Why do interviews?
Interviewing people on your own podcast show is a great way to:
- Tap into another person’s huge success by associating yourself with them, to their listeners and yours (sometimes referred to as the “Halo Effect”)
- Give you a chance to network with other people you want to build future business opportunities with
- Advertise your popular interview podcast to build your business leverage and credibility online or offline
- Build other income opportunities (like being invited to give keynote talks) as a result of your presence created from your interviews
- Be considered a journalist by a lot of people, and therefore capture people’s interests in a new way
- Receive future job offers because of your breadth of experience and skills exhibited by people simply listening to some of your podcast shows
- Subtly divulge your personality appeal over time
- Collect valuable interview transcripts which can be repurposed into many different information products (now or later on) by you
- Keep copyright of your podcast booking services and interviews for you to sell later with the interview podcast show if you decide to do so
When you record an interview, you can record it as an “audio only” file (MP3) or as a video (MP4). Both are fairly easy to do, however, audio is the easiest. It is also the quickest and cheapest. So if you are a beginner, consider creating an audio podcast show to start with and build up to a video if you think your listeners would value a video podcast more.
People who are new to podcasting should seriously consider starting with audio only interviews. Why?
- It’s easier to plan an audio show
- It’s easier to prepare
- It’s quicker to record
- It’s easier to edit
- It’s quicker to upload and publish
What will you need to record an audio MP3 media file?
- A good microphone (you can get good mics from Amazon.com for under $50)
- Computer with Internet connection
- Software to record, edit and save as an MP3
- A hosting site (hosting starts from $5pm)
- An iTunes account (free to set up)
- A blog (which most podcasting hosting sites will provide you with for free)
- A Feedburner account (which is optional)
There are pros and cons of creating a podcast show with video.
You can list it on YouTube, and you can save it as an MP3 and upload only the MP3 on your podcast.
Videos take up a lot of bandwidth. This can make your hosting fee very high if you don’t have a plan with unlimited hosting.
Other considerations when you create a video
If you are creating a show that has to be video, then you need to also consider your:
- Recording device (ideally HD)
- Any actors “appearance” (eg. Hair and make up)
Once you have created your media file, you need to save it in the correct format for iTunes. For audio it is MP3, and for Video it is MP4.
What is involved in hosting a podcast show?
The main things you will need to consider if you are going to interview someone on your podcast show is:
- What equipment you will need
- How to contact the people you want to interview
- How to prepare for the interview
- How to conduct the interview
- How you will edit the footage (if at all)
- How to host and upload your media file to iTunes
- How to monetize that interview
Each and every factor above is the bare minimum consideration you should make when you start out your interview podcast show. Many podcasters will do one interview, then one “how to” show, and so on. In other words, the interview podcast show format is one amongst many and it may get a bit neglected and difficult to juggle with the other show formats.
Today we will focus on the big picture and the bare minimums you’ll need to have in place in order to ensure a successful podcast show!
Start up tips and techniques
Just remember there is no ”right or wrong”, it’s your podcast show, and you can run it any way you like. Although, there are some commonly held beliefs amongst many podcasters you should seriously consider. They include:
- Get transcriptions of your interviews, whether you publish it on your blog or website immediately (for SEO purposes) or keep them for publishing later.
- Keep interviews 30 to 60 minutes if possible.
- Get your interviewee to “sign-off” on the show before you publish it.
- Send out your proposed “questions” before the show, some podcasters do, and many don’t.
- Always ask the interviewees what they would like to draw attention to in the interview. This way you’ll be sure to cover it (including any call to actions or URL links).
If you think the Skype connection will not be good, ask the other person being interviewed if they would be willing to also record the show, then have them save it as a media file, and send it to your “Dropbox” for you to download and edit into your interview recording. This will ensure a good recording overall.
- If you are using skype for the interview, turn off all your other internet browsers so that all the power for the interview is being given to your skype connection.
- If you can, organize two “recorders” at once, that way if one of them doesn’t work, you can rely on the other.
- Always keep an eye on your recorder to make sure it’s working.
- Never be afraid to say to your interviewee “the connection is breaking up, can I call you back for a better connection”. In a podcast – audio quality is “paramount”!
1. The Equipment You’ll Need
You must have a microphone (of good or better quality) and a computer with internet access.
