Mastering the Art of the Podcast Interview | A Comprehensive Guide for Business Owners and CMOs

Podcast interviews are an essential part of industry growth and creating chart-topping content. An impactful and entertaining podcast interview requires the host to have a very particular set of skills. This includes having an understanding of the topic and guest, as well as knowing how to keep the conversational flow going. Dive in to learn more about what it takes to captivate your audience with a successful podcast interview!

Why you should have guest podcast interviews

If you aren’t having guest interviews on your podcast, it’s never too late to start! Having a guest on the show is an excellent strategy to build a bigger audience and to expand your show’s reach online. Interviews provide an opportunity to showcase your expertise, connect with industry influencers, and explore diverse perspectives that enrich your podcast content. 

The right guest can also dramatically boost your listenership if they have a large social media presence and are willing to share the episode with their followers. Cross-platform collaboration such as this, is a great way to reach a new crowd and to pull in your target audience. For example, if you have a company podcast about sales, finding an expert in sales to come on the show that has a loyal following (like a book author or professor) is sure to boost listener metrics when they share the show on their platform. 

If you’re still not sold on the idea of having guest interviews, consider your content. Does it need a refresher? Could it benefit from a different perspective, a new story, or insider details you struggle to procure on your own? Having a guest on your show can help remedy this. Your audience wants to hear more from you and those in your niche who have fresh perspectives! Why not try it and see what your listeners have to say? Chances are, they’ll be hooked and bound to listen to more content.

Before the interview begins

All successful podcast interviews have a few things in common. Below we’ll explore what makes for a successful interview, and how it’s achieved by the pros. Regardless of what your middle school teachers told you, it’s okay to copy the greats when it comes to podcast interview formats. They’re the experts and replicating their interview flow with your own unique spin is sure to help you discover your own way of doing things. 

The first step to podcast interview excellence is to get to know your guest. It’s really important to do this because as the host, it’s your duty to find out what you can about your guest so they feel comfortable talking to you. Can you imagine being excited to be a guest on a podcast only to find out that the host doesn’t actually know anything about you? Insulting, isn’t it? 

It’s super important that you get to know your guest first, especially if you’re getting an expert on something on the show. They will be impressed with your knowledge about their work and will be more inclined to converse during the interview once that connection is established. 

Along with knowing your guest, it’s important that you define your objectives by developing a list of questions to ask during the interview. Even if you have to write it down, it’s a good tactic to make the conversation flow better between topics in ways that won’t catch the audience off guard. Additionally, having a list of insightful questions by your side is a great way to ensure the conversation stays lively. Your questions should aim to build rapport between you, the guest, and your audience. They should also be thought provoking and focus on the obscure aspects of your niche not always covered in other podcasts. For example, we recently had a prominent guest on one of our shows who’s hit it big on social media. We asked them a question that caught them by surprise because it focused on their perspective, rather than their celebrity status. 

The next step is to prepare your guest for the interview. Check out our guide to preparing your guest for a podcast interview so you get a good cut the first time recording!

Guests should come to the interview prepared with best audio practices and etiquette in mind. This entails everything from how to speak correctly into the mic, correct fluctuations in voice and tonality, as well as following your expectations for the interview. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable interview experience for both you and your guest, provide them with all the necessary information well ahead of time. Feel free to share your list of questions with the guest so they know what’s going to be asked and can prepare their answers. Preparing your guest helps them to feel more comfortable with recording and in turn, will help them be engaged with the conversation.  

Tips for during recording

When it comes to the actual interview, always remember to be kind. Even if the conversation goes awry, it’s important to remain calm and kind. Put yourself in the shoes of your listeners. Wouldn’t you cringe if the host and guest started yelling at each other and talking over one another? Plus, staying friendly, at least on the host’s end, makes you look good and builds a better image for your audience. 

To create a collaborative conversation that engages the audience and leaves a lasting impression, it’s important to actively listen and be present in the conversation. The audience can tell when a host or guest tunes out and replies with consistently robotic answers and tones like, “yeah” or “uh-huh” over and over again. Your guest deserves an actively engaged host because they’re taking the time to share their knowledge on your podcast. Give them the space to speak and guide the conversation with a non-dismissive approach. Show genuine curiosity and interest in what your guest has to say, and maintain a natural conversational flow by building upon their answers. Being fully present during the interview will not only enhance the quality of the conversation but also demonstrate your respect for your guest and their insights.

Have you ever listened to a podcast interview and found your mind wandering off because it’s not entertaining enough? Podcasting is for our entertainment, so finding a balance between guest responses and building entertainment value is so important for creating a dynamically captivating conversation. Furthermore, it’s easy to tell when someone is using a “used car salesman” voice while talking. Whether it’s because of discomfort or insecurity, the audience will always pick up on when a host or guest isn’t speaking genuinely. If only we could bottle up authenticity and sprinkle it onto every conversation to encourage vulnerability! While we haven’t been able to do this *yet*, we encourage all of our clients to practice their conversation skills ahead of time, including making the environment comfortable for their guests so an authentic conversation can take place. 

Lastly, keep in mind that nothing ever goes strictly according to plan. Expect that not all of your questions will be answered in the way you imagined. Expect the conversation to flow in different directions and stay flexible to the twists and turns that come with podcast interviews.

Tips for post-production

After the recording has ended and you’ve parted ways from your guest, it’s time to get to editing. For this stage, you’ll need to listen thoroughly, pen and paper nearby, so you can take note of parts that need to be edited out in post-production. Make sure to edit your raw audio to ensure clarity and flow, removing any awkward pauses, filler words, or irrelevant content. 

Alternatively, be mindful not to over-edit, as this can detract from the authenticity and spontaneity of the conversation. The listeners can even become suspicious of when a conversation is seemingly too curated and too polished, as this reads as inauthentic. Finding that balance is key to having a professional tone.

As you’re making final edits, take notes of the best quotes and highlights from the episode to include in the show notes. Every episode has a blank space for show notes. This is the perfect place to optimize keywords, timestamps, and the most important moments from the episode to hook potential listeners. This works as a great way to build engagement and pull in more listeners. 

Once the episode with your guest is published online, take the time to promote the interview on social media. Some of our clients promote their shows on Instagram and Facebook, others on LinkedIn. Whatever platform has your biggest following, promote the show there. Additionally, ask the guest to promote the episode on their social media platforms as well! This will help you climb the podcast charts and maximize episode exposure online.

To do this, you can send them a screenshot or graphic from the episode, a link to where listeners can listen, and in some cases, a prewritten post so they don’t have to create it all on their own. If you’re struggling to get your guest to promote the episode, explain how the relationship is beneficial on both sides! If you post about it, your listeners have access to your guest’s pages. If the guest posts about it, their audience has access to your content. The give and take here can really contribute to amassing a larger online audience.

Final thoughts

It may seem daunting, but conducting meaningful, impactful, and entertaining podcast interviews is an art that you can absolutely accomplish. It simply requires a thoughtful approach, effective communication skills, and a genuine passion for connecting with your guests and audience. By following the guidelines above and the additional resources linked throughout, you’re well on your way to hosting a stellar guest interview that your audience will be sure to adore. 

If you have any questions or would like to inquire about how LPM can help you boost your podcasting game, feel free to reach out!

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