After producing over 240 episodes of my podcast called Shaping Opinion, I’ve interviewed a wide range of people, some who’ve had a lot of experience with media interviews, and others not so much.
Still, for the better guests, it really didn’t matter how much experience they’ve had doing interviews so long as they could tell a story.
In my work as a public relations advisor and media trainer, one of the key lessons has always been to teach clients how to speak in sound bites. These are 30- to 40-second clips where you deliver your key messages in neat little packets that help your messages survive the editing process. Each one should have a beginning, middle and end that summarizes the key message, regardless of the question asked.
This is helpful in podcast interviews as well, but to be sure, a good podcast interviewee has to have more.
Many interview podcasts are 30-60 minutes long at a minimum. If all of your answers are 30-second sound bites, it will make for a rather boring interview, and the host will start grasping at straws to get you to talk or elaborate.
Good podcasts need good stories. Good guests need to be able to tell stories. You can still feature your key messages, but make sure you have a story that helps illustrate or reinforce the main points you want to make.
Related to this, a good podcaster doesn’t want the interview to come off to the listener as just a series of questions-and-answers. She or he wants it to sound like a conversation. The interviewers may tell a story or two themselves. They may make observations without asking a question, while hoping you as the guest pick up on it and know how to take it from there.
If you’ve been invited to participate in an interview on a podcast, my advice to you is to think of the main points you want to make – your key messages – and then have at least one interesting story that supports to each. Practice telling those stories in advance, if possible, with a live person so you can gauge the other person’s reaction to different elements of the story. That way you’ll be best prepared for your podcast interview, and chances are you’ll find yourself doing more interviews.
If you’d like to talk about media interviewing or podcasting, get in touch.