Podcast Guest Interviews

What Is the Best Approach to Podcast Guest Interviews?

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Podcast Guest Interviews

Interviewing guests on a podcast is a great way to create instant content and expand your audience. The benefits of podcast guests are many, but nothing can ruin a great interview like poor audio quality.

You have done all that you can to improve your own podcast audio quality from the most appropriate equipment to proper microphone technique. But when it comes to the audio quality coming from your guest’s side, you don’t have a lot of control.

Today, we are going to talk about a few things you can do to help get the best quality audio recording out of your guest interviews.

Bonus: Ready to start interviewing? Get a free printable guest audio checklist and keep up to date with the latest Podcast Motor news. Get the Guest Audio Checklist!

Podcast Audio Recording Software

If you are a regular podcaster, you already have a setup with your microphone, audio recording, and audio editing software of choice. Choosing options for guest audio recording will depend on a few different options.

  • Skype – Most everyone has Skype, especially podcasters and people involved in online business. So this is a common and easy option for interviews and conversations.

A couple of things you want to keep in mind when recording a remote interview is that you want to record the conversation on two different tracks so sounds and background noise can be edited out of the individual tracks, and you want a solid Internet connection.

One of the things that can degrade a Skype call is weak Wi-Fi that cuts in and out. There are tons of Wi-Fi connected Skype calls recorded every day, but if you want to ensure a solid connection it never hurts to plug an ethernet cable from your router into your computer.

Weak Wi-Fi Can Degrade a Skype Interview

Software for Recording a Skype Call

  • Pamela – For PC users, there is a free version available, but you will need the paid version to record the audio on two individual tracks.

In order to set Pamela recording software up to record on two tracks you need to go to Tools>Options, click on Call Recording, click on Additional, and select Save sound in stereo mode under the Two-way call recording mode.

  • Ecamm Call Recorder – For Mac users. To record the call on two tracks go to Video Recorder Setting and select Multi-track. They have a production guide that explains things really well.

Web Based Podcast Recording Solution

  • Zencastr – For Mac or PC, this is a web-based solution that can be used for VOIP, so that a Skype call isn’t necessary, but it can also record a Skype call or Google hang-out in case you want to record video calls or have a backup recording.

This is a simple solution that just requires sending your guest a link. It also can record multiple guests. The link prompts each user to select a microphone and have headphones before recording. The separate audio tracks are saved in Dropbox. There are also some editing options available.

Recording Directly Into Your Audio Software

You can also record a Skype call directly into an audio editing software program like Adobe Audition, Audacity, or GarageBand. This option would require the most skill and knowledge and is probably best left to the podcasting audio experts.

If simplicity is your goal, Zencastr or one of the call recorders is your best option. You can always edit the recorded tracks in your audio software afterwards or send them to a podcast editing service.

Microphone Recommendations for Remote Podcast Guests

Many of your podcast guests will already be podcasters or will be people who appear on podcasts as guests on a regular basis. These people will already have the required equipment like microphones, headphones, and some knowledge of recording on their end.

Other guests, may be new to podcasting and will need a little more handholding when it comes to audio setup. Most of these people, will probably have a USB microphone headset or some other equipment that will make a decent recording.

Many enthusiastic guests will also be willing to invest in needed equipment. You don’t really have control over what your guest is willing to do to help ensure quality audio. Gently sharing your recommendations is about the best you can do.

  • USB Headset – Logitech ClearChat Comfort/USB Headset H390 – Something like this is very affordable and has the added convenience of being headphones and a microphone.
  • USB Microphone – Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic – We are fans of this microphone. It is a dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern which means it will pick up the sound in front of it, but not all of the sound in the room. This is a good choice if you don’t have a studio or quiet recording space. Your headphone jack can be plugged directly into the microphone, and it gives you the options of a USB connection to connect directly to your computer or an XLR connection to use with an audio interface.

These microphone options will be enough to make a decent sounding recording. Other higher end microphones that we like are the Rode Podcaster and the Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone, but these are recommended for the more serious podcasters.

Podcast Interview Guest Preparation

Spontaneous Spark Fueled Conversations

A good way to share guest guidelines without being pushy is to create a guest packet of needed information and share it with all of your guests. This could be a document, PDF, or a link to an information page on your website.

Explain the process to your guest including how long the interview will be and what hardware and software is required. Give them a checklist that explains what steps they need to take on their end of the recording.

You can even send them an outline of the format of your show or the types of topics you will be asking about. You probably don’t want to send them the exact interview questions because you don’t want the interview to sound rehearsed, and you may want to remain flexible.

Tips for Remote Podcast Guest Interview Success

  • State the length of the show
  • Share topics with the guest
  • Equipment suggestions – microphone, pop filter, headphones
  • Pre-show Checklist – noise reduction, turn off notifications and phone, water, bathroom, deep breaths, turn off noisy appliances, put pets in different room or close door
  • Step by step instructions – plug in microphone and headphones, open software, change microphone input, hit record
  • Small talk to warm up and put everyone at ease
  • Have a great conversation and enjoy the podcast

The networking, friends, and exposure that come out of having podcast guests and being a guest on podcasts can not be underestimated. Each person you interview is a new opportunity to learn new information and expand your network. Listen, relax, and enjoy the journey and your podcast and your audience will benefit from your interviews.

Bonus: Ready to start interviewing? Get a free printable guest audio checklist and keep up to date with the latest Podcast Motor news. Get the Guest Audio Checklist!
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