How to do a podcast interview, step by step
One of my goals for the new year is to start a podcast. To prepare, I’ve been doing some homework.
The first place I went to learn more podcasting was the podcast I listen to most: The Tim Ferriss Show.
There’s about 2.5 hours of audio between the two, and they cover a lot of ground. I took a ton of notes and pulled out just the actionable pieces. They are written out below, in an attempt to mimic the exact process one would go through to create a podcast episode, in chronological order.
Here it is:
How to create a podcast episode
Brainstorm session 1-2 hours: what’s the story, who do we want to interview, what is the angle, what’s the NEW thing we’re trying to say? Is it interesting?
While brainstorming, ask: what are you going for? What’s the goal of the interview?
- Ultimately: authentic moments of conversation, of emotion, of realization
- More specifically: stories & narrative
Prepare really great questions that either:
- elicit an honest emotional response, or
- prompt a really good story
Avoid yes or no questions.
Questions that honest reflection and/or emotion:
- “How did that make you feel?”
- Good therapy and good tape are very similar.
- You are trying to get them to articulate their emotion in words.
- If you notice feeling in their voice, call that out in the interview with a question.
- “If the old you could see the new you, what would the old you say?”
- “You seem very conflicted about X, why is that?”
- “You seem very confident about X, was that always the case?”
- When they say something emotively, but without much logical explanation: “What do you make of that?”
- “Why is X story meaningful to you?”
- Give voice to an emotion that we all share.
Questions and statements that elicit a story:
- “tell me about the time when…”
- “tell me about the moment when…”
- “tell me about a day when…”
- “tell me about the day when you realized…”
- “tell me the story of…”
- “what were the steps that got you from there to here…”
(each step can elicit another story)
When going to a new place, town, neighborhood for an interview — how do you get an idea of that place?
- Identify the person who has the mainstream view of the town
- Identify the counterculture person (“goth kid”) who holds an opposing view
Creating the podcast
After preparing the questions…
Start with the script –> written in a Google doc, collaborate and write on it
Read it out loud.
Get a bunch of feedback from your team.
Know the basic information better than the other person.
Conduct the interview (I recommend Taylor Pearson’s podcast SOP for setup / interview protocol).
Producer does the first pass through of the tape.
Looks for “good tape” (those things you want to elicit, mentioned above):
- Go for the specific, authentic moments, where emotion has been expressed. Emotionally resonant, in the moment, unexpected = good tape.
- Other great tape: great yarns and narratives (anecdote, little story)
1-2 people sit around and do the edits: “this was good, this wasn’t, this dragged on, etc”
Outsource the transcript.
Engineer does all the editing to make it sound good: compression, levels, transitions.
When you’re editing, be aware of your own boredom.
Symptoms of boredom:
- When are you confused, even slightly? Demand an explanation.
- When are you drifting?
- Tell your friends, when editing: just point out what. isn’t. clear.
One moment of confusion can destroy an otherwise-beautiful story.
What does a producer do?
- Helps me think through the interviews you’re going to do
- Listens back to the tape
- Transcribes the tape
- Pulls the interesting pieces of tape (with or w/o consultation with me)
- Thinks through the structure of each episode
- Help build the story with the reporter
- Producer handles details (plane tickets, bookings, and releases)
Hosted on Soundcloud, which tracks web plays AND podcaster downloads (iTunes, Stitcher, etc)