Vuk Zlatarov, Co-founder & CEO of Poddster dwells on the importance of podcasts and shares his insights how to create an powerful podcast interview that can drive business to next level
Originally, podcasts were the realm of broadcast professionals who wanted to reach global audiences around the clock. Since then, it has become more accessible for people outside the media industry to create a podcast, with studios offering turnkey production at cost-effective rates. As more people recognise the power of podcasting, they have become a popular tool for entrepreneurs to grow their business. For business owners, the benefits of having a podcast include building your network, increasing brand awareness, generating leads, and positioning yourself as a thought leader.
If you decide on an interview format for your podcast, the quality of your conversations will make or break your success. Interviewing people is a skill, and like any skill, it takes practice. Thankfully, there are lots of things you can do to ensure you record great interviews that your audience will remember.
Choosing the right guests
When choosing your guests, the golden rule is to focus on providing value for your listeners. Consider what your target audience wants to hear, who they will learn from, and who they will find fascinating? When you’re starting out, it’s preferable to line up a few people you already know. You’ll feel more comfortable if they are familiar to you and it will be easier to get them to agree if you haven’t recorded any episodes yet. Use these episodes as a chance to warm up while contacting new guests for the following month. It also makes sense to approach guests who have something to promote.
Plan your outreach strategy
First things first, have your elevator pitch ready. This is a clear, concise description of what your podcast is about and why your guest might want to be involved. Spend some time researching suitable guests. Compile a segmented target list and keep track of who you contact. Depending on the angle of your show, you should reach out to people on the most relevant platform and where they are most active. As well as using social media to connect, you can conduct an email campaign or attend industry networking events to meet potential guests. Add a call to action encouraging guests to get in touch on your social channels and at the end of each episode. Once you’re up and running, ask your listeners for their guest recommendations.
Preparing for the interview
Never underestimate the importance of preparation. The conversation will be much smoother if you’ve researched and planned your questions in advance. Again, it takes time, but it’s beneficial to organise an introduction call with the guest to discuss topics and build a rapport. Based on the call, you may choose to send them a list of anticipated questions before the recording. Not all guests are seasoned interviewees and they might appreciate knowing what to expect. However, make it clear that these questions may change as the conversation progresses; the chat should avoid sounding scripted on either side. Also keep a list of general questions ready that could work for anyone. This is helpful if you move through the questions quicker than expected or if you have a show scheduled at the last minute.
During the interview, your attention should be on your guest rather than the audience. Be in the moment. Make sure they are comfortable and enjoying the conversation. Start with a strong introduction that hooks the audience, allowing your guest to shine from the outset. Only ask one thing at a time and use open-ended questions, giving them freedom to share their personal stories. Then progress to follow-up questions asking them to elaborate on certain points. One of the most crucial things a good interviewer does is actively listen to their guests and respond accordingly. You can show that you are fully engaged in what they’re saying by maintaining eye contact, using open body language and acknowledging their words by smiling or nodding. This non-verbal engagement will help them feel relaxed and valued. If your guest is a podcast regular, explore their experiences from a different angle to keep things fresh for the listener.
Showing your gratitude
A little thank you goes a long way. It’s nice to give your guest a small token of appreciation after the show; it helps build long-lasting connections and spread the word about your podcast. After the episode has gone live, set a reminder to send a thank you email and politely ask if they will share it on their platforms. This is an ideal opportunity to initiate the next step in what will hopefully be a rewarding and mutually beneficial relationship. Suggest a casual catch-up to continue the discussion from the podcast or a formal meeting to discuss business opportunities.