Updated: Dec 12, 2019
Getting guests for your podcast is a great way to get listeners from other mediums, other networks, or people who follow your guest. It’s good to connect and network with people who have a similar interest to you and it can help your podcast out in a big way. Some of the biggest episodes we’ve had for our podcast have been guest interview episodes.
There are plenty of reasons to interview guests, but what do you do when you have an interview scheduled and need to set it up beforehand? You don’t want bad audio quality from your guests, that distracts from the content. Here are a few steps that you can take before the day of your interview, to make things easier for both you and your guest.
Prep Some Questions
Before your guest comes on there’s a lot of things to handle, but one of the most important things, this goes with your podcast as a whole, is the content! You know who your guest is going to be, you know what topics they will know more about, form those questions around that knowledge.
Make sure you are prepping enough questions to fill out your entire show, as well as leaving enough wiggle room to tangent for a little while. It’s good to make your guests feel like they know the format of the show, as well as comfortable enough to have a conversation with you. After you and your co-hosts create the questions needed for the interview, make sure that the guest receives these questions before the episode. You want to help the guest and the show run as smooth as possible, showing them the questions will help with running into any bumps.
Getting the Best Audio
The next step after you’ve prepped some great questions for your guest and showed them to him/her, is to plan how you are going to record the audio. As a podcaster you should have your set-up figured out. The guest may likely be a podcaster themselves, which would be great news.
There are plenty of ways for the guest to record their audio. Something you want to be aware of is making sure both sides of the audio aren’t on one track, that means that you can’t edit each voice separately, which makes it harder to correctly process everything. Some options are better than others, but I will go over a few popular things that a lot of podcasters use.
Zencastr - This is the easiest option in my opinion, I’ve never had any issues with it. Their base service is completely free and allows you 2 guests per recording and 8 hours of recording per month. It’s as easy as sending your guest a link. After the recording you can download the audio.
Separate Recording - This option is ideal, but not always possible. If your guest is also a podcaster, it’s likely that they also have a microphone and a set-up. Just ask them to record their end of the audio separately and send it to you using a file sharing site.
Skype - Skype is great for video chatting and you used to need a third party recording software to record the audio for both ends. As of an update last year (2018) you can record both sides of the audio directly on Skype. However if you want to record the audio to separate tracks you are still going to need a third party software to help you with that.
Call Recording - There are a lot of call recording apps that you can download onto your phone, they won’t give you great quality audio, but it will do the trick. If you want to record the call directly onto your computer, that will involve performing a mix-minus, which is something that I can’t get into today.
Those are some of the easiest and most popular strategies for recording remote audio. You can choose whichever one works for you, and your guest. Most of the time your guest will want the most convenient option for them, and you should be as accommodating as possible.
Find the Best Guest
Notice the title doesn’t say, “Find the Perfect Guest”, because sometimes that just isn’t possible. Whatever your niche is, there are guests that clearly belong, and guests that clearly don’t. When you’re looking for your guest, use as many resources connected with your subject as you can. A big channel to look into is social media, with sites like Linkedin, Facebook, Reddit, it’s never been easier to connect with people who are interested in the same topics as you are.
I’ve seen plenty of posts on Reddit asking people if they would like to appear on their show. There are also websites dedicated to finding guests for your show as well. Check out podcastguests.com for something to help in the search. You want to make sure that your listeners will be able to connect, and stay engaged with whomever it is you’re talking to.
When I say recommendations, I don’t mean telling them to buy the most expensive mic and audio interface that money can buy, just to make your podcast sound better. But, if you are going to get their point of view across, you want to try and make it as listenable as possible.
Just let the guest know that you want to capture the best audio possible, and explain to them that it would be awesome if they could use something other than the built in microphone on their computer or phone. This could be something as simple as the microphone on a pair of headphones that they own, or maybe they already own a nicer mic, and are willing to use that.
Along with the equipment recommendations, you could give them a few tips for recording. Let them know it would be appreciated if they could enter a quieter environment, and give a few seconds of silence at the beginning of the recording, so you can capture the room tone.