Knowing The Difference?
It sounds obvious, but there is a difference between writing movie scripts, short stories, novels and yes, podcasts. The one thing they all have in common is that words are their tools of trade. The difference lies in how those words are written and how they are presented. The end product will be as different as the paintings of Picasso are to those of Kadinsky. As writers, the good news is that we get to write our stories in whatever genre is a “best fit” for us. No matter which one we choose, planning is the key to the success of the finished masterpiece!
How To Plan Your Podcast
The very first decision to be made is how often are you going to publish your podcasts. This is not the same as how often would you like to! The number of podcasts reflects not only the time you have available to write but also the length your podcasts will be. Daily podcasts of 10-15 mins are sustainable. Daily podcasts of one hour are not! If longer podcasts are your goal then my advice would be to offer them monthly.
Did the word “Seduction” grab your attention? Had I written “Introduction” would it have had the same affect? A podcast has less than 10 seconds to grab the listeners attention which means your “hook” has to be the most important part of your podcast transcript. It is also the one part of the transcript that I would write word-for-word. You can hear 3 different examples in my post, “Story Telling Podcasts” The introduction should set the scene for the tone of the podcast. If your podcast is upbeat then your introduction should be too. This would also apply to any incidental music that is linked to your podcast. It may seem blindingly obvious but if you listen to a lot of podcasts (as I do) you would be surprised at how many seem to miss the mark. I always feel cheated if the introduction starts with a cracking joke that is immediately followed by a story of mayhem and destruction.
The style of the podcast is related to two different attributes. The skills of the presenter and the personality of the presenter! We can all add to our toolbox of skills but there are some aspects of our personality that will lead us to a presentation style that we can sustain. Our final choice between two similar topics is likely to be the one that is most pleasing to our ears. Which again depends on what our personality finds pleasing. But, even the best content in the world is not going to persuade me to listen to mumble, repetition or waffle. Assuming all of these are absent your audience are listeners not readers. If any part of your podcast is boring your listener can not flick over the pages to a more interesting looking section. They will turn you off!
Flexibility Is The Key
Flexibility is an essential component of all podcasts. A natural sounding podcast will always engage an audience more that one that sounds as if it is being read from a script. To achieve this natural sound takes some time to perfect but a flexible transcript is a good start. A flexible transcript has space in it for you to ad lib or add an anecdote that will bring your script to life. I have to admit that my first transcript went largely unused but as it was only 17 seconds long I got away with it! The other way is to use bullet points and talk around them. Of course, it is essential that you know your material inside out. Switching between free flow to reading will be very obvious, and annoying. Finally, there is a podcast transcript that is written out in full but written in a way that is designed to sound as if it is being spoken. (More of how to do this in a later post) Writing as if you’re speaking is something I do most of the time as I actually “talk” as I’m typing (not out loud, that would be weird) but I accept that it may take some getting used to. It will also take longer than the other methods. The goal is for the presenter to sound like they are having a conversation with the listener. This is achieved by writing as if you are actually having that conversation. Writing as if you are speaking is unique to podcasts, movies and stage productions. It is a learned skill but, as with all things, practice makes perfect! The end result is the confidence it gives when you hit the “record” button.
“The goal is for the presenter to sound as if they are having a conversation with the listener.”
Connect With Your Audience
Knowing your audience is just as important for podcasters as it is for anyone in marketing. Podcasts are made to be heard and for that you need an audience. Knowing your audience will increase the chances that this audience will become regular listeners. Whilst my goal is to produce “creative non-fiction” with it’s roots in my family history, yours may be marketing a product, information or motivational. The point is to identify your goal as early as possible. After all a goal without a plan is just a wish! Your will dictate all other aspects of your podcast planning. For example, adding “call to actions”, bargain offers and a hook for your next podcast work well for product selling but would kill a story line dead in its tracks. Strategic placement for this type of “sell” is paramount.
” A goal without a plan is just a wish!” Saint-Exupéry
Paint A Picture
Creating a visual image with words is more than engaging the listener so that they stay with your podcast until the end. In my recent post, “Be The Story Teller In Your Family” I discuss how scientists found that turning your words into visual descriptions activated the brain in ways that had not previously been understood. Get it right and your listeners will stay with you to the end. Creating this visual scenario takes time. Using cliches as a soft option is not going to do it. “Glistening snow” has been done to death and you will have to think outside the box. Putting myself in the picture as a starting point works for me as I think back to a time when I experienced the scene that I want to describe. My other “go to” is to listen to other storytellers. I have put the best of these in my post “Listen To Me”
Podcast Template: Free Download
I have included a beginner template as an incentive for you to get started today! It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. The best way to learn how to do something is to do it. There is enough material here and on my other posts for you to produce a small vignette, introduction to your blog of a snippet of family history. Remember, as Stephen King said:
“The scariest part is always just before you start!”
Links To Supporting Posts
Podcasts: A Short Story Writing Option
Be The Story Teller In Your Family
If you would like to have a platform for your podcast let me know and I will post it here. Lets share! We’re worth it!Just Vicki