Attention: Podcasters

One major reason why I wrote Talk Big was due to being asked questions from podcasters, who were interviewing celebrities for the first time. I’ve come to understand that even more so than with TV, Radio, and other platforms, podcasters are thrust into the limelight with zero technique. In journalism and television broadcasting there is experience learned as they move up the media ladder. Such is not the case with the podcaster. When they land an interview, they are often upset with the outcome and frustrated that they don’t know how to improve. Sure they can do another hundred interviews and slowly learn some technique through trial and error; but why go through all that unnecessary suffering?  Talk Big tackles the art of the celebrity interview and allows podcasters to jumpstart their careers.  

Talk Big is the perfect guide for podcasters who are doing celebrity interviews as part of, or all of, their shows. In fact, I’ve rarely seen or listened to a podcast that didn’t, at one point or another, feature interviews. 

Talk Big goes beyond celebrities to improve any interview that is done for a podcast, whether it’s with a co-host, technician, call-ins, or someone that joins them on the podcast that day. At that moment, that guest is the celebrity on that show. So rather than just “wing it” and hope for the best, with Talk Big, podcasters will have a proven technique to maximize the impact of each and every interview. 

As the podcast becomes more popular, celebrities of all levels may ask to come on the show. Be prepared, as that interview can change the course of your podcast…and your career.

I talked with a few podcasters on the importance of learning how to properly interview guests.

Michael Scott Interview

Michael Scott is a 29 year old podcaster who currently lives in Kansas City. His podcast is called The Great Scott Podcast. He interviews celebrities and his podcast is motivational in tone. One of his goals is to conduct interviews that will inspire his audience.

  1. How did you get into podcasting?

I started podcasting as a hobby, but it soon became something bigger than I thought.

  1. Why do podcasters feature guest interviews on their shows?

Depending on the show, two people are better than one. I feature guests because I like learning about people’s life stories and where they came from. It serves as a motivational tool for both myself and my audience. I produce a motivational podcast about going after a guest’s dreams, talking about their struggles along the way, how they handled them, and where they are today.

  1. How do you book guests?

I will usually write to their agents, managers, or publicists. They are usually the gatekeepers for their clients. Writing letters is also one of my favorite methods. I simply look up an address and send a letter off to them about my podcast.

  1. What is your step-by-step process once booking a guest?

I do research on that guest and speak with others who have associated with them.

  1. Problems encountered during interviews

Audio and sound quality are key. I always check the sound and audio quality before starting the interview. 

I have to remind myself to stay in the moment and not think too far ahead when I’m in the middle of a show. I recently booked a guest where I got the first name right, but their last name wrong. That ended it right there. The guest was insulted.

Also, it only took one interview for me not to do the necessary research. I asked questions that weren’t well-thought-out and realized I couldn’t let that happen again.

  1. When an interview hasn’t gone well, how do you improve?

I think about why the interview didn’t go well. It’s usually because I didn’t do my research, the sound or audio wasn’t right, or the guest just wasn’t into it. I’ll study the interview to see where things went wrong.

  1. How do you deal with nerves when interviewing a guest?

I have learned that once you get into the interview, the nerves go away. I prepare as much as possible. Another thing I will do is a short warm-up with the guest to make them feel comfortable. We’ll chat for 2-3 minutes before we start the interview.

  1. How do you handle a tired or disinterested guest?

I’ll do my best to liven up the mood. We’ll talk about something that they have been up to recently or their hobbies and interests. I have learned that people like to talk about themselves. It’s the host’s job to keep things interesting for both the audience and the guest.

  1. If you got Pete Davidson as a guest, what do you think your audience would want from that interview?

Pete has had a number of things happening in his career. First thing I would ask (with his permission) would be about his mental health struggles. I would then lead into his relationship with Ariana Grande. Then I would ask about his time on SNL. Since I have a motivational podcast, I would ask how he dealt with his struggles while on SNL. I’d end by asking what advice he’d give to someone dealing with similar issues.

  1. Which podcaster celebrity interviewers do you like and why?

Joe Rogan is my go-to guy. He REALLY does his research, knows how to make his guests feel comfortable, and understands how to interview. I also enjoy listening to Comedy Bang Bang. They interview top comedians. They’re original and have a fresh outlook on comedy.

  1. If someone is a decent speaker and reasonably aggressive about building their career, how hard is it to find work interviewing celebrities on a podcast?

I think it goes back to if you’re taking this seriously or not. It’s different for each person, but if you’re a good communicator, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding work.

  1. What would you suggest to someone starting out to build up their interviewing confidence?

Keep talking with people. The more you talk to people the better you will become at this skill. Getting out of your comfort zone helps if you want to get better at podcasting. Listen to people as well. A conversation takes more than one person.

  1. Do you consider this a full-time or part-time career?

I think if you’re following your dream, you give it everything you have. Part-time doesn’t work on a full-time dream or desire.

  1. Tempted by a 9 to 5?

It does take courage to go after your dream. Temptations are always prevalent, but you don’t want to have regrets in life by not going after them.

  1. Do you feel that this work is really that hard?

At times yes, and at times no. Yes, in the sense of building an audience, getting rejected by certain celebrities, and the competition. No, in the sense that sometimes you’ll book three or four big guests in one week.

  1. Any final comments?

Podcasting is a rewarding line of work, if you give it time. The benefits of connecting with celebrities, whom you would otherwise not know, is just an incredible feeling.