Once you've scored that interview you've been pitching, there's a few steps you should take to nail it.
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Earlier this week you sent an incredible pitch to that podcast host you follow, and finally heard back. You’re in! The host asked you to submit a bio, headshot, and key talking points for marketing purposes, which you sent over immediately. The host also provided the online calendar link to schedule the recording. You did that too.
You’ve done all the steps perfectly so far. The only thing left to do is … oh darn.
Realization sets in that all the experts you’ve been following only talk about nailing the pitch. But very few actually talk about the most important thing: the interview. That's what you’ve been working towards. You want the opportunity to position yourself as an expert in your industry.
It’s important to note that the mere act of being on a podcast just isn’t enough to give your reputation a boost. It takes more than simply being featured on the show. There’s a science behind giving a successful interview and today we’re going to distill it down to three easy-to-follow points. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll avoid the minutiae of technical discussion and save that for a more in-depth conversation later.
1. Build a personal connection with the host
Most podcasters schedule a preliminary meeting prior to booking in order to gauge for synergy or, in some cases, a few minutes before going live to conduct a pre-interview warmup chat. Use this opportunity to build a personal connection with the host.
If you’re unsure why this is something the guest needs to worry about — trust me, it’s important. The host of the show is like the pilot, and the pilot is going to determine whether the conversation successfully takes off and you have an amazing episode together or it crashes and burns before ever leaving the runway.
That being said, take a proactive approach to connecting with the host and establish good rapport. This will help ensure an engaging conversation that will keep the listeners’ attention. In addition to being featured, a great host will help you promote the episode, could make introductions to other podcasters who might be interested in having you as a guest, and might even send client referrals your way. If you want a shot at collecting these added spoils, then developing a positive relationship with the host and production staff is a must.
In the event that you’re going through the show’s producer rather than the host directly, then you’ll want to take initiative and do some research on the host. What’s their interview style? Do you have common interests? Look for anything that will help to develop quick rapport for an enjoyable conversation.
2. Be prepared
This is the Boy Scout motto. It should seem pretty obvious that being properly prepared is important, but then again, we need to have caution labels on hot beverage cups because some individuals have difficulty with common sense. About two years before launching my own podcast, I was the co-host of another branded show with a specific niche audience. During that time period, on more than one occasion, the guest we planned to interview showed up completely unprepared. In fact, one particular time a guest overslept and basically rolled out of bed just before we went live.
While being on a podcast might not have the same splendor as being a guest on Oprah or Good Morning America it still warrants an air of professionalism and due preparation. Review your subject matter and talking points. Make sure the environment is quiet. Some podcasters record both audio and video formats to leverage multiple platforms. If doing video, check your lighting.
Pro tip: Most podcasters will even provide the questions ahead of time. All you have to do is ask the host or producer. Asking for the questions a few days before the show will speak volumes about you as a professional. It shows that you are taking the interview seriously because you’re willing to put in the extra effort by making necessary preparations. It also shows that you value the podcaster’s time which will be appreciated.
3. Relax and have fun
Remember, you’re the expert speaking on a topic that you know. This isn’t your tenth-grade history presentation where you were told to research some random historical event from 200 years ago and then speak in front of a classroom of peers who couldn’t care less about the topic. This is your business. You’re more than proficient in the material and you’ll be speaking to people who are interested in the knowledge you have to share. Take a deep breath, smile, and talk about the business that you love so much.
Follow these key points to give a successful interview. In time, you’ll develop your own personal style and flow. There’s no need to over-complicate a simple conversation. The podcast host wants to highlight you and provide a platform to share your expertise for the benefit of the listeners. Take initiative to create the best possible outcome by connecting with the host beforehand to establish rapport. It’s a team effort so work with the podcast host and don’t be afraid to ask for any tips he/she might wish to offer. Show up prepared and ready to go. This will help ease any tensions or feelings of anxiety because you have a plan in place. Speak naturally and allow the conversation to flow with ease. The more you do, the better you’ll become so take advantage of every opportunity to share your expertise.