Podcasting Tips

How to Interview Guests for Your Podcast

Interviewing guests on your show is a marvelous way to introduce more perspectives on your topic, reach a wider audience, and network within the podcasting industry!  There are really only upsides to inviting a guest to speak on your show.

Having a guest on your show does require some forethought, though. Not only do you want to ensure an entertaining episode for your audience, you also want to make sure it’s a pleasant experience for the guest! These tips should help you to prepare and pull off an unforgettable episode!

Before the Interview

The best piece of advice we can offer is preparation. Preparing goes beyond compiling a list of questions, it means diving into your guests’ works and truly understanding the value they bring to your topic. 

Research Your Guest

Be sure to do your homework! Research your guest: what works have they accomplished? What are their opinions on the subject? What have others said about them? Diving deeply into your guest and their work can help you craft questions that explore the chosen topic at length. 

Check out some of their other interviews for ideas, too. Listening to previous interviews your guest has given allows you to form more unique and interesting questions. Avoid the ones asked over and over again, and instead focus on something less explored. This won’t only be a treat for your listeners but for the guest too!

Mind Your P’s and Q’s

Once you’ve done your research, you’re well-prepared to compile your list of questions. You want to think of the interview as a story; you and your guest are constructing a story together, one that will captivate your collective audience. So, choose questions that allow for good back-and-forth. Open-ended questions work best for this rather than yes/no ones. The latter type of question doesn’t leave much room for conversation!

It’s also vital to keep in mind that you don’t ask any “leading” questions. These types of questions (sometimes) subtly direct the guest to give a desired answer. You want the interview to be an authentic exchange.

And finally, dig into the why and how of an answer. Go beyond hearing that your guest accomplished something, ask them how they did it and what drove them to do so. Digging deeper creates a much richer discussion that will have your listeners hanging on to every word.

Don’t forget to share the questions with your guest before the interview so they have time to think them over!

Do a Little Self-Promo

You’re not the only one who should be prepared! Brief your guest on your show: let them know what you’re about, what subject you’re exploring, and the demographics of your audience. Giving them that information upfront allows them to tailor their answers to your audience. 

During the Interview

Hopefully, you’ll be well-prepared by the time the interview rolls around! With your list of questions in hand, you’re ready to conduct an amazing interview with your guest. But before you rush on with the questions, allow your guest to get comfortable with you and your audience. Joke with them or ask how they’ve been doing lately. Give them space to be a real person with thoughts other than the subject you’re discussing. This also helps your audience quickly get to know your guest and feel connected with them in the same way they connect with you.

Once your guest is comfortable, you can jump into your questions! Remember, you and your guest are collaborating on a story together. You’re weaving a tale where they play a major role. In addition to asking the right questions, you need to make sure you’re actively listening to their answers, not just nodding along and moving on to the next question on your list. 

Being an active listener can also help to keep the interview as authentic as possible. Don’t be afraid to stray away from your prepared list of questions if a particular answer piques your interest. Ask follow-up questions to help expand the thought and get to the heart of it.

After the Interview

Even though the interview is winding down, there are still some final things to complete. First and foremost, be sure to thank your guest for taking the time to speak with you! This can be done verbally after you stop recording, or a quick email expressing your gratitude, or even a small gift (if it’s relevant to the show or their work.) Thanking your guests is key if you want them to be a guest again, or even to recommend their peers appear on your show.

Give your guest time at the end of the interview to promote their work to your audience. Be sure that they share their social media handles, website, or any other contact information so your audience can follow them, too.

Lastly, when uploading the podcast to your hosting platform, be sure to add in your guest’s information in your show notes. Link to their website, their socials, or any other relevant links so your audience can easily find them. Encourage your guest to post about the episode in their own social media circles to increase listenership, too.

Inviting folks to guest on your show can be a wonderful experience for your audience, your guest, and yourself! It’s a worthwhile way to inject freshness into your podcast and expand your audience. With these tips, you’ll be an interviewing champ in no time!

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