How Do You Identify Good Podcast Questions
A podcast is not always as straightforward as it might sound. One of the biggest challenges is to make sure that it is interesting and different.
As there are close to a million shows already, you need to find ways to stand out if you want to be one of the best podcasts.
While it might sound like a no-brainer, it all starts with research. A good tip is to look for ideas instead of guest speakers.
In addition to researching interesting ideas to talk about on your show, also make sure that you research your listeners. What is relevant to them? What will they find interesting?
Whats The Biggest Challenge You Have With Your Specific Role Right Now And How Are You Going To Overcome It
First, do your research. You already know what your guest does for a living, but do a little digging and break-ground on what their job traditionally entails.
Every career path, whether theyre an artist, a musician, or a scientist, will have its mountains to climb. So, go on a journey and climb those mountains with your interviewee. Get the inside scoop on how they plan to overcome those challenges while youre at it, too.
Not only will this question reveal a more human side to your interviewees work, but it also gives both of you the opportunity to inspire and impact your listeners with their response.
Sounds Like You’re Making A Podcast
OK, so you’ve settled on a topic or idea for your podcast.
Now it’s time to start thinking about the sounds that you’ll use. Regardless of how your project is structured, it helps to feature a variety of sounds.
Try to record sounds relevant to your story. If I’m telling a story about the mayor of my town, I’ll try to go record him leading a town hall meeting, talking to his constituents, and even doing day-to-day activities, that I can play during my podcast.
Let’s say you’re heading to a protest in front of my local town hall. You’re heading into a “scene” that you might want to describe and include sound from in your podcast. What sounds should you include?
Compile a list of sounds you’d like to record and bring that list with you when you go into the field.
Here are a couple of examples of radio pieces that use sounds to add to the story.
And here’s this one, from Radio Rookies, a series from WNYC. Listen to the sounds that Radio Rookie Edward uses and weaves between his narration.
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Know What Youre Going To Talk About
You should try to stick to podcasts that are focused on subjects you care about or are interested in. If you dont do this, the interview is likely going to be boring, uninteresting and unsuccessful. If possible, ask the host of the show for a list of topics or questions they may ask. Even if they wing it a bit during the interview, being prepared and knowing what is going to be discussed can ensure you are prepared to give meaningful answers.
Prepare A Gentle And Fun Opening
This is via Call Fussman, the master of interviews: find something fun theyre into and start with that.
If your guest mentioned on Twitter that theyve been out surfing last week, ask how it went. If they talk about playing the trumpet on their About Page, ask how they got started.
Beginning with something fun, something informal, simply lightens the guests heart! Its something they wont often be asked about, and something theyll enjoy discussing. Theyll lighten up, become happier, be more postive towards you, and all of that makes for a better interview to come afterward.
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Ready To Deliver A Great Podcast Interview
I hope these podcast guest tips have given you a few ideas on how to make your next interview a whole lot better.
Don’t feel like you have to do it all at once. Try a few parts of level 1 to start with, and then add things in as you get the practice in. Even just a little bit of prep, like I said, puts you miles ahead of the majority.
If you’re raring to go, but don’t have any podcast guest appearances lined up just yet, then be sure to check out how to get booked as a guest on a podcast.
And if you like guesting on podcasts, why not think about running your own? We have a free step-by-step how to start’ guide that’ll walk you through every single step.
Let Alitu Take Care of Your Podcast Editing
Alitu is a tool that takes your recording, polishes it up, adds your music, and publishes the episode, all automatically.
Learn more about Alitu
On top of that, you might like our Podcast Maker’ tool Alitu. With Alitu you can record, edit, produce, and publish all from one super-simple dashboard. Alitu does all of the heavy lifting so that you can spend more time on creating great content your audience will love. Try it free for 7 days.
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.
Read Also: How To Interview A Caregiver
Ask Why The Other Party Disagrees
When the other party disagrees, it is important to ask why and not just argue. Try resolving issues peacefully and respect each others opinions instead of trying to be right all the time.
When the podcast is over, the important thing is that both the podcaster and the guest are satisfied with the podcast. Make sure that at the end of the podcast, there are no regrets and that the podcast ends on a good note.
Check Your Setup Before The Recording
It should be pretty obvious, but its still worth reiterating: after youve put your gear together, have a dry run to test it out. Ask a friend or colleague for a quick call to make sure you can hear each other, or ask the podcast host to do a sound check in advance they will thank you for that.
Following these five essential tips should make your audio podcast-worthy. Speaking of which, we are still looking to interview more interesting people from European tech. Got a story to tell? Get in touch at and lets talk!
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Listen To Your Guests Other Podcast Appearances
Podchaser also allows you to search for someone and pull up a curated list of their guest appearances in a special tab. You can also set appearance alerts, which is a handy hack if youve got a wishlist of potential podcast guests and want to keep your eyes on them.
Listen Notes describes itself as a search engine for podcasts, which makes it easy to dig up past guest appearances your guest has made on other podcasts.
As you can see, a quick search for Rand Fishkin turns up a massive 917 results, so use the filters to narrow down your choices to the most recent or relevant.
It doesnt take more than listening to 1-2 other podcast appearances theyve done to get familiar and pick out other topics and questions thatd be compelling to explore on your podcast.
Let It Go In The Moment
And it’s like, no, we have we’re having you on because you’re, you. Like you don’t have to pretend to be someone else. – Terry Gross on Pop Culture Happy Hour
You’ve done all of the prep work you possibly can! You are set up for studio grade audio! And now it’s time to do the actual podcast guest interview! Trust that you’ve done the work, stay present and listen.
Give yourself permission to let everything go in the moment.
