Recently I had the opportunity to be a producer for a podcast which is in the beginning phase for Pass the Torch here in Indianapolis. I have to admit, it was a fun and rewarding experience. The host, Amna was super professional and she had some pretty qualified guests on to discuss the topics of office politics and professional development. During the break between the two episodes, she asked if I had any interview preparation tips for getting ready for the second show. Off the top of my head, I had a few things that I could share.
But it got me thinking – what are certain things that podcasters need to think about as they’re starting their show; or for that matter, as they move up the mastery ladder?
The Magic Ingredients
As podcasters, we should always be trying to get better at our craft. Of course, this is true for every profession out there. And just like every other profession, there are certain skills that podcasters need to be aware of to get better at what they’re doing.
If you’ve been around the AoL Podcast over time, you might have realized that early on, my audio quality was much worse than it is now. It took me quite a while to even begin to understand the intricacies of good audio.
I started with a crisp impersonal sound which wasn’t very inviting to what it is today – a warmer personal quality which hopefully makes listeners feel like they’re in the same room as the conversation.
This process took quite a while – perhaps over the course of 6 months? And during that time, I was publishing weekly. Yikes! Today, while I don’t feel it’s perfect, I do have a few folks in my network who call me a bit of an audiophile.
Show Prep and Questioning
When it comes to prepping for a show, there’s definitely two extremes. On one side you can be completely scripted out. This might include doing all kinds of research and having certain questions prepared for the chat. If you go this route, the plus is that you have the potential to have a conversation with your guest that they might not have had already. This will separate your show from those who ask the same questions. The more unique your questions, the more new information your audience might receive. An example of this kind of podcast host is Jordan Harbinger.
On the other hand, you can have minimal show prep. This approach might include going over a handful of the guest’s work, simply to get an idea of what they’re about, and ask discovery type questions during the actual interview. While you might not get unique questions, you will have a conversation which is much more natural and curiosity driven.
A few people who have used this approach in their interviewing over the years is Larry King and his long time friend Cal Fussman.
General Production and Publishing
Finally, when it comes to having a successful podcast, there’s something to be said about all the other aspects of getting the show to the audience. The raw audio itself might need to be edited. There might need to be a transcript of the show or a page of show notes made. Or perhaps, your show needs regular guests. Getting ahold of those guests and making arrangements for them to be on your show will take some effort as well.
These are things you’ll need to consider as you’re putting your show together as well.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
If you don’t have the skillset or time to do any one of these parts, then you might need to hire help to get it done. It really depends on what you want the final product to be and how much time you have to put into it.
If you need help doing any particular part (outside of the actual conversation!) shoot me an email. I’ll connect you to someone reputable in the business.
I’ve actually written about some of these topics in the past. So if you want to know more specific steps about what all goes into making a podcast, then you can check those pieces out:
- Equipment and Software
- Planning and Production
- Exporting and Distribution
- Mic Flag Design Writeup
- Designing Your Podcast Logo
I don’t pretend to be the best at interviewing guests by any means. However, what I do works well for me. Let’s just say that I’m on the side of overpreparation.
So if the art of interviewing is something you want to know more about, there are a couple of current courses I’m aware of that can help you out. One is from Larry King himself and the other is by past guest Michael O’Neal.
Rumor also has it that Jordan Harbinger will be putting out his own interviewing course in the not too distant future. He’s looking to get other people on board with that, so stay tuned for more information on that front.