What are helpful tips to help you increase engagement with your listeners? Listen as your guest host, Cody Hanify, shares valuable insights on why scripting your show can disconnect you from your target audience. Cody works internally with the sales department for Podetize. He is a podcaster, stage actor, and short film producer. In this episode, he discusses tips on preparing for your show to the best of your capabilities. He emphasizes the importance of focusing on the quality of your content. Tune in to learn more about building your podcast business!
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Why Scripting Your Show Can Disconnect You From Your Listeners? With Cody Hanify
For this episode, I will be going over a couple of different things. The main reason we are gathering is to talk about why scripting your show can disconnect you from your listeners. I don’t think about scripting as scripting, as much as I do prepping, if that makes sense. The main point that I want to get across is making sure that you understand that the quality of your show is most important. The best means that you can bring quality content to your listeners is by developing a plan that fits yourself. A lot of people would say that new podcasters benefit from scripting. What that means is podcasters will attempt to write out every single word that they wanted to display on the episode with their message and such and read word-for-word what that is. That has a lot to do with prepping the show ahead of time.
I’m going to be going over a couple of different factors and a couple of different things that might help you if you want to move away from scripting or adapt it into your prep style because it comes down to your comfort level on how you want to prep your episodes. I have been an actor and an improviser on stage for many years. I’m someone who loves a script in my hand and giving me all the information ahead of time that way I can display the emotion and the intricacies that I need to display for my character and showcase that to an audience.
When it comes down to podcasting, the reason why we could be disconnected from our listeners with a script is because it can sound not that authentic. There’s not a lot of energy being brought in. There’s not that intuition that you can bring and pull out while you are talking to a mass audience together. Scripting can make it feel like it’s a little bit more robotic and less human because what we want to do for podcasters is we want to sound like we are human. We want to sound like we are talking to you and not reading something.
This is something that I have done in the past as well. For my first episode, I wrote out word-for-word, the entire script of what I wanted to share with all the podcast listeners out there and with the Podetize clients in this podcast ecosystem. I wanted to make sure that my topic got across word-for-word. I wrote out the entire message on a Google Doc and read the whole thing.
When I did that, I found that I wasn’t able to add in the energy that I could bring from my improvised skills. Bringing in different types of intuition that I want to bring to the topic as well to it. It left me in a spot where this is what I have to say and if I get off track, I’m going to get lost. I’m lost in my thoughts and what I want to say next. It doesn’t help me get across. That’s been my experience.
Three Forms Of Prepping Your Show
Something that I want to get across is making sure that you understand what your comfort level is when it comes to podcast recording. Scripting to me comes down to the preparation of how you want to showcase your message and what you want to tell your listeners in real-time. Scripting does come with benefits. It does come with you laying your thoughts out there, but I want to talk about three main forms of how you can prep your show because of the quality of your show and content matters.
Being able to have that human element without it being too robotic or too static is important for your listeners. One main form of prepping would be scripting out your show. Writing word-for-word for everything you want to display to your listeners. The pros of that could be the amount of thought and ideas that you want to put on paper and gather everything and understand what message you want to bring to your listeners, which is important, but that takes a lot of time to write out word-for-word, what you want to script and be displayed to everyone.
That does help out later when you go edit the podcast episode. You already have what the show is displaying in front of you. You already have the different means that you have to help edit your podcast as well too, but the main important thing that I want to bring across is being able to sound authentic as possible as you can because we are humans. We are here to converse with each other and talk about many different topics.
I want to make sure that I’m bringing an element that is most intriguing to a listener. I want them to be able to understand me from a human level instead of me regurgitating information over and over again. I don’t like to say problem because it does come down to your comfort level, but another way that you can disconnect from your listeners is when you are speaking to everyone on video. We service video for this show as well as audio format.
If you are reading this episode, I highly recommend you check out the blog post of this episode, where you can see the video and understand why scripting your podcast can ruin the video format of your show. When you are talking to a video monitor and you are talking to your audience out here, if you script word-for-word, you are going to run into you reading the whole time.
The podcast listener and the viewer are looking at you, moving your head back and forth and you can tell that it’s taking me away from my microphone a little bit too. You want to make sure that you are presenting the best quality show that you can showcase. Scripting can disconnect your listeners from a reading stand. We want to make sure that you are authentically getting your message across the best that you possibly can.
Another form of prepping or scripting is I wanted to make sure that you understand that there are three main types of prepping. I like calling preparation instead of scripting. Prepping your show, scripting is a format of that. I went over the time constraints that can bring down the authentic quality of how you can sound and how you can look weird reading a script while on your presentation.
