…”
6. Topic 2: Discuss the next topic for about another three minutes.
7. Ad Insertion: This is the moment to insert a sponsored message or a podcast advertisement.
8. Musical Segue #2
9. Topic 3: Discuss this for about another three minutes.
10. Closing remarks: Thank your listeners and your guests, then provide a sneak peek of what will be discussed on the next show.
11. Closing Musical Jingle
Creating Momentum With Your Podcast Script
Regardless of whether you’re creating a long-form discussion or a short and snappy show, you should keep the topics moving in order to keep listeners engaged.
Try to use guests as a way to break up the conversation, pace, and tone of your shows.
You can use musical backgrounds (also known as jingles or music beds) or other non-music interludes (referred to as stagers, sweeps, and IDs) to transition between topics. These topic breaks are typically described as bumpers or sweepers, giving your listeners the time they might need to digest the content you just presented.
Since each podcast is inherently different, each show should have its own themes, topics, and lengths to set episodes apart from each other.
How to Structure Your Podcast Segments
Research all the components of your show’s subject matter in order to deliver the most relevant material to your audience. Your writing style should be conversational and friendly, limiting the use of jargon or industry-specific words in order to accommodate your listeners (you can use our sample scripts for inspiration).
The First Podcast Segment
The first segment should be the most interesting in order to sustain listeners’ attention. This segment should appeal to the entire audience. Broad content is encouraged to serve the majority. News and current events related to your podcast subject matter are often of interest to an entire audience.
The Subsequent Podcast Segments
All subsequent segments can be more in-depth and focus on specific areas of interest. Depending on the quality of the content, each segment should be no more than 2–4 paragraphs. We’ll go deeper into how the intro, outro, and guest questions should flow.
Podcast Script Example: Sports
Opening musical jingle.
Bob: Hello and welcome to Sports-R-Us. I am Bob Jimminy, and with me today is Carter Blake. We have a fun and jam-packed show for you today. We’re going to be talking about our top picks to make the Super Bowl this year, we have a surprise athlete stopping by for a quick chat, and we are going to finish off with some NFL news.
Sound Effect: Whistle Blowing
Bob: So Carter, who are you expecting to come out as the champs this year at the Super Bowl?
Carter: I’d place my money on the Cowboys, they are looking solid this year, there’s no way they can drop from the top.
Bob: You can’t even compare their game with any other team at this point in the season.
Carter: I agree with you there. But it’s still too early to place those million-dollar bets, I’m holding out a few more games until I feel 100% about them.
Bob: Oh, you’re wavering. We’ll see what happens. Anyway time to move on, please welcome our special guest, Michael Jordan.
Applause Sound Effect
Segue into Topic 2.
Podcast Introduction Script
Now that you have an example of what a segment in a podcast script should look like, let’s break each part of the podcast script down and show examples of how successful and engaging podcast scripts can be created.
What to Include in Your Intro
In the intro of the podcast script, you should consider that this intro will introduce each episode of your podcast. In other words, your listeners will hear it a lot, so it’s likely best to keep it short, say 10 or 15 seconds. That way, the podcast intro won’t get skipped over with the +30 skip setting on most podcast players.
So what do you write?
Be sure to introduce the host and the title of the show. If you have any co-hosts, now is the time to make them known to your listeners. Now is also the time to give your listeners a preview of what they can expect to hear on the show.
If you have something juicy and exciting to share in your last segment, for example, you want to share it right off the bat in order to entice listeners to listen the whole way through – or at least skip ahead to the segment that most interests them. You will also want to play your intro jingle at this point.
Sample Intro Podcast Script
Hi, my name is Lily Turner and welcome to ‘Talks with Turner.’ Today on our show, I am joined by Pete Saver, who will be my awesome co-host today as we talk about our favorite movies, the best costume party ideas of the year, and later on we have a special guest—I don’t want to give it away, but she is a very famous model who is known for her costume parties. So stick around.
Podcast Outro Script
In the outro of your podcast script, you will want to make sure you thank all of the guests that were on your show and recap a bit about what was discussed.
