The ultimate formula for the best interview podcasts

Interview podcasts offer a unique window into the minds of extraordinary people – from thought leaders and industry experts to everyday individuals with incredible stories to share. They have the power to ignite curiosity, inspire action, and provide insights that can change the way we see the world. That’s precisely why they’re such a popular and impactful format.

However, don’t let the seeming simplicity of the interview format fool you. We’ve all listened to interviews that felt forced, lacked direction, or simply failed to deliver the captivating conversation we were hoping for. Creating an interview podcast that truly stands out requires careful planning, masterful interviewing skills, and a focus on high-quality production.

Ready to unlock the secrets of producing compelling interview podcasts? Let’s dive into the essential elements that will transform your podcast into a source of fascinating conversations, valuable insights, and a loyal following that eagerly awaits each new episode.

1.  Finding the perfect guest

The heart of a successful interview podcast lies in the quality of its guests. Your guests bring the energy, insights, and unique perspectives that elevate your conversations and keep your audience coming back for more. But the definition of a “great” guest isn’t one-size-fits-all. It’s about finding the perfect match for your podcast’s specific focus, tone, and audience.

Let’s explore some key elements to consider when searching for the ideal interview subjects:

  • Expertise and relevance. Your choice of guests should align with your podcast’s theme. Whether your focus is on business leadership or mental health, true crime or local politics, you need to seek out individuals who possess valuable insights and firsthand experience directly connected to the topics you explore.
  • Engaging personality. Look for guests who are natural storytellers, articulate communicators, and passionate about their field. Their enthusiasm will be contagious, keeping your audience hooked.
  • Unique perspective. Prioritise diversity in your choice of interviewees. Guests who offer fresh viewpoints and challenge assumptions will create richer conversations and spark deeper audience engagement.
  • Availability and willingness to participate. In some respects, this one is a no-brainer – they obviously need to have the time in their schedule to do the recording. But being available to appear isn’t necessarily enough. Ideally, they should be enthusiastic about speaking with you, not just fitting you in.

Finding the perfect guest takes time and research, but the payoff is immense. These individuals will shape the character of your podcast, attract listeners with their insights, and foster dynamic, memorable conversations. So put the effort in to build a guest list that will really deliver quality content week after week.

2.  Prepping for success

It won’t surprise you if we say that preparing effectively is essential to delivering a quality interview. The quality of your prep can make the difference between a stilted, superficial conversation and an exciting, in-depth discussion full of unique insights.

In order to ensure you’re ready to get the best from your guest, you should:

  • Go deep on your research. Reading their Wikipedia page or browsing their LinkedIn bio is likely not going to be enough. If you want to get some truly surprising insights from your guest, take the time to read interviews, listen to previous podcasts they’ve done, and explore their work. Then, you can identify key themes and points of interest to guide your discussion, while also avoiding repeating previous discussions.
  • Develop thoughtful questions. Craft open-ended questions that go beyond surface-level inquiries and encourage meaningful discussions of your guest’s main areas of interest. Avoid predictable “yes” or “no” questions that can stall the conversation.
  • Build your rapport. Reach out to your guest beforehand to break the ice, gauge their comfort level, and even ask if there are specific topics or insights they’d like to discuss during the interview.

Yes, this is a lot of work. But thorough preparation is an investment that pays dividends. Taking the time to research your guest thoroughly, craft thoughtful questions, and actively build rapport will result in a more insightful interview that both you and your audience will appreciate.

3.  Honing your interview skills

As the interviewer, your role extends far beyond simply asking your prepared questions. You hold the power to shape the direction of the conversation, extract deeper insights, and ensure a compelling experience for your listeners. Think of yourself as a guide on a journey – you have a general destination in mind (your list of questions), but the most interesting discoveries often happen when you venture off the beaten path.

Of course, delivering this kind of open-ended, flexible interview isn’t a simple matter. It takes skill and practice, and there are a few key points you’ll want to bear in mind to improve your technique.

Active listening

Firstly, you’ll need to practise active listening. As your guest is speaking, focus on their words, picking up on subtle cues and underlying themes that may warrant further exploration. This isn’t always easy – you may find yourself distracted looking at your notes to get your next question ready, or you’re monitoring the audio levels to make sure nothing’s peaking.