Another form of prepping is having an outline of your show. What it does is it creates a bullet point opportunity for you to bullet point out whatever message, story, or idea that you have. Bullet point the main topics. You want to spend time ahead of time or prepping any episode that you want to do. This is a pretty good form to get your thoughts out on a piece of paper as well, too. Putting the bullet points down there and then spending the time while you are recording, filling in the story, the actual elements in between the bullet points.
It helps get your show to the level of quality that you expect as a listener yourself and for your listeners as well too. That’s the main point of why we want to make sure that we are prepping our show to the best capabilities that we possibly can because the quality of your content is most important. I talked about scripting and outlining. Outlining is a basic form of getting your thoughts down and it’s a basic form of making sure that you can get the bullet points connected to your overall message.
There’s this third type of prepping or scripting for your podcast and that’s free-form. Free-form podcasting comes down to you plugging in, recording, and going. Some people can get in, plug in, and record and get their style of podcast out there from free-form talking and improvised talking on here. It’s something that I’m attempting to do because as I said, I have tried scripting my show and I have understood that that doesn’t work for my brain. It comes down to the comfort level of prepping the way that you want to do your show.The important thing in podcasting is to sound as authentic as possible because we're humans who converse with each other, and we're here to talk about many different topics. Click To Tweet
Free-form comes with a lot of great things as well too. It allows you to banter back and forth between a couple of different ideas. It allows that authentic intuition that I have been talking about to bring to your podcast listeners and get them on the hook with you. Make it feel like you are having an actual conversation, which is great. I talked about the different types of forms and the different types of prepping that you want to do for your show.
You want to apply this to the style of the podcast that you have as well too. It brings me to my overall second point, you need to understand the style of your show. If you are doing an audio drama or an NPR-style type of show, this is where a script comes in handy because if you are doing an audio drama, it’s a scripted story. It’s a story that you are getting across to the massive people. If you are doing a solo podcast, which is something I’m attempting to do, a style that I recommend is making sure that you have your thoughts collected ahead of time and outlining what you do. It’s something that I highly recommend.
If you are doing an interview type of thing, you want to have the questions ready ahead of time when you are participating in an interview and when you are asking questions for your guest as well too. You want to have all of that prepped ahead of time. When you are in the show, you don’t want any of those answers or any of what you want to bring to that interview scripted because it disheartens the listener when you come across as someone who has over-planned or sounds a little too static or robotic.
I have scripted my shows before. I’m brand new to podcasting. A lot of new podcasters bring to the table. They don’t have everything that they want to say and showcase out there, so they want to write down every single word that they have. To give you an example, I’m going to pull up my script right here that I have used in the past before. I’m going to read it for you and showcase how it could separate me from the listener.
You have seen me talk and I have introduced the episode of the show. I talk about how I’m a guest host and about how I’m presenting on behalf of Tom and Tracy. I was able to improvise and throw my own little spiel into it, but let’s read what I have had before. “Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the show. On behalf of Tracy and Tom Hazzard. My name is Cody Hanify and I will be your guest host. Part of what Podetize and Tracy are working on is getting more voices on the show to bring new and exciting topics from inside Podetize. For those who are meeting me for the first time, hello. It’s nice to meet you and be here to hopefully provide some value you are looking for.”
That’s hard for me to do because I am an actor and improviser. If I’m reading something I, in my mind, know that I’m going to be publicly displaying this out there and I’m publicly speaking. As you can tell, it took away that authenticity. It took away how energetic I can be because that’s the main thing you want to bring your message to these podcasters. It’s showcasing a type of energy that they look forward to. Engaging with your audience is key and also producing quality content.At the end of the day, if we’re not engaging with our listeners as much as we possibly can, we're probably not doing our job as podcasters. Click To Tweet
Understand The Style Of Your Show
If we are at the end of the day not engaging with our listeners as much as we possibly can. We are probably not doing our job as podcasters. What’s cool about prepping, planning, and scripting everything ahead of time is that that’s something you want to do. I’m not saying that you should not script your show at all. It works for different types of styles of the show. Understanding the style of show that you have, what message you want to bring to your listeners, and how you can collect your thoughts in an organic way to get your message across that’s authentic and allows intuition to come in.
That’s what we love as human beings. If I’m having a phone conversation with a telemarketer and it’s a recorded message. There’s no point in me having this conversation because the nuances and the answers I want and the more questions that I’m going to have are not going to get answered because it’s an automatic thing.
