The other day, I heard someone say, “I am going to create some podcasts by recording articles I’ve already written.” Is this a good idea? NO!

Anyone who’s drafted speeches knows that writing for the ear is very different from writing for the eye. Many pieces that work well on paper make for miserable listening. If you’re planning a podcast or other audio presentation, you need to adapt your style and structure for listening, not reading. If in doubt, read your copy aloud and really listen to yourself.

A few tips:

  • Avoid tongue-twisters.
  • Keep your sentences short.
  • Use simple words rather than complex ones (begin vs. commence; use vs. utilize).
  • If you’re explaining something, try numbered lists, saying something like, “I’m going to discuss the top three ways to increase your Google ranking. Number one…”

Actually, if you’re podcasting, I believe you’re better off just making an outline of what you want so say, rather than scripting the whole thing. You want to sound natural, not stilted. And don’t try to be too slick! Your listeners want to hear you, not some imitation of Ted Baxter, the pompous (yet barely literate) anchorman on the old Mary Tyler Moore show. 😉


  1. G’day Donna,

    Can I let you in on a secret? I read my articles for my podcasts. I know, sometimes you can tell, but sometimes (so some folks say) you can’t.

    I think it depends on not only the article you use (and you are SOOO right about the style of writing being incredibly important) but also if you have the verbal technical skills to be able to pull it off.

    For the vast majority of podcasters, I can only agree with you (and I welcome your comments as to whether *I* pull it off).


  2. Lee, you DO pull it off! 😉
    Given the nature of your podcast, I think it’s fine to read parts of it — much of your tips, for example — to keep it moving. However, you obviously know what you’re doing and your verbal and communication skills are a cut above (way above) the typical podcaster. I maintain that MOST people should NOT read.

    Thanks for the comment!


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