Script vs. Talking Points

Published July 22, 2020

So you've decided to put together a podcast advertising campaign and are wrestling with how best to present your message to the audience. Is it better to tell the host exactly what to say, or are you better off affording them some freedom to ad lib and make your ad spot an original? The answer will likely depend upon the type of product or service you offer and how strict certain language must be presented from a legal standpoint. Generally speaking, affording the host room for improvisation is recommended. This leads to a more organic spot, delivered in the host's own words, and tends to deliver the best results. Think about your own experience, and the best product endorsements you've heard over the years. What are you most likely to respond to? Podcast audiences tend to be very loyal and a message that appears to be coming directly from their favorite host carries a lot of merit. Some brands struggle with this at first, having grown accustomed to completely controlling the message the way they're able to with a traditional television or radio spot.

That said, affording hosts the freedom to ad lib doesn't mean you provide no guidance whatsoever. Talking points should include key messages you'd like conveyed, serving as a roadmap for the spot. Be sure to include the benefits or desirable outcomes that come with your product or service (Note: this doesn't mean you simply describe the features, but rather tell listeners what problem the features solve). Hosts can then use this information to tell their own story about when they used your product. And if you have a particular piece of information that must be conveyed in specific language, include that in your copy with instructions stating that a particular line must be read verbatim. Advertisers in the financial sector often have language that, by law, must be read verbatim at the end of a spot. If you're having trouble letting go, consider a list of topics or words considered "off limits" for your ad spots. This will prevent hosts from attaching your product to a particular situation or concept your company finds undesirable.

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