Booking a guest for your podcast can be thrilling, but when you’ve got the interview looming and you sit down to write out the podcast interview questions, it’s easy to draw a blank and start to panic.
And I get that.
You’ve booked an amazing guest who you both want to impress, but also make sure that you get the best out of your time together for the purpose of giving your listeners the value and the kick-ass podcast episode that they deserve.
Having interviewed numerous guests for The Confident CEO Podcast, I’ve put together my top questions that will work for almost any podcast interview, regardless of your niche or industry.
Basic interview questions
Let’s start at the beginning where you’re introducing your guest to your audience.
True, you don’t want this introduction to turn into your guest re-telling their autobiography starting from birth, so the following questions could help you steer your introduction in the right direction. These questions help to set the tone for the interview and provide a solid foundation for more in-depth questions later on. While these questions might seem basic, they provide a platform for more meaningful conversation as the interview progresses:
- Who are you and what do you do?
- What inspired you to get started in your field/niche?
- What is the biggest challenge your industry faces currently?
- What are the top trends to watch out for in your field?
Personal life and experiences
Depending on your show and guests, you might want to dive into their personal lives and experiences.
Well, it’s always interesting to get to know the person behind the work. Finding out that you are a fan of the same guilty pleasure TV show as your audience can make them more approachable.
Equally, if you know your recording schedule ahead of time, you can use social media to ask your audience which questions they want to put to your podcast guest.
- What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
- What has been your biggest failure?
- What’s been your greatest success?
- What’s been your most memorable experience from your career?
- What motivates you to do what you do?
Expertise and insights
Enabling your guests to demonstrate their expertise and insights into their field/niche is a key part of why they’re guesting on your show. After all, the vast majority of podcast guests are trying to build their authority and expand their audience.
So, with this in mind, here are some example questions to help you show off your guests’ expertise and insights into their profession, knowledge, passion, or anything else that they’re going to be chatting about on your show.
Remember to replace ‘…’ with a relevant topic from your niche!
- How did you become an expert in your field?
- How have your experience/skills developed over time?
- What have been your key accomplishments?
- What advice do you have for someone just starting out?
- What changes do you think you’ll see in the industry in the next 12 months?
- What’s your opinion on….?
- You’ve mentioned…..on your social media before, how come you think that when so many people say the opposite?
- How did you handle……situation in the past?
- Can you tell us about a time when you have to show your problem-solving skills?
Wrap-up and call to action
As I’ve already said, the vast majority of podcast guests will appear on your show to get in front of your audience.
Whether that’s because your audience is potential clients, or customers, or have other meanings to your guests, a call to action in their favour is probably one of the biggest and most meaningful ways that you can say thank you to your guests for appearing on your show.
Good call-to-action questions include:
- What final thoughts do you have for our listeners?
- What would you like listeners to take away from today’s show?
- How can our listeners contact you and connect with you?
- Can you tell us how to sign up for your newsletter/online course/Masterclass, etc.?
As the host, you can also summarise any compelling points that your guest made during the episode, which will further enforce their authority with your audience and can help listeners carry through with any calls to action given.
And don’t forget to thank your guest for their time and valuable insights. Show genuine appreciation for their effort in sharing their expertise with your listeners. Building rapport with your guests is essential to make them feel that they’re an essential part of your podcast.
Reiterate any contact details given for social media, etc., and encourage your listeners to take the next step, whether it’s implementing the expert tips shared by your guest, following them on social media, or visiting their website.
Tips for creating podcast guest interview questions
Whilst we’ve covered some good questions above, these are just a starting point. Your questions need to be personalised to your guest and to your podcast as this is what will help you create an episode that is valuable to your listeners.
Here are 2 other tips for creating good interview questions for your podcast:
Listen to other podcasts
This might sound silly, but I’ve happily nicked good interview questions from other podcasts before. Similarly, listen to radio interviews and TV interviews. There’s a wealth of opportunity to discover not only new interview questions but also ways of wording interview questions that keep them fresh and prevent you from repeating the same phrasing every time.
Ask your prospective guest
Again, this is simple and easy to do.
In my podcast guest release form, I have two sections asking about the content of the interview.
The first section asks what you’d like to talk about on the show, whilst the second section asks what topics you’d rather avoid. This means that even the most vague podcast guests can at least give me a direction for the topics we will talk about. Some have even come forward with ready-formulated questions (I love this – it’s less work for me!!).
And by asking if there’s anything they’d avoid talking about, it means that there will be no nasty surprises coming up. Topics asked not to be talked about don’t come up that often and don’t have to be sinister, either. It could be that there’s a new development in a niche that the guest doesn’t want to be asked about because they haven’t fully researched it themselves yet. So if you are asked not to cover a topic, respect that request from your guest.
Need more help onboarding podcast guests?
Podcast Guest Management Masterclass
Having guests on your podcast is an exciting thing to happen. Guests can bring a whole wealth of information and value to your show and by being prepared with good questions you can make sure that your show, your listeners, and your guests get the most out of your show.