Podcast interviews are a great way to grow your audience, switch up from the norm, and provide value to your listeners. It’s a win-win-win situation. However, interviewing is so much more than pressing record and asking a bunch of random questions. Oh no! There is a purpose and there is a skill to this thing, all within your reach. Here are 6 tips to make your podcast interviews pop!
Ask yourself, how can your audience benefit from this potential guest you are considering? Better yet, what do they want to know about this topic or this person you are planning to interview? (A good way to find out is to post on Social Media and ask them). You are serving your audience with your podcast so be sure to keep them in mind.
5. Guest Prep
A big (and I mean BIG) part of interview success is thoroughly prepping your guest! An interviewee who feels at ease tends to open up more during the actual interview. Don’t take for granted that your guest may have been interviewed before; cover your bases.
You’ll want to discuss any technical requirements (microphones, headphones), interview recording platform (Zoom, Zencastr, Skype), format of the interview (will you introduce your guest or will you have your guest “tell the listeners a few things” on their own)?
You’ll also want to know if your guest has a call-to-action (ie, purchase my book, sign up for my class) that you should know about. This is often done during a “pre-interview” or through detailed e-mail instructions. You want your guest to know what to expect and what to do; this is a part of your job as a podcast interviewer.
4. Research & Questions
You MUST do your due diligence in researching your guest and formulating interesting questions. Keep your questions handy in an outline or workbook that you can refer to. Your research & questions are the launching point for your top-notch interview! Be sure to create open-ended questions that require your guest to expound and not just give you yes or no answers.
Bonus tip: It’s always a good idea to create more questions than you think you’ll need just in case you have a guest that doesn’t talk as much as you thought; you’ll have more material to keep the interview going.
3. Listening Well (huh - what?)
Oh boy! Great podcast interviews require very good listening skills. This means silencing your notifications, closing out other browsers, and even putting the dog out the room if you need to (sorry Buster). Eliminate all distractions so that you can hone in on a statement made from your guest that trigger other interesting questions you may have not written down. This is the good stuff right here! You don’t want to miss a pivotal moment in your interview all because you were scrolling through your newsfeed on Twitter. Pay attention to your interviewee and you’ll have something to tweet about later.
This may come as a surprise to you but practicing your interview questions is very important. You are practicing to familiarize yourself with your questions and to capture the overall flow of the interview. Don’t just create questions and then neglect look at them again until you are 2 seconds away from pressing record. Wrong move. Practice saying your questions; it makes a difference.
1. Have Fun
No really – have fun. Even though you are doing your due diligence to organize and prepare, you still want to enjoy this thing! Doing all the prep work helps you to be confident so that you can conduct interviews that feel more like free flowing conversations that your listeners will want to download over and over again.
A lot to remember? Grab The Podcast Interviewer’s Checklist to keep you on track. It’s free.
Monique Shurray is an Entertainment Journalist & Media Personality. Grab her free Podcast Interviewer's Checklist here to keep you ready for all of your podcast interviews.