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How to craft better podcast and video interview questions: 3 tips

Simone Cunningham_Better podcast and video interview questions

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Interviewing has its challenges, especially if you’re not used to it, or if you don’t do it every day. 

Your podcast and video audiences want to hear something fresh, and feel motivated by you and your guest. 

This means it’s up to you to craft well-researched questions that will help your interview appear effortless and allow the conversation to flow.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Engaging podcast and video interviews don’t happen by accident.  

Interviewing is a skill, and it takes practise before it feels natural. 

So, if learning how to write better interview questions is on your to-do list, keep listening.

 

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How to craft better podcast and video interview questions: 3 tips

 

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If you’re continuing here in the blog, let’s get started.

As some of you may already know, for more than 15 years I worked as a television news reporter for Channel Seven and Channel Nine News.

One of my favourite parts of the job was interviewing people, but it wasn’t always that way. 

When I was fresh out of university, I found the interviewing part nerve-racking. 

Not because it was live, back in those days it wasn’t, but because I was afraid I’d forget to ask an important question.

It may not sound like that big of a deal, but getting the right sound bites (or grabs as we call them), and steering interviews in the right direction was a critical part of that job, so I learned to do it well. 

Today, I want to share some of that knowledge with you, so you can develop better interview questions for your podcasts and videos.

 

How to craft better podcast and video interview questions: 3 tips

 

Tip 1. Do your preparation

Find podcast and video guests you’re interested in

 

Start with finding guests you’re curious about. 

Interviewing guests on your podcasts and videos is a great opportunity to connect with people who you’ve admired for a long time and invite them on your show. 

They don’t have to be online famous or real-life famous, but they do have to be interesting to you and your audience. 

Your goal should be to find somebody who’s passionate about their topic and can speak really well. 

When you have a guest that you find super interesting, your listeners are going to pick up on it in the way you ask questions, the way your guest answers your questions, and even in the way you’re listening. 

This will make for an engaging interview that your audience will love.

 

Do a pre-interview

 

I also recommend you do a pre-interview. Send your guest a short pre-interview brief at least 1-2 weeks before the recording. 

This will help them prepare for their interview with you, and it also builds rapport ahead of time.

Your goal is to give them some talking points they can prepare. A small step like this will ensure your interview runs more smoothly on the day of the recording.

Information to include in your pre-interview brief:

  • Name of your podcast
  • Your name
  • The episode length
  • Your audience description
  • A short list of some of the questions you’ll be asking. Don’t include every question, or may appear too rehearsed. 

If you haven’t listened to my earlier podcast, How to conduct high-quality podcast and video interviews, be sure to check that out when you get a chance. 

 

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Related blog: How to conduct high-quality podcast and video interviews: 3 steps to success

 

Better interview questions to ask_content marketing

 

Tip 2. Keep your goals in mind

What do you want to learn?

 

Start with thinking about why you chose them for a guest in the first place.

Ask yourself “WHY” are you going to interview them? 

  • Is it because you admire them or because you’re interested in their work? 
  • Are you curious about their achievements? 
  • Or are they an industry thought leader and you want to pick their brain about a particular topic?

Next, you need to write down the goal of the interview. This includes your “WHY” that you’d just worked on, plus “WHAT” you want to achieve or learn by the end of the interview.

In doing this, make sure you’re considering what your audience wants to learn as well, and importantly, how you want your audience to feel afterwards. 

For example, if you want them to feel inspired, your interview should be steered in a direction that delivers that feeling. 

Or if you want them to feel motivated to take action, the interview should offer practical steps.

The clearer you are about your interview goal, the clearer you will get about what questions to ask.

 

Write down top-of-mind questions

 

Next, you need to write down some top-of-mind-questions.

This is where you let your mind run wild, now that you have a clear idea of “what” your goal is, and “why” you are doing the interview. 

Start writing down everything you want to know that will help you achieve your interview goal.

If you get stuck, remember to ask yourself the 5 Ws and H as you’re doing this:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why?
  • And how?

