So, you’re a podcaster and you’re ready to interview guests, but have no idea where to begin. What questions should you ask? How do you keep your guests comfortable and engaged in the conversation? What happens if there’s an awkward silence? Have no fear, interviewing guests can be a breeze as long as you do your homework. Ready to learn more? Let’s hit it!
What to do before your interview:
Do. Your. Research.
Research your guest beforehand and find out any personal information like interests or hobbies. Start by checking out their social media profiles like Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Conduct additional research on what has already been written about that person online, in print media such as newspapers or magazines, or from other podcasts they have been on. This will help you get to know your guest better, and keep you from asking questions other interviewers or authors have already asked ad nauseum.
What type of questions are most effective:
- Instead of yes/no questions, ask open ended ones. They result in more engaging and interesting conversations. This conversational style also benefits listeners by giving them hints as to what direction topics might be heading in without knowing too much beforehand.
- Ask leading questions, where you ask a question in order to help guide the conversation topically.
- Ask follow up questions to dig deeper into an answer that’s intriguing.
- When in doubt or if the conversation stalls, ask your guest about something they are passionate about. They’ll always have something to say!
- Respectfully disagreeing with your guests or playing devil’s advocate can be an effective strategy, which can lead to spirited debate and interesting conversations. Be careful of your tone and approach. Being too combative is a no-no, so tread lightly and use this approach sparingly.
Make your guests comfortable:
First and foremost, talk with them before the interview starts. Provide some space before you hit the record button for some low-stakes conversation to break the ice and build rapport. While you’re talking, guide your guest through the interview flow and what they can expect, including how long the session will last, roughly how many questions you’ll ask, and any topics that are off limits.
Again, do your research. Knowing the person and their interests will go a long way in facilitating an interview that people will enjoy listening to.
Interview best practices:
- Be prepared for technical difficulties. Wifi connections drop, distracting noises happen, equipment stops working. It happens. Don’t let it frazzle you. Stay professional and try your best to get things back on track.
- Be confident and don’t be afraid of silence. There is nothing wrong with being quiet every now and then in order for both you and your guest to have a moment to think. Most people take a moment to gather their thoughts before answering. And some of the best answers come when the guest is given enough space and silence to thoughtfully respond.
- Make sure that whatever topic(s) your podcast deals with can stand alone without any other show needed in order to fully explain the content.
- Prepare and do your research about your guest and the topic at hand – we know we sound like a broken record, but that’s how important it is.
- Know when to stop asking questions. If things are getting too deep or personal (and that’s not the point of the interview), it’s time to change topics. Or if the guest is noticeably tired and not as engaged, it’s time to wrap the session.
Let us know how it goes if you try these tips. And drop a comment below if there are any tips we should add to the list.
When it comes to your podcast, if you’re struggling with namer’s block, try this simple 3-step approach to spark an aha! moment. A podcast’s name is the first chance you have to capture potential listener’s attention by conveying what the podcast is all about. No pressure, right?
Step 1: Start With Intention
Start by thinking through the story your podcast is set out to tell. What is the vision for your podcast? What is its purpose? What will it accomplish for your listeners? Does it have a brand behind it? What is that brand’s story? What are your values? What is the intent of this podcast? Now sort through these answers and create a list of words that fit into that description. And if none of those keywords resonate with you, fire up the handy-dandy thesaurus to dig for synonyms.
Step 2: Do the Research
Once you’re crystal clear on your intent, try to find comparable podcasts in your same genres and see which ones have higher ratings and reviews. Look at the names of the most successful or trending podcasts. Dive deep into their reviews to learn the language of listeners and some of the key words that resonate with them. Add some of the most positive words to your “namestorm” list. Oh and P.S. – this is also a great way to know which names are taken by active or mega-popular shows so you can avoid an SEO nightmare.
Step 3: Name Your Podcast
You should now have a robust “namestorm” document started with all the answers to our prompting questions from Step 1, and a long list of words from Steps 1 and 2. Make this document a creative safe space where you write down all the potential names that come to mind. And remember, the key to any brainstorm (and especially a namestorm) is that there are no bad ideas.
Put every potential podcast name on this list, from the most creative or outlandish to the most predictable or palatable. Sometimes a silly or less exciting name idea becomes the inspiration for your final choice.
Hopefully, by now you have a solid few options. Now it’s time to pick a podcast name that aligns with industry best practices, including:
- Make your podcast name short and sweet.
- Make your podcast name easy to spell and pronounce.
- Make your podcast name SEO friendly. If your podcast is about flowers, think about including the word “flowers” in the name.
- Make sure your podcast name isn’t already taken, especially by a hugely popular podcast.
- Don’t include expletives or offensive language in the podcast name, unless that’s part of the strategy.
- Avoid using the word “podcast.”
- Test the name with friends or family who fit into your target audience.
Welcome Aries to your month of reign! Er, I mean, month of unbridled energy! Aries, you are a powerful sign and you know it. Your drive and honesty inspires everyone around you to heckin’ go for what they want and your spontaneity and independence encourages them to have fun along the way. And especially with this Spring season, your Aries nature knows no bounds. Here are three podcasts we picked out just for you, Aries!
This one is a no brainer since you love being bosses, duh. Your Type A nature and entrepreneurial spirit make you adept leaders, born to build things for yourself. This podcast is perfect if you want to tap into heart-centered stories about being your own boss.
This podcast dives into deep topics and hard questions that are usually left out of polite conversations. And frankly, who has time for that, right Aries? Listen for the perfect balance of storytelling and sass.
This podcast caters to your need for perfection. It’s a great way for you to feel like you are vicariously fixing your own life, while secretly side-eyeing and getting all the tea on Iyanla’s guests.
Here is our proven, data-backed case for podcasting as a powerful marketing strategy for brands.
A true idealist, you make up your mind and stick to it. You are true original and aren’t afraid to go down the road less travelled. Here are 3 podcast recommendations that your detached, rational, eccentric brain will love.