Do You Actually Need Podcast Script Templates?

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Most people get into podcasting because they don’t consider themselves writers, but they still want to produce media and get their voice heard.

I’m sorry to be the bearer of unwelcome news but podcast script templates are a vital part of the game. 

Throwing together even a 5-minute podcast script can ensure every show stays on topic and runs without a hitch. 

Here’s why scripts are so important to podcasting and how to find the right strategy.

Why are Podcast Script Templates Necessary?

Of course, the first question many of you probably have is “why?” Well, here are a few solid reasons everyone should create a script before recording. 

  • It keeps the conversation on-topic: Everyone tends to ramble when they’re passionate about a topic. It’s normal. When it comes to podcasting though, we must stay on-topic. With interviews for guests and experts, it’s even more important as they have a habit of talking for a long time.
  • It ensures everything gets covered: Without a script, I know I’ll forget to make some valid points. We all have that “dang, I should have said that” moment after conversations which really isn’t ideal when recording a podcast.
  • It allows for practice: Even the best public speakers trip over their words sometimes. Practice makes perfect.
  • It helps maintain a structure: Great podcasts sound like a natural conversation but we don’t see all the planning behind the scenes. Podcasts follow a specific structure of intro, body topics, and conclusion so at least a loose script is important.

What’s the Best Way to Set Up Your Podcast Planning Template?

We have three basic structures to follow when we create our podcast script templates. 

1. Word-for-Word

This one is almost like a movie script. Think of This American Life: It’s completely structured without any improvising. 

If we want to follow more of a storytelling style or we just don’t want to leave out anything, a word-for-word script is the way to go. I also like this style because it gives me the opportunity to rehearse my speaking for clarity, vocabulary, and conciseness.

2. Detailed Outline

In this case, we’ll create an outline with all the major points we want to make. We might include some word-for-word sentences and statistics we absolutely can’t forget to include.

We see podcasters like Dan Carlin using this structure for Hardcore History. He’ll stick to a basic script but improvise in a few places as he sees fit in the moment.

3. Basic Points

Finally, this is the most basic outline where we just have a list of things we want to cover. A basic outline works best for larger group podcasts like Chapo Trap House. They usually have a list of events or articles to talk about each episode, chat for a few minutes on each point, then move onto the next point.

5 Tips for Creating a Podcast Script Template or Worksheet

The same podcast script template won’t work for everyone or every topic. Podcave can help you with planning every moment so you never have that feeling of regret from missing something.

1. Pick a Structure and Time

I recommend starting the script process by nailing down the general topic, the points to make, and how long to spend on each point. Next, weave in the intro and outro. 

With several hosts, pick one person to follow the script and guide the conversation.

Feel free to start with a general outline of basic points and build on it as more information fits. Like The Dude said, “new sh*t has come to light.”

2. Consider the Number of Cohosts

Everyone needs a chance to speak for their fair share of time. For podcasts with more than two hosts, an outline format might work best. Otherwise, it’s smart to write a word-for-word script as a group in a Google doc so everyone can provide input. 

3. Think About How Guests Fit In

For interviews, word-for-word scripts often work best since these episodes demand structure. Some guests tend to go on and on if I don’t jump in and guide the conversation. 

Nailing down a set time for each question is smart. However, loose conversational scripts can work for guests too. Just look at Marc Maron.

4. Leave Room for Improvising

Unless I’m going for a storytelling or narrated style, I always leave some room for improvising. Sometimes the best thoughts come to me in the moment so flexibility with my script is handy.

5. Rehearse, Test, and Edit

Rehearsing and testing are the keys to nailing down the perfect script. 

Sometimes I assume I’ll be able to carry on with a topic for five minutes but when it comes time to speak, I run out of ideas in just two. Other times, the opposite happens, and I end up deciding I need two full episodes to cover one broad topic. 

Try a Few Podcast Script Template Styles and See What Works Best

The same podcast script template won’t work for every show – or even every recording! Some topics may require writing out a script word-for-word while others might demand more of a broad outline to ease flowing conversation. Test a few out and see what works best with your speaking style. 

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