How to Prepare for a Podcast Interview
Podcasts have exploded in popularity, thanks in part to Spotify and other online media aggregates that have made the now-mainstream format accessible to a wider audience. Fifty percent of Americans have listened to one for entertainment, leisure or learning. Worldwide, Latin America and China are the fastest-growing geographies for the medium. Google has indexed more than 2 million podcasts. Odds are, your go-to news outlets and trade magazines also publish a daily, weekly or monthly episode.
These days, there is a podcast for just about every niche. As a coach, appearing on a podcast is a great way to showcase your expertise. But, just as you would prepare for a media interview, here are a few things to keep in mind before getting behind the mic.
Get Acquainted with the Show
Being a podcast guest means either one of two things happened. You were approached by a producer, or you approached them yourself. Either way, it’s best to listen—or re-listen—to a couple episodes and get a sense of the style and format of the show. Is the tone laid back or serious? How much natural back and forth occurs between the host and the guest? Are you dialing into the show or appearing in person? These are all factors to consider as you prepare for the interview.
Let’s say you’re going to be on an HR or training-related podcast for an episode on internal coaching. The producer or host should provide further insight on the topic, such as wanting you to discuss best practices and tips, required training and how to measure impact. If this doesn’t happen, feel free to reach out ahead of time to get a sense for the angle and anything else that will help guide the discussion.
Formulate Talking Points
Similar to preparing for an on-camera or in-person media interview, it’s best to prepare talking points to keep a focused message. Start by writing down your thoughts in freeform and then condense them into succinct bullet points. Feel free to use these notes as a guide, but remember, it’s best not to heavily rely on your talking points. After all, trying to remember everything verbatim can cause you to stumble if you forget a few words.
Practice, Practice, Practice
You don’t want to come off as unnatural and overly rehearsed. Rather than trying to memorize your talking points, practicing your interview beforehand can help you sound conversational. Get a family member, friend or colleague to act as the host for a mock interview. Give this person a list of questions and also record the interview so you can review and adjust. Remember: Practice makes perfect.
Once the episode is available for download, go back and listen to yourself so you can observe any quirks or weaknesses, such as verbal fillers—“um, like, and, etc.”—or unnatural inflection. This will allow you to self-reflect, provide constructive criticism and improve for the next media opportunity.
The rise of podcasts now offers additional opportunities for coaches to connect with their desired audiences through another mainstream medium. While it may be tempting to cast a wide net in your attempts to be a guest, it’s important to keep in mind the subtle differences of this format and properly prepare for an interview, just like you would for newspaper, radio and television.