This is what makes for an engaging interview. This is what makes the interview process a joy. When you let it go, you are being your true self and you’ll deepen the connection between you and your audience.
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Why Do We Even Need Good Quality Audio
It seems like many people who arent into podcast/audio production tend to think that what you say on air is much more important than your audio quality. When we listen to the radio, for instance, were used to hearing important people giving comments on the phone, with the classic landline sound where half of the frequencies are cut out.
Theres certainly some truth to that: great audio quality wont save you if youre talking nonsense. However, what works for a two-minute comment will not work for a 20-minute interview.
Most podcasts will normally run a significant portion if not all of the recording of your interview. This means anywhere from 20 minutes to an hours worth of audio where one person that is, you is talking for most of the time. Believe me, no matter how brilliant the stuff youre saying is, the majority of listeners wont make it past the first five minutes if they have to suffer through loud background noise or an echo that makes your speech unintelligible.
Simply speaking, the better your audio is, the bigger the chance that people will listen to you. And at the end of the day, you want to get your message across, right? If so, keep reading it wont take too long.
Do Some Research On Your Guest
You need to be careful when researching your guests. Doing too much will make your conversations feel rigid. But not doing enough will come across as rude and disrespectful. You need to hit the sweet spot somewhere in the middle. Here are some of the basics worth checking out before you to sit down to record:
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Is It A Conversation Youd Eavesdrop Into
End of the day, a good podcast interview is one that you will want to sneak into and listen to even when you are not invited to listen. In short, the questions are such that the answers are worth listening to. They either teach, inspire or help you get unstuck.
Hope you found these questions and the techniques helpful. Go ahead and give them a try. If you are more interested in the art of podcasting and interviewing, sign up for Free Your Voice, my free 4-week podcasting course.
Leave a comment and share one thing you learnt from this article. What is one question you came up with, if you have? If you think you have a question I must consider for another post on this series, leave that question in the comments below.
Lil personal note: I share more tips, strategies, training, and more with our ever-growing community. If youd like to *not* miss out, do signup to my newsletter wherever you see email signup on this website. I hope youll join us. Be well.
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Equipment: What Software And Hardware I Use
Ill cover this first since people always want to know what tools I use to record my podcast interviews.
. I have a fantastic mic, Snowball USB Microphone by Blue Microphones, which slots into any USB port and should instantly be available in any software you use . I usually plug in a standard set of iphone/ipod headphones when conducting interviews so I can block out the ambient noise. Thats all I need for hardware.
For software I use Skype to call the person. Sometimes I use the SkypeOut function , but most of my interviews are Skype-to-Skype. I just ask for the Skype username of my interviewee, we arrange a time and then connect. The benefit of Skype-to-Skype is the digital connection makes for better sound quality. You can also use Skype video to record video interviews.
To record the call I use , which is a Mac only program for recording skype. Before switching to Mac I used Skype and the software Pamela to record my interviews using PC.
Today for efficiency I record my calls and will say an intro and outtro at the start and end of the interview to remind people that they can get more podcasts from my blog. By doing this I dont need to edit any of the interview post call, I can just take the raw .MOV file, convert it to MP3 using iTunes or any MP3 converter and upload it directly to my server.
Now lets talk about how you can convince people to come on your podcast as a featured interview
If You Had An Extra $xxxx Of Budgethow Would You Spend It And Why
Now, put yourself in your guests shoes. Budget challenges can present a lot of strain on both the project and the mastermind behind it. If you were them, would you use the extra funds on development, manufacturing, marketing, or something entirely different?
Even if your guest comes from an affluent background or has investors, a little extra money can go along way. On the other hand, if your guest is managing to pursue their project with an especially tight-budget, imagine how they would respond to the question.
In either case, this is a discussion point thatll really make your interviewee think for a moment.
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How To Write Podcast Interview Questions
It is key to take care when writing your interview questions as your questions will help you to get the most out of your interview.
Core topics that you will want to cover include the topic, the importance of the topic, and common false beliefs. You will find that guest speakers enjoy to quash myths and listeners find this to be very engaging too!
Then, you will also want to zoom in on your guest speakers a bit. For example, you might want to ask them about any personal obstacles that they have encountered or how they ended up doing what they are currently doing.
While good podcasts in many instances focus on ideas instead of people, by taking an interest in your guest speakers life, you will find that he/she will be more positive about the rest of your interview questions.
Though, try to keep your questions specific. For example, instead of asking about what they have planned for the future, ask about one of their specific upcoming projects.
This means that you will have to research your guest speaker a little bit beforehand. Though, luckily most people have a Facebook account where they share everything that theyre passionate about.
What Is *one* Podcast Interview Question You Really Love Asking Why
I have a deep love for great questions, and as I described in this article, two of the ingredients of great podcast interviews are great questions and rapport. To understand that *one* question that people use to have great podcast interviews, I asked one question to the members in the Podcast Movement community on Facebook and also in a couple of podcaster communities and forums.
What is *one* podcast interview question you really love asking? Why?
The result was over 150 podcasters sharing the favorite podcast interview questions.
In this article, I just want to share 19 of my favorite questions and also a 5-step process to come up with great podcast interview questions. You can find the complete list inside the resources section of Free Your Voice, my free podcasting course.
I hope you find these questions useful, but more importantly, I hope you put them to good use.
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Podcast Interview Sheet Example
Topic: Gretas Experience and Advice on Hosting Costume PartiesQ1: Greta, thanks for joining us today. Pete and I have been talking a bit about what makes a great costume party, but before you share your amazing tips, tell us how your love of costume parties came to exist?Q2: So of all the parties you have thrown, which one has been your favorite one?Q3: If I wanted to make sure that my costume party is one to be rivalled, what do I need to know? How do I prepare?