Streamlining Podcast Guest Preparation for Success
Podcast guest and podcast guest preparation is really valuable. Working with respected guest speakers in your niche will change your show from good to great (even if you sometimes have to pay to have them in your podcast).
Thanks to remote recording technology, we can do podcast interviews with individuals from anywhere worldwide. However, the challenge with remote recording is that various factors beyond your immediate control can alter the quality of the podcast guest audio.
But once you understand how to record a podcast remotely properly, the audio can sound almost as good as in-person. I've been surprised by how many podcasts I've listened to where I thought the host and guest were in the same room, only to find out that they were not.
So, if you find it challenging to get a good audio for remote podcast interviews, I'll show you several possibilities and tips for podcast guest preparation.
Podcast Guest Preparation Tip 1: Find Out About Your Guest's Podcasting Experience And Home Setup
I assume you've sent a carefully crafted pitch, your guest has agreed to come on your show, and you've already set a date. So what's your next step?
Ask them about their setup.
Doing this will allow you to screen this potential guest to see whether they meet your set criteria for your show. Of course, there are other factors involved that you need to consider, but for me — my podcast guests have to have good recording tools for them to be on my show.
So what you can do is email your podcast guest to learn about their podcasting expertise and home setup. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that the guest has done dozens of interviews and has a proper microphone. On the other hand, you might find out that this is their first time being a podcast guest, and they may need a pointer or two.
Here are some questions to ask your podcast guest well ahead of the interview as part of podcast guest preparation:
- Have you done any podcast interviews before? How about an online podcast interview?
- Do you own an external microphone or at least a pair of headphones with a built-in mic?
- Do you have a quiet place to take the call on interview day?
- Do you have any questions about how this interview will work?
Podcast Guest Preparation Tip 2: Send Instructions To Your Guest Before The Recording Session
You've probably heard it from someone in your life before: “Proper planning and preparation prevent poor performance.” This is true for exams, road trips and, of course, podcast guest preparation. Give your podcast guests the resources they need to prepare for your conversation ahead of time.
You can email them some of the crucial steps they must take prior to your conversation:
- Ask them to plan to record in a quiet setting. Explain beforehand that to ensure the best audio quality possible, they should record in a quiet, non-echoey location with a strong internet connection where they won't be disturbed for the length of the interview.
- Encourage them to avoid noises like a fan, air conditioning unit, or loud appliances running nearby.
- Recommend they restart their computer before logging on. It helps to clear out any background processes that could slow down their device. It also just gives the tech a fresh start (we all need to press that reset button now and then!)
- Give instructions specific to the platform you'll be using for the interview. You can send them a video tutorial on how to use a platform.
- Instruct them to log onto the platform you'll use as their focus tab. They should close all other browser tabs and ensure that the focus tab is open, accessible, and ready to use.
- Let them know to wear wired headphones – I know what you're going to say — we all love our Bluetooth headphones.
- However, these headphones can cause delays when recording remotely, so it's crucial to use wired headphones for the best recording.
- Tell them if you'll be recording a video – no one wants to be caught off guard on camera, so tell them beforehand if you'll be recording a video. This way, your guest will know they'll need to look their best.
- Remind them to speak clearly into the mic, and don't be afraid to remind them as needed during the interview. Better to edit out those reminders than to force your listeners to suffer through indiscernible audio.
Emphasize that you want to celebrate them in the best light possible. By giving them these instructions, you're letting them know how sincere you are about giving your podcast guest the maximum value out of the time they spend with you.
Podcast Guest Preparation Tip 3: Email Them a Reminder Before The Recording
When you've been podcasting for a while, and even after doing podcast guest preparation you'll undoubtedly be used to dealing with technical issues — I occasionally experience this with my podcast guests. Your guest's WiFi might be unstable, headphones can be misplaced, and bothersome background noises can sometimes interfere with your recordings. While the occasional technical mishap is acceptable, you should keep them to a minimum. This is to give your guests maximum value from the time they spend with you.
Now, it doesn't inspire confidence when your guest joins your call, and you have to spend the next 15 minutes troubleshooting to figure out why you can't hear their audio. Some podcast guests may feel frustrated (even as a podcast host, you would be too), and others may form a negative opinion of your show, making them less likely to share your episode.
At UpMyInfluence, I regularly record with my podcast guests using Zoom. When I do, I send my guest a reminder at least 48 hours before the recording.
Email your guest a day or two before the recording day to reduce the possibility of technical issues. It should include basic instructions and reminders to ensure they are fully prepared and ready to go when they join the call. This is especially useful when you have less tech-savvy podcast guests.
Podcast Guest Preparation Tip 4: Complete your pre-interview process
In cluding pre-calls as part of podcast guest preparation to screen your podcast guest can save you a lot of trouble. It's essentially a dry run of the interview. It also contributes to the interview's structure and themes. And these calls also help to eliminate any potential sound difficulties.
The downside is that this takes lots of time to schedule and have conversations. Ideally, you can use their previous podcast appearances to screen them. However, if there are any outstanding worries about the guest's quality, a pre-call interview makes a lot of sense.
This process will differ depending on the podcast host and the guest(s). However, in general, your pre-interview podcast guest preparation should include the following:
- Confirming the date, time, and location of your interview with your guest (if you're recording in your studio)
- Sending your guest a list of questions you've prepared to ask
- Sending your guest a summary of the podcast format
- Checking all necessary equipment twice
- Getting to know your visitor(s) better
- Inquire with your guest if there is anything you can do to make them feel more at ease (this is critical!)
Podcast Guest Preparation Tip 5: Do a Soundcheck With Your Interviewee And Have a Back-up Plan Ready
When recording with a podcast guest, don't just push the record button and begin the interview. Begin with some light conversation. Doing this will help your guests feel more comfortable and give you the opportunity to prepare for the podcast by testing the audio equipment.
Even the most seasoned podcast hosts sometimes encounter technical challenges. Prepare for it by doing podcast gues preparation. What would you do, for example, if your microphone stopped working? What would you do if your guest's video failed to load? Consider your options and decide how you will adapt swiftly.
Podcast Guest Preparation 6: Reschedule if needed
Finally, I suggest rescheduling if there are any issues. I understand this isn't ideal, especially if you worked hard to have a big-name guest on your show. However, if you believe that having poor audio quality will be detrimental to your show, ask your podcast guest if there is another time you can arrange the interview.
Make sure you structure it in a way that will appeal to your guest. You can say something to the effect of, “I'd like to reschedule this conversation if that's okay, so I can make sure to celebrate you to my audience in the best way possible,”
Podcasting does not have to be a stressful venture. Plan ahead of time to guide your podcast guest through the process — look after them and their needs. This will ensure that your recording sounds and looks fantastic (and build a positive relationship with them).
Now, it takes time for you to screen podcast guests properly and get quality recording. It may appear easier to take a chance and hope that the guest works out. However, screening also assists the presenter in correctly refining their questions, resulting in a crisp, instructional, and beneficial conversation. Everyone wins when the host prepares the guest by screening them.
With the right tool, its can make all the difference between an awesome recording experience for your podcast guest and a terrific episode for your audience. With a dependable recording studio and other tools at your disposal, you can make your next episode the best one yet.
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