Aaron Mahnke Lore: I Spend 30 To 40 Hours Preparing Each Episode
Theres no secret or magic pill to ensure a podcasts success, but there are some best practices. I think all successful podcast do one thing: they deliver consistent quality content that exceeds the listeners expectations. I spend 30 to 40 hours preparing each episode that includes research, reading, planning, writing, recording, producing and launching the episode. The rest of my time is spent on the television show, press interviews, live shows, bookkeeping and admin, and fan email. I get hundreds of those each month. I started Lore by accident, and have just been trying to figure it out as I go. The fans are amazing, though, and theyre like cheerleaders. This is a non-stop job, and its growing every day, so having them along for the ride to cheer me on is powerful.
Theres one thing that makes me subscribe to a podcast: quality. I give a lot of shows a try. A friend will recommend a show, or Ill see one highlighted in an article online, and Ill click the link. So Im happy to try things out. But if its not good, I wont come back. My time is too limited to listen to mediocre content when theres so much good stuff out there.
Research And Practice Your Conversation
If you dont know your guest well already, take some time to research their work and their background so that youre prepped and ready when its time to hit record. Think about what you want to get out of the interview and how the conversation might enrich or entertain your listeners. Considering these questions will guide you toward a more focused and lively discussion.
Once youve settled on the interview topics, practice your questions and talking points by reading them aloud. Youve usually got a limited time with podcast guests, so preparing in this way will help you make the most of the conversation. You may also want to send your guest some interview questions ahead of time so that they can prepare as well.
Should I Send The Podcast Interview Questions In Advance
Id argue that, almost always, its a good idea to send the questions to your interviewee in advance. It can help to settle nerves, and often produces better answers.
This is particularly important if you plan to include a few of the super questions below, which can sometimes catch people off guard.
Its easy to think: Well, Id quite like an unrehearsed answer, but, as youd imagine, unrehearsed tends to be a bit hit and miss. It depends a lot on how quick and agile the interviewee is feeling that particular day. Youll find, though, that a lot of experienced interviewees.
If you do include a few of the same super or topic related questions each time, then you can even automate this to make your life easy. You can see here how I use Book like a Boss to send preparation and reminder emails that do just that.
You May Like: Questions To Ask Cfo During Interview
How Important Is Researching A Guest Before You Interview Them
It’s everything. I try to enter the guests’ world for as long as I can in the build up to the record day. Whether it’s reading their book/s, watching their films or TV’s shows, watching talks they’ve done or old interviews to try and get a loose understanding of their life. This essentially makes me feel safe as I know that whatever area of life they talk about I’ll have a rough idea of the context. I also leave room for me to learn something about them so I’m not looking to know everything in the lead up.
How To Research Your Podcast Guest
Everyone has their own preferred methods for researching their guests, and youll figure yours out over time, but there are some basics that can get you started.
The internet can be super helpful for building basic biographical information: birthplace, rough age, and the key points of their career or life story. You might even be able to gather a brief bit of color on their personal life if its publicly available . Get these bullet points down before anything else. If there really isnt much information about your guest out there already, email and ask them if they have a bio they could send you in preparation for your conversation. Its not rude, youre just doing your job.
Next, dig out a couple of their previous interviews. These might be other podcasts, or features in magazines or newspapers, and will help you get a feel for their story but make a note of what they dont get asked about, too. Good interviews should cover new ground.
Finally, three words: Read. The. Book. Granted, not every guest will have written a book, but no matter who youre speaking to, the principle remains the same. If youve invited someone onto your podcast to speak about their work especially if theyre promoting something its very important youre actually, you know, familiar with it. Pretenders will be caught out.
Also Check: Prepare For System Design Interview
How To Be A Great Podcast Guest
by Cathy Hannabach | Nov 8, 2016
Here at Ideas on Fire, we have a blast producing the Imagine Otherwise podcast which features people and projects bridging art, activism, and academia to build better worlds. Podcasts like this are a fantastic way for authors, artists, and cultural workers to get the word out about their work, , and connect with new audiences.
Theyre also a great opportunity for podcast hosts to introduce their audiences to new people and projects. Through Imagine Otherwise, Ive gotten to interview some amazing folks about their books, films, organizations, and performances. In the process, Ive also had a lot of questions from guests and listeners about how to be a good podcast guest or how to best prepare for a podcast interview. Below are some of the tips I recommend.
