podcast interview

How to Setup a Successful Podcast Interview

Interviews can be one of the best and most engaging aspects of a podcast. Each guest brings in unique ideas, perspectives, and gives you an opportunity to share something new with your audience. That said, you as a host need to do your part to ensure you’re prepared for an interview.

Research Your Guest

When you sit down to interview a guest, you are introducing them to your audience. You need to know something about the person on the other end of the microphone. Do your research by exploring their website, searching Google for any articles they have published, as well as articles published about them and their work. If you can get your hands on your guest’s actual work, do it! Meaning, if you have an author coming on your show, take the time to purchase and read a copy of their latest book.

This is also where social media stalking is a good thing. Deep dive into the social profiles of your guest to get a feel for who they are and how they present to the world. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a social post is worth twice as much.

Write Your Guest's Bio

It’s common to ask your guest to tell your audience who they are/what they do. This is often a rehearsed statement, especially if your guest is on a podcast tour. What’s worse, some of these guest provided bios are long and boring.

Don’t waste your guest’s time by having them set the stage with something that you know your audience isn’t interested in hearing. Rather, after doing your research on your guest, create a bio that you then present as an introduction of the guest to your audience. This is also an excellent way to lead directly into the interview.

Highlight Where Your Show & Guest Intersect

The point of an interview is to bring additional voices into the conversation about your podcast’s topic. Ensure you are focusing on how your guest’s expertise and background can contribute to your show’s overall theme and goal. Your audience is tuning in for a reason, ensure you are sticking to your ‘why’ for podcasting, even during an interview.

Again, this is why researching your guest is so important. They may have fifty interesting things to talk about, but if only three are relevant to your show, ensure you are steering the conversation back to the pertinent topics. Don’t be afraid to skip over something the guest thinks is important if it doesn’t make sense for the show.

Prepare Questions In Advance

You don’t have to script every word of an interview, but you do need to have a list of questions prepared to drive your conversation forward. Also, ensure you have more questions than you need. Your guest may inadvertently answer something before it is asked, or you may realize during an interview that a question doesn’t make sense.

Keep these things in mind:

  • Avoid basic questions you can answer with a proper guest introduction
  • Don’t ask leading questions of your guest
  • Focus on ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions for greater depth
  • Ask only one question at a time
  • Don’t mention your list of questions

Interviews are an opportunity to learn about someone new, gain new perspectives, and possibly even gain a few new audience members. These are a few quick tips to get you started in crafting your next interview. Remember, above all else, it begins with research.

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