How To Prepare Your Podcast Guest

Podcasters make sure you have prepared your guest for their interview.

Life happens, people get nervous, we as hosts can make the process smooth for our guest. This post will tell you how to make the interview process easy for your guest.

There’s a lot of information and downloads on how to be a great podcast guest . This post is about how to help put guests at ease and make sure they are ready to be on our show.

Step 1. Create an Email Template

Welcome your guest to the podcast and thank them for their time.

Summarise briefly what the show is about.

Personalise each email with the name of the guest(s) and add a few relevant sentences about why you think they would be a great guest.

Tell them what platform you’ll be using Skype, Squadcast, ZenCaster or Zoom.

Don’t forget to add the date, time and time zone.

Step 2. Date & Time (Time zone)

Schedule another email reminder – I use 10to8 which does this automatically.

Remind them what the date of the interview will be

Tell them at what time the interview will take place.

I want to add to this, tell them where you are based.

Do not assume guests know which cities are on Eastern time in the U.S, clocks going back in the UK or where you are in Australia. Tell them!

Podcast Maven

You can use a tool like time and date to ensure you are both on the same page.

Step 3 . Remind them that they MUST wear headphones!

Step 4 Connect A Little Early

In the first email ask them to connect 5 – 10 mins before the start of the interview.
This will give you time to explain the process to your guest, answer any questions and also catch any last minute tech issues.

This 5 minutes can make all the difference to putting your guest at ease and getting the best from your guest.

What do you do to prepare your guests? What tools do you use? Tell me below

Planning an interview-style Podcast? Advice for Newbies

Are you planning to do interviews on your podcast?

Are you wondering how to get the best from your guest so that they tell you things they haven’t said in other interviews and you really form a connection in the limited time you have? 

You have two choices: 

  1. Do a Pre-Interview
  2. Send questions in  advance 

Pre – Interview 

This is a scheduled call separate from the actual interview, you chat with your potential guest to see if the conversation flows. Are they as good as they look on paper?

Can you draw them out to give more than the standard answers? 

The pre-interview is not you testing your guest, you also have to do your part to probe into the info they gave you. Then you can decide which way you take the interview. 

I love pre-interviews and have gotten some fantastic stories out of my guests which with permission have made their way into the podcast.

 

Pre-interviews allow you to delve into childhoods, memories, and the stuff that never makes it into a bio. 

Shameless promo.

Did you know I have a podcast? Pick an episode to listen to here

So what are the PROS and CONS of doing a pre-interview?

  • You get to know more about your guest 
  • You can create a warmer connection before your real interview 
  • It can help put nervous guests at ease 
  • Guests can ask all the questions they want and not eat in to interview time 
  • A chance to remind them to wear headphones (wink, wink) 
  • Get to know more who they are more than what they do.
  • Pre-interviews take some planning 
  • Some guests can think it takes too long 

Sending Questions in Advance 

Before the interview, you send your guest a list of the questions you want to  ask or an outline of the episode with the general topics you want to cover. Please note there is no right or wrong way it is about what suits you. 

So what are the PROS and CONS of doing a pre-interview? 

  • Your guest will know what to expect 
  • The guest can be better prepared 
  • Saves a lot of time 
  • Guests can get to the point quickly (not always a good thing!)
  • Guest can sound so rehearsed that it a bit robotic 
  • The interview can sound exactly the same as the last interview your guest did 

So which should you choose? 

Whichever suits your podcast best. My podcast is a conversation I’m learning about each individual and their lives, so I like doing a pre-interview it puts my guests at ease and we speak so easily when we do the interview.

The pre-interview suits the tone of my show. 

Tell me which you prefer? Do you do either or do you just jump in?

Leave a comment below. 

Blog title Podcasting formats

Podcast Formats – Which One Should You Choose?

What is a podcast format?  When you choose to do a podcast you need to decide how you will configure your episodes. Your podcast format is the way you’ll present your information to your listener in each episode.

Below I will tell you about the 6 most common forms and give an example of a show with that format.

Solo Show.

You are the sole voice on your show. Your listeners will tune in each week to hear your take on whatever topic you’ve chosen in your niche. 

Pros: Simple to create 

Cons: Be careful not to speak in a mono-tone your listeners may get bored and not return 

Solo shows I’m enjoying at the moment are: Affirmation Pod. I have been a loyal listener for years!!

The Traveling Introvert

Interview

You talk to a different person in each episode. You ask questions and take them through a story that will either educate and/or entertain your audience.  

