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Most people love listening to interview-based podcasts. This means you may have to learn how to conduct a proper interview. There are several things you should consider before, during, and after the interview to get the most from your guests.
Before the Interview
Preparation is Key
Before your interview, take some time to plan what you want to capture during the episode. Jot down some basic questions that you can use as a fallback or get things moving. A good interviewer will lead the interview to where they want it to go, but they will also be adaptable and allow the interview to go places they didn’t anticipate.
If you want to look professional, make sure that every guest understands your show format. You don’t have to duplicate your efforts with every episode, but consistency really goes a long way.
I always send a booking confirmation that includes how the show runs and any important information (like what browser to use to access my recording software).
Always do a small amount of research on your guest. This research should include old blog posts, other podcast interviews, social media updates, and personal news that you can connect upon (ie. new puppies, new babies, etc.).
If your guest is promoting a book or some other item, be sure to be familiar with it before the interview. If it is a book, read the book or at least skim through it.
Make sure to minimize the distractions. Put your phone in airplane mode. Turn off all instant messengers. You don’t want unwanted distractions during the episode.
Schedule a Short Call
This is an important step. Take the time to make sure your guest is feeling at ease. A simple chat before the episode recording will help put your guest at ease. Be sure to ask them “How can I make this interview great for you?” This shows your guest you want to show them at their best.
Make sure to test your equipment and software. Make sure your guest has the gear they need to give a great interview.
During the Interview
The better you listen the better your interview will be. Be attentive during the answers that are given to your questions. They might give rise to other follow up questions. At the very least, you can add to what has been said with something from your own experiences.
When your guest says something that you think should be expanded upon, ask more questions. Take the interview where it flows naturally. This is going to make your guest feel better because they will understand that you truly care about what they have to say.
Be a Passionate Interviewer
The best way to be passionate is to lead with your heart and not your head. This is translated “I love speaking with amazing people.” Nobody likes a show where the host just goes through the motions. You need to be genuinely excited about the content you present. This includes your guests–be excited about those you invite on your show.
One way to be sure you are passionate is to ask “How can I make this enjoyable for myself?” This is going to ignite your passionate side.
Put Your Audience First
Every podcaster thinks about their audience. They continually wonder how they can please their listeners. As the host, you know your audience better than anyone.
Your job is to ensure your audience gets what it expects. Never try to force a conversation in a certain direction. Instead, guide it towards what you know your audience wants. Do not ever back off of these strategies or you will eventually lose a lot of listeners.
After the Interview
Thank Your Guest
It is important to have an attitude of gratitude towards your guests. Be sure to thank every guest. They took time out of their valuable day to appear on your show. Don’t take that for granted.
Always let your guests know when their episode will be published. Be sure to ask them to share the episode with their network of connections.
Feedback Is Great
It is a good idea to ask for feedback from your guest on the episode and the process. You have no idea what it is like from your guest’s point of view. By getting feedback, you can make changes and improvements to your show. You also establish a stronger bond with your guest, which may lead to a repeat appearance later down the road.
This is probably the most important tip I’ve given you. Always involve your audience. Give them the opportunity to answer questions or ask questions. Make sure they can do so anonymously if they want.
Many podcasters ask their audience to leave questions on a Facebook post and later they answer the questions during an episode. This really connects you to your audience.
After the Episode is Released
Social Media Promotion
Once the episode is released you should begin promoting it on your social media networks. What I do is create an Instagram image that is related to the episode. I include a link to the episode on our website. I put that out on the same day the episode is released.
After the first day of release, I create an audiogram (a short audio segment that comes from your episode) and promote that on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
I continue my promotion by pushing the episode to LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter using Smarter Queue. Come up with ways to promote the episode for several days after it is released so as to get the most traction possible.
If your episode is particularly good you might consider putting some money into advertising. Send people to your website where your show notes are. Be sure you have some kind of opt-in for people so you can capture their email address. This is one way you will monetize your podcast in the future.
An email list will bring in an average of $1 to $5 per month per email address in revenue each month. This is why it is so important to capture those email addresses.
Getting the most out of your guests is really a simple process. Follow the steps outlined and you will see your content continually improving. Your guests will see you as a professional. Your audience will grow in appreciation for you. There really is no downside here.