If you look in any dictionary, you’ll see that preparation precedes success. The same holds true for each episode, and on a deeper level, anything you do that is worth pursuing. Your preparation style will change as you do more episodes and get a better feel for your format. However, I want to offer you some pointers to help you get started.
#1: Write The Guest’s Bio: The first step to prepare for each episode is to write the guest’s bio. You can easily find most people’s bios on their blogs’ About Me pages and use what’s there. As you write the bio, replace any references to the guest’s name as “Today’s guest.” When you introduce your guest, you don’t want to mention the guest’s name until the very end to build suspense. Yes, people can see who’s the guest based on each episode’s title, but you’ll build a level of excitement by building up to the moment you introduce the guest by name.
#2: Come Up With A Topic: Once you write the guest’s bio, it’s easier to come up with a topic since you know a lot about the guest. Once you come up with the topic, it is then easier to write questions.
#3: Come Up With Just Enough Questions: You don’t want to write too many questions. It’s better to let the conversation flow and ask follow-up questions to fill in the gaps. If you write too many questions, it’s tempting to ask all of those questions instead of the questions you should really be asking. Let the conversation change direction if it will provide more value to your listeners. You’ll get better at asking follow-up questions as you conduct more interviews, but by writing fewer questions, you spend less time preparing for each episode. It also helps to have a set of evergreen questions that you can ask anyone who comes on your podcast (i.e. What is one big challenge you faced on your journey and a powerful lesson you learned during that challenge?). Eventually, you may not want to come with any advance questions at all. Now I ask the first question that comes to mind and actively listen to each guest. It’s easier to lose focus when you know what question you’re asking next based on your list of questions.
#4: Read The Bio Out Loud Before The Interview: You don’t have to read the bio out loud with the same enthusiasm you’ll have when you’re recording. However, it helps to read it before the guest calls in. The brief minute rehearsal will help you deliver the intro more effectively during the recording.
#5: Recording The Interview: The Skype Call Recorder and Zoom both get the job done. Whichever option you prefer, test it out with someone else before a guest calls in. This preparation step primarily applies to new podcasters and seasoned podcasters who want to try out a new tool.
This is a small excerpt from my book Podcast Domination. If you want to learn how to launch, grow, and monetize your podcast, make sure you get your copy of the book.