If you are starting out, first try your standard microphone on your PC/Mac. If it doesn’t meet the standard you want, you need to buy a new microphone. A popular purchase right now is the Audio-Technica ATR 2100 which sells for around $50 and it will plug straight into your PC/Mac with a USB connector.
If you want to go pro, then you should invest in a heap of expensive and exciting equipment. The problem is, if you are starting out, you won’t want to spend that kind of money, we are talking about hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars. A popular, more expensive, microphone on the market right now is the Yeti.
So to start out, ensure you have a good microphone.
If you are interested in going pro, then there are a few basic investments you could make to get professional sound quality:
- Pop cover (for your mic)
The mixer Mackie 802-VLZ3 is an 8-channel mixer with an aux in/out for handling a mix-minus (required for Skype).
The Alesis 3630 Compressor/Limiter/Gate is a dual-channel processor that provides compression, limiting and gating. It handles sound irregularities in your recording and takes out background noises you don’t want in the recording.
The headset Shure SRH240 is a very comfortable pair of headphones with superior sound.
You can also look for the following items if you want to get even more professional with your podcast show:
- A pop filter (to go over your mic)
- A mic stand
- A portable mixer
Equipment can be expensive, so you should upgrade only if you must. If you have the money, starting out with quality equipment is the way to go. However if your budget is unproportional, take it easy and upgrade when you can.
2. How to contact the people you want to interview
There are three basic ways to approach people to interview:
- Email (contact them directly)
- Network with them on social media
- Get introduction by a mutual acquaintance
Most people you contact really need to know “what’s in it for them” before they will even consider an interview with you. That’s fair enough considering:
a) Their time is money (to them)
b) They are popular enough that you have contacted them, so they will be in demand elsewhere too
c) They may not be familiar with “podcasting” so you may need to educate them on the benefits of being on your podcast show
d) If they don’t know you, they will know nothing about your podcast show either
When you approach someone out of the blue, the reaction will be mixed depending on some basic factors:
- How established is your podcast
- What is the quality of your past podcast shows that they can listen to
- Whether your target audience is a good fit for them
- If they have time to dedicate
- If they even want to do interviews on a podcast
- The popularity of your podcast show, which can be gauged from your podcast show statistics (which you could disclose if it helps you)
Many people you contact directly will not respond to you. This can be for various reasons, but should not dishearten you, or stop you from approaching other people.
Some people are always looking for marketing opportunities, and these are the kind of people who will be most receptive to your interest in an interview with them.
When you approach someone, try to draw attention to your past interviewees, what they spoke about, and what their “call to action” was (eg. Did they get people buying their product as a result of your interview with them?)
When you’re starting out!
When you start out, you won’t have a past list of interviewees, but you could do a couple of quick podcast shows (maybe discussion podcasts) so that prospective interviewees can go and hear what you’re all about, and how you handle yourself.
It’s always a good idea to do an introduction podcast show explaining what your podcast is about, your bio, people you intend to interview, and how to subscribe to your podcast.
3. Preparing for an interview
Make sure you check out their website/blog or any products they have created, or written before you conduct the interview (if that is possible). Send them a list of questions you wish to ask, just to make sure you’re both on the same page. It’s also worth asking them if there is anything they specifically want to cover or discuss. Most people you interview will get their message across without a problem.
Right before you start, make sure your Skype connection is good and your Skype recorder is working. Do a test run with a friend to make sure everything runs properly. If you don’t want to spend money on Pamela.biz or PowerGramo.com – then download the free Skype recorder iFree-Recorder.com. All of these recorders will do the job.
4. Conducting the interview
You should start out be welcoming the listener to your podcast and introducing the guest. If you have any hiccups, don’t panic and run it again. The show is pre-recorded and you can edit the audio file at any time.
You should have a set of questions (or topics to discuss) set out on paper in front of you, which you can edit and add to as you go through the interview. You’d be surprised how much “fresh discussion ideas” can evolve from the answers in an interview. Try to find a another question within the given answer.
Of course you could have a very straight forward “question – answer” format, where you simply ask a question, they answer it, and you move onto the next question. This is a common tactic for interviewers who are more interested in SEO gained from the interview than the actual interviewee themselves, but it’s completely up to you.
