How To Prepare For A Podcast Guest Interview

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(By Yann Ilunga) You’ve found podcasts to be featured on, you pitched yourself and the host said yes. Now what? In this article, I’m going to break down the podcast guest interview preparation process for you, step-by-step.

What and Who?
The first two steps in your prepping process are to ask the host to let you know which topic he/she would like the two of you to cover in the interview and who will be tuning in.

Knowing the “what” helps you choose the content, while the “who” enables you to put the content in the right context. In my case, for instance, the “what” typically is podcasting, systems, or podcast guesting.

Depending on who the audience is made of, the way I cover the topic — the terminology I use, the stories I tell, and case-studies and strategies I share — will vary. If I were to share my podcasting advice for an audience interested in starting their podcast journey, I’d be put things in a context that’s different than the one where listeners already host a podcast.

Your Interview Assets
Whenever I do a podcast guest interview, I have a Trello card for the specific show open in front of me.

This card features my main interview assets, things that will help me have a smooth podcast guesting experience:

— Title of the show and name of the host
— Brief description of the audience (and what they’d like to achieve)
— List of relevant resources — such as podcast episodes, articles, books, or anything else I think might be worth mentioning during the interview
— List of specific case studies, stories, or anecdotes I’d like to share
— Pointers that will help me structure how I’d cover the topics, at least as far as my side of the interview is concerned
— My main Call-to-Action (what I offer, the link to the specific resource or webpage, etc.).

Your Lead-Generation Resources
Chances are your podcast guesting toolkit includes a series of resources that will help you leverage guest interviews as a way to grow your email list.

These are things like an email marketing software, a tool to easily build landing pages and opt-in forms, as well as a downloadable lead-magnet you offer to the listeners in exchange for their email address.

Make sure that everything’s in order.

And if you plan on mentioning a landing page you’ve already published, consider using something like Pretty Links or Bitly to create a redirect link that’s easy for listeners to remember.

YourWebsite.com/Recording is a much easier url to remember compared to YourWebsite.com/5-Steps-to-Record-a-Podcast-Episode.

Set Up Your Recording Equipment
Next, focus on your recording equipment. Make sure that your microphone, headphones, webcam for video interviews, or any other recording tool you’ll be using is correctly plugged in.

Open the DAW you’ll be using for recording — if you don’t have any, you can look at something like Audacity, Garageband, or Hindenburg Journalist — and make sure that the right microphone is selected within the tool.

And do the same for the platform the host will use to call you and record the interview on. (Oftentimes, this is something like Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts/YouTube Live.).

Carry out this step and double-check it every single time, as some software may switch to the built-in microphone without you noticing when your main microphone isn’t plugged in.

Check Your Recording Space
If you’re recording your very first interview, do a quick test.

Set everything up in the room or space you’re thinking about recording in. Hit “Record,” be quiet, and record a few seconds of complete silence. Grab your headphones, click “Play,” and listen to what you’ve just recorded. Can you hear any background noise, like cars driving by, an air-conditioning system, a heater or similar?

If this recording sounds good, then do the same thing but this time say a few words while recording. How does your voice sound? Are there any echos or similar?

In case the room you’re recording in doesn’t make you sound good, carry out the same steps in a different room or space. Keep in mind that people record from a wide variety of places.

Doing a video interview?

Then make sure that your lighting is good and that you don’t have anything distracting or that simply shouldn’t be in your background.

And as far as your computer goes, close all the apps and programs you won’t be needing during the interview (including those that might be running in the background, like Dropbox).

Warm Up Your Voice
If you’re keen on warming up your voice, you might want to check out a voice coach app like Astound.

And last, but not least, make sure to have a glass of water before the interview starts and to keep more water handy in case your throat starts to feel dry during the recording.

Yann Ilunga is a podcasting consultant and systems strategist. He’s the host of The Podcaster Lab and creator of what Forbes dubbed “Podcast Community to Join”: the Podcast Growth Mastermind.

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