If you wonder why podcast writing is in such demand these days, just take a look at the detailed numbers we presented in our feature on podcast charts. Let us just mention here one of those – monthly Podcast Listeners Have Grown 61.5% in 3 Years. According to Oberlo, more than half of US consumers above the age of 12 listen to podcasts.

So there are no ifs and buts about it, attracting a viable audience for podcasts depends on the quality of podcast scripts and inherently the quality of podcast writing.

So what essentially constitutes podcast writing? You just can’t become an effective podcaster if you don’t know the key elements of podcast writing. In brief, podcast writing is writing a script for each separate episode of any given podcast. According to experts, a script, in general terms is what the actors or broadcasters/podcasters are saying. It is totally concerned with dialogue. It has little to do with stage direction or setting the scene in some description. The real focus here is relaying a story and the words behind that.

Of course, in this specific case, a podcast script sets out all of the text or the main outline of the story that is going to be presented in a specific episode of a podcast. This certainly depends on the podcast’s content, as there are currently quite several podcast genres out there.

But then there’s yet another type of podcast writing that doesn’t deal directly with the content of the podcast itself. This kind of podcast writing concerns writing podcast ads (ad copy) and it has its own specifics.

What do podcast writers do?

In many ways, podcasts are comparable to radio or TV talk shows. As Castos, points out, “the best podcast episodes may sound like casual, free-flowing conversations.”

Actually, in most cases, that is “due to the hours of preparation and planning the hosts do before hitting the record button.” And a big chunk of that preparation belongs to podcast writing.

What and how a podcast writer is going to approach his job for any specific podcast episode, depends on the style and genre of the podcast.

Essentially, as Podcast Host explains, there are three options on how to approach podcast writing:

  • Writing a word-by-word podcast script. This means creating “ a traditional, fully-fledged, word-by-word script which you then read out in full.” With this method, a podcaster makes sure that everything that is in the plan is fully covered in the podcast itself. This method is also used by podcasters that want to cover complicated subjects. These often have a set of numbers that are always best when you read them out.
    “The disadvantage of this approach, though, is that it can often lead to a pretty stilted, monotone delivery as you read right off the page. You tend to forget to inject your own tone or personality into that information” (above).
  • Setting out a detailed podcast episode plan. The other option is to write up an episode plan rather than a script. The first form of this is to write up a detailed plan. With this method, the podcast writer includes everything here, point by point, including almost as much as a full script. “It’s not word-for-word, but you’d have pretty much all the information you require.”

More on the work of podcast writers

  • Presenting a flexible, rough bullet point podcast plan. This is near the make-it-up-as-you-go-along end of the spectrum and takes the form of a short set of section headers. These headers represent themes or topics within the episode and are mostly just reminders of where you’re going on the show. In this case, you rely on your expert knowledge on the subject to fill in the gaps.
    “When you’re speaking from experience, ad-libbing much of it, your voice becomes a lot more active, a lot less monotone. The problem, of course, is that there’s a significant chance that you’ll miss things out or perhaps get something wrong. It’s also much more likely you’ll go a bit off-track, talking on a tangent and wasting a bit of time” (above).

With all of the above options, the point is that a podcaster still has to have a written text, a script in for of him, even if it is only bullet points.

As another podcast expert points out, scripts are “a fully customizable skeleton of your episode.” They are also a styling tool that helps create the overall feel of a podcast show. They keep it “flowing, natural-sounding, and free of excessive rambling or pauses.”

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

According to Castos (above), there are generally three types of podcast formats that are best served with a script:

  • solo show podcasts;
  • interview show podcasts;
  • co-host show podcasts.

Writing scripts for the three types of podcasts

Let us take a look at the scripts for the three types of podcasts set out above:

  • Solo show podcasts. “If you host a podcast by yourself, it helps to prepare at least a basic outline before you start recording. You may find it difficult to come up with things to say for 30 or 45 minutes if you don’t plan. But many solo shows write a complete word-for-word script of each episode. Once the script is finished, recording and editing are quick and painless. “
    One of the biggest advantages of hosting a solo show is you can do a lot of post-production that other podcast formats can’t. If you aren’t happy with the way you said something, you can simply say it again and cut out the mistake later, repeating this process until you’re satisfied.
  • Interview show podcasts. Interview-style podcast episodes generally require more podcast script preparation compared to other formats for both the podcaster and the interviewee. “As the host, it’s important to know exactly what you’ll ask your guest for two main reasons.
    Detailing a list of questions and main talking points will stimulate conversation, helping you avoid running out of things to say. If you cut the session short because you’re unprepared, your guest may not arrange another time to record. Not only does this leave you looking unprofessional, but you’ll also end up with a partial episode.
    Second, your guest likely has less podcast experience than you, so they’re not as comfortable thinking on their feet. Providing a list of questions and comments before the show allows them to prepare the thoughts and anecdotes they want to share during the recording. Essentially, the more comfortable the guest, the more conversational the interview so you create an amazing episode.”

Co-host show podcast script

When the podcaster has a co-host, a hybrid approach might be the best one. Some parts should have a script but other parts of a particular episode should be open to organic conversation.

Still, some organizations beforehand will avoid some of what Castos calls classic co-host mistakes, like:

  • Interrupting one another. (“This is important and I want to mention it before you move on.”)
  • Making the same argument your co-host made a moment ago.
  • Talking so long people forget your co-host is on the show.
  • Transitioning abruptly from one point to another.

Therefore, podcasters or podcast writers should map out the episode with a basic outline. Then they would add supporting points, data, and anecdotes under each heading. There they would “tag each line item with someone’s name so you distribute the talking smoothly.”

Podcast writing examples – common podcast script elements

There are several free and paid podcast script templates available online. Buzzsporut (above) has them available for the three types of podcasts above.

Still, it might be good to present here a more general template that follows a basic structure of any given podcast episode. In one of the examples the above source presents, 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


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.

Do-it-yourself or engaging a podcast writer?

When it comes to podcast writing, most of the podcasters opt for the do-it-yourself approach. Sure, some of them have quite a talent for the concept or they operate a podcast that essentially requires minimal or loose scripting.

But, then for quite a number such an approach does or will not produce the results they require. Also, if they have commercial sponsors for the podcast, there is an additional element of pressure put on them to make their podcast as successful as possible. Then, of course, there is the situation where the podcast itself or a specific episode is heavy on the narrative or information it needs to present.

In all the above cases, podcasters are better off relying on the scripts coming from professional writers who have some knowledge and experience with podcast writing.