Always remember to do what you’re comfortable with, because as long as you have a consistent interview style, no one will be concerned on how you actually personally conduct your interviews.
“Consistency” is important for guest anxiety, if they know the kind of interview format and style you have, they will be excited to do an interview with you.
The benefit of allowing people to see what questions you intend to ask them is that they can prepare great answers for your questions. If you just write bullet points, and then “ask away freely” within the interview, you will probably find that they don’t give the best answers they could have if they had time to prepare. You can often tell that some interviewees have prepared their answers because they tend to be more thorough and informative.
A good exercise routine would be for you to listen to other people who host interviews, and how they do it. This will help you decided what formats you do and don’t like.
5. Editing Your interview
There are two ways to approach publishing your interviews:
a) Simply record and publish the media file as is; or
b) Edit the media file, put an intro (maybe music) at the beginning and make it pretty to publish.
Every podcaster has their own style and “footprint” to their podcast shows. This is called “branding”. If you want to find some good intro tunes, check out Audiojungle.net. Don’t think about what’s perfect, think about what your listeners might think while listening to your podcast.
A great interviewer will ask questions their listeners want to know the answer to.
This is the difference between a person listening to one of your interviews and never hearing another, and a person listening to one of our podcast shows and thinking, “I like what I hear, how can I subscribe to this podcast show?”
You want people to subscribe to your podcast show for many reasons, the main one being you want to have a high download number, so you can:
- Monetize your shows easier
- Attract better people to interview
- Build a popular podcast show
Editing your podcast show
If you decide to do some work and edit your podcast show before you publish it, you have two options:
a) To download editing software to edit the show yourself;
b) Outsource the editing process to someone with those skills.
Edit your audio shows yourself
The easiest way to edit your audio podcast shows yourself is by downloading the free software program for audio editing, Audacity.
Audacity can be downloaded for PC’s or for MACs. However, if you have a MAC, you will probably have access to the free audio editing tool called Garageband. Therefore it is completely up to you which editing software you chose to use.
There are numerous free video tutorials on how to use both Audacity and Garageband on YouTube.
For example, you should enter a search “Audacity tutorial” in the YouTube search engine, and select from there the best tutorial to suit your training needs.
When you finish editing your Audacity file editing, you need to export it as an MP3 file. This will require an additional download of the “LAME” software, also available from the Audacity website.
Edit your video shows yourself
If you chose to edit your video footage yourself, you can try to use the built-in editing tools in YouTube. YouTube now offers a great variety of free editing software right in their website youtube.com/editor. Again, you will need to do some training to get familiar with what editing tools are available and when you should use them.
You could also use any of the following video editing software in order of cost to purchase below:
- AVS Video Editor
- Sony Vegas Editing Software
- Adobe Premiere Pro
The above list is not definitive; there are plenty of other options available to you, at various pricing. Many of the above options also have trial periods of 30 days to “try before you buy.”
Again, free tutorials are always available on YouTube training you on the basics of learning these software programs. Always remember to have your final videos saved in MP4 format.
Outsourcing the editing work
If you can afford to outsource your video footage to an expert, you can look for editing experts on any of the following websites:
Again, there are many outsourcing websites where you can find experts who can edit your footage for you. Their rates will vary, and you should always seek out examples of their finished work before you hire anyone.
Always remember to have your final videos saved in MP4 format.
6. Hosting & uploading your Media Files
When you have recorded your interview, saved it as an MP3 (audio) or an MP4 (video) then you are ready to upload your media file to a hosting account and publish it to iTunes.
You have two options for hosting your media files:
a) Your own host, like Amazon S3 AWS; or
b) A dedicated posting hosting company like Libsyn.com
Both options have benefits and disadvantages. The main benefit of hosting on Libsyn.com or Blubrry.com is their low cost and they have detailed statistics on your downloads and traffic. Whereas Amazon will have very limited stats available, and iTunes will give you virtually no stats you can work with.
There are two aspects to your hosting company:
- The cost to “store” your media files; and
- The cost to you when people “download and watch” your podcast shows.
The downloading and watching part is called “bandwith”. So you will often see hosting companies advertise “5MB pm Storage – Unlimited Bandwith”. Therefore when your show becomes popular, the more downloads you get, will cost you nothing extra.
