The Definitive Guide To Conducting Your First Podcast Interview

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This article is part one of a three part series we’ve put together on interview mastery. Be sure that you get caught up on the full series:

Accessible with the touch of a button, podcast are filling the niche for radio shows, and the market’s only growing more competitive by the day. Now, it’s more important than ever for anyone wanting to make a voice for themselves to stand out from the herd. Interviews are a great way to do that! It gives your show unique content while being a good way to form connections with amazing people in your industry. But, it’s a big world out there, and things can get a bit intimidating. Especially when learning the ropes in something that can be tricky on a technical level. So, it’s not surprising that the although the barrier to entry is very low, it can seem pretty big once you dig deeper. Today I bring you the definitive guide for conducting your first podcast interview!

After reading this guide you will know:

  1. The basic equipment that will ensure quality production value without breaking the bank 
  2. Podcast interview etiquette and how to respect your guests’ time 
  3. How to prepare the right questions 
  4. How to form lasting connections post interview
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Equipment Basics

You want to make sure that your show has quality production value that will help to up your professional appeal. Still, it’s unforgiving turf. Ebay auctions and flash sales galore, it can be difficult to separate the good stuff from needless toys that will rot on your desk space. So, here’s a quick list of quality, wallet friendly mics, headphones, and software that are a perfect start to your podcasting journey. 

Recommended Mics: 

  • ATR2100 USB Microphone
  • Blue Microphones Yeti
  • Logitech Clearchat H390

Recommended Headphones: 

  • Sennheiser HD280 PRO
  • Audio-Technica ATHM40X
  • Sennheiser HD 202 II

Recommended Recording Software: 

Recommended Mobile Recording Apps: 

  • Boss Jock
  • MultiTrack 
  • Voice Memo

Recommended Accessories:

  • Mic screen
  • Mic stand or boom arm
  • Apple lightning to usb camera adaptor (mobile recording) 

For recording mobile interviews on the go check out 5 Ways to Record Podcast Interviews with Your iPhone by our friend Shawn Smith

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Interviewing

One of the areas most often overlooked when it comes to conducting interviews is podcast interview etiquette. Just as you wouldn’t eat with your elbows on the table, you shouldn’t disrespect your guests by showing them you don’t value the opportunity or their time. So, here’s a quick checklist of Do’s and Don’ts you should keep in mind.

Do 

  • Prepare your guest 

Let them know what they’re signing up for! Tell them as much as you can about your show (for example, what will be covered in the interview, what it’s about, how long is it, where they listen to a previous episode, etc). This includes preparing them for any procedural quirks (like turning off Skype notifications) beforehand. It’s important for your guests to feel as comfortable and prepared as possible. This is valuable time they’re about to spend with you that they’ll never get back. Remember, a prepared happy guest means a better future rapport and a smoother interview.

  • Research your guest beforehand

Find out what they’re all about! What relevant works have they put out in their industry? Finding out their basic interests and important life events on bios can add value to the conversation and keep the show’s flow going. An engaged guest means an engaged audience!

  • Ask for referrals

This is a great way to access hard to reach people outside your immediate circle of influence! The old adage ask and you shall receive holds true when asking your guest for interview referrals. Simply ask, “Who else do you know that would be a great guest”? You’ll be shocked at who they recommend. 

Don’t

  • Show up late! 

This is extremely unprofessional and shows you’re inconsiderate of your guest’s time. They have schedules that they have accommodated to fit in your interview request. Needless to say, showing up late does nothing to help build rapport with your guest, and could even damage your chances of gaining any future connections from them. If an emergency comes up and the show schedule needs to be adjusted for any reason, PLAN AHEAD and politely ask if you can reschedule. Life happens, and sometimes you or your guests will need to cancel.

  • Go over your time

Besides the above reasons, you run the risk of cutting into other scheduled events on their calendar and having them cut the conversation short during your recording session.

  • Be unprepared

It’s important to have a basic idea of what your questions and main conversation pieces will be. You can’t expect your guest to totally engage in the conversation and always work out what’s coming next. Of course, your equipment should be prepped a good deal ahead of time, for reasons that you can see above.

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How To Prepare Your Questions?

You want a meaningful, on-topic conversation that will pull in listeners and let your guest strut their stuff. So, here’s a few tips and tricks for keeping the conversation focused once you two are comfortable in the speaking chair. 

1. Poll your audience for questions 

Getting questions through a quick poll on social media is a great way to engage your audience with the show. You get people who want to tune in and get their questions answered (and asking more questions for future episodes). Not to mention that your audience will appreciate you considering them.

2. Fill in the gaps

Can’t find what you want to know about your guest?  Didn’t find anything interesting in your Google search? Now’s the time to ask something that you were curious about from the beginning! Your audience will also appreciate new, unknown info on an esteemed guest that they possibly only talked about on your podcast.

3. Be open to flow

While you may have prepared a list of a dozen questions that you want to get answered, be open to letting the conversation flow into another direction. You may find that something comes up that you didn’t plan to cover. This could be the one golden nugget that makes the whole interview a smashing success!

Grab our free 18 point Zero to Launch checklist if you’re ready to create a game changing podcast today. 

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Breaking The Ice

Naturally flowing conversations are important for both your audience and interviewees. You want your guests to feel comfortable and easy to talk to. At the same time, you want to use the interview as a way to build positive connections. It all starts with a solid ice breaker. So, here’s a basic rundown of good ways to kick off your conversation professionally and flow into the interview speed bump-free.

Some simple ice breakers you can use are….

  • Are you based out of (city or state)?
  • How’s the weather out in (city or state)?
  • So how do you know (person)? Good option if you were introduced to them by someone

Questions to avoid

  • General questions about family. Especially if you do not know the person well.
  • Politics and Religion
  • Extremely personal questions about work. Let them volunteer that information.

Building Relationships Beyond The Interview

Now that the interview is done, you want to follow-up on your new connection! What do you do? We all know that podcasting is a great for getting to know cool people in your field that you want to build a working relationship with. But still, the conversation doesn’t end once the mic turns off. If you really want to build relationships with leaders in your industry, it helps to genuinely get to know these people. So, here are some basic ways to keep the conversation rolling after the interview.

Buy their book, product or service 

  • Buy book or gift set for friends and leave an amazon review 
  • Test drive entry-level version of their product or service and provide feedback
  • Help your audience be aware of their products through mentions on your show and social media 

Birthday’s

Major life events

  • Be on the look out for weddings, travel, moving, etc.
  • Be helpful in giving any advice, sharing information, contacts or services that make life easier
  • Check in every 60-90 days to see what’s new

There you have it! With this guide, you’ll be slinging contacts left and right in no time, and sound good doing it! If you have any suggestions on good equipment or interview basics that we may have missed, talk about it in the comments!

Have you launched your podcast yet? Steal our 18-Point Zero to Launch checklist to insure you’re on the right track. Get it absolutely free here:

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If you make a checklist for the grocery store, why not have one for your podcast? Click here to grab your free copy.