If you listen to podcasts, the news, or have taken a course by one of your favorite creators, you’ve probably noticed how eloquently the presenters on these respective platforms speak. It may seem like a talent that only a chosen few innately have, but the truth of the matter is: Proper preparation is the key to making these words flow so naturally to the ears of engaged listeners.
Although we talk about writing with respect to books, articles, and other traditional mediums, this fundamental skill is crucial in creating well-received audio for podcasts. Particularly for marketing and selling your online course, taking the time to produce a proper podcast script can be the difference between having a mere sign-up and a listener who can retain the knowledge you share and apply it the way you intended.
Outline and overview
Most great things start with an outline. Outlining is one of those things that have been drilled into our frontal lobes since youth simply because it works. The last thing you want is to record audio for your podcast only to realize you omitted an important selling point. Creating an outline and going over it a few times will ensure that no key talking points are missed once you move into actually scripting your audio.
Once you have an outline, it’s time to move into writing the actual podcast script. If you’re not familiar with scriptwriting, you may be a bit anxious. However, jotting down what you want to speak about is one of the most important and, in some cases, most complex parts. So, once that part is done, you’re halfway to the finish line.
Here are a few tips and general best practices to help you start writing a podcast script to sell and market your course.
Writing a podcast script: A to-do list
1. Don’t fixate on needing all of the “proper” tools
Though having the right professional mic or audio software are desirable, you don’t need either to get started today. Chances are you already have a smartphone with a mic, accessible headphones, and a free Google Drive account to get you started without incurring other expenses in the beginning. Start where you are and leave upgrades for the future (after you’ve mastered the tools you’re already well equipped with).
2. Connect with your audience
In a 2015 Harvard Business Review article, organizational psychologist David Burkes explores how shifting your perspective from “self-focused” (i.e., using pronouns such as “I” and “Me”) to “others-focused” (using pronouns such as “we,” “us” and “our”) impacts how/if people see you as a leader. The latter is a quality associated with a leader or someone with high status.
Simply put, the usage of inclusive pronouns will shift how your audience perceives the information in your podcast. It will reassure them your have their best interests at heart. Keep this in mind when writing your podcast script. It’s also good to remember for any future content you create for your course.
3. Keep things concise
Generally speaking, most sentences in your podcast script should be 25 words or less. It’s OK every now and again to incorporate longer sentences to elaborate on a specific point and to keep your audience engaged. But remember: When in doubt, less is more.
Pro-tip: Writing in contractions, as simple of a task as it may seem, can be super helpful to ensure you keep the dialogue in your audio script short, sweet, and easily digestible. Aim to complete a full sentence in your script in just one breath.
For example, “The Write Your Dream Course will help you scale your freelance writing business to help you gain more clients and profits in just as little as three months,” can become “This course will help you scale your business in as little as three months.”
This just as efficient and is more likely to stick with your audience than the first wordy, robotic example.
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4. Be personable yet knowledgeable
Speaking of sounding robotic, this is something to avoid and keep in mind throughout the process of creating your podcast script. Unlike a term paper or business email, a podcast script, should be conversational (especially if you have a guest!). Imagine you’re talking to your friends or co-workers in the break room. Aim to make your script flow like a natural conversation and not like an article read aloud.
5. Read your script out loud
Reading in your head is not enough to determine how your podcast script will sound once you get to recording. Reading aloud a few times will help you better understand what your audience can look forward to hearing. It’s also an excellent way to help you identify any unnecessary words that may be making your thoughts more complex than they need to be.
Pro-tip: Don’t shy away from doing a few “practice recording sessions” to get comfortable with recording. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first or even the fifth time. Practicing is the only way to improve. When you’re doing these practice sessions, it may also be worth keeping track of time to ensure you’re not spending too much time on any one subject.