Whether it’s a feature or a one-off, interviewing a guest is a great way to shakes things up on your podcast. You’re bouncing off one another as well as offering a frame of reference for the topic you’re discussing.
But going about finding the right guest to interview can be tricky. Out of the thousands of exchanges you have online and IRL, this is a conversation that you have to set up yourself, in a way that can sometimes feel contrived. We break it down into 4 steps that take you straight to the point.
WHY? Count the benefits.
The back and forth of conversation is dynamic and makes great listening. In an interview setup, you are demonstrating how you are learning alongside your audience, and that strengthens your bond.
Plus, it offers a bit of variety and takes the pressure off you to create all the content!
There is just something irresistible about listening into a conversation – as proven by more and more audiences tuning in to listen in. Writing for the British publication Cultured Vultures, Callum Davies explains the popularity of podcast interviews in America as around the world is because “as long as interviewee and interviewer are equally interested in what they’re discussing, the appeal will manifest”.
WHAT? Set a clear purpose.
However, all this shouldn’t mean you should to invite guests onto your podcast just for the sake of it.
Online business expert Pat Flynn make a really valid point in his video tutorial on how to conduct a podcast interview that you have to have a specific purpose for speaking to a guest. Think about what they can bring to the table for your audience. It’s all very well reaching out to A-listers, but what can they offer, other than their presence? Interesting debate? An insight into their field of expertise?
WHO? Zone in on your guest.
Now you want the movers and shakers that can add some of their pizzazz to your podcast.
Use your existing networks and all available resources to zone in on the who’s who for your podcast topic. An advanced search on Amazon can help identify who in this field of expertise has recently published a study. Search by topic, then adjust the search for relevance and publication date.
Twitter and LinkedIn are used by professionals to showcase their views and work. Sound out potential guests by introducing yourself. Start a conversation via direct messaging or comment intelligently on their posts.
And remember, the first thing they’ll do after they receive your interview offer is look up who YOU are and what your podcast is all about. Business podcast host Tyler Basu advises guests to do their research by reading a podcast’s description online and checking if the podcast is currently active. So make sure you’re sending out all the right messages!
HOW? Make your interview POP.
As you know by now, preparation is everything! How will you make your interview stand out? Check if your guest has been interviewed on a podcast before (easily done through an iTunes search). Study their style. Your podcast will have a great exclusive if you can cover uncharted ground or create a connection that is specifically relevant to your podcast.
And once you are ready to hit record, remember that being a good interviewer means one word: listen. Focus on what they’re saying, allow your guest to expand their answers before chipping in. Former CNN White House correspondent Frank Sesno really recommends getting to know what kind of listener you are, in other words, understanding what makes you react – long silences, juicy gossip, surprising stats – and assessing how your reaction contributes or detracts from the interview.
So get out there, reach out and start listening – your listeners will love it!