Why Your Podcast Episodes Need a Script or Outline

It’s all about staying organized!

Whenever you’re presenting content, it’s a good idea to be prepared, right? Even if you know your topic really well,  your environment may be different, you may be speaking to a different audience. Well, creating content for your podcast is no different.  You are the expert and you’re representing your business. If you don’t know what you’re saying, you’re probably not going to get more clients, and you could lose some. Today we’re talking about the importance of writing a script or outline for your podcast episodes.

After today’s episode, you’ll discuss…

  • The importance of keeping your podcast organized
  • How to develop a plan for each episode
  • Choosing between bullet points, scripts, and outlines.
  • Workflow and distribution for your script or outline

download my free script template!

Want to get a jump start on creating your first script or outline for your podcast? Grab the template I use for my own podcasts!

Sunny Gault | Podcast Coach and Mentor | Independent Podcast Network

Episode Transcript

Whenever you’re presenting content, it’s a good idea to be prepared, right? Even if you know your topic really well, your environment may be different, you may be speaking to a different audience. Well, creating content for your podcast is no different. You are the expert and you’re representing your business. If you don’t know what you’re saying, you’re probably not going to get more clients and you could even lose some. Today we’re talking about the importance of writing a script or outline for your podcast episodes. What podcast Are they listening to Mr. Radio man? Podcast Your Business!

Well, I hope you guys are ready. Welcome, everyone to Podcast Your Business. I’m Sunny Gault. I am a podcast coach and mentor and I’ve been podcasting for the last 17 years. I’m also the founder and CEO of Independent Podcast Network, and I’m here to help you create amazing podcasts for your business. Before we dive into today’s topic, I feel like I need to give you guys a bit of a disclaimer off the top of the show. Last week, I went to see the dentist and I’m having a ton of dental work done I’m have like, what is it seven caps that are being put on my teeth. And I’m in that in-between phase where I’ve got my temporary teeth on. And it’s creating a lisp. But I didn’t know what to do. I’m like the show must go on. So if my voice sounds a little different, if you’re like, Sunny isn’t as clear as she normally is. That’s the reason why. Okay, let’s get back to today’s topic. I want you guys to have amazing podcasts that promote your business and bring you more clients and projects and whatever it is that you’re trying to do for your business. Now to do this, we talk a lot about mastering the five P’s of podcasting. So what are the five P’s of podcasting? This is what I go over in my online podcasting course, how to launch your profitable podcast in 30 days, I’ll put the link to that in today’s show notes. But the five P’s are prep, plan, produce, promote and profit real quickly prep, should you even start a podcast? What are some of the things you should consider? Plan? What is the look and feel for your podcast? Produce? How you’re going to create amazing content, promote? How are you going to tell everyone about it? And then profit? How are you going to make money? And in this case, how is your business going to make money from your podcast? radio man, what are we talking about today? Do is part of producing your podcast is creating some sort of document or information before you hit that record button. So your podcast stays organized and you don’t drive yourself crazy and your editor crazy, and having to edit out a bunch of stuff because you weren’t following some sort of guideline. Okay, so we’re talking about creating scripts and outlines today. And here are some of the things that we’re going to go over, we’re going to talk about the importance of keeping your podcast organized. We’re going to talk about how to develop a plan for your episodes, choosing between bullet point scripts and outlines what is the best format for this. And then we’ll talk about workflow and distribution for your script or outline. And then at the very end, I’m going to tell you how you can get your hands on the script and outline slash bullet point we’ll talk about that a little bit more than I use for the majority of the episodes that I produce. I’m going to give that to you absolutely free. But you got to stick around to the end of the episode to find out more. See, I’m sneaky like that. Okay, we’ll get started right after this quick break.