When you are starting out, your downloads will be low, so a site like Libsyn may seem overkill, but their other features like statistics, providing a free “player” to embed in your website etc, will make the low monthly fee more viable. Also, bear in mind Amazon services is not free, there are charges to store your media files, and you are charged download usages too.
If you decide to use Amazon S3, then you need to create a blog (or use the blog you are going to host your podcast shows on) and download the Blubrry.com free plugin “Powerpress” which will create your RSS feed, upload each podcast show as you upload it to your Wordpress blog, and publish it to iTunes for you.
If you have a Blogspot or Wordpress.com blog, you will need to create the media elsewhere and insert a player into your blog. This requirement would be simplified if you used a Libsyn account for this kind of blog.
Creating an RSS Feed
Once you have recorded your first podcast show, you need to set up an RSS feed. If you use the Powerpress plugin mentioned above, it will create your RSS feed for you. If you use a podcasting host like Libsyn or Blubrry, they will provide you with an RSS feed for your podcast show too.
Most bloggers are comfortable with Google Feeds, however, it is not uncommon now for podcasters to try and avoid using Google if possible. You would only submit your RSS food to Google for the statistics and to allow subscribers.
However, you will get superior statistics from a podcast hosting company like Libsyn or Blubrry and subscriptions are mostly made to iTunes or your blog.
Therefore, Feedburner is not a necessary and sometimes unpopular process. Use Feedburner at your discretion, but if you are using a podcasting hosting site, many would recommend you not use Feedburner at all.
Tags – Tags are “labels” for your post that help people find your podcasts by searching specific keywords or keyphrases. If your program does not save your MP3 file with tags, you can download a free program that will do that for you:
These tags are useful for SEO purposes.
Publishing to iTunes
Before you can publish your RSS feed to iTunes, you must first create your first podcast show. Once you have created your first podcast show then you can go and submit your podcast show to iTunes for approval. Approval usually takes around 24 hours.
You will need to have an iTunes store account to do the next step.
To set up your iTunes settings and lodge your podcast show for approval, you’ll need to configure iTunes related settings under menu “Settings > Feed/iTunes”. To submit your podcast show to iTunes go to the “Podcast” page, and click on “Submit a Podcast.” It will open up one box for you to type in your podcast show RSS feed URL.
Submitting your podcast to iTunes gives you more chances to be known by worldwide audience. The “iTunes Preview” window shows you exactly how your podcast will appear in iTunes. The corresponding settings are shown below:
iTunes: FeedID – This is the ID you’ll receive after you register your podcast service with the iTunes Music Store.
iTunes: Summary – This defaults to your hosting account podcast show description in your hosting account, but you can change it for your iTunes listing by editing this box.
iTunes: Podcast Logo – This defaults to your default logo for your hosting account but you can change it here for your iTunes listing by using the drop down box to choose another image.
iTunes: Author/Owner – The creator/owner of the podcast.
iTunes: Subtitle – Give your podcast a subtitle (optional)
iTunes: Keywords – These default to the channel tags you created when you uploaded your podcast.
iTunes: Category – iTunes allow you to select up to 3 categories.
iTunes: Email – This defaults to your registered hosting account email but you can change it here if you want.
Once you finished those settings, now it’s ready for you to submit your podcast to iTunes.
Your statistics are best viewed from podcasting hosting sites like Libsyn and Blubrry. Remember that Blubrry will provide statistics for podcast shows that aren’t listed with them. So if you host your media files on your Amazon S3 account, then register your podcast show with Blubrry.com and you can still receive detailed statistics.
If you’re eager to share your podcast via blogs, an embeddable player is designed for this purpose.
If you have your podcasts show hosted with a podcasting host like Libsyn or Blubrry, you will be provided with an embedded player from your host site, configured and ready to post in your blog posts or your social media accounts.
If you need to create a fresh embedded player, many sites online will provide this service for free.
podtrac.com (under “publishers”) – free to join
soundcloud.com – free to join, a lot of options for players here too
If you use the Podtrac player, and you program it properly, once the player is embedded on your website/blog, it will automatically feed up the new podcast shows as you publish them in the future.
Once you’ve completed your first show, you’ll learn from your experience and be comfortable to set up another recording. How you carry out the interview is completely up to you. Think like your audience and create a strategic process to follow. We wish you luck, growth, many subscribers, and thousands of downloads!