Keeping Your Guest On Track In an Interview Podcast

Learn How to Book Podcast Guests and Have an Amazing Focused Interview

Podcast Guest Interviews

Having guests on your podcast can be a great way to diversify your content, network with other podcasters and entrepreneurs, and cooperate in leveraging each other’s audience. Networking, making friends, and learning new things are all advantages of guest interviews. Having a strategic plan for booking your guest, preparing for the show, preparing your guest for the show, and promotion by you and the guest will give you the most mileage from your podcast efforts.

This article is about finding guests to interview and keeping them on track. Planning for the interview and helping your guest plan for the interview are as important or possibly more important than finding the right guest. Once the initial planning is done, it is up to you to keep the interview flowing smoothly and logically. A lot of this is about you having focus and helping your guest to keep their focus. To paraphrase Steve Jobs, focus means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that are out there. There are many detours that your guest could take, it’s your job to gently guide the guest to stay on point.

Advantages of Being a Podcast Guest

Business people, marketers, coaches and authors receive so many benefits from being guests on podcasts. Besides the typical cross-promotion, networking, and making new friends they also get the advantages of being on a podcast without having to go through all of the time and effort of actually producing a podcast.

A really prepared guest may spend a couple of hours preparing for the show and then an hour or so doing the show. The podcaster will likely spend several hours on the entire podcast production process.

Being a podcast guest, you can get your message across to a targeted audience in an evergreen way without spending any money in a limited amount of time.

Once a savvy promoter understands the power of podcasting, there is no way they would turn down such an easy and effective way to get their point across. It has also been noted that podcast conversion rates are usually higher than regular blog conversion rates. Typically a person browsing a blog may sign up for a list at one or two percent conversion rates. A targeted offer through a podcast can get conversion rates as high as 25 percent.

Finding Podcast Guests

Once a guest understands the benefits they will receive from appearing on your podcast, it is easy to book them. It may not be easy landing the big guests or ensuring that all of your guests give amazing interviews, but those things are out of your control. What is in your control is how you approach potential guests and who you approach.

One of the first things you can do is make appearing on your show appealing. Create a media kit for potential guests. Let them know what makes your show great and sets your show apart from all of the others. Tell them a little about yourself and the tone and purpose of your show. Give them statistics and if you have accomplished something amazing brag a little bit. In a humble way of course. If you have had some big name guests, name drop a little without being pretentious.

If you are at the beginning stages of your show, the easiest way to get started is to engage with people in your existing network and expand from there. Ask your guests for ideas and introductions to future guests. If you go to any conferences or networking events, meeting people face to face is a great way to make introductions and to gauge the flow of conversation and how well your interview may go. You can also try the regular social channels, join some facebook groups, forums, or masterminds to meet potential guests and referrals. You can even check out blogs and try cold emailing or social media messages. Below are a few services and other ways to find potential guests.

  • Twitter #YourIndustry

  • Contact Authors Amazon

  • Check out author groups or writing forums

Podcast Guest Preparation

To get the most out of your guest appearance, it is a good idea to do some advance preparation. Listen to at least one episode of the show you are going to be on. Try to find a way to set yourself apart from the other guests. Get the questions in advance, and write out your answers or at least create an outline or bullet points you would like to touch on.

If you plan on making a lead generation offer, be sure and clear it with the host and then prepare the landing page or other lead capture method in advance. Having a short URL or otherwise easy to remember way for the listeners to get your offer is best. Also, give the URL to the host so that they can put it in their show notes. Once you know what you are going to say and how you are going to keep in touch with listeners, the only thing you have to worry about is giving the interview.

Be ready in advance. Don’t leave the host waiting. Be physically prepared. Use the restroom, make sure the room is quiet, get a glass of water, or whatever you may need to do in advance. If you are using Skype for the interview, make sure you are connected and that your microphone is plugged in. Check the computer input and output settings and make sure they are correct. When it is time for the interview, call the host and give it your best. Make it personable and tell stories or give examples. Try your best to make it interesting and fun.

Podcast Host Preparation

As a host, it is your job to make sure that you and your guest are as prepared as possible. If it wasn’t done during the guest pitch, send your guest a media kit that explains who you are, what the show is about, and gives opportunities and suggestions for cross-promotion. Send your guest the interview questions in advance and make sure they have the technical capabilities to produce a decent sounding recording. Have an idea of what you want to say in advance and have your list of interview questions on hand.

Learning a bit about your guest will also make the show more fun and engaging.

Clever Interview Techniques

When writing your questions for your guest, try to develop a natural flow. Avoid questions that can be answered with a yes or no.  Plan for more questions than you think you will need, and keep additional questions that aren't as essential on a separate area of the paper so that you can insert them if the interview is going faster than you planned. Avoid being so focused on your questions that you fail to ask a good follow-up question.

If the guest is speaking on a topic of expertise, remember that they are the expert and the focus should be on them and their knowledge. If you have more than one guest on an episode, be sure to occasionally be specific in stating the name of the particular guest that you are directing a question to so that your audience knows who is talking.

If your guest strays away from your initial question, allow them to finish their thought rather than continue off topic. When they are done with that thought, go to your next question. You need to lead your guest through the areas you want them to discuss rather than let them get off track. Ask them ahead of time to send you their bio and all links they want to be included in the show notes. Find out in advance what book or product they may want to promote on the podcast. You don’t want any surprises. You may want to give your guest a few interview technique tips such as speaking slowly, pausing when needed, and smiling while speaking to convey warmth. Above all, you should both have fun and create an amazing show.