Should You Script Your Podcast?

A couple of weeks ago, I was on the GoWP Virtual Happiness Hour and we talked all about recording – gear and process. The last topic that came up was about scripting, and whether or not you should script your videos. I will do that depending on the type of video I’m doing, but it also got me thinking about scripting your podcast.

In my new coursePodcast Liftoff: Launch, I talk a bit about this, but here I wanted to answer the question: “Should I script my podcast?”

Be Comfortable in Front of the Mic

First, let me say that you should do what works for you, and if scripting helps, then script.

But the root of this question for many people is whether or not they feel comfortable in front of the mic. Scripting helps you make sure you cover all the bases but no matter what you need to be comfortable talking into a mic or you’ll sound unnatural. I recommend getting your reps in and practicing a few times. The more you do something, the better you’ll get, and the more comfortable you’ll feel.

When to Script

Another thing to get out of the way is when you should or should not script. If you’re doing an interview or a host/co-host show, don’t script. It’s going to sound canned and fake, and it will not be enjoyable to list to. On the other hand, if you have a fictional show or audio drama, it absolutely needs to be scripted.

But I’m guessing you if you’re reading this, you’re wondering if you should script solo shows, or shows with lots of information in them.

Pros of Scripting

Let’s look at a good, old fashioned pros and cons list. First the pros.

  • Know exactly what you want to say
  • There’s a lot more planning, so your recording should require less editing (or at least go more smoothly)
  • No need to pay for a transcript
  • You will make all the points you want to make.

Cons of Scripting

OK so that’s the good. What about the bad?

  • It’s more likely you’ll sound like you’re reading, which feels unnatural
  • If you want to get it verbatim, it will be more “takes” to get it right
  • It takes more time to do the episode – write the script, record it verbatim, then edit, publish, etc.
  • If you ad-lib, you’ll need to remember your spot, and depending on how true to audio you want the script, go back and modify it (or have the episode transcribed anyway)

So What Do You Do?

It depends on who you are and what you like. With few exceptions, I don’t script my solo episodes. I want them to sound natural and that means I will make outlines of what I want to cover, then talk off the cuff about the topics in the outline.

If you need to hone your skills for talking off the cuff, a script will likely sound better since you’ll know exactly what to say. Your main goal is to sound as natural and conversational as possible. If writing everything out helps you do that, definitely script your show.

What Do You Think?

I’d love to hear any thoughts and questions you have – leave a comment below!

And if you want to learn how to launch your own podcast, from planning to publish, my coursePodcast Liftoff: Launchis out now!