Tips for Podcast Appearances and Interviews
You are scheduled for a guest appearance on a podcast, congratulations! If you’ve never done an interview or spoken on podcasts before, this might feel overwhelming. There is a lot to consider, from how to conduct yourself on air to how to sound professional. It’s important that you come to the podcast prepared. Below are our tips for podcast appearances and interviews:
Have a good technical setup
There’s no need to invest in thousands of dollars worth of audio equipment, but you do need to sound professional. A simple pair of headphones/earbuds with a microphone will do just fine. However, if you anticipate doing multiple interviews you may want to invest in a podcasting microphone. The producers of the iHeartRadio Show, Passage to Profit recommend either the Blue Snowball Mic or a Blue Yeti Mic, which are both affordable and available on Amazon and retailers.
How to make podcast audio sound professional
Once you have your equipment in place, sit down a few minutes before the scheduled podcast time to test your audio levels and make sure you sound clear. You’ll want to be in a quiet room with little to no echo or background noise, turn off any loud air conditioners or fans that may create a whizz or hum. Personally, I choose to record audio while sitting in my bedroom closet. The clothing hanging near the walls and small, quiet space helps to create better acoustics. A small office space with a closed door could create a similar environment. Just make sure to have a plain background if you’ll be on video!
Things to consider for video podcast interviews
Speaking of video, a static camera is best! You can use the one built into your laptop or a small webcam attached to your desktop. If you must do the interview from a phone or tablet, use a tripod or stand to keep it level and still (we recommend the Lookstand). Make sure there is no distracting movement or objects behind you. Sprinkle items into your background that represent you (ie: books, artwork, etc). You want your personality to shine! Also, consider lighting. Either prop your computer next to a window that shines light onto your face and room nicely or invest in a Ring style of lighting. You do not want windows behind you, as that will cast a shadow across your face. You should frame your picture from the chest up.
Lastly, make sure there is no break in your internet connection and that you have enough bandwidth to stream the audio and/or video seamlessly. According to Podcast Rocket, the average podcast uses 70MB of data. Keep that in mind when choosing your location.
The best way to combat any potential technical problems while recording a podcast is to log on a few minutes early and test all of your equipment!
Consider the Format and Audience
Now that you have the technical part out of the way, you’ll need to start thinking about the content you’ll present during your podcast appearance. The first step to bringing quality content to any given podcast is to consider the audience and the format of the show. Every podcast is different. That’s why you should listen to 2-3 full episodes of any podcast before your guest appearance or interview.
You need to know, will it be Q&A style? How many guests are on each episode? How long do most segments last? Is the audience made up of mostly women? Men? Entrepreneurs? Consumers? Is it designed to be informative or entertaining? These are all things you should know before you start your interview. Also, pay attention to the overall mood and tone. Will the audience be expecting a bubbly personality? Comedic elements? Does the host really love puns? Understanding the podcast and its audience are all things that will help you look and feel prepared before the recording.
Be A Storyteller
There is a reason the host/producers booked you onto their podcast: they want to hear your story! If you are brought on as an expert in a topic, showcase why and how you are an expert. But you need to do this mindfully. You don’t want to sound like you’re reading off your resume. A good way to do this is to weave your personal experiences throughout your interview. Let them know about the challenges you overcame, the high points, and the low points. It’s important to humanize yourself and speak honestly.
In addition to speaking honestly, you’ll want to practice speaking concisely. Even if you are appearing on a long-format show, your individual points should be concise in order to keep the host and the audience engaged. If this sounds contradictory to my point above about being a storyteller, it isn’t. Great storytelling is often short and sweet. Think about how you answer everyday questions and use that as a guide to how you’ll respond to questions in a podcast. Every story has a short answer and a long answer version to tell.
For example: Did you have a good vacation?
Short Answer: Yes, it was great! We went to the beach and it was nice to get out of the house for a bit.
Long Answer: Yes, it was great! We went to the beach almost every day, except the one day when it rained! Boy, you would’ve thought it was a hurricane outside. The streets started flooding. Everyone was running. But we didn’t let it ruin our vacation. Instead, we found this indoor minigolf place that had blacklights and glow paint. The kids had a lot of fun with it. Then the next day we got to go back to the beach. We saw dolphins… (you get the point)…
For podcasts, when in doubt go with something in between the short and long answer. Pick and choose which details you use based on the audience. Speak in short sentences that can easily be pulled as quotes for more articles or as soundbites for future videos and podcasts. This will help your PR build upon itself!
Also, read the host. Meaning read the room – stopping for a pause to see if the host has any questions or wants to change the direction of the interview–you may be talking over the host. Remember that podcasts are often conversations between multiple people and everyone needs ample time to speak.
Do Not Oversell
If there is one mistake I hear podcast hosts share most often about their guests, it’s that the guest tried to sell too hard. Your first podcast appearance can set your reputation for all future media interview opportunities. It is important that you do not oversell your services. Unless you paid for the placement, your product offerings are unlikely to add meaningful content to the show. Instead of focusing on your products, focus on your story and your expertise. Understand why they booked you onto their podcast. Know the benefits you add to their audience. Most podcast hosts will allow you a short amount of time to plug your business at the end of an interview with a “how can people find you” type of question. From a PR perspective, a podcast interview is meant to build your authority and credibility with an audience. It can create leads for your business, but like any editorial placement and earned-media opportunity, it is not the sole purpose of the feature.
Cite Your Sources
The next item on my list of tips for podcast appearances and interviews is to cite your sources. Please give credit where credit is due, especially if you quote somebody else or make reference to their work or research. If you are going to use statistics as a talking point, be sure to tell the audience where the numbers come from. Plagiarism or a lack of credibility could turn your PR highlight into a PR nightmare.
Market the Podcast
Lastly, market the podcast to your audience once it has aired. Podcasting is a collaborative business. You are more likely be to invited back or receive more podcasting opportunities when you have a reputation for helping to grow an audience. This means cross-promoting and sharing your podcast appearance across your communication channels including social media, email marketing, SMS texts, or other platforms.
Need assistance with booking appearances on podcasts? Schedule a consult with the team with Orca Communications to figure out a PR plan that works for you!