The popularity of podcasts has grown significantly in the last couple of years.
What used to be a niche industry has now become one of the world’s favorite forms of entertainment.
Now, there are more than 73 million podcast listeners in the US alone. With so many people listening, more and more new podcasts are cropping up every day to meet the demand.
If you’re a podcaster, this means that your competition is tougher than ever. That’s why you need to up your game and put out high-quality interviews that your listeners will love.
In this post, well tell you everything you need to know. Read on to find out how to interview someone for a podcast.
Top Tips for How to Interview Someone for a Podcast
Set your podcast apart by recording interviews that are better than the rest.
Do Some Networking
The hardest part of conducting podcast interviews is often finding the right candidates.
Have you thought about how to find podcast guests? To build up a list of people to interview, you’ll have to do some networking.
Start by reaching out to people in your immediate social circle, such as close friends, co-workers, and family members. They may be able to start you off by recommending someone they know. Plus, it’s much easier to get hold of guests when you’re already connected by a third party.
Attend local events that are related to the subject matter of your podcast. Once you meet people face-to-face, you can follow up with them later on and invite them to be a guest on your show.
Get Your Pitch Right
You may have lots of ideas for people you’d love to interview, but have you thought about how you’re going to persuade them to take part? It’s not always as easy as just asking them.
You’ll need to craft a pitch to reel them in. If you don’t get this right, you could ruin your chances before you even get started. In some cases, they may not even open your email.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re inviting guests to be interviewed on your podcast:
- Make the Subject Line Interesting — The subject of your email should intrigue the reader and make them want to open it to find out more.
- Sell Yourself — Tell your potential guests why they should do an interview with you. Talk about any credentials you have and give examples of your past work.
- Be Specific — Don’t send generic emails that look like they could have been sent out en masse to multiple guests. Add in specific references to make sure they know you’ve done your research on them. That makes it more personal.
- Keep it Brief — If your email is too long, people will get bored and give up reading it halfway through. Summarize everything as briefly as you can to keep their interest.
- End with a Next Step — Finish of your email with specific instructions with how to move forward if they wish. For example, they could fill out a form, or choose from a list of available interview dates. This makes it much easier to get the ball rolling.
Don’t expect a reply to every pitch you send out. Some recipients will initially show interest and then ghost you, while others may not respond at all. For every ten emails you send out, expect to only get a reply from a couple.
You shouldn’t let that put you off, though. For some people, your podcast may not be a good fit, and for others, the interview opportunity may just come along at the wrong time. Not everyone will be able to fit interviews into their schedule.
Rejections for interviews aren’t always a reflection on the quality of your podcast. If you can’t pin down a particular guest you’d really like, don’t worry. Keep trying and you’re bound to find ones who are a good fit for your show.
Have a Format
If you’re interviewing guests regularly, you ought to have a defined format that you use routinely.
This doesn’t mean that every episode has to be the same. However, it will make things much easier for you, your guests, and your listeners.
Think about how you want to run your interview. How long do you want it to last? How many questions will you prepare? Will there be a theme?
Perhaps you’ll have one or two questions that you ask every single guest who makes an appearance on your podcast. This is a nice way to wrap up interviews and connect each episode and gives listeners something to look forward to in each one.
Whichever interview format you decide, make sure you remain consistent. Communicate your format with each guest before the interview, too. Then, they’ll find it much easier to prepare themselves for it. This way, everyone knows what to expect from your podcast.
Do Your Research
It’s absolutely essential that you do lots of background research on every guest you interview.
Use Google to research their background and find out more about their story. In doing so, look up some previous interviews they’ve done and see what kind of topics they usually talk about.
Then, look them up on social media and see what they’ve been posting about recently. That will show you what they’ve been up to, and also give you some inspiration for questions. If they have any exciting new projects coming up, you’re sure to find out about them on social media.
Lots of guests do podcast interviews to promote books they’re publishing. If this is the case with your guest, make sure you read the book before the interview. Get hold of a copy in advance and at the very least, skim it to get the gist of what it’s about.
