If you’ve listened to podcasts for any length of time, you’ll notice that most podcasts follow the same interview routine. Host introduces guest. Host asks guest question. Guest answers question. Host asks another question. Guest answers that one, too. Undeterred, host asks yet another question. This continues, and the host and the guest wrap up by congratulating each other on how smart and lovely they are. The end.
The Host/Guest Interview Format Is Tried and True…But Can It Be Improved?
There is quite a bit of information on the Internet on how interviewers and guests can grab and hold the attention of listeners. This information is worth reading in that you can pick up a tip or two, but the two overriding success criteria are 1) have great content that is valuable to the listener, and 2) have a podcast host, and podcast guests, who are smart, energetic, and engaging. If you can have those two things, and those two things only...awesome!
However…if you’re publishing a branded podcast, don’t you want to sound different than your competitors? Your competitors may be just as knowledgeable around what podcast topics and content to focus on. And is 30 minutes of listening to the same two people in question-and-answer format, and only those two people in that format, enough to keep listeners coming back again and again?
Using Mini-Clips to Grab and Hold Your Listener’s Attention
One way to do this is to insert what we call “Mini-Clips” into the heart of the podcast episode. Mini-Clips are comprised of audio that injects new energy into an episode by bringing in the perspective of new participants and/or employee new ways of imparting the knowledge you’re trying to convey. They are generally recorded separately and weaved into the audio. They also hold the listener’s attention by breaking up the continuous back-and-forth between host and guest. Here are some examples:
These audio sound bites feature other participants outside of host or guests. These participants could include customers, partners, and other influencers within your ecosystem.
- Case studies: Stories that illustrate how a certain concept or approach was put into practice in a real-life setting. The good news: if your organization already writes case studies, they can be repurposed as podcasts!
- Testimonials: Shorter Clips featuring a podcast guest advocating for a product, methodology, or concept. Use judiciously and tread carefully; nuance is required to not come off as to “sales-y” or internally focused, but in the right overall format these can be powerful.
- Expert commentary: Short sound bites of an expert explaining a given concept or citing examples of the application of that concept. You can even suspend the host/guest conversation and use another expert to define a key term.
- Roundtables: Multiple customers providing their perspectives on a given podcast topic. In addition to being recorded as a mini clip, a customer roundtable could in of itself be presented as the core format.
On location Mini-Clips
If you have the resources to record video outside of your podcast studio, or your podcasting production service provider has this capability, the options for shooting “on location” video are plentiful. For TV journalist “wannabes”, here’s your chance to put your interview skills to work.
- Industry conferences: Industry conferences provide the listener access to additional perspectives in an energetic audio (and video, if you so choose) environment. It may be the host or other participants walking the show floor with their iPhone, interviewing participants and filming speakers.
- User groups/conferences: Same idea, except in a forum featuring users of a specific company’s products or technologies.
- Speaking engagements: Filming a guest or another expert speaking in public on podcast topics featured on an episode lends additional credibility to the speaker and the podcast overall. This could be recorded as standalone audio or part of a conference or user group segment.
- Onsite customer interviews: This could be the host engaging a customer on a specific topic, or one of your organization’s executives listening to how a customer addresses a certain business or technical challenge. Again, be careful not to turn this into a customer advertisement.
If you’re planning a video version of your podcast, the possibilities are endless. In addition to folding in the visual versions of the above mini Clips, your content could also be supported by PowerPoint slides, animations, and other graphics.
Podcast Editing and Production Is Hard Enough as It Is. Why Do This?
It is undeniable that incorporating these elements into your podcast series is more costly and time consuming than just cranking out a standard host/guest episode. But putting in the effort yields the following benefits:
- Mini-Clips make your podcast Episodes stand out from the competition.
- Mini-Clips make your podcast Episodes more memorable and hold the listener’s attention.
- Mini-Clips enhance knowledge transfers by providing multiple expert and stakeholder perspectives.
Whether you choose to occasionally include one or more of these techniques in an occasional episode, or consistently employ them across your entire series, mini Clips bring additional voices into the conversation in way that makes your content more memorable to your listener. They also add to the production value and perceived “polish” of your episode. And whenever you’re trying new podcast best practices, be sure to experiment with different approaches, and don’t forget to ask your listeners for feedback to continually improve your podcast series.
We’d love to start the conversation with you about your own podcast aspirations. We welcome you to visit our website at www.gomodpod.com, or reach out to us via our Contact form or at email@example.com.