You’re going to be interviewed on a podcast – how exciting! Now, it’s time to prepare what to talk about so you don’t get caught up in “umms” and “ahhs” during the interview. An effective podcast interview is efficient and to the point, while still being fun for the listener. In this article we’ll cover what to say when being interviewed on a podcast, and how to say it.
Know your own backstory
Part of promoting your business, project, book, music, or whatever else it is that landed you the guest spot is knowing how you got this far. The host is likely to ask a bit about your background, and is likely to ask this near the beginning of the interview.
There’s no need to go into depth about your life story — but you will want to have a concise tale of who you are and what you’ve done. This can include where you grew up, your alma matter or educational background, and how you got your foot in the door doing what you do now.
Also good to keep top of mind are any pivotal moments along the way. Those could be anything, from the moment you realized your first college major wasn’t for you and decided to switch, to a major moment with a family member or friend that still provides inspiration to this day. You may also wish to share stories that aren’t so positive, as they tend to be moments that shape you as well.
In general, when figuring out what to say about yourself, think of your life as a book, and as major shaping points and trials being the chapters in that book. You want to explain the titles of those chapters, without giving away the entire story.
Be able to succinctly describe what you’re there to talk about
Nobody likes blabbermouth. Especially podcast listeners, who don’t have the opportunity to chime in and tell you to “get on with it.”
You have likely been asked to guest on this podcast for a specific reason, and you should focus the bulk of your conversation on that reason. What’s more, you should be able to cover it in a format that is actionable for the listener, so that they come away from listening to the show with a bullet-point list of takeaways that they can apply to their relevant situation.
Before the interview, have a notepad or doc on your computer with an outline of what you want to touch on.
Let’s say you are a business owner who has developed a new product, and you’ve been asked to guest on a show to explain what that product is and why it is relevant or groundbreaking. The first thing you should do is get ahold of any promotional material related to that product, as this will be the basis for your conversation.
Start by noting the main problem(s) your product is designed to solve. Then, underneath that, ake a bullet point list of how the product accomplishes this, starting at the beginning and concluding with the why this is the best way to solve this problem.
Underneath that, write a sentence or two about how you came to be aware of the problem and why you decided to solve it. If you can get personal here, that’s great — it ties in a real human connection to your story.
Next, have another bulleted list of why you are qualified to design this product/sell it/solve the problem it solves. This establishes your authority on the subject and builds trust with the podcast listener.
And lastly, have a another bulleted list or a few sentences jotted down about where you plan to go from here. Will there be updates? How will you be promoting the product? Where can listeners buy it? Be ready to talk about what’s next, because the host is inevitably going to ask about that in one way or another.
Be familiar with the show
The more familiar you are with the host and the podcast itself, the better. This shows the host that you’ve listened to the show. It also proves to the listener that you care about what they care about and are, in essence, one of them.
If you can, reference older episodes by saying something like, “Much like so-and-so on episode 37, I wanted to create something that would solve X.”
Also, be ready to talk about adjacent products, industries, or niches. For our podcast example above, that might mean being able to talk about other products in the industry that your product works well with or complements, and having a familiarity with those things.
If you’re guesting on a baseball podcast, demonstrating a broader knowledge of professional baseball beyond the scope of your favorite team makes you sound more objective and authoritative.
Be objective and authoritative
Remember those two terms — objective and authoritative.
That should be your overall goal. You don’t want to come across as “salesy” or as someone with little to offer other than marketing speak. You want to be relatable but confident, and as we noted above, show that you have a wide range of knowledge surrounding the topic and niche you are there to discuss.
Being objective doesn’t mean you can’t promote yourself, your product, your story, etc., it simply means you need to talk big-picture and focus on the niche at large, not just on yourself.
Being authoritative means delivering on what it is the host expects you to talk about, and more. When reviewing your talking points that we discussed above, make sure you’re covering all of your bases and not forgetting to offer credit, cite sources, and touch on all of the points that make you an expert on the subject.
Be ready to loosen up and have fun
Guesting on a podcast should be an enjoyable experience for you, the host, and the listener. Bring with you a friendly demeanor and don’t be afraid to laugh! If you have any witty one-liners or jokes you can add to your answers, do it. You want the listener to stick with the show until the very end just as much as the host does, so loosen up, have some fun, and keep it conversatiopnal.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the host as well, in an effort to keep the conversation flowing and not just be a “question and answer” format. Conversation is key — you want the show to come off more as a chat between friends than as a formal interview. Tell relevant stories, be willing to open up and embarrass yourself a little, and we’ll say it again — laugh!
Not to heighten the nerves any more than they may be already, but just relax! You’re going to be great, you’re going to get to say what you want to say, and in the end, you’ll be glad you did it.