I Discover A Microphone
One of the features of my iRiver, which initially I ignored, was a tiny little microphone. It didnt look like more than a dot cut out of the plastic case. That dot would be my doorway into the world of podcasting.
If you are not familiar with what exactly podcasting is, I recommend you start by reading the introduction I wrote a few years ago here
Using my iRiver I recorded spoken audio just me talking into the mic that I uploaded and distributed on my blog. If you want to hear how much of a novice I really was, you can find my early recordings listed on the Podcast page right at the bottom of the sidebar.
Fast forward to today and I have recorded more than 70 episodes of my show, most of which are interviews with other entrepreneurs. I stopped using the iRiver a long time ago, however podcasting remains one of my favorite methods to produce content on my blog. Its a great tool for meeting other experts, learning from them and providing value to your audience.
Podcasting is also a fantastic . My podcasts are often shared between friends and sometimes when I interview someone prominent they link back to my site to inform their readers about it. Its quick, relatively easy, makes for fantastic content and brings traffic to you.
Of course all of this rests on your ability to produce a great podcast interview, so lets take a look at how you can do that next
Audio & Video Guest Pitches
If you really want to boost your chances of getting that all-important yes, then consider taking a highly personalised and unique approach.
Rather than sending an email, you can send your guest pitch as an audio or video file for the host to review. This significantly boosts your chances for several reasons.
First, it stands out in their inbox. The host gets lots of email pitches. But theyll get far fewer audio or video pitches. And because of that, youll have their attention by default.
Second, it shows youre invested in their podcast. If youve gone to the trouble of creating a personalised recording or video just for them, it shows a level of genuine interest in their show. Basically its the polar opposite of a lifeless generic template.
And third, it shows you are technically competent. The host will be able to rest easy in the knowledge that they won’t have to coach you through the recording process. Youll have shown that you know how to use your mic. Theyll also be able to hear your tone and enthusiasm and make a better judgement about whether you are right for their show.
Set Your Guests Up For Success
Before the interview, email your guest a reminder about the interview. Let them know the format of the show and answer questions like: Is this live? Will it be edited? Is it audio only? My guests feel a lot more comfortable knowing Ill be editing later. I also share questions in advance if I have questions that might put the guest on the spot. Theres a debate about whether you should send questions or not, I highly recommend it. Sending questions in advance makes your guests more comfortable and saves you from editing a ton of, Um….Ill have to think about that.
Also, for remote interviews, make sure you remind your guests that they need to wear headphones to prevent audio bleed. Give them tips to get the best sound quality on their end, for example:
Do the interview on your computer in a quiet area with strong wifi. I usually restart my computer before an interview to give it a little refresh )
To avoid putting a strain on your Skype connection during the call, close any applications and windows you dont need. Mute notifications on any desktop messenger apps .
Wearing headphones that plug into your computer will help prevent audio feedback. If you have a microphone, using that is good for sound quality but its not a big deal if you dont have one.
For remote interviews, I record using Skype along with Ecamm Call Recorder because I have a Mac. If youre a PC user, you can use a program called Amolto.
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Keep Your Goals In Mind
In the end, your podcast is supposed to be providing value to your audience. So what is the value you hope to give them from this interview?
Will your guest be teaching life hacks, revealing academic knowledge, or providing a much-needed laugh? Keep your end results in mind so that you can steer the conversation in the right direction.
Start Up Tips And Techniques
Just remember there is no âright or wrongâ, itâs your podcast show, and you can run it any way you like. Although, there are some commonly held beliefs amongst many podcasters you should seriously consider. They include:
- Get transcriptions of your interviews, whether you publish it on your blog or website immediately or keep them for publishing later.
- Keep interviews 30 to 60 minutes if possible.
- Get your interviewee to âsign-offâ on the show before you publish it.
- Send out your proposed âquestionsâ before the show, some podcasters do, and many donât.
- Always ask the interviewees what they would like to draw attention to in the interview. This way youâll be sure to cover it .
If you think the Skype connection will not be good, ask the other person being interviewed if they would be willing to also record the show, then have them save it as a media file, and send it to your âDropboxâ for you to download and edit into your interview recording. This will ensure a good recording overall.
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Focus On Your Audience
There is one thing I want you to keep in mind the entire time you are on the call with your subject:
Who are your audience?