Pros. A popular format that is easy to set up.   A great tool to conduct interviews remotely is Squadcast. I wrote a how – to use guide here . If you want to try Squadcast you can sign up here. (Please read my affiliate statement at the bottom of this article.

Cons: Finding the right guests can take a little time, asking incisive questions is a skill that improves with time. Your first few interviews might be a little rough in terms of technique, it will get better. 

Visible at Work

Making Sense with Sam Harris

Roundtable : You host a discussion on a topic and debate it with a group of people

Example Sips of Truth 

Documentary.  Also called non-fiction storytelling, with this format, you will be telling a story that is based on facts. 

This American Life

Think about the sentence this film was based on real events, this bring us to the docu-drama

Docu-drama: A fact-based podcast mixed with elements of storytelling. Best example SERIAL

Audio Drama  A fiction story telling podcast

Past Due 

A podcast I’ve discovered recently that’s got 200, 000,000 downloads and is addictive We’re Alive

Hybrid : A mix of the formats above. The most common mix is interviews and solo-shows. 

Why you need to choose a style and how to do it

Choosing a format will help you create your content. Putting your ideas into a consistent format each week/fortnight/month will help you create structure around your podcast efforts.

 When you know what you need to do for each episode you will be able to create elements of your podcast in advance like your quick fire round if you do interviews or your different calls to action.  Need some help with these?

Would you rather have a visual for all this info ?

Podcast Formats

Heads up! My articles may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of my links you won’t pay more but I will get a small commission. Thanks.

Squadcast – A Review

Are you wondering how to record your podcast remotely, with good clear audio and with an easy process for your guest? Squadcast might be what you are looking for. A lot of people are starting podcasts especially since we are all distancing ourselves. 

There are a lot of ways to record your podcast remotely and this week I tried Squadcast. 

This will be a walk through of the software for a newbie podcaster and then I will list some of the pros and consider.

To use Squadcast you have to register for it. 

You’ll get a 7-day free trial then you can choose which tier you want to subscribe to. Prices for a monthly subscription start at $10. 

When you first sign up you will be led through a virtual walk-through of the platform. Even if you are familiar with lots of apps and normally work things out yourself, don’t skip this it will save you time in the long run. 

The App will request access to your mic and camera,  you can give permission for both or just your microphone.  

Creating a recording session is easy and straightforward.

Give your session a title and enter your guests’ details – as soon as you do this an email will be sent to them.

Screenshot of scheduling page in Squadcast.
Scheduling a session in Squadcast is easy.

The email they receive has the details of how to connect to the call and best practices for an interview.

When your guest(s) follows the link, they will first go into a” green room”. This is a sort of virtual waiting room where they get a last chance to check that both their microphone and headphones are connected properly – then they need to click on an icon to join your session. 

The host starts the session.  

You need to press ‘record’ at the start of the interview – this is important as you will be able to speak to each other before the session starts recording.

Picture of the recording interface in Squadcast.
Don’t forget to press record!!

At the top of the screen you will see a timer which shows how much time from your chosen plan you have left. 

After the interview is done your guest can disconnect and Squadcast will then turn each person’s recoring into a separate audio file. 

Pros and Cons

So why Squadcast? As a Podcast Editor the easiest files to work with and “polish” are WAV files. Squadcast delivers your files in this format. You can also choose to have your recorded file in the MP3 format.

Pros

  • Instructions sent in the guest e-mail are very easy to follow, even for first-time users. If they can use Zoom they can use Squadcast
  • Once you have recorded your interview Squadcast can combine the two files into one for you.
  • The final files are available in either an MP3 or WAV format.
  • Very clear audio.
  • You get to use all the features during the trial period.
  • If you are about to run over your recording time limit Squadcast sends you a message asking you if you want to buy additional time for $5. Only you see this message – your guest does not.

Cons

  • If your guest isn’t used to any online conference platforms it can be frustrating when the app doesn’t connect to the right mic or headphones. 
  • Some people might find the cost prohibitive.
  • You have to use it in Google Chrome.

Final thoughts, I found Squadcast easy to use and good value for money. Do make up your own mind and test it making use of the free 7-day trial. 

If you’d like to try out Squadcast please use my AFFILIATE LINK below (not shouting just wanted to be upfront).

https://squadcast.fm/?ref=patriciaqhobelajenkins1

Have you tried Squadcast as a presenter or guest? What was your experience like? Share in the comments

Does Your Podcast Have A Call-To-Action (CTA)?

