How to improve the podcast guest experience

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As a podcast host, one of the most important parts of producing a great show is bringing on excellent guests. The quality of your guests can truly make or break an episode, and to continue getting good guests, it’s essential to provide a good podcast guest experience.

What are some tips for creating an awesome podcast guest experience? I discussed that with Max Branstetter on my podcast, The Business Storytelling Show.

Based on the discussion on the show, here are some top recommendations for how hosts can enable their guests to be great:

Before the Interview: Prepare Your Guest

The work for a host starts well before the guest steps into the studio. You need to set the stage to make your guest feel relaxed and ready for a smooth, natural conversation.

Read next: Media interviews: Why to repeat the question asked to get better content

Send a Calendar Invite with All the Details

Don’t just send a text or email to lock in a date and time. Use a scheduling tool like Calendly that allows you to automate calendar invites with all the key details your guest needs. The more info you provide upfront, the less anxious your guest will feel.

Give a Brief Outline of the Show Flow

Don’t inundate your guest with a list of every single question you plan to ask. That will make the interview feel overly scripted. But consider sharing a bulleted outline highlighting the key topics you want to cover. This gives your guest a roadmap to prepare mentally.

Listen to Their Past Appearances

Do your homework by listening to other podcast episodes or interviews your guest has done. This will allow you to get a feel for their personality and stories so you can dive deeper. It also clues you in on common questions they get asked often that you may want to avoid.

When to Join the Recording/Livestream

I like to book the meeting at the top or bottom of the hour, so let’s say 1 p.m. I add in some cushion and plan to go live or start the recording by 1:15. That way, the guest doesn’t have to show up early, and calendars are organized.

Now, during that time, I would recommend not having the episode conversation off-air as that can lead to awkward “as we said earlier” statements during the show. I focus on technical stuff, the rough flow, and other more logistical things.

During the Interview: Keep It Natural

Once you hit record or go live, your top priorities are keeping the energy up and guiding the conversation down interesting paths – without making it feel like an interrogation.

Have Fun and Get a Little Silly

If the topic allows, don’t be afraid to banter, be playful, or go off on humorous tangents. Moments of levity help everyone relax and open up. Your guest wants to have fun, too!

Ask Unexpected Questions

Of course, you’ll cover the guest’s core expertise. But think outside the box to ask questions they likely haven’t gotten before on other shows. This could be about early career experiences, unique hobbies, or little-known facts you uncovered during your research.

Gauge Pacing and Flow

Pay attention to time and how engaged your guest seems to be on each topic. React in the moment to go deeper on something they’re excited about, or smoothly transition to a new subject if energy seems to be lagging.

After the Interview: Make Your Guest Feel Appreciated

Your responsibilities don’t end when the mics get switched off. Follow-up is critical for leaving your guest with a positive experience.

Send a Thank You

Right after you wrap, send a thank you email. Express your gratitude and let them know when the episode will be released. Better yet, mail a handwritten thank you card. In our digital world, receiving something tangible in the mail is extra meaningful.

Share Multimedia Assets

After the episode goes live, provide your guest with shareable multimedia – video clips, audio clips, photos, transcripts, and blog posts recapping the interview. This makes it easy for them to promote their appearance to their network.

Creating audiograms of your podcast episodes in no time

Stay in Touch

Don’t let the relationship go cold just because your business together is technically done. Check in periodically to say hello, share relevant articles, or congratulate them on big news. Keep your guests in the loop the next time you want to have them back on the show. Make them your “guestie bestie,” as Max would say.

Certainly, podcast guests have a part in being good guests, but there are also things the host can do to make the experience better for their guests, which will ultimately lead to a better episode.

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