The key to a successful podcast interview is to prepare in order to set yourself and your guest up for success. Read on to learn how to prepare for your podcast interview!
Do Your Research
Who is your guest, and what do they do? If you’re having a guest on your show, you need to have a good grasp of the basics about them. You don’t have to spend hours and hours researching, but do spend some time researching them and considering how they relate to your show. Keep an eye out for things they might be promoting: do they have a new book that you can shout out or a podcast of their own you can promote?
If they’ve been interviewed on other podcasts, take some time to listen to the episode. By listening to other interviews they’ve done, you can gather an idea of their communication style, their viewpoints, and how much they need to be led through the interview. This information will help you know what to expect going in.
Doing your research will enable you to have deeper conversations, rather than covering the basics that could easily be found with a quick google search.
Know the Direction You’re Going
Interviews are often off the cuff, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an idea of what you want to cover in the episode. Based on your research, what do you think your guest has to contribute to your show? What about them do you want to highlight? Spend some time preparing a rough outline with the beats you want to cover. If you stray from your outline, that’s okay, and probably means you’re having a natural conversation! Your outline is there to help you if you get stuck and doesn’t need to be adhered to 100%.
You don’t have to script your entire podcast or have a set list of interview questions to be read off and answered. However, it’s a good idea to have some questions in your back pocket. These questions can serve as guideposts for your episode, and can help ensure that you’re staying in line with the theme of your show. If your show is about cooking, you don’t want to spend your entire episode discussing basketball with your guest. Having some questions prepared will help you stay on track if either of you start to stray.
When preparing questions, make sure they are open ended. Open ended questions will help fuel your conversation and encourage follow up questions.
Be Prepared to Be Flexible
You can do all your research and plan all your questions, and the interview still might not go as you planned. Be flexible and willing to let the conversation flow naturally. If you’re continually focused on directing the conversation back to your “plan,” it’s likely to feel forced and could make your guest feel uncomfortable.
Use a Calendar Software to Schedule
Scheduling interviews can be a tedious part of the process, but there are ways to make it easier! Programs like Calendly make scheduling easy by integrating with your calendar and allowing your guest to select the time that works best for them, eliminating the countless back and forth emails trying to pick a time. Calendly will also take care of sending your guest a reminder email, allows the option of rescheduling, and can send links to Zoom or GoToMeeting if you’re conducting the interview online. Resources like these simplify the process and save you time.
Collect Necessary Information
Before your interview, you’ll want your guest to sign a guest release form (we provide a downloadable template in our Legal course.) You might also want a headshot, biography, links to their social media, or information about what they are promoting. Take the time to gather this information prior to the interview; you don’t want to be chasing down your guests after your interview to get what you need.
Properly preparing for your podcast interview will set you and your guest up to have a great show. For tips about recording guests, check out this post!