But if you keep your focus on your guest, you’ll be able to spot opportunities to dig deeper with thoughtful follow-up questions that go beyond surface-level response. You may find surprising new information or explore new topics that give your audience a unique insight into your guest’s thinking.

Flexible questioning

This leads to the second key point: maintaining flexibility. Yes, you’ve prepped a list of great questions – but that doesn’t mean you should just plough through them in order. While it’s important to have a plan, embrace the unexpected tangents that often lead to the most insightful moments. You could even prepare more questions than you anticipate using, allowing you to be responsive and prioritise the most fruitful conversational threads.

Time management

Finally, it’s important to manage your time with sensitivity. Respect your guest’s schedule and other commitments, but maintain flexibility if a compelling discussion calls for a few extra minutes. And don’t be afraid to skip out a planned topic entirely if you’ve only got a few minutes left to cover it – a rushed discussion of something important won’t benefit your listeners.

Ultimately, a successful interview means adapting on the fly to the unexpected insights or exciting discoveries that emerge in the very best discussions. So yes, you’ve got your planning down – but make sure you’re open to changing course when you need to.

4.  Production and promotion

You’ve conducted a fascinating interview brimming with valuable insights and memorable stories. But the success of your podcast doesn’t hinge solely on the conversation itself. Now, it’s time to ensure your final product sounds professional, polished, and reaches its intended audience. This involves attention to audio quality, thoughtful editing, and strategic promotion to expand your reach.

  • High-quality audio. If you can, invest in quality equipment – especially your microphones. Pay close attention to recording in a setting with minimal background noise. Above all, don’t underestimate the power of clean, crisp audio for an enhanced listener experience.
  • Editing for impact. Use editing software to polish the audio, remove filler words, tighten pacing, and create a seamless listening experience.
  • Compelling snippets. Select the most captivating and shareable moments from your interview, and convert them into audio and video snippets for social media promotion. This generates curiosity and attracts new listeners.
  • Strategic promotion. Utilise your social media platforms and website to announce your new episode. Depending on your scale and level of ambition, you can also engage influencers and leverage relevant online communities to expand your reach.

Don’t let technical hurdles or limited promotional efforts undermine your hard work. Focus on capturing a high-quality interview and then leverage effective editing and strategic promotion to ensure your outstanding content finds the audience it deserves.

5.  Working with a podcast studio

Crafting a professional-sounding interview podcast from scratch requires technical knowledge, investment in equipment, and dedication to the editing and post-production process. However, not everyone has the resources, time, or expertise to create an ideal recording setup and master the complexities of audio editing. This is where partnering with a professional podcast studio becomes incredibly valuable.

A podcast studio eliminates technical barriers and streamlines the production process. They offer state-of-the-art recording equipment, acoustically-treated rooms, and experienced audio engineers who handle all the technical aspects. This frees you up to focus solely on interviewing your guest and delivering your very best content, without needing to troubleshoot audio issues or navigate complex editing software.

Moreover, studios provide expertise in post-production, ensuring your podcast benefits from professional-grade editing, sound mixing, and the creation of compelling promotional assets. This translates to a polished, dynamic final product that stands out in a crowded podcasting landscape.

And don’t overlook the benefits for your guests, too! Recording in a well-equipped studio adds a sense of professionalism and signals your dedication to creating a high-calibre experience, fostering a more relaxed and comfortable setting for insightful conversations.

To learn more about why you should consider using a podcast studio, read our post on the benefits of using a podcast studio to record your podcast.

Up your interview game with Liverpool Podcast Studios

The very best interview podcasts give you unmatched insight into the lives and thoughts of exceptional people. Whether you’re looking for leadership advice from top CEOs or you want to pry into the creative processes of top musicians, interview podcasts are the place to go.

But to deliver the kind of engaging and insightful interviews that listeners expect is no mean feat – it requires practice, preparation and patience. And if you’re also battling the challenges of delivering high-quality audio or perfecting your post-production skills, you may find yourself overwhelmed and struggling to deliver at the level you want.

Instead, work with Liverpool Podcast Studios. You’ll benefit from professional-grade equipment, expert post-production support, and the guidance of your own dedicated producer. You’ll be able to focus on delivering the most impactful interview you can, while your guests will enjoy the comfortable, relaxing atmosphere of one of our six bespoke podcast sets.

To find out more about our services and discuss your needs with a member of our friendly team, get in touch today.



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