Creating and publishing a podcast interview isn’t as simple as it might seem...
When we hear the word podcast, we usually think that it’s a recorded chat that we can listen to on different platforms, but that’s not the case at all. A podcast needs serious planning and scheduling beforehand, then editing, distribution and promotion after it’s recorded.
Here is an overview of all the stages in the traditional audio creation process, and a few tips on how to save time.
Covered in this article
- Find and invite potential guests
- Research your guest
- Write the questions for a better story
- Structure the interview
Get ready to record
- Schedule an interview
- Press record!
Edit your audio
- If it sounds unnecessary then it probably is
- Clean up the audio quality
- Express your identity
- Record an intro and outro
- And voila: export!
- Bits and pieces to tease
Host and distribute your podcast
- Write the show notes
- Write episode title and summary line
- Create the episode image (optional)
- Upload your audio to podcast host
- Submit to podcast directories
- Let them read all about it! (optional, but not really)
- Promote new content
- Add to your newsletter
- Let your guests do the talking
- So… how did you do?
- Get to know your audience
First of all, you’re going to need a clear plan if you want to deliver excellent content to your audience. Not only will it help you stay consistent with your content but it will also save you a lot of time in the process.
Find and invite potential guests
Guests on your podcast have to be relevant to your overall theme and most importantly, interesting.
You can start looking for people by searching for the topic online and seeing who’s written for it. When you find someone that you think is a good fit, you could reach out by email or on social media to see if they’d be interested in taking part. There are also services like MatchMaker FM that can help you find guests for your show.
Pro tip: Create a simple intake form using Google Forms, which asks the guest to suggest 3-5 topics they want to discuss. In the same form, you can also ask them for their contact information, headshot image, and links and discount codes for products they may wish to promote, to avoid having to chase them for this after the interview. A huge side-benefit of creating a form like this is that it tests their commitment to participating. It avoids you spending time preparing an interview only to have the guest not follow through and take part in the interview. Guests that fill out the form are much more likely to show up on the day.
Research your guest
Once the person in question agrees to do an episode with you, you can start writing the questions you will ask. You will need to research the guest and their background to collect relevant information about the topic as well as questions to ask. Rich sources of information include their blog, social media accounts, and any previous appearances on other podcasts. Let your curiosity lead you, and note down your questions as they arise.
Write the questions for a better story
This step is all about knowing where you are aiming to go with your topic and leading the way with your questions. Your questions should be ready ahead of time and listed in a specific order so that the story is in chronological; that way, your audience won’t get lost. Try to use open-ended questions so that the guest feels free to answer and they please.
Structure the interview
Podcast structure refers to the framework of your show. You don’t need to provide your episodes with a strict outline or a word for word script, but a little order and predictability can go a long way when it comes to getting your listeners hooked on your content quickly and keeping them engaged for longer.
This process does require some time and thought, but it will end up rewarding you with a clear plan and objectives for your episode which ultimately saves you a lot of time and makes the interview recording go smoothly.
When you know the boundaries you’re working with and the goal of each episode, you have more freedom to be creative since you know what’s coming next.
An example structure of a full podcast interview might be:
- Teaser clip & Jingle
- Introduction of guest and topic
- Questions about their company - what, why, for whom
- Questions about major trends in their industry
- Personal questions, their background and origin story
- Fun and irreverent questions
- Questions about the future and what’s next for their company
- Share links to online resources, products to promote with discount codes
- Thanks and goodbyes
Now that we have all of the pre-production steps covered, let’s get to the fun part: recording.
Get ready to record
This is the most exciting part of the whole process because it’s the phase where you are actually creating the content and are able to direct it in whatever way you please.
Schedule an interview
Whether done in person or remotely, interviews are usually scheduled beforehand so that everything goes smoothly. This can be tricky since some of your guests might not be situated in the same time zone or might have completely different schedules than yours. You can use a service such as Calendly if you plan to record using Zoom. Other recording tools like SquadCast have their own scheduling features.
Be aware that guests can often fail to show up, leading to time lost. Sending reminders the day before can help reduce the chance of this happening.
You can skip the scheduling altogether if you choose to interview your guest asynchronously. This makes it easier on both sides, as the host and guest can record their audio according to their own schedules.
With all of your planning done, you’re ready to record your interview. Recording live can be a stressful experience as you’re ‘put on the spot’, but it can be very enjoyable too.
Recording live is often a time-consuming process, as you need to record more audio than is needed to account for the editing. For example, if you plan to release a 60 minute podcast, you may need 90 minutes or more of raw audio.
Asynchronous interviews help you avoid this step, and even allow the guest to perform some of the edit, saving you tons of time.
Edit your audio
If it sounds unnecessary then it probably is
“Euh…”, “Hmmm…”, etc. These are all utterances that can bore your audience and jeopardize the episode’s cadence. Some guests can pause before they start to answer the question, or might give overly long answers.
There’s often lots of content that you don’t need during an interview, so it’s crucial to cut this out so that your audience doesn’t feel like it’s wasting time. There are many audio editing tools available for this purpose.
