In the self-critiques of our podcasts, often we talk more about what our guests could have done better than what we as hosts can do to improve the quality and delivery of our content.
But let’s face it. Not everyone is comfortable or at ease in an interview they know will be broadcast hundreds, thousands or even millions of listeners. It can be nerve-wracking for many guests.
Sure, you some are are experienced guests in the podcast space. Maybe they do this all the time. Or they may be just naturally comfortable with interviews.
But you can never assume everyone is, nor should you.
Interviewing Guests on Your Podcast
I’m going to share my personal thoughts in case you are considering jumping into the interview-style podcast.
Audio vs Video
Don’t assume that your guests know if your podcast is audio only. Some guest even restrict their appearances to audio only. So make your approach clear with the invite.
Be as Clear as You Can With the Pre-Show Notes You Send
Don’t be afraid to mention tips that you may consider obvious. Again, we may think all of our guests are tech-savvy because they agreed to be on our podcast, but assuming that can be a mistake.
The Tech Stuff
At the same time we cannot assume they know everything. For example, on our podcast, where it is audio only, these are some things I share with my guests:
Microphones: For quality, we always recommend that a guest uses a microphone vs. their built-in computer speaker. We can’t expect everyone to have a mic, but in most cases they find one. If they propose using the mic in the earbuds for those company meetings or a Facebook chat, give them a friendly warning that if they move much, the mic will rub against their clothing and produce unwanted background noise.
Headphones: We alway recommend headphones, or at least, earbuds. Let them know that if they are using the speakers on their computer, your voice may echo in the recording.
How You Record
We have used various services including Skype, Ringr, Zoom and Zencastr. Each has its strengths. Although many use Skype because it’s free, but overall sound and stability is not its strength. Zoom is great if you are doing video. We used Zencastr for awhile, but the site health check gave warnings that were not critical and only freaked out the guests.
For use it’s always been about making it as easy and painless as possible, which getting stable connections and easy access for the guest. This is solved with our current service we are using, SquadCast.
Questions for Your Guests
If you are interviewing, you will be asking questions. You may ask various guests the same questions. Or perhaps, like ours, the questions are specific to one topic and one guest. In either case, most guests appreciate getting the questions beforehand. On the other hand, you may have a guest who doesn’t need them and can run with whatever you throw their way, as long as they know the general topic.
Maybe your podcast model doesn’t work that way and you want the guest to plan their answers or have time to even think about them. Give this some thought. We provide our guests both the show notes and the questions one week prior to recording.
Give Your Guests a Publish Date
Many podcasters will record a week, several weeks and even a few months prior to publishing the podcast. Make sure you give the guest a clear estimate of the date that it will be released. This helps them from giving or sharing outdated content such as an upcoming conference, a deal they may be having, or some other date specific event.
The point here is to make this as easy as possible for your guests. Remember, there is a reason they are called guests.