Hand writing a podcast script on a sheet of white paper

How to Write a Podcast Script [5 Free Script Templates]

The idea of making a script or outline for your podcast might stifling to the creative process. But the truth is, creativity needs structure to thrive, and the top podcasts are successful because of good preparation and quality scripting.

Think of a script as an outline for your podcast, a fully customizable skeleton of your share that makes it tight, clear, and primed for success.

It's helpful to choose a podcast script style before launching your first episode, so you start off strong. But before you choose a style, let's review why you should consider a script, and how having one can improve your podcast.

Advantages of using a podcast script 

Scripts are a fully-customizable skeleton of your episode and a styling tool that helps create the overall feel of your show, as well as keep it flowing, natural-sounding, and free of excessive rambling or pauses.

No matter your show's style or format, script writing allows creativity to flourish by keeping show hosts focussed, and it frees up brain space so you can deliver your message more effectively.

While the word "script" might conjure up ideas of stilted word-for-word reading, your own podcast script can be as structured or casual as you decide.

Podcast script template example

Before you write your own script, it can be helpful to review the basic structure of a podcast episode. In this example, each section includes a spot for your main topics, segment duration, key points, and sponsor ads placed at the beginning, middle, and end of the episode.

[Sponsor message]

Opening music jingle & sound effects

Intro:
 Duration: ( ___) Set the stage for your episode. Include details that set up your episode's theme. State podcast name, why your show exists, who you are, etc. 

Topic 1:
 Duration:( ___ )
1. Main point 
2. Supporting point
3. Supporting data
4. Supporting quote

Segue (can be a sound effect, short musical clip, or a phrase)

Topic 2: Duration:( ___ )
1. Main point

2. Supporting point
3. Supporting data
4. Supporting quote

[Sponsor message]

Topic 3: Duration:( ___ )
1. Main point
2. Supporting point
3. Supporting data
4. Supporting quote


Closing remarks/recap

[Sponsor message]
[Closing music jingle/sound effect]
 

Now that you have a basic idea of the structure of a podcast, let's review the common elements of a podcast script, so you can rearrange them to create a custom outline for your own podcast. 

Common podcast script elements

Even if you don't choose to have a word-for-word script for your entire show, scripting certain segments is a great way to ad structure to your show, even if the rest of the episode is totally ad-libbed. 

Intro

Listeners appreciate a bird's eye view of the podcast up front, and your introduction script helps you ensure that you capture your audience's attention from the beginning.

This speaking intro comes after your show's intro music and before the meat and bones of your show. The content of this segment will change week to week, but the structure shouldn't vary much. 

Ex: "Hello and welcome to ___________, the show that [explain purpose of show or tagline]. I'm your host, ___________, and today we're going to talk about __________ with ________ [insert guest name]. We'll discuss the ins and outs of _______ and offer listeners a special surprise at the end; be sure to listen all the way through for the details!" 

Guest intro

By jotting down some basic facts about your guest, you set your guest up right the first time and avoid messing up and getting off to a rocky start. 

Ex: "Our guest today is _______. She/he is a [insert role, title, experience] with a passion for _______. She/he is going to share with us _______. Hi, [guest first name] thanks so much for joining us!]

Sponsor message

Sometimes sponsors give hosts a script to read from verbatim, and other times the host will be able to craft their own sponsor message. 

Since these ads often occur in the beginning of a podcast episode, it's important to take the time to craft a quality sponsor message that kicks your show off well, accurately reflects your sponsor's brand, and sounds natural.

Ex: "_____[Your podcast name] is sponsored by ________[insert brand name.] [Sponsor] is a company that ___________ [describe company values and products as well as their relevance to your audience.]"

Segue

A well-placed segue can make your podcast flow between topic changes and help create a cohesive episode. Segues can be a phrase, sound effect, or a musical jingle —whatever helps you smoothly transition to the next segment.  

Outro 

An outro is a perfect place to recap the main points of your episode for your audience. Most podcasts cover a lot of information in one 45 minute episode, so your listeners will likely appreciate if you reiterate the key points.

You can use this section to make announcements, give a teaser for your next episode, or share resources available in your show notes to help listeners.

Ex: "Next week, we'll continue to help you frame your podcast by helping you nail down the details that will give structure to your new podcast!"

