Improve Your Content in 7 Minutes

Better interview questions for podcasts and videos: 3 tips

Episode Summary

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Engaging podcast and video interviews don’t happen by accident. Interviewing is a skill, and it takes practise before it feels natural. In this week’s podcast, I reveal how to craft well-researched questions that will help your interview appear effortless and allow the conversation to flow. I discuss my three core tips for writing better podcast and video interview questions, so you can appear more professional and create better content for your audience. Listen in to get all the details.

Episode Notes

Hi everyone, thank you for joining me again. 

In today’s episode, 'Better interview questions for podcasts and videos: 3 tips', I cover how to craft interview questions that are more interesting for your audience.

As a result, your interviews will sound effortless, and you’ll appear more professional.

3 tips for better interview questions for podcasts and videos:

02:34 Tip 1. Do your preparation

04:23 Tip 2. Keep your goals in mind

05:39 Tip 3. Make it all about your guest

07:05 To recap

Remember to listen to the full episode for all the details.

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Episode Transcription

Better interview questions for podcasts and videos: 3 tips

Welcome to Improve Your Content in 7 Minutes, the podcast that’s here to make your business’s content, videos and public relations memorable through tips and hacks that can be learned in minutes.

You may have noticed that I’ve recently updated the title of my podcast. And if you’ve been listening to my previous episodes you may be able to guess why. 

We have so much to cover each week, that I’ve been struggling to keep the episodes to 5 minutes as initially planned, so now they’ll all be around 7 minutes long. This gives me a little bit more time to share my tips with you, while still keeping it brief.

So, onto this week’s episode.

Interviewing has its challenges, especially if you’re not used to it, or if you don’t do it every day. 

Your podcast and video audiences want to hear something fresh, and feel motivated by you and your guest. 

This means it’s up to you to craft well-researched questions that will help your interview appear effortless and allow the conversation to flow.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Engaging podcast and video interviews don’t happen by accident.  

Interviewing is a skill, and it takes practise before it feels natural. 

So, if learning how to write better interview questions is on your to-do list, keep listening.

Hi, I’m Simone Cunningham, a content and public relations expert with more than 20 years’ industry experience. Every week I share actionable tips in content, marketing, video, interviewing and public relations. So you can develop a reputation as a thought leader in your niche, and take your business from invisible to in demand. 

To learn more, visit me at simonecunningham.com.

As some of you may already know, for more than 15 years I worked as a television news reporter for Channel Seven and Channel Nine News.

One of my favourite parts of the job was interviewing people, but it wasn’t always that way. 

When I was fresh out of university, I found the interviewing part nerve-racking. 

Not because it was live, back in those days it wasn’t, but because I was afraid I’d forget to ask an important question.

It may not sound that big of a deal, but getting the right sound bites (or grabs as we call them), and steering interviews in the right direction was a critical part of that job, so I learned to do it well. 

Today, I want to share some of that knowledge with you, so you can develop better interview questions for your podcasts and videos.

So, let’s get into it.

Tip number 1. Do your preparation

Start with finding guests you’re curious about. Interviewing guests for your podcasts and videos is a great opportunity to connect with people who you’ve admired for a long time and invite them on your show. 

They don’t have to be online famous or real-life famous, but they do have to be interesting to you and your audience. 

Your goal should be to find somebody who's passionate about their topic and can speak really well. 

When you have a guest that you find super interesting, your listeners are going to pick up on it in the way you ask questions, the way your guest answers your questions, and even on the way you're listening. This will make for an engaging interview that your audience will love. 

I also recommend you do a pre-interview. Send your guest a short pre-interview brief at least one to two weeks before the recording. This will help them prepare for their interview with you, and it also builds rapport ahead of time.

Your goal is to give them some talking points they can prepare. This will help ensure your interview runs more smoothly on the day of the recording.

Information to cover in your pre-interview brief includes the name of your podcast, your name, the episode length, a description of your audience, and some of the questions you’ll be asking. Don’t include every question, or may appear too rehearsed. 

Tip number 2. Keep your goals in mind 

Start with thinking about why you chose them for a guest in the first place.

Ask yourself “ WHY” are you going to interview them? Is it because you admire them or because you're interested in their work? Are you curious about their achievements? Or are they an industry thought leader and you want to pick their brain about a particular topic?

Next, you need to write down the goal of the interview. This includes your why that you’d just worked on, plus “WHAT” you want to achieve or learn by the end of the interview.

In doing this, make sure you’re considering what your audience wants to learn as well, and importantly, how you want your audience to feel afterwards. 

The clearer you are about your interview goal, the clearer you will get about what questions to ask.

Next, you need to write down some top-of-mind-questions.

This is where you let your mind run wild, now that you have a clear idea of “what” your goal is, and “why” you are doing the interview. 

Start writing down everything you want to know that will help you achieve your interview goal.

If you get stuck, remember to ask yourself the 5Ws and H as you’re doing this - “who?”, “what?”, “when?”, “where?”, “why?”, and “how?”.

Tip number 3. Make it all about your guest

You chose your guest for a reason, so make sure to put in the work to learn a bit more about them before you hit record.

Research your guest by visiting their website and social media, reading their book (if they have one), and by listening to their other podcast or video appearances by doing a search for their name. 

This is what we call “background research”. You’re gathering information that’s out there and then deciding what you want to learn more about or the direction you want your interview to take. 

But don’t over-research. You want to strike a balance between knowing enough, and being curious enough to discover more about them.

Finally, you need to put yourself in your guest’s shoes. By that, I mean, consider what your guest wants to achieve by talking to you. They’ve agreed to be interviewed on your podcast for a reason. 

Consider your guest’s motivations. Are they promoting a new book, a new product, or new research? Do they have a podcast or course they want to plug? Is their goal to drive more followers to their social media channels?

Your job is to connect these ideas to the topic of your episode and what your readers are interested in learning about.

If you haven’t listened to my earlier podcast, How to conduct high-quality podcast and video interviews, be sure to check that out when you get a chance. 

To recap: 

Tip 1: Do your preparation

◽️ Find guests you’re interested in.

◽️ Do a pre-interview.

Tip 2: Keep your goals in mind

◽️ What do you want to learn?

◽️ Write down top-of-mind questions.

And Tip 3: Make it all about your guest

◽️ Research your guest.

◽️ Put yourself in their shoes.

I hope you got some value out of today’s episode. I have no doubt that if you implement these techniques, your interview questions will be far more interesting to your audience.

Your interviews will also sound more professional.

If you’re ready to share your knowledge as a thought leader and be interviewed on podcasts, or on YouTube, Facebook, and website vlogs - but have no idea how to make that happen. Get in touch with me. 

Over a FREE 30-minute session, we’ll come up with ideas for your PR story pitch and discuss a plan to get you seen in 2022. The link to book this call with me is in the show notes. 

Also, remember you can join my Facebook Community - Media and Content Strategies for Driven Business Owners for more tips on how to generate free publicity for your business. I’d love to see you in there.

To learn more about my business services and training courses visit my website: simonecunningham.com