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If you’ve ever listened to interviews conducted by celebrities or well-known podcast and video hosts and thought, “How do they make it look so easy?” This is the article for you.
For many people, interviewing a guest for the first time (and even in subsequent interviews) can be nerve-wracking.
In this article, I aim to make it easier by sharing three steps you need to take before you record your podcast or video episode.
This will help you interview your guests with more confidence, and make it appear effortless, even if you’re nervous.
High-quality podcasts and videos—here we come!
If you’re on the go and prefer to listen, click on the podcast episode below.
Listen to the podcast
How to conduct high-quality podcast and video interviews: 3 steps to success
If you’re continuing here in the blog, let’s get into it.
I’m going to get straight to the point and tell you something you may already know, but probably don’t want to hear.
As a podcast or video interviewer, it’s YOUR responsibility to create something that’s worth listening to or watching.
That said, I’m the first to admit that some people are better at being interviewed or being the talent (as we call it in the industry).
I spent more than 15 years interviewing people professionally as a TV news reporter, so I know first-hand that some people are simply more comfortable in front of the camera, or speaking when put on the spot.
But it’s also our job as the host or interviewer to do our research, and make them feel as comfortable as possible, so our final product is something we’re proud to share with our audience.
This isn’t about being perfect, it’s about being prepared, and in the process giving amazing value to your audience.
So today I’m going to share 3 steps to creating high-quality podcast and video interviews.
Let’s jump right in.
Step 1. Prepare yourself
This step is all about getting up to speed with who your guest is, long before you hit record.
Research your podcast or video guest
I recommend you research your guest by scrolling through their social media accounts, visiting their website and by listening to their other podcast or video appearances by doing a search for their name.
If they have a book you’ll be discussing, make sure you read it.
It’s bad form not to, and you may get caught out during the interview.
It’s best to do the right thing and show a genuine interest in your guest, you’ll then be rewarded with a better interview.
Prepare your interview questions
Next, you should prepare your questions with your research in mind.
Be sure to remember who you’re serving when writing your questions. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes.
What would they like to know or learn from your guest?
You don’t have to ask every question during the actual interview, but at least you’re prepared should you go blank or veer off track.
If your audience can walk away with actionable tips after listening or watching, that’s gold.
Step 2. Prepare your podcast or video guest
You read that correctly. It’s our job as a host to make our guests feel comfortable on the day of recording, and this includes helping them prepare for the interview.
I recommend you send your guest a short pre-interview brief at least 1-2 weeks before the recording.
This helps them prepare for their interview with you and builds rapport ahead of time.
Include the following information:
- Name of your podcast.
- Your name.
- Episode length.
- Your audience.
- A short list of questions you’ll be asking.
You shouldn’t include every question, otherwise, it may appear too rehearsed.
Your goal is to give them some talking points they can prepare ahead of time, so the interview runs smoothly and your guest feels comfortable.
Also, if you are going to ask them to share a case study or teach something, make sure you tell them in the brief.
Putting people on the spot can make for an awkward interview.
Your goal is to be warm and welcoming, so you create an environment to bring the best out of your guests to benefit your listeners or viewers.
Katie Couric’s 2009 interview gives some great advice on this topic and it’s still relevant today.
Related podcast: 3 reasons why your media pitch gets ignored or deleted. You can also read it on my blog.
Step 3. Prepare and test your equipment and software
It’s surprising how many people forget this step or leave it to the last minute.
Review and inspect your equipment
In the week leading up to the recording, please check that you have all the necessary equipment for your podcast or video interview, that you know how to use it, and that it’s working.
What equipment you need will depend on whether you’re recording in a studio, on location, or remotely on Zoom or Google Meet.
Test your equipment and software
At least the day before the recording, test your equipment and your software recording platform.
There’s nothing worse than having to troubleshoot with your guest online or in front of you.
It makes you frazzled before you even get started. You also risk appearing unprofessional.
Problems may unexpectedly occur, but at least try to eliminate the ones you can control.
This way you’ll go into your next podcast or video interview prepared, and with a clear head.
Step 1: Prepare yourself. This includes researching your guest and preparing questions ahead of time.
Step 2: Prepare your guest by emailing a short pre-interview brief at least 1-2 weeks before the recording.
Step 3: Prepare and test your equipment and software to make sure it’s working, and you know how to use it.
I hope you have found today’s tips valuable.
The more prepared you are, the more relaxed you’ll be, which really does make for better interviews.
See the infographic below, High-quality podcast and video interviews: 3 steps to success.
Feel free to save it and use it with attribution.
Ready to get started?
If you’re ready to share your knowledge and be interviewed on podcasts, or on YouTube, Facebook, and website vlogs but don’t have a pitch, this is where I can help.
Over 30 minutes, we’ll come up with fresh ideas for your pitch so you can start getting featured.
Without a well-developed, catchy pitch to email to people, it’s almost impossible to be booked as a guest, anywhere.
For more tips in public relations, video marketing, and content marketing listen to my new podcast series “Improve Your Content in 5 Minutes” by clicking here, or find me on your favourite streaming app.
To learn how to approach the media, listen to my podcast episode where I explain the differences between a “press release”, “media release”, “media alert” and “media pitch”.
You can also read it on the blog or watch the video below.