Over the last few years, I’ve conducted over 1,000 podcast interviews. Hosts of thousands of shows conduct thousands of interviews every day.
The podcast industry continues to grow, and many more thought leaders are participating on one or both sides of podcast interviews.
For a podcast to gain a loyal audience, it takes both sides of the desk to create a compelling show. The success of the show has little to do with sound, tech or music. Success has everything to do with the quality of the exchange between host and guest.
It is very likely that you will be interviewed on a podcast show in the future, so I thought it would be helpful to provide some insight into becoming an outstanding guest—someone who has much to say but says just enough to create interest, intrigue and intent from the audience to find out more about you.
Here are a few tips to ponder:
- Let the host drive the content and pacing. Don’t take over the show with a monologue you read from a prepared text (like pages from your book).
- A good host likes to warm up the audience toward you with light humor and a few stories from your past. Have fun and keep things light even with a tough topic. (At least do this in the early minutes of the interview. People decide very early in the show if they will keep listening.)
- Be prepared to tell a couple of stories. Audiences love stories with villains, heroes and overcomers. It’s not a once-upon-a-time story, it’s a story of how you made it through some universal felt need. What did you learn? What Scripture pulled you through the fire?
- I learned the value of sound bites in my television career. Practice delivering your big take-aways in brief clips. For podcasts, think of your nuggets in one-minute increments. Your host will keep you going, but you have to leave room for follow-up questions in which the host will explore the story behind the story.
It’s much better if the host asks you questions and you provide the answer—rather than a long soliloquy in which you speak on multiple topics without a pause. Some hosts may prefer for you to tell long stories, but trust this: The audience will not pay attention to a long delivery in podcasts.
The medium rewards quick hits and meaningful discussion. Neither host nor guest should dominate.
- Provide clear take-aways. Tell the audience, “This is an important point.” There are many ways to say those words.
Find your way and strive to deliver highly relevant (to the audience) thought bombs.
Your podcast audience has total control to stop listening at any time. We must earn every minute of ear time.
Podcasts are like old-time radio and keynote speeches. Always leave them wanting more.