How are great podcasts different from average ones? One could say it has to do with the audio quality or with the guests who are interviewed. However, at its core, the host is what makes a podcast great!
A great host makes everything come together and fall in a line. They determine what content will be created, which guests will appear, and whether or not the audience will be engaged.
Almost all podcasters want to believe that they’re great hosts, but only the wisest podcasters know when their skills need polishing.
Listeners get engaged with podcasts almost exclusively through their hosts. After all, Life as P can’t be hosted by the same person who does your grandmother’s quilting podcast.
A mediocre podcast host will certainly bore, annoy, or make listeners too uninterested in finishing their episodes.
Calm down, and you probably are not that bad! However, in a bid to help you polish your podcast hosting techniques, here we are sharing SayWHA Radio’s cheat code to help you become the podcast host that your audience love!
Practice. Practice. Practice
Practice over and over again. When you are done with practicing, you think about practicing, and when you are done thinking about practice, you start practicing all over again.
It might sound a little redundant, but it is the key to becoming a great podcast host or excelling in any niche. It takes time to stand in front of the microphone and learn how to deliver content that your audience will love to consume. And the only way to make it easy is PRACTICE!
No Robot/ Scripted Talk
Tuning in is all about believing that you’re an expert in a niche your audience is interested in. But, of course, your audience can read all the information on different sites, in today’s information era. Still, they tune in because they want to consume the information in a conversational tone that is easy to understand.
The last thing you want your podcast is to sound bland or scripted to your audience. In other words, don’t use complicated jargon, but talk as if you were chatting with a close friend.
Be yourself and be comfortable. For example, podcasters often do not use detailed outlines for their episodes because they do not want to feel bound by a script.
It’s true, and your listeners don’t want to hear you reading from your outline or listing your talking points in a hurry. You want to engage your audience, not give them a lecture they will likely ignore.
During the whole segment, it’s easy to become engrossed by a clever guest and find yourself muttering one-syllable replies like “yes,” “right,” and “wow.” Don’t do this. Listeners shouldn’t think you’re giving them a soundbite answer. You’re a person, not a machine, right?
Hosting Interview Podcasts
Interviews are an integral part of every podcast. Even if you run a solo podcast many times, you will want to have guests on your podcast to keep your podcast entertaining and provide your audience with a variety. But, hosting an episode with a guest can go south for your listenership if not done right.
So, how to host an interview podcast, right?
Prepare for Every Interview
Get to know your interviewee and their work prior to the interview. Listen to the podcasts they’ve been interviewed on, read their books, and really learn about their topic. Of course, if you want to learn more about them, you can always send out a pre-interview survey to your guests.
Make sure you learn as much as you can about your guests, including their bio and headshot so that you can thank them in a big way and share their details with your listeners in order to provide them with more value and exposure.
As part of your research, map out an outline of where you want the conversation to go. Then, ask your guest about their life story, beliefs, work, etc., based on questions you (and your audience) have.
Let Your Guests Shine
Thought-provoking topics and ideas are popular among listeners who enjoy smart, funny, or in-the-know guests. But if you don’t give your guest the chance to shine, they can’t share their wisdom with your audience.
Even though it can be hard, figuratively speaking, for a host to step away from the mic, but for some time you will have to work behind the scenes.
Rather than forcing the conversation to follow your outline, let it meander naturally. If you veer off-topic, gently bring it back on track without disrupting the flow of the conversation.
Whenever you ask your guests a question, let them thoroughly respond. Do not interrupt them or ask them to repeat what they said as if you were hosting a spelling bee. Instead, maintain the flow of conversation and move on.
Yes/No Questions: The Rythm Breaker
Too many no/yes questions can disrupt the smooth flow of a conversation. Make sure you are always moving forward to keep the conversation exciting. Come up with a list of open-ended questions to encourage further discussion. Consider questions like:
- Why should people care about…
- What do you think/feel about…
- How do you explain…
- What led you to…
- Give me an example of…
Get Your Guest Up to the Track
Invite your guests to share any questions they have about/promotions they want to share so you can research questions in this area.
Get to know your audience and make sure your guests talk about what they want to hear so they feel connected immediately.
Remember that your listener may be new to your guest, but your guest is also new to your audience. We are trying to give everyone a chance to catch up as if you had invited one of your new friends to a party with your old friends. If you want your guests to bond and talk about their shared interests, you need to make sure they feel comfortable and welcomed.
Feedback: Show Yourself the Mirror
There is a very small chance that most listeners are going to tell you how awful you are as a podcast host. Instead, they’ll probably stop downloading your episodes. It is only through soliciting feedback from your listeners that you can truly learn how good are your podcast hosting skills.
Except for a few internet trolls (especially if you’re in a difficult niche), most people want you to succeed.
On your social media accounts and at the end of your podcast, start by asking specific questions about your show. Restrain from simply asking for podcast feedbacks. Instead, try asking them in a humorous or captivating way that might encourage your listeners to respond.
Sense of Hospitality
Have you ever wondered what the origin of the word host is? It’s not a coincidence. Your guests’ good time depends on your hospitality, regardless of whether you’re hosting a dinner party or a podcast. So the key to being a good podcast host is in the approach: By using the proper etiquette, you can engross both guests and listeners, make both parties feel comfortable, and lead an informative and enjoyable podcast.
Amusingly, the word hostage also originates from the same root word as host, a reminder to heed the podcasting tips from those who’ve been around the block. It is impossible to hold guests and listeners hostage in the world of podcasts-they simply move on to the next episode. However, if you make them feel welcome, they will stick around for quite a while.
Your Secret Shotcut to Success
The host is the heart and soul of any podcast. The better the podcasters at their hosting skills, the better the listener engagement, and the better the ROI.
But, here is the bitter truth, becoming a great podcast host without any assistance is a tough row to hoe. But, don’t worry, we have a solution. At SayWHA Radio Network, we have podcasting experts with over eleven years of podcast hosting experience. Not only that, but we have also helped a number of podcasters in polishing their podcast hosting skills and creating a healthy and sustaining relationship with their listners.
Want to join the list? Book your first consultation towards success today!