So Now Lets Move Into During The Podcast Episode
As a guest, as I just said five seconds ago, make sure you are wearing headphones and in a quiet spot in your house. I know this probably sounds silly, but youd be surprised at how often I interview people who dont have headphones at first, and are sitting out on their patio where its windy and cars are driving by.
Something else you can do as the guest, or even as the host, if you are using Apple headphones as your mic, be aware of what youre wearing during an interview. Theres nothing wrong with just using the mic on your Apple headphones, but that mic will brush up against your necklaces or scarves as youre recording. Its such a minor detail, but most people dont think about the fact that their mic is picking up every time you shift in your chair, or it brushes on your scarf. As a guest, you should care about how your interview sounds so that people will actually listen to the full episode.
And as a host, this is why we covered preparing your guests before you record. There are a lot of people whove not been on a podcast before, or may not have been on a podcast that put as much thought into their recordings as you will. So, the reminder emails are important, but if you hop on the interview and something sounds offpolitely point it out!
Don’t Miss: Interview Questions For A Cfo
What Can You Bring To The Table
Make your pitch ideas relevant to what the podcast is about, without repeating what other guests have already said. What knowledge can you specifically bring? What do you have special insight on that other people might not have? Your goal is to show you have something to add to the conversation.
Feel free to think a bit outside the box. As long as you can bring a relevant angle, you can pitch to podcasts that might not be obviously connected to your expertise. For example, say you want to talk about fashion. You could pitch to a TV and film podcast, suggesting an episode about the styles of all the characters in your favourite show.
Hosting A Podcast Guest
Hosting a podcast interview isn’t always as straightforward as it sounds. For the most part, it’s not as simple as having a friendly exchange between two mics. As a host, you need to be prepared because you could end up with a sub-par, lifeless interview if you don’t.
So, how do you host a great podcast interview?
Don’t Miss: What Should Females Wear To A Job Interview
Avoid Asking Basic Questions
They make it seem like you dont know the person youre interviewing. These are bad: What are you best known for? or What book are you promoting? Instead, set up good questions by establishing a premise beforehand, like this: Youre best known for book on productivity. Why do you think people resonate with your approach?
Yes You Do Have To Prepare
Rule one dont flounce into the interview room without having done your research. Ive heard people say:
Oh, I dont prepare for an interview because I want to be in the same situation as my listener, asking the basic questions.
Lazy. Plain bone idle, and finding an excuse for it.
Automate Your Podcast Production & Publishing
Alitu is a tool that takes your recording, polishes it up, adds your music, and publishes the episode, all automatically.
There are some people who can get away with this, but theyve done literally hundreds of interviews in the past and theyve developed the skills to pull it off. And, even the ones whove said it, I suspect its often just bluster, covering the fact that theyre as nervous and as pre-planned as everyone else.
So, what should you do?
Also Check: Questions To Ask Cfo In Interview
Let The Candidate Ask Questions
One frequent element of a productive interview is an opportunity for the candidate to ask the employer questions. Consider giving time at the end of your interview to let them ask questions about the role, responsibilities, and expectations, or about the company itself and the team they might join. Not only does it let an applicant assess the position, but it can also give you insight into their level of interest.
Plan To Be Relaxed And Flexible
A good interview will deliver the unique perspective and experience of the interview subject to the audience in clear, easily digestible conversation.
A great interview will give the audience insight they never expected and will even entertain them thanks to a strong rapport between interviewer and interviewee.
The more relaxed an interview subject feels, the more likely he or she is to open up and be candid.
And candor makes an interview kinetic.
Sometimes this happens by happy accident. But dont leave it to chance.
Anticipate that if your subject says something she hasnt said in an interview before , youll go down that road.
Know that if your subject ends up seeming especially engaged about a particular topic, and there is meat on the bone, you should ask a follow-up question so he can take another bite.
Prepare yourself mentally to make it less an interview and more a conversation.
This isnt always easy. It isnt always possible. But try to take advantage of those wonderful little opportunities during the interview when they present themselves.
Your interview subject and your audience will appreciate it.
Also Check: What To Wear For An Interview Women
Focusing On What They Can Do For You
Youre trying to be persuasive here. So youve got to show that you can offer something that their audience will find useful and interesting. Going on about how you would benefit from being on their podcast isnt going to convince them that youre worth their time. Instead, focus on how they can benefit from you.
Podcast Interview Questions Your Listeners Will Love
Need some inspiration for your next batch of podcast interview questions? We’ve got you covered.
Asking great podcast interview questions leads to compelling content. Not only will your existing listeners love it theyll want to share your show with everyone they know too!