What is a CTA? 

Very basically this is when you ask your listeners to perform a specific task/activity. In this article, we’ll cover what you can say in your CTA and where you can place it in your podcast. 

If you are a new podcaster one of your goals will be to ensure that people who listen to your show will receive each episode as you release it. In fact, that’s every podcaster’s goal! We want to ensure listeners are also subscribers.  

A CTA you can use is “Please subscribe to the show in your podcast app”.  A lot of people are still asking listeners to subscribe in iTunes. This is wrong for two reasons. Firstly, Apple made some major changes last year and podcasts are now available on Apple Podcasts.  Secondly, not everyone has an Apple device, and you don’t want them to think that will be a problem. Make sure they know that they can subscribe to your podcast feed in whatever podcast app they use – tell them!   

Tip: Use the same CTA for 3-4 episodes then change it. People can be slow to take action or they simply forget. Repetition helps. 

A quick change to the example above is to tell listeners where they can find your podcast and ask them to subscribe. Let them know there is a platform they can listen on. 

“You can find the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Spreaker – please subscribe”. 

Make sure that your show is available in these directories. 

Podcasts are about connection and community, tell people how they can contact you. If you are prepared to commit the time you can start a FB group for your podcast. 

A connection CTA can be : 

“Please join the Facebook group for the (your podcast name) the link is in the shownotes”.

Or “Please send me an email with your thoughts and questions. I’d love to read some out on the show”.  Spell out the e-mail address if you use this CTA. 

With these connection CTA’s you are asking for more interaction. It will take some time for people to respond and contact you but keep asking and telling them how. 

Tip: It’s important to put any links from your CTA in your shownotes. People are more likely to click on a link than hunt for a Facebook page later in the day. Make it easy for your listeners. 

Where in your podcast should you place your CTA? 

This is up to you but as a listener, I prefer them midway or at the end.  If you have segments in your podcast, then between segments is a great place to put your CTA. 
Otherwise, put it at the end of your podcast – you can make it part of your outro, or just before. 

I did a very quick informal survey and most people stated that they prefer the CTA to be in the middle of the podcast or at the end. Very few liked to be asked to subscribe before hearing the content. 

5 Tips to Avoid Podfade

Title  of post. How to avoid podfade.
How to avoid podfade

What is Podfade?

When you suddenly stop creating and producing podcast episodes, and never get back to it.
Yes, this is a real “thing” a lot of people become overwhelmed with the amount of work or time commitment that it takes to produce a podcast.

Many podcasters stop producing episodes after episode 6.

Today 5 Quick Tips to Help You Avoid Podfade.

  1. Plan. Have you planned your podcast to the last detail? Do you have a clear podcast “why”. Can you identify the person your podcast is supposed to reach? Who is your podcast for?
  2. Time. Don’t underestimate in the beginning how long it will take. No just recording straight into your app isn’t the answer. How long does it take to do each piece? I’ve built this business out of the part ppl find the most time consuming-podcast editing.
  3. Schedule it. What will you do when? When will you record? When will you edit, do your scheduling? When will you plan social media and promotion and execute it?
  4. Batch record. If at all possible this is a lifesaver. Have your episodes ready to go.
  5. Be patient with yourself. There’s a learning curve for everyone. I’m a better editor than I was last year. You will get better at recording, interviewing and creating content. You need to be patient and kind to yourself.

What’s holding you back from starting a podcast?
Pop your question below.

I’m going to be on a Podcast Panel!!

I am so excited and if you receive my newsletter you know why!

I’m going to be taking part in the Outlier Festival in January 2020!

Speaker badge for The Outlier Podcast Festival.
http://outlierpodfest.com/

The Outlier Podcast Festival is an opportunity for smaller independent podcasters to meet one another and also connect with bigger names in the industry. If you are on the fence about attending please read my last article about why you should attend “smaller” podcast conferences.

One of my goals for 2020 is to speak at more podcast conferences so that I can really encourage more women to start their podcasts. I want to know what’s holding you back and give you effective, actionable advice to move you forward. That’s one of the reasons I love smaller podcast conferences, everything is made is easier. The information is more accessible and people have more time.

If you want to know what’s going on and want to see updates use you can tag Outlier @Outlier_HQ on Twitter, @OutlierHQ on Instagram, and OutlierHQ on Facebook.

I would love to meet you in person, please come up and say hello if you are still on the fence about attending I have a discount code for you.

Use the discount code “Outlier” for 15% off your ticket.

Will I see you there?