Call to action (CTA)

A call to action is an announcement that requires some effort on the part of your listener. Do you want your audience to subscribe to your podcast or write a review? Sign up for your newsletter? Let them know by including a simple statement at the end of your episode.

The content of your CTA will change over time based on your sponsors, show content, and current merchandise. Whatever the CTA is, limit it to one clear thing you'd like from your audience; more than one call to action can overwhelm your listeners and keep them from acting at all. 

Ex: "Want to ask a question on a future episode of "Podcasting Q&A"? Click on the link in the show notes to record your question in a voicemail! [Outro music]"

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    Five kinds of podcast scripts [with templates]

    As with most things in podcasting, you have total creative control when making your podcast script. What works for one show host might not work for you.

    Each of these script styles exists on a spectrum, and you can embellish or simplify whichever one you choose; there's no right or wrong, and we think it's best to play to your natural strengths.

    #1 The bullet point approach (freestyle)

    If you enjoy shooting from the hip, a simple list of questions might be all the scripting you need. These scripts don't take a lot of time to make, and for some people, they provide just enough structure to get an episode off the ground.

    As a bonus, a loose episode structure makes for easier editing since the "mistakes" naturally fit with the style of your show. Just keep in mind less structure means more opportunity to forget important points, ramble, get side-tracked, etc.

    [Download freestyle template]

    #2 With a cohost

    Detailed episode outlines are a great in-between option for hosts who want more structure than bullet points can offer, but don't feel the need, or have the time, for a word-for-word script. 

    A detailed outline typically includes a podcast intro, sponsor ads, music jingles, an outro with closing remarks, and segues where appropriate. 

    We think this structure suits most podcaster's needs and has all the structural elements needed for a well-executed episode. This scripting option ensures hosts thoroughly cover main topics and don't miss any supporting points. 

    This script requires more time on the front end of recording but ensures the show goes as planned but ensures you and your guest don't talk over each other, get confused about what's coming next, forget key points, transition abruptly and confuse listeners. 

    [Download co-host template]

    #3 Word-for-word script 

    If the thought of ad-libbing terrifies you, or you want to create a feeling of more structure to your show, you can create your outline accordingly. Verbatim scripts can be a bit daunting, but a word-for-word draft can be beneficial and even necessary for the right podcast.

    This podcast format is best for audio dramas, solo show podcasts, and any host who prefers to read a script. The structure of a verbatim script allows hosts to be confident they are thoroughly communicating all their content and adds a professional feel to the episode.

    But just because you have a script doesn't mean you can't veer from it now and then. If you decide to go off-script, just make sure there's no stark contrast between reading and ad-libbing. 

    Before you commit to a verbatim script, remember that this style can add significant time to your editing in post-production since the delivery-style is clean, polished, and doesn't allow for many mistakes. 

    It can take practice for hosts to learn the art of reading a script naturally and avoid a monotone delivery. If you feel your recordings sound stilted and unnatural, try writing in your pauses, laughs, off-script comments, and emphasis. This technique can make a world of difference in your delivery. 

    [Download fully scripted template]

    #4 Solo format

    Having a solo show doesn't trap you into any particular script or outline, but many solo podcasters find it saves time and energy to make a detailed outline —since the weight of your episodes is all on your shoulders. 

    To stay on track, organize your outline in order of the story you're trying to tell. Under each heading, you can include relevant key points, supporting data, and anecdotes. If you choose this script style, stay conversational, and try not to read your notes verbatim. 

    A detailed outline can be the best of both worlds – it gives you enough structure to make recording easier but is casual enough to allow for verbal slip-ups. 

    [Download solo-host template]

    #5 Interview-style show 

    A good interview requires preparation; the last thing you want is to book your dream guest and have the conversation suffer because you don't know what to ask or how.

    Not only are outlines helpful for you as the host, but they can also help your guest know what to expect and prepare for the episode. 

    Email your guest your outline a week or so before your recording, so they have plenty of time to prepare. Even if you're comfortable thinking on your feet, your guest might not be — especially if it's their first podcast interview. 

    [Download interview-style template]

    Additional resources 

    Podcast scripts and outlines are an essential part of creating a successful podcast. The best, tightest, most captivating shows usually don't wing their episodes; the creators put in hard work on the front end so things run smoothly.

    These guides share more ways to optimize your podcast's flow and structure!