Just like when marketing your products and services in your business, you need to have a strong understanding of what your customers needs and wants are, where they come from and what language/style they use to describe their problems, when conducting a podcast. You need to consider all these things when interviewing. The better a job you do of this, the more popular your podcast will become.
One of the key mindset shifts I make while conducting an interview is to get into the shoes of the avatar of my target audience. The avatar is an example of the typical person who listens to my calls, and in my case I always focus on beginners who want to learn how to start a business and make money online.
While interviewing I think about whether the questions are being answered in enough detail for a beginner to understand. If the steps arent explained, or no examples are given, I ask the person I am interviewing to break these things down. This works particularly well when I am personally curious because I want clarity too.
This level of detail is important, and most people you interview wont automatically break things down for you. You need to ask them and keep asking them until you have the specifics.
Start From The Beginning
You may be tempted to ask your juiciest question first, especially if you know your audience desperately wants the answer. But that approach takes away your listeners incentive to stick with your episode. It also confuses anyone who doesnt already know the context.
Think of each interview like a story. Your role is pull it out of your guest one question at a time. Prepare more questions than youll probably need just in case, but be prepared to skip over many of them during the interview.
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Dealing With The Fear Of What To Say Next
Many people plan their questions in advance because theyre afraid they wont know what to say next. But the result is that worrying about what to say next works against you. Your answers will be better, your connections will be stronger, and youll feel more comfortable when you have your head free to listen, says Kate Murphy.
When Cal Fussman Mikhael Gorbachev interviewed, he thought he would have a whole hour. When he got to the former presidents office, he only had 15 minutes. So he ditched his script.
He asked Gorbachev about the most important thing he had learned from his father. This worked in Cals favor because the interview ended up lasting an hour. If you ask the right question, you can keep someone talking without breaking a sweat.
Organizing A Podcast Interview
Not everyone you invite to your show will say yes. You might have to send out several invites before you even get a maybe, so its best to keep track of everyone using a program like or Airtable. You can track your invite statuses, fill out guest information, schedule recording dates, and just see everything on track.
For organizing meeting times, you might have to juggle different elements like time differences or work schedules. Calendly allows you to organize everything in one convenient place, allowing guests to see your schedule and pick a time that best suits you both.
|Lets look at a tangible example|
|Its Yvonne again! When I am searching for podcast interviewees, I usually look in two places: LinkedIn and Instagram. I often send out an introduction message on either platform, something super short and sweet.When I reached out to @marcgutman, the founder of WildStory, this is what I wrote: Hi Marc, I run a podcast that is all about branding. Its called the Branding Lab Podcast where I talk to branding strategists and entrepreneurs about building a brand. I was wondering if youd be interested in learning more and potentially be interviewed? The idea actually came from my own struggles launching my own brand and I thought, if I am asking all these questions, others must be too! So I decided to talk about it.|
He answered and gave me his email asking for more information. So I sent a follow-up email.
Why does this matter?
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Start Your Research Into Each Podcast And Your Outreach
To get interviewed on a podcast, a good first step would be to make a list of podcasts you’d like to appear on. Once that is out of the way, it’s time to start researching each individual podcast you want to appear on and contacting each podcast host to see if they’d be willing to host you.
It’s worth checking out each podcast individually to see what the best way of getting in touch with each host is. For example, some podcasts may list contact information on their website that you can use, or a link to the podcast hosts social media accounts where you can send them a message.
You can look at the previous guests who’ve appeared on any particular podcast. You may find that you know or have a connection to a previous guest who might be able to give you an introduction to the podcast host.
You should also check whether the host conducts interviews or has guests on their show. Some hosts prioritize sharing their own content and thoughts instead of hosting guests. If you don’t see any previous guests listed on prior episodes, then it’s safe to assume that the podcast host doesn’t do interviews. It’s worth looking at how regularly new episodes are published. If the host hasn’t released any new episodes in a while, e.g. months, then the podcast may no longer be active.
To speed up your email outreach, you can use one of the various email marketing platforms on the market to send your emails and automate some of your outreach.
Whats The Biggest Surprise Youve Had In The Last Few Months And Why
Keep riding the inspiration out. Despite any challenges your guest may face during their 9-to-5, theres always going to be an upside.
If your guest is working on a specific project, perhaps a video game or a tech gadget, this gives them a chance to plug some unique features thatll hype up your audience even more for your interviewees project.
