Interviews are one of the most popular forms of podcast episodes. Because of that, you may be invited for an interview, or if you are a podcast host, you may invite someone who has never given an interview before. Tips for podcast guests are designed to:
- decrease the level of stress in an interviewee,
- give some control,
- allow for the interview to be friendly and beneficial for all involved.
1. The reality of podcast interviews
You might be an avid podcast listener. Or you may have heard only one or two random podcasts till now. But what are you supposed to do when you get invited as a guest to a podcast?
Being invited to a podcast can be thrilling and also an overwhelming experience. You are about to have a conversation that will be listened to by thousands (if not lakhs) of individuals around the world. And you may or may not be used to speaking for an audience.
However, if you get a chance, don’t turn it down. Listeners place their trust in podcasters and consider podcasts to be a lot more genuine than other media. A podcast appearance can benefit you immensely if you are an entrepreneur, an industry leader, a coach, or any vocation where more visibility translates into more success. You can easily prepare and give your best on a podcast episode.
If you are going to make an appearance on a podcast, follow these tips for podcast guests and leave a lasting impression with what you say.
BTW, I also have a good list of tips for podcast hosts. You can find it here.
2. Know the Podcast Topic
What topic or niche it deals with?
You may or may not be familiar with the podcast. If not, start your research now. What does this podcast talk about? Is the podcast topic somewhat related to your work or life? Learning more about the podcast will help you figure out what the podcast host expects from you if you have received an invitation. If you are the one who is taking the initiative to get featured on a podcast, this will help you in justifying why you should be interviewed in the first place.
Who is the podcaster?
Try to learn about your podcast host. Understand why they run this podcast. How long is this person been into podcasting? An easy way is to open his podcast and go back to the very first episode, where the host would have probably explained in detail what the podcast intends to talk about.
Another easy way is to Google their name. This is easy, and yields result if they have some amount of fame. Learn about their work and credibility. If you are going to address a challenging or controversial topic on the podcast, learn about your interviewer’s stance on it. It can save you from any unwanted repercussions later on. My tips for podcast guests are easy to apply, yet they are really useful for the process.
Listen to the podcast episodes
Whether the podcast is brand new to you or you have listened to it before – I suggest taking a notepad and carefully listening to at least three episodes. Note down the format, and break it into smaller pieces. Pay attention to details like the length of each episode. These tips for podcast guests may demand a bit of your time, but they will let you deliver concise and useful answers at the time of your interview.
Take a note of the kind of questions and answers on the show- are they explanatory or opinion seeking. Is there any segment or questions that are repeated for every guest? You will understand what kind of answers you need to prepare.
Read the reviews
What do people have to say about this podcast? Is it credible enough? If you are a well-known name in the public sphere or profession, you would not jump on the opportunity of speaking on any public forum without understanding public sentiments associated with it. Apply the same to the podcast interview.
Will your appearance make or mar your professional credibility in any way? Does your organization allow you to talk about your work on a public platform? Before going ahead with the interview, make sure that it doesn’t cause you any professional damage.
Know the listeners
Among my tips for podcast guests, this might come across as an unlikely one. But I would say it’s really beneficial for you, as a guest, to know the listeners’ profile. Who are the listeners, and why do they like this podcast? Are they listening to it for professional advice or personal growth? Or do they feel any emotional connection with the show?
Google search or show notes may give you some idea, but asking your podcast host can help you understand better. Moreover, getting involved in the process will let you develop a rapport with the host that can really make a difference in the kind of conversation you will have during the interview.
Connect with the podcaster
I highly recommend you to get familiar with the podcaster. Ultimately, you both have to work together for a show. After you have done your research on the podcast, you can write an email, concisely asking all that you want to know.
Ask your host to send the questions with you beforehand so that you are ready with relevant ideas, opinions, and anecdotes to share. Let the podcaster know if you think a question is out of place, irrelevant, or can be asked in a better way, or there is something that really should be covered.
One of the good ways to connect with your host is to become a member of a community of podcasting hosts and guests.
Here is what Alex Sanfilippo, founder of PodMatch, has to say about one of the largest online communities of guests and hosts: “PodMatch automatically matches ideal podcast hosts and guests for interviews. Imagine your favorite online dating app but instead of using it for finding dates, you’re booking podcast interviews. We use the same(ish) technology for automated matching!”
3. Before the interview
Share your bio
Your podcast host will be sharing a short introduction about you while promoting his episode. Be proactive and supply your intro yourself. Give a brief introduction about yourself and your credentials with your podcast host. It will also let your host know what to expect from you.
Prepare your answers
If you have followed the pre-interview tips for podcast guests, you should already have the questions in hand. So make no excuses and be ready with the answers. Keep a notebook with you and have points jotted in it. It will also come handy to take notes during the interview and keep the conversation in the right direction.
If you want to share any facts or findings, make sure they are accurate – if you have any doubts, validate them beforehand.
