You’ve launched a company podcast—and your hosts aren’t shining. Here’s how to help them be confident behind the microphone.
Podcasting is growing exponentially, and many brands are finding that it’s a great way to connect with busy customers. Yet podcasting is a unique form of communication. While you might have great writers or strategists on your staff, adapting to audio requires a different skill set. It’s natural to place your best thinkers at the helm of your podcast, and it can be disappointing to find out they’re not naturals on the mic. Have no fear—a little producing can go a long way toward improving the quality of your podcast.
Create an outline for the show: Podcasts can seem like they’re off the cuff, whether they’re story-based or focused on interviews. Yet what many people don’t realize is that the best shows are scripted to some degree. Even if you’re not doing a highly scripted experience, this can seem to take away from the in-the-moment feeling that many shows have. However, an outline can help give hosts direction when they’re struggling and help them keep things on track.
Practice good interviewing skills: Interviews can provide a great basis for podcasts because they’re like natural conversations. However, good interviewing may not be as natural in front of the microphone. Encourage your host to follow a formula. Get a bio for the guest, and create a summary that’s appropriate to the podcast length. Take some time for warm introductions. Have a list of questions prepared to go, and share it with the guest beforehand to ensure that he or she is prepared with strong answers.
Focus on intros, closers, and transitions: Many hosts are good with the body of the podcast but find introductions, transitions, and closing awkward. There are several ways to improve this. Practice different variations. Create a script that’s on theme for each show, with catch phrases and terms that can be used easily. Improving just this area can smooth out the entire podcast.
Take the pressure off: Pressure doesn’t make a better host. It increases stress, decreases spontaneity, and can end up with stilted results. Instead, decrease the stress. Let your hosts know that you understand how hard they’re working. Give them time before a recording to decompress. Recommend tips such as deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness to help them get in the zone. Finally, don’t be afraid of retakes. Knowing that there’s another chance can really help podcast hosts relax, experiment, and come up with something you’ll love.