With more than two million podcast programs available, it’s important to find ways to stand out from the crowd. The beauty of podcasts is that they don’t have to be made for the masses. Podcasts are most successful when they’re made for targeted, niche audiences and their appeal comes from the fact that there’s something for everyone.
While there is no foolproof formula to creating the next chart-topper, there are podcast fundamentals that can add value to your content and build your success.
Finding the right podcast host to represent your brand is integral to creating an engaging podcast. Focusing on a central theme or idea can showcase your expertise and knowledge on specific topics, which can build your credibility and trustworthiness as a podcast.
Knowing your audience and providing solutions to their pain points with your podcast content can spark a connection and encourage listener engagement. Ensuring that each episode has a clear structure and format while providing quality content is also crucial in building trust and loyalty.
There are different formats you can use for your podcast episodes, but one of the most valuable formats you can use for podcasts is interviews. This is a very common format for podcast episodes, but if done correctly, interviews can boost your popularity.
How thought-provoking interviews add value to your podcast
Podcast interviews are valuable not only to the program but also to the guest being interviewed.
When inviting an interviewee, it’s important to highlight the benefits they’ll receive for offering their time to be interviewed. Some of these benefits include helping the guest reach a new audience and the potential to generate customer leads.
This is worth keeping in mind since interviewees can help you promote your podcast to a wider audience and spread brand awareness.
Inviting interviewees to your podcast can also help you form connections within different industries and allow you to expand your network. Similarly, your podcast series will gain credibility by interviewing an industry expert or a well-known personality.
Regardless of your guest’s star power, it’s important to keep the audience front of mind and make sure you’re adding value to their time.
Your audience probably doesn’t want to feel like they’re listening to a sales pitch for the entire episode, so make sure the interview is engaging. You can achieve this by highlighting personal stories of trials and triumphs that the audience can engage with and potentially relate to.
5 tips for conducting insightful podcast interviews
It’s important to be prepared for podcast interviews so that you can get valuable information that your audience will enjoy listening to.
At the same time, your podcast interviews need to have a casual and engaging atmosphere so that your interviewee feels more inclined to share their thoughts while making your audience feel like they’re part of the conversation.
We’ve shortlisted five tips you can use to conduct insightful interviews for your podcast.
1. Feature an industry expert as a podcast guest
A compelling guest is an important factor in making an interview successful. Someone who’s well-known and reputable will help gain the trust of your listeners.
Your guest should also be someone who complements you and your brand, which will help build your own authority in the industry.
Besides gaining knowledge, listeners are engaged by personal stories such as overcoming challenges, doing things differently, being a thought leader and having a unique perspective on certain topics.
It can be harder to get interesting guests on your podcast and they may decline invitations because of their busy schedules. So, check your guest’s availability and request an invitation well in advance but make sure to have backup contacts you can approach.
2. Do background research on your topic subject and guest
Even though you’re interviewing your guest to get to know more about them, doing background research is important. You need to be able to introduce your guest and tell listeners why this interview is of interest to them.
Researching about your guest speaker can also help you formulate more in-depth questions and avoid ones that they’ve already answered in previous interviews.
You can find other media appearances or podcasts they’ve been featured in to get a sense of what they’ve already talked about. By doing this, you can get to the interesting and meatier parts of their story faster.
You can learn more about your guest by looking into their online persona, they could have a website, social media profiles or published articles. Get to know their work which could include published books, their business and products or any big achievements.
3. Formulate engaging questions
After doing your research, you need to prepare a list of questions in advance. It’s best to have more questions than less, you don’t want to get caught out with awkward silences. But don’t be afraid to veer off your list, particularly if your conversation is headed in a more compelling direction. You don’t want your questions to sound scripted, so it’s important to be flexible and sound natural.
Avoid ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions and ask open-ended questions using the 5Ws and 1H particularly ‘what’ ‘why’ or ‘how’, which will prompt more elaborate responses. Avoid leading questions such as “Were you frustrated by X?” Instead ask, “How did X make you feel?” This will get your guest thinking more and prompt a more authentic response.
Ask follow-up questions particularly when you’re discussing an interesting topic. Make sure that your questions are short and sharp rather than making them wordy. This will help your guest speaker easily follow your train of thought and ensure that they don’t overthink their answer.
Humanise your guest as best you can by asking questions that will help your audience feel a connection with them.
4. Create the right podcast interview environment
Preparation is key, particularly if you’re doing a live recording and cannot edit mistakes afterwards. Everything should be ready and in place to ensure a comfortable experience.
If you’re video recording the session make sure that microphones, cameras, lighting and props are in position. Check that your recording equipment and tools are all in working order.
Minimise all possible distractions that may interrupt the interview, such as phones, outdoor noises or people around you. Maintaining your focus and your guest is important and any distractions may disrupt the flow of the interview.
Even if you consider yourself an experienced interviewer or have done your fair share of them, take every interview seriously to avoid any awkward or embarrassing moments.
5. Review basic interview etiquette
As an interviewer, your role is to put a spotlight on your guest and get the best out of them.
So, listen, listen and listen some more. It’s when you get the detail that you can ask the right questions and mine for gold in your interview.
Listen to what topics your guests are more enthusiastic about and what makes them light up so that you can encourage them to share more of their thoughts and opinions.
Conversely, listen to the cues that show they feel uncomfortable. If they refrain from talking about a topic, respect their boundaries and don’t force them to speak. If you do press them it will lead to awkwardness or worse put a stop to the interview.
Try not to interrupt while they’re speaking, as it can come across as rude and irritating to your listeners. Also, refrain from making sounds of agreement such as ‘uh huh’. It may be well meaning but it’s distracting in a recording. Laughing when your guest says something funny is usually the only sound you should make. Following this etiquette will help your interview sound genuine and natural.
Interviews are a great way to add value to your podcast, especially as more people turn to this type of content for information.
By selecting the right guest and preparing for the interview beforehand, you can produce a thought-provoking, entertaining and insightful conversation that your listeners can enjoy. Contact us and we will guide you through the process of creating an engaging podcast series, also for podcast strategy builds try copywriting services.