Getting Interview Guests on Your Show

03.05.2017 |

Episode #8 of the course How to make your own podcast by Adam Ashton


Welcome to the eighth lesson of the course, and to a topic some of you have been itching to get to: interviews.

I’ll reiterate that having a show that is exclusively interviews can be tough, because it means you’re always relying on other people for content—if they cancel, you don’t have an episode! I think it’s also important that you create your own content without having to speak to a guest about theirs, because you should be using your podcast to showcase you and what you have to offer too.

But interviews can be great! It’s a win/win/win: the guest shares their message with a new audience, your audience gets insightful new content, and you get to connect with people you admire and build authority. Podcasts can help you speak with high-profile people because it’s not just you asking for their time—you’re offering them an opportunity to speak with hundreds or even thousands of your listeners and spread their message.

Below are some of my tips for interviews:

● Make sure the person matches the theme of your show. If your podcast is all about vintage cars, don’t try to interview a young boy band just because you want to meet them. Not only are they very unlikely to say yes, your audience will be confused and you may lose some listeners.

● Find your target interviewee’s email address (find their website or use LinkedIn as a starting place) and craft a short email requesting their time for a podcast interview.

● Be humble in your approach and don’t copy-paste a generic message. You’re more likely to be successful if you personalize the message and highlight some specific things you like about what they do.

● Say what’s in it for them—an opportunity to share their message with a new audience.

● Find out what kind of preparation they need to feel comfortable. Some people like to have a few dot points as suggested topics, some may request a minute-by-minute script of specific questions, and some don’t want any guidance and just want to have a conversation.

● Prepare. Make sure you know your stuff—read their books, listen to other interviews, have some good questions planned. It will make for a far better interview because you will get better insights from your guest, they will see you’ve done your homework, and they won’t have to repeat the same answers they give in every other interview.

● Try and do interviews in person if you’re in the same city. Or if you’re doing Skype, flick the video on to establish better rapport (if your guest is comfortable with that).

● Get eCamm call recorder (or something similar) to record the Skype call.

● Try not to be too robotic—have a plan, but don’t just hit them with question after question. Try and have a conversation and make them feel more comfortable, not bombarded with questions.

● Make sure you get your time zones right when you book a time, and don’t miss the scheduled call (speaking from experience!).

● Stay a few weeks ahead so that if someone cancels, you can still publish an episode.

● Don’t be afraid to edit out sections that are too long or boring or not relevant—it’s better to have 30 minutes of great content than 45 minutes of stuff that’s mostly pretty good but has a few dull patches.

Hope that helps! Get in touch with me if you’d like to see the specific templates/scripts I’ve used to attract interview guests for my own shows.

Adam Ashton


Recommended book

Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio by Jessica Abel


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