Now is also the time to talk about any exciting future episodes that are coming up, and include a call-to-action for the listener.
For example, you may want to promote a special event that is relevant to your podcast and/or brand or entice listeners to become loyal subscribers.
You will also want to play your outro jingle at this point.
Sample Outro Podcast Script
“Well, that’s all for today’s episode of ‘Talks with Turner.’ Thanks for listening, and thank you to Pete Saver for joining me today, along with Gerda Greets for sharing her tips for throwing the best costume party this year. Join us again next week when we talk about the top songs of the year and musician Teddy stops by for a chat. Make sure you subscribe to the podcast on iTunes so you never miss an episode. Plus, if you haven’t got your tickets to our live show in Georgia next month, stop by our website at talkswithturner.com and hurry because tickets are almost sold out.“
Podcast Interview Format
If you are running a podcast that includes guests, you have additional considerations to keep in mind when crafting your podcast script.
For instance, you will want to prepare a list of questions to ask your guest and group them based on the different topics you will cover.
Being a good interviewer is an art form in itself (you can get tips on how to be an amazing host here). As you’re interviewing, keep in mind that to maintain the conversational flow of the interview, listen closely to the guest’s answers and ask follow-up questions based on their answers. You don’t have to ask the questions in the order you have laid out.
In the podcast outro script example above, the host was chatting to a supermodel, famous for her costume parties.
Here’s an example of what that podcast interview sheet may look like:
Podcast Interview Sheet Example
Podcast Interview Sheet Example
Topic: Greta’s Experience and Advice on Hosting Costume Parties
Q1: Greta, thanks for joining us today. Pete and I have been talking a bit about what makes a great costume party, but before you share your amazing tips, tell us how your love of costume parties came to exist?
Q2: So of all the parties you have thrown, which one has been your favorite one?
Q3: If I wanted to make sure that my costume party is one to be rivalled, what do I need to know? How do I prepare?
Where to Find More Podcast Script Templates
The above examples are just an introduction on how to begin writing a great podcast script. There are several places online you can go to get inspired to write the perfect podcast script.
You can search for transcripts of your favorite podcasts on various sites such as Listen Notes, which has a ton of free transcripts available for some of the most popular podcasts.
Alternatively, you can simply listen to your favorite podcast and take notes on the different elements that comprise their podcast script and use some of those elements in your own podcast script template.
Other Podcast Script Elements to Consider
There are two voice over styles for recording your podcast that you should keep in mind when writing your podcast script. These include polished and freestyle:
1. Polished Podcasting Scripts
A polished, professional-sounding podcast, is similar to what you might hear in a newscast or documentary. The script is written out and rehearsed prior to recording. Generally, this podcast may have particular themes that are explored in sequential order, demanding more structure and precision.
You should also adopt a more conversational tone of voice, speak to your audience and not at your audience. Our 2019 Trends Report underscores how a conversational voice is much more appealing and effective in creating an emotional connection with your audience.
2. Freestyle Podcasting Scripts
Freestyle recordings are most similar to live radio shows or television interviews. Freestyle is an ad lib, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants recording style that can be an unpredictable and engaging voice.
This style may work best for podcasts with a high energy or witty host or when there is more than one host on the podcast, highlighting their dialogue skills and spontaneity.
For individual podcasters that decide to record a verbal stream of consciousness, especially poets, announcers, and others that are recording impromptu or on location at live events, freestyle podcasting can work.
When writing a freestyle podcast script, you may only need to include your segment theme and some point-form details within each segment. This way, you can refer to your freestyle script while recording without feeling nailed down to a finalized script.
Yield best results by combining these two methods and developing your own unique podcasting style.
Once you have a listening audience, ask them for feedback about your show and gain valuable information that will help you to improve your podcast.
They may even introduce new ideas that will give you an edge over any potential competitors and enhance their listening experience. Ideas that they provide might refer to the length of segments, topics discussed, guests on the show, and so on.
Sign up for a Voices account to find the voice for your next podcast intro and extro today.
Happy Podcasting in 2021!