Why does your podcast episodes…why do you need a script or outline? Here’s the thing. You need to stay laser focused on your content? Time is money, right? How many times did they tell us that in business? Time is money. If your content is all over the place, you might confuse people, you’re also going to have a lot more editing because you’re not going to have a guide you’re gonna say um, and ah, a lot more, you may repeat yourself. And we don’t want all of that, right that just wastes… that wastes time and money. Don’t do that. And one of the ways that I have found really helps me stay on track is by having a guide for my podcast episodes, right, some sort of script or outline, it just helps me stay focused and organized. And as I said at the beginning of today’s episode, if you were presenting any other information for your business, if you were giving a PowerPoint presentation or you were invited to speak to a group of people, whatever it is, you’re going to plan for it right? I’m always amazed by the amount of podcasters that literally hit the record button. They’ll just start talking and talking and talking and talking and usually get off track. It happens to the best of us. So please He’s right now I want you all to promise me… say Sunny, I promise you, I am not going to just hit the record button, I am going to have some sort of guide. And by having this guide, your audience will know exactly what to expect in the episode because you’re going to tell them in advance just like I did. In today’s episode with you guys, I said what is coming up and what you’re going to learn, right? So you’re going to tell them what to expect. That way the Listen longer in the show. And it’s also going to ensure that you cover everything you want to cover, and you don’t forget something really important. Let’s talk about the format for this plan of ours. Okay, the basic ones are this, you could just write out bullet points, you could do a little bit more formal outline, if you want to get a little more organized. Or you can write everything out in a script format. Or, my personal favorite, a little bit of everything, it just depends on what you need a little bit more guidance on and the whole planning process. So let’s break this down.

Okay, bullet points only. I don’t recommend this. Because there’s going to be times in your show like you’re going to have a show intro or something like that, right? Where you kind of introduce the topic, I always write out my show intros in advance, because I want them to sound smart, and good and interesting. And if you just let Sonny go like Sonny’s going right now, doesn’t always happen, you’re gonna get a little bit more of my personality, which I hope you guys enjoy. But in the beginning, I don’t know that people really need that in the beginning. They want to know, what is this episode about? And should I continue listening to this episode. So I don’t really recommend just doing bullet points. But like I said earlier, you can do a combo. So we’ll talk about that in just a second. So, bullet points. Next, you can do an outline. Now, when I say outline, remember in school how we had to do like, you know Roman numerals, and then there’s like a and then there’s like ones and twos and I live in No, the order goes in. I have not done that since grade school. So you don’t have to get that specific, right? This is for you to outline your podcast episode. So you’ve got a plan, no teacher is going to be grading this, but having some sort of a loose outline. In my case, it’s usually kind of like just glorified bullet points. So maybe it’s just not single bullet points. But you know, I have little subsection bullet points. That’s what I consider an outline to be. So that would be one step up from just bullet points, right? And then you have the the big one, right, it’s scripting everything out. And that may sound smart, that may sound like oh, well then then you just have to read it. But here’s the thing, guys, podcast audiences are really, really smart, which is good, because that’s the group that you’re appealing to, that you’re going to be talking to. But they can tell when you’re just reading. Even the best of us. I read scripts every single day, I read from a teleprompter almost every single day. And people can still tell when you’re reading from a teleprompter, as opposed to me talking to you right now. Right? It’s not quite as scripted. It’s a little off the cuff. It may not sound 100%. Right, I may not always use the right words, but it sounds very, very conversational. So I do not recommend scripting everything out. Having said that, like I said, I do script out certain portions. So the intros for my show, I usually script out any kind of teases that I do. And then at the end, there’s certain things that I want to promote. So I may script that out as well. And then that’s where the combo part comes in. Because I have these certain sections that are scripted. And then when I talk about, oh, here’s what you’re going to learn in today’s episode, those are just bullet points. Because I can riff off that I just need to remember what the bullet points are. Right. And then in this section that we’re in right now, all it did was bullet points, I need to make sure I talked about this, this, this and this. And then I had some little indentations. We were you know, wanting to make sure I remembered specific examples. So again, that’s my very simple version of an outline. And that’s what I did for scripting. The only time I really think you need to script something is if you’re doing some sort of melodrama, or narrative podcast, yes, then things need to be scripted. But you’re probably not going to be doing that for your podcast that’s about your business.

