Author: Kelly Johnson, Public Relations Specialist
Going on walks, commuting to work, and washing dishes all find common ground for your ultimate multitasking listening pleasure: podcasts.
Advances in technology and cultural shifts have transformed the way society consumes media, and podcasts have ascended from relative obscurity in the early 2000s to an industry that’s expected to reach 424 million listeners worldwide in 2022.
At s2s, podcasts make up a growing number of our clients’ strategic media placements. And the world of podcasts is vast — a cornucopia of shows (think, more than 2 million!) that tackle subjects from The Office to U.S. History, virtual reality to medical technology, and beyond. Because podcasts are not only accessible but relatable to just about everyone, they are an excellent resource for connecting with a specific, often niche, audience to drive greater awareness, expand recruiting efforts, and connect with potential partners.
So here’s where you come in. As a company leader, being featured on podcasts that speak to your target audience is an excellent means to insert your voice into a desired industry and increase your discoverability. Podcasts are also great practice for mastering your brand story and excellent fodder for your social media channels or newsletter program.
But once you’ve done the work of securing the opportunity, there’s an additional layer to ensuring your interview is effective, engaging, and clear. Like any interview, media, job, or otherwise, you can’t just show up assuming that you know what you’re going to say. Spending just an hour or so of prep will reap great rewards in the form of podcast episodes that can serve as additional content for sharing your company’s story.
Here are the 7 steps we share with our clients, and practice ourselves, to ensure they nail that interview:
#1: Do Your Research.
Never enter an interview assuming that just because you know your story, you’re already prepared. Instead, equip yourself through discovery:
- Scope out the host’s social channels.
- Listen to multiple previous episodes.
- Check out who’s been featured on the podcast.
- Find out where the podcast is frequently shared.
[Bonus points: 1-2 weeks before the interview, send a brief email to the host requesting potential interview questions. In the (likely) case that these aren’t accessible, listen to previous episodes and make a list of the questions that are frequently asked, as well as their cadence. Doing so will also ensure you understand the host’s typical interview patterns.]
#2: Acknowledge Your Audience.
Knowing your audience allows you the capacity to prepare language that will resonate and stick. So take the time to know whom you will be speaking to. Start by looking at the podcast’s, and its host’s, social media profiles in order to gauge the demographics of their listenership.
Pay attention to the following:
- Who’s engaging with their posts? Is it executives? Parents? Startup founders?
- Who’s sharing, or resharing, their content?
#3: Strategize Your Story.
According to WavelyDx CEO and s2s client Arna Ionescu Stoll, who’s been featured on a number of podcasts such as Entrepreneur’s Enigma, one of the most important parts of preparing for podcast interviews is to “have relevant stats and figures on hand to support your key talking points.” We couldn’t agree more. It’s critical to gather, memorize, and embody important key data points and anecdotes, in anticipation of likely conversation twists and turns.
#4: Don’t Overlook the Details.
While doing all of this prepping, it can be easy to leave the day-of details until the last minute. Please, don’t do this. Instead, make sure you have all the information you need for recording day at least one week in advance:
- The host’s preferred recording platform (Zoom? Microsoft Teams? Zencastr?).
- The expected length of the recording.
- Whether or not the host will record video (many hosts are now posting their interviews on YouTube, so make sure you’re aware of, and comfortable with, this option).
#5: Testing 1…2…3…
Again, nailing down the day of logistics is not to be underestimated. Here’s a quick checklist to follow 3+ days prior to the interview:
- Test the sound/background noise of the physical location where you will be when you record.
- If using video, check out the light in your interview location at the same time as your interview the day before the interview. Also use this time to ensure the quality of your camera.
- Make sure that your wifi connection is strong and, if not, have a backup plan.
#6: A Ready Mind Requires Rest.
When readying herself for a podcast recording, Arna has her priorities straight. She emphatically shared that to fully be prepared, her number one ‘to do’ is to rest. “You need to be sharp and responsive and that’s hard to do if your brain is feeling foggy.”
[We get it, rest can feel foreign as a startup founder. Just try your best.]
#7: Be Yourself (And Be On Time).
Finally, show up a few minutes early to the interview, wear something business casual, have a cup of water nearby, and be yourself. The true you is what got you here in the first place. Now it’s your job to let your story, passion, and genuine character shine through the mic.
You’ve got this!