Send Guests a Survey Before the Interview
Some background research isn’t always enough to find out everything you need to know about your guest. If you need a little more to prepare for your interview, consider sending them a pre-interview survey.
This gives you an opportunity to do some extra research and clear anything up that you’re not sure of.
You can either type some questions into an email or create an online survey that they can fill out and submit. The first option is easy to customize for each guest, but the second gives you a simple process to follow for each guest. Just send out the survey link before each interview.
In this survey, you can ask if there are any specific topics they’d particularly like to talk about and anything they’d like to promote or plug. You can also ask them to list any questions they don’t want to be asked, so you can avoid causing any offense or discomfort.
It’s also a good idea to include a question asking guests how to pronounce their names. That way, you don’t have to worry about getting it wrong and embarrassing yourself on the podcast.
Even if you think you know your guest really well, sending over a pre-show form for your guests to fill out is helpful for everyone. It allows your guest to get a feel for the types of questions you like to ask, and it helps you gather the information that directly relates to your show, as opposed to public information you can find on the web or through casual conversations.
Make it quick and easy to fill out, with only a few questions. Otherwise, it can seem like too much hard work for your guest.
Once you’ve received your survey, you can finalize your list of questions to ask.
Eliminate All Distractions and Disturbances
When you’re setting up for your recording, make sure there are no noises in the background.
This means more than just putting your phone on silent. While vibrations and notifications will certainly disturb your interview, there are lots of other things you should also worry about.
For example, someone could knock on the door or come into the room. Put a sign on the door to let people know that you’re recording and can’t be disturbed. If you have a pet, make sure to put them in another room.
If you don’t have a dedicated studio and can’t get any peace and quiet at home, consider renting a room just for the interview. That way, you can control everything and you won’t have to worry about any interruptions.
Let Them Talk
Don’t talk over your guests or interrupt them.
As well as stifling their answers, it will also be incredibly irritating for your audience to listen to. They have a chance to listen to you in every episode, so let your guests shine through when they come on.
In many cases, we don’t do this on purpose. It’s in our nature to want to fill in the awkward gaps and pauses in conversations. You may even want to do it out of politeness, so your guess doesn’t feel uncomfortable.
Leave spaces for your guests to respond, and then wait for a few seconds after they finish. This will give them time to think and encourage them to elaborate more.
Don’t worry about having long pauses or uncomfortable silences in the interview. You can edit any gaps out later if they stop your interview from flowing the right way.
Get Creative with Your Questions
Shy away from the same old boring questions that everyone else asks.
Listen to some previous interviews your guest has done to find out what they’ve been asked before. This will give you more of an insight into their mind and also tell you which questions to not to ask. That way, you can avoid boring your guests with questions they’ve been asked a hundred times before and instead surprise them with something more interesting.
When you’re crafting your questions, try not to make them too direct. Simple yes or no questions don’t give your guest much of a chance to tell you a story. Write open-ended questionsthat give them a chance to give long and interesting answers.
This way, your guest will make the interview easier for you by opening up and telling you stories. If you keep your questions short and direct, the pressure will be on you to keep coming up with new ones to fill space and keep the interview going.
Give them Challenges
Standard Q&A sessions are great, but they can be boring after a while. There are some other ways you can interact with your guests while switching things up.
You need to come up with new ways to get the most out of your guests. Every podcast is doing standard interviews. What can you do that no one else is doing?
Think of something that’s unique to your podcast, audience or subject matter.
You could pose a challenge for them, play a game with them, or ask them to give advice to problems that listeners have posed for them. Whatever you choose to do, both your guest and your audience will thank you for keeping things interesting!
This is one of the most important tips for podcast hosts to take on board. It should all boil down to whether you’re having a good time.
If both you and your guest are enjoying doing the interview, your audience is more likely to enjoy listening to it. When you laugh and joke around together, that feel-good vibe will spill over into the ears of your listeners. So, above all, make it fun!