14 Jul Writing Scripts that Bring Podcasts to Life
When it comes to podcasting, the possibilities are endless. This multi functional communication platform is a useful tool for the delivery of learning management, content marketing, skills development and good old fashioned entertainment. Podcasts are making a steady ascent onto the tech scene, and it doesn’t look like they’re going away anytime soon.
As for producing an engaging podcast to hurl into the media stratosphere, there are a number of useful how-to articles in our Learning Design Solutions Studio Podcating Blog Series, and today’s focuses on the fine art of script writing.
How can you write the kind of script that brings a podcast to life? Here’s what we think:
Write For Your Announcer
Someone will be reading your words, so make sure you do the same. If it doesn’t flow easily from the tip of your tongue, it will be just as tricky for even the most seasoned announcer. Use italics, bold text, dots and dashes to break up your script in a concise and easy-to-read way. Make it as intuitive as possible for the announcer. Flow is key.
Word Count Counts
At average pace, an announcer will read 2-3 words per second. Thus, 350 words is roughly 2 minutes of air time. This script timer from Edge Production Studio is very useful in helping determine how many minutes your words will turn into. Depending on the length of your podcast (we think greater than 20 minutes is too long), you’ll want no more than 2,000 – 3,000 words (11-16 minutes) written into your script. This leaves breathing room for audio inserts, pauses, etc.
Tell a Story
Your script shouldn’t merely dictate streams of information and unstructured monologues at the listener. Leave space for guests, sound bytes and other design elements to tell a story. As the old adage goes, “show, don’t tell.” Show your reader, with sound, something that will captivate and involve them. Something they will have a personal reaction or relation to. Allow them to be part of an experience instead of a lecture. Sometimes we can teach more with a sound byte than we can with a fact sheet. Save the statistics for the evening news.
Factor in Sound Design
Similar to what was mentioned above, never underestimate the power of sound design. Sound design creates the world your podcast lives in. It’s the setting of your story. It can replace words while packing a serious punch. Thus, don’t get too hung up on what you’ve written into your script, since the odds are high you’ll find yourself swapping some of it for sound.
Craft Memorable Intros and Exits
Particularly when thinking about producing a series, take the time to create a memorable introduction that draws the listener in, as well as a pithy closing with a call to action (visit our website, follow us on Twitter, etc.). Use this same text at the beginning and end of each episode in the series. You’ll only have to record it once, then you can save it for future productions. Once it’s live, you might be married to it, so make sure you think long and hard before giving it the final blessing.