Additionally, your guests response will give you and your audience an idea of what keeps the type of surprises that keep them motivated and passionate about their work.
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Begin The Story: Find Out Where They Came From
A key lesson I learned about conducting quality podcast interviews is to see the person you are interviewing as a story. You are there to help facilitate the revealing of their story to your audience.
To begin this process I always ask my subjects to go back in time and take us through their lives to bring us up to date on their current project. Everyone I interview has some kind of key theme, something that makes them special and a real success story. Revealing how they became successful is important, and discovering how they came to the place of success by digging into their past is a great way to begin a story.
I usually ask my interview guests questions like this at the start of the interview
- Where they were born
- What schooling they had and if they did any university studies
- If they had any jobs before becoming entrepreneurs
- How they developed whatever skill or speciality they are know for
- If they had any businesses/websites before the current project
You can use these questions as is or adapt them for your interviews. They should lead you to the next step, talking about their current success.
They Said Yes What You Need To Know
Once a podcaster agrees to have you on their show, there a couple of important questions to ask:
When will the interview take place?
Once you secure an interview, you can use Calendly or ScheduleOnce to make the scheduling process easier and avoid confusion due to time-zones or miscommunications. The last thing you want is to get an interview and have a miscommunication about when it is!
Clarify how long the interview process usually takes so you can block off the right amount of time and prepare enough content for the interview duration.
Will the interview be remote or in-person?
More than likely, the interview will be remote and take place over Skype or another long-distance interviewing platform.
Make sure to clarify what kind of software the host plans to use so you can create an account for that platform and quickly hop on the call the day of the interview.
When is the episode set to air?
Know when your episode is set to air so you can structure your promotional efforts around the date.
Who is the hosts target audience?
Knowing the podcasts target audience is important when you craft the content of the interview. Make sure you know who youre speaking to and tailor your content to fit.
Pro tip: Listen to the podcast hosts previous guest interviews to get familiar with their style and know what to expect.
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How To Conduct A Quality Podcast Interview In 7 Steps
LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE
Six months after starting this blog back in 2005 I purchased what at the time was a cutting edge MP3 player, called an iRiver. It was a 20GB HDD MP3 player, a principal competitor to the dominant iPod.
I didnt get an iPod because I wasnt a mac user yet. I wasnt a fan of itunes and I hated the way iPods were jailed to itunes. My iRiver was essentially a portable hard drive that I could stick any file on and carry with me. If it was a music file it would play it, no questions asked.
Have A Purpose For Each Episode
What do you want your listener to get out of each episode? If youre interviewing someone, there should be a point. Why them and what is the conversation you want to have? If you have a business podcast and you know your listeners want to become better public speakers, create an episode on that and then find a guest who can teach your audience those skills. On episode 9 of Podcasting Step by Step, I talk about how to find guests for your show.
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Be A Good Podcast Guest
Remember, youre coming on the podcast to offer the podcasters audience value.
Do not over-promote yourself.
No one likes this not the podcaster or his/her listeners.
Its your job to make sure youre sharing as much value as you can by answering the questions a podcast hosts asks you.
The best answers have a story to go along with an answer something to give the answer a little more color and life.
So when answering a question, think question = answer + an example.
With that said, many podcasts guests share a freebie to further help the audience while building an email list.
Before sharing the URL for the freebie, ask the podcast host if its okay to mention it during the interview.
One of the biggest parts of being a good podcast guest is sharing the podcast episode on your social media as well as your email list.
Its shocking how many people dont.
When you dont, youre only hurting yourself and youre being disrespectful to the podcast host who shared their platform with you.
Quick Tipa Better Way To Run Your Own Interview Podcast
As the number of awesome interview podcasts continues to explode, so does the amount of podcast software tools available to help showrunners and hosts get the job done smoothly. Here are three tools we cant recommend enough for those with their own shows:
- Castos You know were biased here. Simple and easy hosting & analytics for interview podcasts
- Simply Schedule Appointments Guest scheduling plugin for interview podcasts
- Headliner Turn your interview podcast highlights into shareable social media posts
Launching an Interview Podcast of Your Own?
With Castos Podcast Launch Service, our team of professional audio engineers, show note writers, and marketing pros work with you to create marketing assets, map out episodes, and make sure your podcast is set up for success. Enter your information to request a free consultation.
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