Do a tech-check
Ask your podcast host how he or she plans to interview you.
- If it’s a phone call, make sure your smartphone batteries are charged.
- Install the software if you already haven’t, if the interview will be on Zoom or Skype.
- If you are not tech-savvy, ask your host to guide you with the process, and schedule a bit of extra time during the interview for the same.
Be Video call ready
While I am sharing tips for podcast guests, this one is usual for all working professionals. Check with the other person if your interview or meeting is going to be on the video call. Sometimes podcasters also release videos of the podcast, so your video call may end up getting broadcast. Ask about this beforehand. Be suitably dressed for the occasion. Even if you are connecting from the comfort of your home, you should come across as modest and professional.
Don’t overload your Wifi
Turn off other devices or background apps so that you can enjoy a high-quality, uninterrupted video call with your host.
Let your folks know that they will need to stay away from Netflix during your interview hour.
If you have overall unresolved issues using your wifi, consider connecting to the Internet using a cable.
Use a good quality mic
If you have a dedicated mic available, use it to enhance your sound quality. Or make sure your laptop or phone settings allow your voice to clearly reach the host. Check the sound settings to avoid any glitch during the interview.
Do a rehearsal
While being a podcast guest doesn’t demand a lot of practice, I do include this among my tips for podcast guests. That’s because it can help you be mentally prepared. If this is your first time on an audio show, have a mock interview with a friend or family so that you feel comfy during the actual interview.
Create a distraction-free environment
Make sure that you are in a silent, noise-free place for the interview. Here are some additional tips on how to prepare a room for an interview.
Your kids and pets should not interrupt your interview. If you will be interviewed on a video call, close all the background tabs on your laptop. Turn off phones and gadgets. You don’t want notifications or calls to make you lose your rhythm.
Keep yourself hydrated
A dry throat or parched lips are not what you would want for a great conversation. Drink water before the interview starts. Keep a bottle close to you so that you can take small sips in between if needed.
Here are some other useful vocal tips to follow before an important interview.
Use the bathroom
It might sound funny, but you will be comfortable with an empty bladder. So take a toilet trip before the interview starts and you won’t feel the urgent need to go anywhere during the interview.
4. Giving a great interview
Be on time
If you are wondering why I am stating obvious things among my tips for podcast guests, let me tell you that many people falter on these lines and leave a poor impression. Be available at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time. This will also give you time to ascertain that the tech stuff is all sorted and working- Wifi is free and running, gadgets are not going to start ringing in between, etc.
If you need to commute check on Google Maps, how long will it take to reach the destination.
Find 10 minutes before the interview to do a vocal warm-up.
Greet your host
Be a good person (that actually takes care of most of the things!) and share the pleasantries. A warm conversation is what works for most podcasts, so ease your way into it.
Avoid sounding stiff or rigid – sound natural. Address your host with his or her first name. Think of your podcast as an exciting and informative talk rather than a bland interview.
Use your notebook
Make small notes of what you are saying. Avoid repeating same points over and over again.
While this largely depends on the nature of the podcast, sharing stories is a great way to make a point. If you appear on an informative podcast, dry facts or processes can be difficult to understand for listeners. Make it relatable for them by sharing anecdotes and examples.
Avoid technical jargon
The listeners are interested in the subject, but they aren’t experts. If using jargon is necessary, give a short explanation about their meaning.
Don’t use profanities
Check what the podcast is about, and set your tone accordingly. However, I would say that rather than testing the waters, use a formal yet conversational tone.
Provide a summary and a takeaway
For clarity, your listeners should hear a clear takeaway from you at the end of each question or the entire conversation.
5. After the interview
Let your host know how glad you were to be a part of the show, and if he or she needs any clarification or help with the content, you can be easily approached. Don’t disappear or become incommunicable after the show.
Ask for referrals
If you liked the experience, you can let your podcast host know that you wouldn’t mind appearing on other podcasts or platforms. He or she might refer you to people when an opportunity arises.
You can also let your host know about other folks who could be suitable guests for the podcast. Help them get connected if the podcast host expresses interest.
Promote the show
When the episode is all primed up for release, let your friends and acquaintances know about it. It’s your show, too – share it on social media. Your friends would be happy to listen to you on the show, and being featured on the show can also enhance your professional image.
If you accept a chance to be on a podcast, try to make the most of it. Podcasts are gaining attention all over the world, and getting featured on one could help you become more popular. For some of you, this might translate into more clients, work proposals, or a testimonial to your skills.
I have shared some quite detailed tips for podcast guests, but you must enjoy the process in the end. Whether or not you stand to derive any immediate benefits from the interview, consider it a chance to learn and grow, and give it your best shot.
Finally, if you feel your guest is stressed out about the upcoming interview, simply ask if they would like some help and tips and send them this article.
What is your top technique to make an interview great and memorable?