For example, if you were interviewing your guest about time management you could ask yourself questions such as:

  • “What do I want to know about time management?”
  • “Why is it an important skill to learn?”
  • “How do I get better at it?”
  • “What do I need to know about practical steps to take to improve my time management?” 

Then rewrite those thoughts into interesting draft interview questions for your guest. 

Some example questions include: 

  • “Do you think that many of us misunderstand what time management is?” 
  • “Why do people need to develop better time management skills?”
  • “What is the most common fail you see in time management? Where do we go wrong?”
  • “How do I get more than 24-hours in a day? I know it’s impossible in reality, but what strategies can I implement to get more out of my day?”
  • “What areas of my life will see improvement when I am better at time management?”
  • “What is one thing could I do today to improve my time management?”
  • And so on.

 

Related podcast: Press Release or Media Release vs. Media Alert vs. Media Pitch: 3 Media Strategy Tools Explained

Related blog: Press release vs. Media release vs. Media alert vs. Media pitch

 

Tip 3. Make it all about your interview guest

Research your guest

 

You chose your guest for a reason, so make sure to put in the work to learn a bit more about them before you hit record.

Research your guest by visiting their website and social media, reading their book (if they have one), and by listening to their other podcast or video appearances by doing a search for their name. 

This is what we call “background research”. You’re gathering information that’s out there and then deciding what you want to learn more about or the direction you want your interview to take. 

But don’t over-research. You want to strike a balance between knowing enough, and being curious enough to discover more about them.

Ideally, you don’t want your interview to be exactly the same as all the other information that’s out there already. 

Look for holes and decide what you want to know that hasn’t been covered before. This may be only a question or two, but it will give your interview a point of difference.

 

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Put yourself in their shoes

 

Finally, you need to put yourself in your guest’s shoes. 

By that, I mean, consider what your guest wants to achieve by talking to you. They’ve agreed to be interviewed on your podcast for a reason. 

Consider your guest’s motivations. 

  • Are they promoting a new book, a new product, or new research? 
  • Do they have a podcast or course they want to plug? 
  • Is their goal to drive more followers to their social media channels?

Your job is to connect these ideas to the topic of your episode and what your readers are interested in learning about.

 

Put yourself in their shoe content marketing

 

6 bonus tips for better interview questions

 

  1. Keep your questions future-focused.
  2. Ask open-ended questions.
  3. Ask probing and light-hearted questions.
  4. Ask dumb questions.
  5. Ask short questions and then follow up.
  6. Be flexible.

Remember for more tips, you can listen to my earlier podcast episode on How to conduct high-quality podcast and video interviews or read it on the blog

 

In summary

 

Tip 1. Do your preparation

  • Find guests you’re interested in.
  • Do a pre-interview.

 

Tip 2. Keep your goals in mind

  • What do you want to learn?
  • Write down top-of-mind questions.

 

Tip 3.  Make it all about your guest

  • Research your guest.
  • Put yourself in their shoes.

 

Better interview questions for podcasts and videos: 3 tips [Infographic]

For a summary of today’s blog post scroll through the infographic slider below: Better podcast and video interview questions: 3 tips.

 

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You can also email me by visiting my website contact page or by clicking here.

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Want more? 

 

For more great resources about content creation, content marketing, video marketing, and public relations be sure to check out my new podcast series “Improve Your Content in 7 Minutes” by clicking here, or find me on your favourite streaming app.

To learn more about what types of video to create in 2022, listen to my podcast episode, “3 Types of Video You Need to Make to Grow Your Business in 2022”. 

You can also read it on the blog.

 

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Simone Cunningham

Simone Cunningham

CEO Simone Cunningham Media & eWords Agency

Simone is a public relations and content marketing strategist. Partnering with businesses and individuals over the last 20 years to achieve their content and publicity goals.

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SIMONE CUNNINGHAM

SIMONE CUNNINGHAM

CEO Simone Cunningham Media & eWords Agency

Simone is a public relations and content marketing strategist. Partnering with businesses and individuals over the last 20 years to achieve their content and publicity goals.

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