Let’s also talk a little bit about workflow and distribution. So okay, you’ve decided that you’re gonna do bullet points, you’re going to do an outline, or maybe a combination of both. How are you going to write this out what literal document or electronic document are you going to use to be able to distribute this information? Now what I do depends on the format of my show, in this case, so far, at least for podcasts, you’re business, these have been solo episodes. By the way, I do have plans to invite people on the show in the future. But for now, these are just solo episodes. So I’ve been using Evernote, I just script out some stuff, I have some bullet points, I just create a new little Evernote note. For each episode, it’s really simple, you know, and then I just kind of copy and paste when I’ve got a new episode and I change the information and no one else needs to see it. So that works really great for me. However, I do have podcasts that I do. Remember, I was telling you guys about my podcast focused on pregnancy and parenting. And in that case, I’ve got a lot of people come into these episodes, because it follows a round table format, I may have four or five, six, whatever people per episode. And in that case, I get even more organized. And I write everything up in a Google Doc. And all of my shows follow the same format. And then what I do is either I write out the script, you know, change the information around, or if I’m not hosting the show, someone else will do that. And then when I’m done, I’ll send the link to the Google doc to everyone involved. So in the case of my podcast, that would be the expert that we invited to be part of the show, we also have parents that join us. And so again, I could be sending the script to four or five different people just for one episode. Now, there is a school of thought that says you shouldn’t show your expert or your guests, whatever questions you’re going to be asking them when I was in journalism school, and you know, I was a news anchor and reporter after that that was a no, no. Okay, because you want the responses to be as fresh as possible. And yes, I have sent scripts out in advance, or outlines out in advance. And experts have wrote out their responses to every single one. And those were really horrible episodes. And I had to say, stop, stop, don’t just read, just you know, this content, just just speak to me like a normal person. So you can run into that. But most people probably aren’t going to take the time to do it that much right to script everything out. What I have found with podcasts is because you’re usually talking to everyday people who aren’t used to being interviewed a lot, it is helpful to show them the overall flow of your show. And yes, if that includes questions that you’re going to ask them, so be it not a big deal. So those are the two electronic platforms that I use Evernote, if I’m doing stuff where it’s just me, and it’s more like chicken scratch, and then Google Docs if it’s something a little bit more formal. And what’s nice about Google Docs too, is that, you know, people are going to have the latest version of whatever it is you just send out the link, right? If you are typing up scripts in a Word format, and sending those through email, I have found that can get very, very confusing, especially if revisions of the script have to be made. So that’s why I switched to Google Docs. All right, on the other side of the break, I’m going to tell you how you can get that digital copy of my script slash bullet point format that I use to produce most of my podcasts.

There is no right or wrong way to write up a script or outline for your podcast. But I realize sometimes it’s hard to kind of get the gears moving and figure out how to do this, if you’ve never done it before. So I’m going to give you guys the outline that I use for my parenting podcast. As I mentioned earlier, those are a little bit more elaborate. They involve multiple people. I’ve got four commercial breaks built into every show, I actually had a really popular YouTube video about this as well. So I’ll include all those links in the description. So you guys can check that out, and feel free to modify it to I’m going to give you the Word document, as well as the link to the Google Doc. Now you’re going to have to make a copy of the Google Doc, because I can’t allow you guys to modify it because then everyone will modify it and it would be a mess. So you need to make a copy of it. And then you can save it to your Google Drive and edit it as you wish. If you’re looking to start a podcast and you need some support in that process, I do have different coaching packages. I’ll drop the link to that below as well. You can also check out our website for our podcast network. It’s https://independentpodcast.network. Until next week, remember…. podcasts are awesome!

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