How to Host a Great Interview Podcast
Hosting a podcast is super rewarding, but it can also be hard work.
Whether you’re talking directly to the audience yourself or interviewing industry experts, your listeners’ experience should always come first. Most of our clients’ podcasts (and ours) are in an interview format, which relies on the host to hold an engaging and informative conversation.
In this blog we’re going to share our five steps to hosting a great interview.
Step 1 – Prepare yourself
Before you even start thinking about hitting ‘record’, you need to find the right people to interview. Consider whether your guests will add value to your audience, whether they’re going to be engaging on tape and if they support the goals of your podcast. Once you’ve found the right fit, taking the time to research their background will set you up for success before you reach out.
It’s also worth taking the time to research what your prospective guests do. Even if you ask them to explain things for your audience, it’s often obvious if you don’t have a clue, and you want to come across as confident and reliable to your listeners. Having that understanding will also allow you to ask more insightful questions that delve deep into their specific expertise.
Step 2 – Pitch the Podcast
To get them on board, you should pitch the mission of your podcast and explain what you hope you’ll each get out of it. Are you offering them experience and exposure, or the opportunity to network with some of your previous guests? Perhaps they would benefit from being on the radar of your audience.
Let them know what you’d like to talk to them about. Preparing at least a few rough questions will also help you to strike up a conversation and build a rapport with your guests. Have they just published a really interesting article that’s relevant to your niche? Are they an industry leader in a specific skill that you’d like to share with listeners? Outlining why you think they’re a good fit makes them more likely to agree with you.
Step 3 – Prepare the guest
Once somebody has agreed to come on the podcast, it’s helpful to have a quick introductory call with them. This allows you to gauge how chatty they are, whether or not you have a good dynamic and how much prompting they’re likely to need. This also gives you the opportunity to get to know each other a little better off the record, which is a good way to put them at ease before the big day.
It’s also helpful to chat to them about any structure you’ve prepared for the episode and find out if there’s anything they want to share with the audience. Have they just published a book that they want to talk about? Are they launching their own newsletter that they’d like your audience to subscribe to? If you’re both on the same page about what’s going to be said, you’re far more likely to have a smooth and enjoyable conversation where they’re not trying to shoehorn in their own promotion.
Step 4 – Always start with a clear introduction
When it comes to recording, we find it’s best to count the guest in while you’re already recording, and edit out any smalltalk at the beginning of the recording. We also recommend using a clear introduction format. This can be as long or as short as you want, but here’s a rough example:
“Hello and welcome to episode 1 of the Example podcast!
I’m your host, Jane Doe, and I’m joined today by my Lovely Guest, who is the Job Title at Company Name Here.
In this episode we get into all kinds of fun topics like X, Y and Z, including this Secret Snippet that’s a highlight of the show.
Lovely Guest, welcome to the podcast!
(let them respond here)
It’s great to have you! So, let’s jump in. Our first question is…”
Doing this will give your guest time to mentally prepare, as well as building a sense of security by introducing them using facts about their professional life. It also gives the podcast a nice structure, which people will come to recognise as a hallmark of your show.
Step 5 – Guide the conversation
Steering the interview is a skill that takes time and patience to develop. Some guests will have more than enough to say, while others won’t be very forthcoming at all. It’s up to you to figure out how to get the best from each guest. If a guest isn’t going into much detail, asking some follow-up questions will help you get all the important details.
It’s also a good idea to learn how to listen. Active listening, while great in conversations, can come across as talking over your guest when it’s recorded. Even just noises like ‘yeah’ or ‘m-hm’ will disrupt the guest’s flow and spoil the experience for your listeners. Good listening means staying silent and giving your guests the space to share their knowledge.
Still have questions? To find out more about hosting your podcast, download our Ultimate Guide to Starting a Recruitment Podcast eBook, or get in touch on email@example.com.