A Primer for Conducting Great Podcast Interviews

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Great podcast interviews begin with the work you do well before the actual interview. Here are two tactics for preparing your guests.

Your podcast guests deserve a special experience from you as their host. You can start to make that happen through the actions you take before the interview takes place. Preparing your podcast guests for what to expect can set the stage for a great podcast episode.

There are many things you can and should do to conduct great interviews. In this post we’re going to focus on two specific tactics for preparing your guests. In other posts we’ll cover developing the trait of curiosity as well as great questions and follow-up skills.

Now, some of your guests are podcast guest veterans. Sometimes they even host their own podcasts. They have their own gear, a great recording environment, the whole shebang. These folks are the easy ones to prepare for — and the ones you really should show you’ve got together for.

Other guests are new to the podcast world. They assume any secluded room with four closed-in walls and their built-in laptop microphone is all it takes. When you listen to a lot of interview podcasts like I do, you encounter this all the time. It’s a shame because these are great guests who just lack the gear and understanding of how their episode will sound without proper preparation.

1. Tell them what to expect starting with your first outreach email

Start making the case from your very first email to potential guests what they can expect from coming on your podcast. Tell them about your audience, download numbers, your show’s angle and personality, and others you’ve had on.

You want to show your potential guests — especially the ones that you’re reaching out to join your show vs. those who ping you — that you have your act together. They won’t be the first time you’ve conducted an interview. You’ve had solid people on in the past.

I’ve had one potential guest turn me down not due to my download numbers, but due to my lack of a volume of ratings/reviews at the time (she wanted 50, I had 18 or so legitimate 5-star reviews at the time, sheesh). So…that’s one more thing you should share to head off that concern.

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2. Send guests a link to your ‘what to expect’ page

Here’s mine. Guests have told me time and time again they’re appreciative for having been given a full rundown of what to expect from coming on my show.

That page covers the show’s format first and foremost. (I never assume someone will stop everything in their life and listen to a few episodes, if I’ve reached out to them to join me. On the other hand, if they’ve reached out to me to be on, they better have listened to some past episodes!)

It also covers the questions I may ask them, generally speaking. I may or may not ask those specific questions, but it gives them an idea of what direction I want to take our podcast interview in.

And it covers technical details. I used to conduct my interviews via Skype. I’ve switched to using SquadCast. That’s going to be a new thing for most people, but there’s no software to download so it’s even easier. There are some nuances about these Chrome-based recording platforms, though, and I like to tell my guests how it will work.

Lastly, it covers sharing their episode. I can’t force a guest to do this, but I do ask politely to do so. It’s only natural, right?

You don’t ‘accidentally’ produce great podcast interviews

Entire courses have been built around helping you become great at interviewing guests. If you can handle the investment and/or if you’re wanting to make a career out of your podcast, one of them may well be worth it.

Two I’d recommend most are:

Both are masters at the craft. Learn from them if you’ve got a few extra bucks.

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