How To Record Remote Podcast Interviews In 2023
When Chris Savage, the CEO of Wistia, decided to launch a podcast in 2021, he knew it was going to be a challenge.
He had decided on an interview-style podcast, and the world was smack in the middle of a pandemic. Hosting his guests physically wouldn’t be an option. It all had to be remote. However, it was essential to him that the podcast didn’t feel disjointed, and the audio was clear.
Chris was up for the challenge. He assembled a super team to help him out. While someone ensured the video was of the highest quality possible, another made sure the audio was flawless. The cutting and editing were also handled quite professionally- Chris had the resources.
But what do you do when you are not the CEO of Wistia?
Most podcasters, especially ones just starting out, don’t have this luxury. Learning to interview remotely and providing that option to people gives you access to a wider pool of guests. How do you do it on a budget without compromising quality?
To help you out, here is a list of remote podcast interview tips.
Before the Interview
- Prepare You and Your Guest’s Remote Recording Setup.
Choosing the right recording setup will save you a lot of stress when it is time for post-production and editing. Make sure everything from your microphone to your headphones is in good working order.
You also want to ensure that you are set up in a quiet space that is void of noise and distractions.
For your guest, you might want to send an easy-to-use mic to them, and if you can’t do that, ensure that they have a functional microphone that they can use.
If they are going to be using the microphone on their phones and laptops, do a mic check before recording and ensure that the sound works for you.
The rule about finding a quiet space also applies to them.
Ideally, you and your guest’s technical setup should consist of
- Webcam (optional if audio only)
- Microphone – Ideally not from anyone’s laptop.
- Headphones – It's recommended that both users use headphones, so the audio doesn't bleed in the podcast recording.
Check out tips on how to choose the best headphone here.
- Create A Podcast Outline
Preparing a podcast outline (or script) is important because it gives you a roadmap for your interview.
It typically contains talking points for your interview and the different things you plan to discuss with your guest over the course of the show.
Preparing and sharing one with your guests makes them comfortable and ensures that they are not blindsided by whatever topic you bring up.
- Clarify The Interview Format With The Guest
There are typically two ways to conduct a podcast interview with a quest remotely:
- The One-on-One interview: This entails you asking questions and your guest answering them. For this, you want to clarify a number of things are they okay with this format? Is it going to be a long or short conversation, and do they want to see the questions beforehand? Once all these details have been sorted out, you are one step closer to a good remote podcast interview.
- Conversational interview: This is a little different in that your interviewee basically acts as your co-host for the day and discusses a topic with you. For this, you’ll want to send them a general outline of the conversation or discussion.
- Find Some Background Information on Your Guest
If a guest has agreed to come on your podcast, you should try as much as possible to find some information about them beforehand.
Read up on their work, read their articles, and take a look at their social media pages. If you find any significant information or accomplishment when doing your research, make sure to take note. These will come in handy when trying to prepare questions later.
You might also want to request the following information from your remote guests:
- A bio from which you can formulate a short introduction.
- Links to their preferred social media platform or something they have written, so you can post it in the show notes.
- Prepare Your Questions In Advance
This is probably the most obvious tip, but we thought to still mention it. Preparing a potential list of questions helps with the flow of the podcast.
You don’t have to ask all the questions on the lists, sometimes you might even end up asking a different set of questions depending on the guest’s reply, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Most guests are even more responsive when they see that you are really prepared for the interview and have prepared thoughtful questions.
- Send Email Reminders to Your Guests
Make sure you send reminder emails for the upcoming interview to your guests. You don’t want a case of them not showing up.
We recommend using a calendar scheduler such as Calendly or Savvycal.
During The Interview
- Use a Dedicated Online Podcast Recorder
Your first thought might be to use Google Meet or Zoom when conducting a remote interview, but if you do, the audio quality will not be ideal.
Video conferencing tools are fine for meetings, but not so good for podcasts. The issue with using such tools is that the audio from your guest will have a lower quality.
There are tools such as riverside.fm, and zencastr.com, that allow audio to be recorded locally from each guest. This ensures the original audio quality is preserved.
It is important that you inform your guest about your choice tool since they might not be familiar with it, so we recommend sending some basic instructions ahead of time. After recording the podcast, you can upload the audio to Cleanvoice to remove all associated filler words.
- Ease Your Way Into The Interview
Before starting the interview with your guest, take 5-10 minutes to test your audio quality.
Also, you should build rapport with your guest. This allows you both to relax, so when you start the podcast, there are no awkward moments..
After The Interview
- Send a podcast release form
A podcast release form is a written document that gives you control over your content as a podcast host and clearly states that the content belongs to you.
It also shields you from legal actions and ensures that a guest cannot prevent you from publishing your podcast or demand that you remove it.
Having guests sign this form prevents worst-case scenarios like a copyright infringement lawsuit.
- Thank the guest
This goes without saying, but make sure to thank the guest for coming on your podcast and giving you a bit of their time.
This increases the likelihood of them being repeat guests.
It is important to note that things might not always go as planned when conducting podcast interviews.
If something does go wrong, remember that is the way the world works. Don't stress so much about it and enjoy the conversation. If you stumble, you can either start again or just edit it out in post-production.