With Zoom fatigue being a real issue and people craving more connection, podcasts have become quite popular. They’re considered to be a less invasive and convenient way of consuming content.
Currently, there are two million active podcasts with more than 48 million episodes. The growth is staggering since four years ago there were only around 500,000 podcasts.
Clearly, this is due to audience demand. The main reason why people tune in to podcasts is to learn new things and broaden their horizons. This makes them a perfect fit for course creators who want to promote their online course business.
Aside from that, podcasts are also a form of entertainment and a source of inspiration for listeners. It’s no wonder that podcast hosts often invite guests and conduct interviews. However, the art of having meaningful conversations on air isn’t easy to master. Here are some tips to make your podcast interviews into real hits.
1. Involve listeners
Podcast success is measured against the number of listeners and the shares you get. The best way to keep your audience coming back and recommending your podcast is to offer what they want. Therefore, it’s a no-brainer that you have to engage them in content decisions. If you worry that an open question will result in unattainable options (like A-list celebrities or reclusive academics), you can simply make a list of people who are likely to respond to your invitation and ask your listeners to prioritize those names.
The point is to get people interested even before the material is ready to go live. Furthermore, you might be surprised by the handy tips and ideas you get from the audience.
2. Research your guest
Even when you are vaguely familiar with the person you interview, it’s best to do more thorough research. Look at the social media posts and interactions, search for other interviews and get a good idea about how that person likes to be introduced online.
Note if there are any causes that your guest represents and they usually talk about. Podcasts are great venues for supporting various organizations and ideas, but it’s essential to know about them beforehand and agree on a course of action. The interview should also align with what you stand for and follow your podcast’s tone. The point of doing interviews is to consolidate your brand, so it’s important to associate with people who can help your image and reputation.
3. Ask the right questions
Whether you go over your questions beforehand with your guest or not is your choice. I would advise that you do that because podcasts are supposed to be meaningful and informative. Giving your guest a chance to prepare leads to a better conversation. It’s important to ask questions that require definite answers. You can begin with “tell us more about…”, “how did you feel when…” or “what did you think… ” The point is to share relevant experiences and thoughts with your audience. Also, stay away from political or controversial topics. Even if you and your guest are on the same page, there’s a great chance of antagonizing part of the audience, and that’s never good. Formulate your questions in a way that sets your guest up for success.
4. Treat everyone with respect
Even if the internet has made most things less formal than they used to be, you should follow certain etiquette. First and foremost, make sure you know how to pronounce your guest’s name. If you are interviewing academics, their title is highly relevant as well. Even if your conversation is informal and friendly, you should still mention their hard-earned credentials. Show genuine interest in what they say, ask follow-up questions, and don’t hold back from expressing admiration. If you need to interrupt your guest (which might happen once in a while), do so politely. The same rule goes for when they want to change the subject. It’s best not to push it, as listeners can tell when a conversation is uncomfortable even without visual cues.
Podcast interviews are interactive and engaging. They can turn an average podcast into a highly successful one as long as you invite the right people and make those conversations matter. Doing your research, asking meaningful questions, and being polite are the golden rules of quality podcast interviews.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.