This is a controversial topic, however. Many podcasters believe it’s better to keep the audio sounding natural, and leave all the pauses and filler words in. After all, we don’t edit the speech we hear in the real world…
Clean up the audio quality
You’ll also need to edit your audio so that it is clearly audible. You can use techniques such as EQ and compression, noise reduction and echo removal.
Advanced audio tools such as Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) give you complete control over these, but may be too advanced for some. Other more beginner-friendly software can apply these effects automatically for you.
Express your identity
Choose or create the jingle that seems to correspond with your personal/brand identity, and add it to every episode. You may also wish to add commercial advertisements into content, so that you can monetise your show.
Record an intro and outro
Once you’re done spicing your episode up with some jingles, make sure to record a proper intro and outro for each episode detailing what you’re going to be talking about then summarizing the main points. Listeners like to feel like they learned something at the end of each podcast episode.
Pro tip: Record intros and outros after the interview has taken place. It may be tempting to record these before recording the interview, but resist this urge. Intros and outros are much more interesting once you know what was discussed. Plus, you want to avoid committing too much time before the guest has taken part, just in case of a no-show.
And voila: export!
All that’s left to do is to export the final audio file that you’re going to be sharing with your audience. It’s strongly recommended you choose MP3 and not AAC, as Spotify and Deezer require MP3 files.
When choosing the bitrate, 96kbps mono is ideal for when your audio is mostly human speech (e.g. an interview).
If you have stereo music or a lot of sound effects, then 128kbps stereo is a better choice. This will, however, create a larger file size.
Bits and pieces to tease
In case you need to tease your audience with snippets from your latest episode, you can also export one or more audio clips. These can be converted into video with tools such as Headliner or AudioBurst, and shared on social media to promote your show.
Host and distribute your podcast
Write the show notes
When your episode is done and ready to go, you should write some notes that will encourage your potential audience to listen. A quick summary of the guests and topics that you covered during your interview is a good place to start. Also include links to your blog and any resources the guest wishes to promote.
Write episode title and summary line
Choose a catchy title that encapsulates the episode, and tells the potential listener what they will gain by listening. You will also need to write a short summary line that goes into a bit more detail. Take your time to write these well, as they can make a huge difference to download numbers. There’s no need to include your podcast name in the title, and Apple Podcasts specifically advises against this.
Create the episode image (optional)
You could always add a custom image to your episode that is relevant to the subject, but that’s completely up to you. It can be nice for listeners to see the face of the people that they’re listening to, or to visualize the topic in a way that you would want them to.
If you don’t make a custom image for each episode, podcast player apps will just use your show image for every episode, which is fine.
Upload your audio to podcast host
Before your podcast can appear in Spotify and Apple Podcasts, you have to host your audio files.
Podcast hosts are services that store your podcast's audio files and make them accessible over the internet. There are many high-quality podcast hosts to choose from, including Buzzsprout, and Transistor.fm.
Submit to podcast directories
Podcast hosts create an RSS feed for you, which is a special file that lists all your episodes. They give you a URL to this RSS feed, which you then provide to Podcast directories such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify to be listed. Many podcast hosts will submit the URL to a range of directories on your behalf, saving you time.
Pro tip: Podcast hosts and podcast directories are not the same thing. Podcast directories do not store your audio files. They are just a directory, a bit like the Yellow Pages is for phone numbers, or Google is for websites. Podcast directories take the URLs of your audio files from your podcast host, and these to podcast player apps that request them. The podcast player app then downloads the audio file directly from your podcast host, not from the directory itself.
Let them read all about it! (optional, but not really)
If you already have a blog or are a blogger on a different platform, make sure to create a post for each podcast episode, so that they can appear in search results and get some traffic.
Promote new content
As mentioned above, teasing your listeners can only be beneficial for your show. Make sure to announce the arrival of new episodes using different platforms to reach more people (social media, forums, community groups, etc.).
Add to your newsletter
Sending out email newsletters to your subscribers to let them know that new content is available can be very effective, and build a loyal following.
Let your guests do the talking
Your guests can also help out by giving you a shout-out on all of their platforms and describing their experience during your interview. If they don’t do it by themselves, make sure to send them the link to the episode yourself and ask them to promote it.
So… how did you do?
Now that your new episode is up, you’re going to need to see how it’s doing compared to other similar episodes/podcasts. Look at the download figures after 30 days so you know how well you’re doing, which episodes do best, and what you need to work on to reach more people.
If your episodes get more than 124 downloads in the first 30 days, you’re already in the top 50% of podcasts! For more benchmarks, check out these average podcast download numbers.
Get to know your audience
You can use the same statistics to decide who to interview next and what to talk about. After all, you need to give your audience what it wants so that they see you as their number one source of audible content.
Hosting a podcast interview isn’t as simple as it seems at first glance. There are many ways to interview guests, some more efficient and time-saving than others.
The important thing to remember is that you’re going to need to go through all of these steps for every single episode in your podcast if you want to release audio on a consistent basis, maintain quality and grow your audience. Reach out to us on social media if you have any questions!