Over the past 10+ years, I’ve conducted over 500 one-hour interviews with marketing thought leaders. For a long time, these interviews took place on a weekly basis.
It was a feat that wouldn’t have been possible it if I didn’t have a replicable structure to work with; that’s why I created my MindManager Podcast Planner template, which you can view or download here.
Creating a Structure for Podcasting Success
When I started, each one-hour interview required 2-3 hours of preparation — a significant chunk of time. However, after becoming a Mindjet MindManager user, I was able to reduce that prep time to less than thirty minutes.
In addition to saving time, preparing questions using my Mindjet Podcast Planner Dashboard consistently improved the quality of my podcast interviews. The template helped me create a consistent structure for these interviews, which in turn established familiarity and helped project a professional image.
The standardized format also made it easier to share the questions in advance with my guests. This boosted my guest’s engagement with the interview and increased their overall comfort level.
Consistency and Podcasting Success
Consistency is the key to podcasting success. Without a consistent format, or structure, you’re forced to reinvent the wheel each time you plan a new podcast.
The Podcast Planner mind map, however, provides a “paint by numbers” structure that makes it easier to get started and make visible progress planning each of your podcasts. It also allows you to reuse text elements from podcast to podcast.
For example, knowing that your upcoming interview will contain an opening segment reminds you to:
- Start by introducing yourself and reminding attendees of the purpose of your podcast series, as well as where they can access recordings of earlier podcasts.
- Introduce your guest, and explain why you’ve reached out to them and invited them to your podcast.
- Describe the relevance of your topic, which will build anticipation for the upcoming interview.
Notice that my Podcast Planner template includes several Background questions, which are frequently repeated from interview to interview, and have consistently been a highlight of the podcasts. These “easy” questions build momentum by increasing the guest’s comfort level. The questions also provide a story-based segue into the guest’s new book or upcoming event.
Likewise, knowing that there will be a question and answer segment during the last ten minutes helps you pace the interview, and make sure to leave time for attendee questions.
Planning your closing segment reminds you to save time for guests to share their contact information and for you to thank the guest for their participation. The closing segment also prompts you to (possibly) introduce the guest or topic for your next podcast, as well as — once again — encourage attendees to subscribe to your email newsletter or follow your social media presence.
Creating a Structure for Your Calls
In the case of my Published & Profitable interviews, my podcast interview structure is determined by the four keys to writing and publishing success: planning, writing, promoting, and profiting. The below question types provide a structure that I use for the majority of my podcast interviews:
- Planning questions involve asking where the idea for their book originated, and the initial steps they took, decisions they made to breathe life into their idea, and how they found a market for it.
- Writing questions revolve around age-old advice from the interviewee on how they found the time to write or plan their even, how they organized ideas, and how did they dealt with challenges like writer’s block or attendance.
- Promoting questions include things like when the guest started marketing their book, how they planned promotional materials, and how they plan to maintain interest in it after its publication date.
- Profit questions address the delicate issue of how an author or event planner expects to earn a reasonable rate of return on their time and money investment.
Perhaps your success, or the success of your firm, is based on a similar step-based process that you can adapt for your podcasts.
If your guest has created their own process, or has written a book organized into sections, you can base your questions on the structure of their message. For example, if I was going to interview Rick Wong about his 5 Abilities, I would prepare 2 or 3 questions to ask based on each of the abilities.
In my next post, I’ll discuss how to turn your basic planning template into an evergreen resource for structuring and hosting podcasts.