If you sound too robotic on these podcast shows, people aren’t going to stay engaged and they are not going to stay for your message. It’s something to keep in mind. Prepping is important. Whether you like scripting out your show, it’s a good way to get all of the thoughts that you want to bring to the table and everything you want to bring with your message.
Something that I have tried now is a little bit of the free-form style mixed with an outline. Before I come on and record, it’s very important to lay out your thoughts so that you can display your message appropriately. In the past, I have had to do research on many different types of topics because I’m talking about different things and I’m showing pricing points and all that stuff. That’s usually what I have come on here and talked about.
Understanding that prepping ahead of time can help lay out how you can authentically engage with your listeners and anyone you are trying to engage with out there, it’s going to come across as authentic as possible. It comes down to your comfort level. Scripting word-for-word can work for you. Especially if, as I said, you are doing like an audio drama or an NPR-style type of show.
Outlining your show is the best of both worlds. It’s taking the free-form style that you want to start implementing into your show because as podcasters we are public speakers. The more that we work on public speaking, the more that we can work on the most natural engagement that we have. The quality content’s going to come out from them.Without prepping and planning, the quality of the content isn't going to come across the way that you want it to. Click To Tweet
I highly recommend you adapt a certain style to the way that you like showcasing to your audience out there. If it takes scripting, utilize the script word-for-word, but you are going to run into that disconnect with your listeners if you can’t come across as authentic as possible. As I have showcased in my example, it runs you into sounding like a robot. We want to sound like a human out here. The free-form type of show, I have seen people who can plug in, record, and go at it, but they have been podcasting for years. They have done the prep time ahead of time. What I mainly want you to understand is that scripting your podcast is not necessarily bad.
What it comes down to is presenting good quality content for your listeners by preparation, whether that is scripting out and laying out all your thoughts ahead of time or developing a hybrid version of scripting by outlining main bullet points and free-forming banter in between those bullet points and connecting those bullet points to an overall story.
Something that I have learned as well too. Her name is Raphie Wagner. She’s a Podetize employee as well too and she was able to show me a cool way that she can get across her comfortability with showcasing her ideas and what she wants to get across to her listener. She has adapted this outline format of what type of message she wants to display and because her brain works in a very compartmentalized form, she does something called batch recording.
We have talked about batch recording on here before, but to go into it a little bit deeper, batch recording is something that you can do to display all the ideas that you want. It allows for taking, retaking, laying down, and flushing out a good quality show that you want to display for your listeners. A batch recording is you have a whole main topic of your show that you have.
Let’s say you have three bullet points of what you want to get across on this topic. She will start with one topic and record that portion of bullet point with a free-form type of style because she wants to get across to her listeners that I’m here to talk to you. I want to make sure that this authentic message is getting prepped. she will record that section, listen to it, make sure it’s of her quality, and make sure it’s good for her listeners, and then she will go on to the next topic. Take all of those different recordings, put them together, and put them into one episode.
Not only does that allow for you to flush out a great quality show, but it gets you into the planning and the prepping ahead of time. When you are laying and displaying all your ideas out ahead of time, you are seeing how much you can talk about this topic at the same time too. You want to keep topics as concise, clear, and pretty much straightforward as you possibly can. If you are realizing that you have been able to display many ideas that could serve in multiple different types of episodes, you don’t have to shove it all into one single episode, that’s a great way that you could plan out your episodes as well too.
Another form of getting that out there is batch record, taking a specific topic that you want to talk about and batch recording each bullet point topic that you have and then flushing it all together later. It helps some people’s brains, especially if you compartmentalize the way that you want to bring information out to the world and such. It does help showcase how to plan for more episodes in the future as well too. That’s something that you can take into consideration.
At the end of the day, scripting would mean prepping and planning. Without prepping and planning the quality of the content isn’t going to come across the way that you want it to. Regardless of how comfortable you are, we want you to steer away from word-for-word speaking. If you need that crutch and read word-for-word like I have had to do in the past, it’s completely understandable. It helps you display what you want to talk about with your podcasters and it keeps you on topic and ends there.
Moving away from that can open up more energetic opportunities and engagement for your listeners at the same time too. Keep in mind that the quality of the content matters most. That comes with prepping ahead of time, making sure that you have a show that’s flushed out, and fits the style of your show as well too. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my message. I hope you have a great day.
About Cody Hanify
Cody Hanify works internally with the sales department for Podetize. He is a podcaster, stage actor, and short film producer based in Orange County, California. You can soon check out his new podcast he’s launching called We Watch It, where he and his co-hosts take their unique perspectives on films, tv, and other content.
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