The interview format is here to stay. Whether it’s a talk show, magazine profile or radio broadcast they attract listeners and viewers alike. Why? Huffington Post believes ‘we’ll always be drawn to Q&As about other people’s lives’ and Cultured Vultures confirms this ‘there is something to be said for being offered an insight into the mind of a well-known individual’.
Celebrity or not, we have an innate curiosity about other people’s lives and that’s the beauty of a great interview. On the surface it seems a simple enough format but a dynamic back and forth is much harder than it appears. If you’re not already on the interview bandwagon, you should think about getting them into your content plan, our ‘How to’ guide will answer your burning questions and put you on track to hosting great interviews!
How to: find those guests
Finding a great guest is the first hurdle to tackle but before you start cold-calling people you need to think about some important questions: who is my audience? what do they want to know? what will this guest bring to my show? Basically, you need to have a specific purpose for speaking to someone, any guest you invite on your show should enrich the themes you cover. A great start is to discover who the experts in the field you want to cover are, an advanced search on Amazon can help identify who has recently published a study in your field of choice – search by topic, then adjust the search for relevance and publication date.
The next step once you have honed in on a guest to is to imagine them as a ‘story’, thinking about the narrative you could create if they were on your show and how you would tell it to your audience. Research them and have an idea of where you want the discussion to go, drawing up a list of potential questions.
How to: secure guests
Now, the important bit – how to get that person to agree to taking part! Obviously, the more established your show, the easier it is to secure guests but don’t lose hope if you’re just starting out! The best way is to use your existing network both online and offline. Use social media to make connections or contact people who might be able to help, Twitter and LinkedIn are both great ways to reach out to potential interviewees and referrals from your contacts can make you and your podcast credible. But don’t forget about in person networking! Go to events, network and meet new people. Last but not least, if your guest is well-known, find out whether they have an agent, publisher or representative. Once you have direct contact with the desired guest you will be on your way to securing them.
It’s also worth noting that your show will always be researched by potential guests Tyler Basu states that guests will research shows to see what they’re about – so, make sure you look impressive online!
How to: be a good interviewer
There are a few little tricks you should have up your sleeve if you want to make the interview really stand out. The first golden rule (which might seem painfully obvious) is to listen. Easier said than done. Listening well means being prepared to go with the flow – listen to the responses and let your interviewee lead you…a little! Secondly, research your guest’s interview style – have they ever been interviewed before? Understanding how they respond to questions will help you be more prepared. Thirdly, discuss uncovered territory! Your show will always be more interesting if you can gain an exclusive or discuss topics which the interviewee hasn’t covered before – use your power as host to lead your guest in those directions. Finally, the best interviews are where listeners can sense how relaxed guests are, make them feel welcome, potentially preparing them before the interview so they have an idea of topics – you want them to be as natural as possible!
Whether your show is an established talk show or you’re interested in hosting a one-off interview – dynamic dialogue between two people will always add spark to your show. Furthermore, securing an interesting guest will give power and weight to your podcast.
Now you have the guide to getting started, get out there and get interviewing!