Interviews are a big part of podcasting, and for good reason.
They break up the potential monotony of one voice talking for too long, they add expertise and gravitas to your episode, and its a chance to tap into your interviewees own following a tale of two audiences!
Youll want to get the most out of your interviewee and maximise their contribution to your cause. That boils down to the conversation you have, and the questions you ask. No pressure.
Heres what weve covered already
Now its down to what you should be asking them! Thats what well cover here. Great podcast interview questions!
There are two parts to this.
First, well go into how to formulate podcast interview questions focused on your own topic, and on the interviewee themselves. Every good interview should be mostly tailored to the person youre interviewing after all.
But, second, well look at the types of more general podcast interview questions you can use to dig deep and get some interesting, unexpected responses. Bear in mind, of these, some questions will be more relevant to your show than others. Please use responsibly!
You May Like: Best System Design Interview Prep
Before You Record With Your Guest They Should:
- Know what your podcast is about
- Understand how to join you for the recording
- Know why you are having them on your show
- Be briefed on what you’ll be talking about
Send over an introductory email with a brief description of your show and a summary of the types of questions you intend to ask. If you can, send any previous episodes that best represent the podcast’s tone and format. Plus, include clear instructions of where the interview will occur and how the interview will be conducted. Finally, give your guest some time to prepare.
A great host wants their guest to sound great. Assume that your guest knows almost nothing about recording and talk them through the techniques and technology they’ll be using. For example, explain the whole process if you’re recording via Zoom. Give them guidance on finding a good recording location. Ask them about the microphone they’ll be using and how comfortable they are using it.
Preparing your guests is an essential step as it can help bring their own personality to the recording and really makes for a great interview.
Whats Been The Biggest Failure In The Last Year And Why Do You Think That Happened
Remember, not all of your questions can be peaches and cream. Once your guest sounds more comfortable and open to answering your deeper questions, ask them what their biggest failure was in the last year.
It could be something as disappointing as falling just a few dollars short of their budget so they had to cut some corners, or it could be as devastating as losing the bulk of their resource files and having to start from scratch.
But even a question like this can be inspiring, so encourage your interviewee not to be too hard on themselves. Just as theyve overcome some of the biggest challenges within their role, theyve also made it through to the other side of what felt like their biggest failure.
You May Like: Women’s Outfit For Job Interview
Podcast Interview Questions: Guests Profession
When it comes to your business podcast, listeners want to learn from people in their same situation. Writers like to hear from other writers. CMOs like to hear from other CMOs. Musicians like to hear from other musicians.
The questions you ask guests about their profession should encourage them to open up about their specific experiences. The more particular they get, the more relatable the content is.
1. What do you wish everybody understood about your job?
2. Whats a commonly held belief about your role that you passionately disagree with?
3. When you first started as a , whats something that was more challenging than you expected?
4. Whats one tool that you always carry in your toolbox no matter what project youre working on?
5. What do you wish your younger self knew about your current role?
6. Do you agree with the common perception about your work?
7. What has fundamentally changed about your work from when you started until now?
8. What is the biggest problem you or your team solved in the last year?
9. Whats a concern you have for your next board meeting?
10. Whats motivating your team right now?
11. Whats one initiative on your whiteboard that wasnt there 30 days ago?
12. If you had 10x the budget you have now, what would you spend it on?
13. How do you get yourself out of work slumps or ruts?
Presenting A Problem & Solution
Being clear on laying out your subject matter is great. But making your listener relate to it by mentioning something theyre struggling with will really pull them in.
So, for example, on our show Podcraft, our target audience is people who want to learn how to podcast. Some of their big struggles are learning about microphones, audio equipment, editing and mixing digital audio, growing their audience and monetising their show.
The overall struggle they have is that they want to learn how to podcast, and our major solution is that we can help them to do that.
Each episode deals with a specific subtopic of its own though, which provides a solution that helps them work towards their overall goal. We want to mention this in our podcast intro so the listener knows theyve come to the right place.
So, on an episode about media hosting, we could present the problem Have you ever wondered how you upload a podcast online and make it available in iTunes?
Then we offer the solution Well, on this episode thats exactly what youll find out. Were going to walk you step by step through the process, and by the end of it youll be able to submit your show to iTunes quickly, and easily.
Set your episode up by mentioning the overall problem your podcast is here to help them with , and then the particular problem youll be dealing with in this episode .
You May Like: Design Interview Preparation