Interviews are a great way to add authority to your podcast. Bringing guest speakers on to the show means you can provide your audience with a range of different advice, opinions and expertise. You'll get more out of your episode, and you might even learn something yourself! Interviews will also help with promoting your podcast, particularly if your guest works in a similar niche and has a large audience.
When it comes to interviewing someone for a podcast, the questions you ask and your interview skills as a whole will determine how well the episode goes, so it pays to be prepared!
With that in mind, we've compiled a list of top tips for podcast interviews, including how to prepare for interviews and the best types of questions to ask.
Once you've chosen your guest speaker, it's time to get Googling. The more you find out about your guest, their field of work and their hobbies, as well as the topic of that podcast episode generally, the more prepared you'll feel - particularly if you're discussing a topic that feels a little out of your depth.
Check out your guest's social media and read up on what they've been posting about recently. This helps to get more of a sense of their personal lives and their interests, making it easier for you to build a rapport.
Arguably the most important aspects of a podcast interview are the questions themselves. At least a couple of weeks before your episode goes live, create a well-researched list of podcast questions. Doing this well in advance gives you time to think up additional questions as the podcast recording date gets closer.
When it comes to the type of questions to ask, try to make sure they fit into some, if not all, of these categories:
In other words, do your questions prompt more than a yes or no answer? The aim is for your interview to flow as naturally as a conversation. Using open-ended questions that begin with 'who', 'what', 'where', 'when' and 'how?' encourages your guest to provide a richer response, getting the most out of your interview.
Some good examples of open-ended questions include:
"When did you first realize that you had a passion for interior design?"
"How did it feel to have your first book published"
"What does your typical morning routine look like?"
For each question you draft out, ask yourself "would my podcast's audience be interested in hearing the answer?" Gripping, enticing questions engage not only your audience but your guest too. And when your guest is engaged, it means they're enjoying themselves, which makes for much better listening.
While juicy, nitty-gritty questions are always going to do well, you need to make sure that they're relevant to your podcast. Have a clearly defined topic or theme for each podcast episode, and review each of your questions to make sure they stay on track and contribute to the bigger picture.
Show you've done your research and ask your guest about things they have going on in their lives currently. They'll be flattered that you're showing some interest and may be more willing to open up and share.
While it's important to go into a podcast interview with a pre-prepared list of questions, don;t be afraid to go off script. The biggest mistake that many interviewers make is not asking follow-up questions, but it's often these questions that lead to the most engaging and interesting conversations. Stay engaged, and if there's a point that inspires further explanation, then keep the conversation going!
While you don't want to rehearse your podcast as such, it's good etiquette to let your guest know roughly what you're going to be asking so that they can get in the right mindset and carry out their own preparation too. Once you've finalized your list of questions, send them over for your guest's approval. Ask them if there's anything they do or don't want to talk about; some topics may be more sensitive than you'd think.
Similarly, make sure your guest knows the specifics of your podcast interview, such as the date, time and location. This will help the day of the interview run as smoothly as possible.
Before you start your interview, set up the perfect space for hosting your guest. You'll need somewhere quiet with no background noise and distractions, preferably in a professional studio. The audio quality of your interview is most important, so make sure you have the right recording and editing software, and once your guest has arrived, make sure they're happy with the microphone placement. Always run a soundcheck before you get started to be sure that everyone's voice can be clearly heard.
Interview complete! Now it's time to think about post-production. Make sure your podcast flows naturally and keeps the audience engaged - don't hesitate to cut out sections where the conversation isn't particularly interesting or relevant, or doesn't add value.
Transcribe your podcast so that you can share a written transcription alongside the recording. A written transcription makes the content more accessible for members of your audience who might be deaf or hard of hearing, or for those who find it easier to read than listen to the language in the recording.
A podcast transcription can also be used to create marketing material - you could turn it into a blog post or pull out quotes to share on social media.
A great podcast interview should be well-researched, well-thought-out, and engaging (for both your guest and your audience!), and it should be filled with open-ended questions and follow-up questions to keep things flowing nicely.