When I came up with the title for this post I was tempted to create the shortest blog post I’ve ever written.
The entire post was going to be ONE word:
It kind of says it all, right?
We’ll dive a little deeper into it ‘creating an unforgettable podcast interview’, but we’re going to start with listening.
It wasn’t until the last few years that I really understood the difference between “hearing” something and “listening”.
You can hear what someone is saying simply by being in the general vicinity of where they are when they’re talking. But listening? That’s something else entirely.
Most of us can probably think back to a time when we were having a conversation with someone and you could tell they weren’t paying attention (i.e., not listening). Somehow you knew by the way they responded or a look on their face that they weren’t fully there.
Depending on who you were having the conversation with, you may have looked at them and said “You didn’t hear a word I just said, did you?”
Maybe they’ve got something else on their mind, they’re tired… or who knows, maybe they’re just rude (but I doubt that).
The point is, it doesn’t feel good.
Which is why when you’re first starting out interviewing people your primary intention should be to LISTEN.
You’re using your platform to share their message.
I recently had an interview with two really brilliant guys, Devesh Khanal and Benji Hyam of the blog ‘Grow and Convert’ (podcast to air soon! I’ll change this to the live link when the show goes live). Over the past 5 or 6 months I’ve gotten increasingly obsessed with content marketing and how you can really scale a business with the right content strategy.
I think I found their blog, Grow and Covert through a feed that sends aggregated content (good thing I’m not a detective, my deducing skills are seriously lacking) and loved the concept the second I found it. Then I started reading their content and was hooked. I knew I wanted to interview them.
Because they were providing a BOAT LOAD of value on their blog. I could only imagine where a conversation with these guys would end up.
They did NOT disappoint.
I told a few friends about the interview afterwards and said that it was probably the quietest I have ever been on a podcast interview.
When I do interviews I think of them as conversations, not Q&A time. But with two amazing guests answering questions the interview took on a life of it’s own (and went over an hour). They were giving away SO much amazing information I knew the best value for my audience would be to let them keep going.
So I did.
Mind you… I was loving every minute of it.
Which brings me to my second point in creating an unforgettable podcast interview.
Interview as if you were your audience.
As I started working with podcast clients I had to remind myself that some people were a little more nervous about hosting interviews than I was (as a speech major for a while in college I’ve never had an issue with talking to people).
Because I was essentially my own target audience it was easy to approach the interview from the perspective of what I would want to know from my guest. I treat the interview as an intimate conversation where I’m getting one-on-one time with someone I want to work with.
I also want to hear the things that you may not find in their copy or on their website. We often see only the ‘successful’ side of things, not the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of how someone got to where they are (the so-called failures that were also learning lessons).
You want to structure your interviews in a way that represent you (so they flow organically) but provide massive value to your audience.
So as an example, at the beginning of some podcast interviews some people will read a bio or introduction about their guest. The guest submits a bio prior to the interview and the host reads the bio.
Which is great.
IF… you have a more formal style of show.
What works for me and my style is doing a brief introduction about the show and then letting my guest share who they are and what they do.
The most important piece of this?
Do it in a way that works for YOU.
Since some of this may sound a little ambiguous, I do want to give you a more tangible list of things or take-aways that you can use for your podcast interviews.
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- Be prepared! Look up your guest, read their site, content and check their social media profiles
- Ask them what THEY want to talk about (do they have a new project or something coming up that they’re launching)
- Make sure they can provide value to your audience
- Ask what would be most helpful to your audience
- Keep the format similar, but let the conversation flow more organically
- After the interview, send a Thank You to your guest (as in physically send them something in the mail)
- Let your guest know when the interview goes live. Send them all the required info. to promote the post and interview.
Remember, the most important thing about an unforgettable podcast interview is your guest.
Make it about them.