It can be really hard to host a podcast based on interviewing people when the person you’re trying to interview lives 2,000 miles away. Or maybe they live 2 miles away, and they just don’t have the time to meet with you in person for some reason (I’m sure you’re really great. It’s not you, it’s them). Whatever it is, there are easy workarounds.
All you really need is good equipment and a solid plan and you’re good to go. If you have and use the right tools, distance doesn’t make a big difference and you’ll still be producing a great podcast. Think about what tools you already have and what you might need. Ask yourself this simple question, and see how your current setup fits the answer:
How can I host B2B podcast interviews over long distance? To host b2b podcast interviews over long distance you’ll need the right equipment and good software in order to plan and create your podcast episodes.
It’s pretty simple once you have the right gear and know what to do. Luckily, Sweet Fish has been there, done that, and I’ve got the lowdown on what you need for a great podcast.
What we’re going to talk about
- What equipment you should use
- What to tell the person you’re interviewing
- Software that will help improve your podcasting experience
Don’t worry about scouring the internet to find the perfect microphone or online scheduling plan. There are too many options out there that don’t have what people need and waste your time.
It’s great to try new things and explore and see what works for you — that’s how great new ideas are formed.
But podcasting can be really complicated if you don’t know what you need or want, and adding in the factor of distance can make it even more overwhelming and confusing.
Repeat: long-distance B2B podcasting can be hard! And that’s okay!
Especially when you’re still figuring it all out, sometimes a little advice is exactly what will make a positive difference.
I’ve already done the searching for the best of the best (and more affordable options) to help you have a great long-distance podcast interview, and they’re all right here.
What equipment you should use
A microphone is an absolute essential to have a high-quality podcast. Audio is the whole deal, so without good audio you don’t have much to offer.
A mic with a USB connection makes it easy to connect to your computer, which is definitely the best way to work if you’re not a microphone pro.
An optional extra would be a mic flag, which is especially great if there’s a visual portion to your podcast because it adds in another form of branding for viewers.
It also can make the experience feel more professional for your guests to see you with a mic flag. As any event planner would know, it’s all in the details!
Another piece to consider is a mic stand, which may or may not be included with a mic you buy. It holds the mic steady and can hold various attachments to help improve your audio quality.
Microphone arm (boom)
A microphone arm, or boom, is great if you want to have flexibility with where your mic is.
Maybe you want to move it so it’s better positioned to show on camera, or just to keep it out of the way when it’s not in use. A boom is exactly what you need.
Most new computers have a webcam, but the camera quality isn’t always the greatest. Whether you want a higher quality picture for your guest or for a video version of your podcast, a webcam is a small investment for an improved picture quality.
A shock mount keeps your microphone from vibrating or picking up noise caused by vibration, which can reduce the audio quality of your podcast recording.
A foam cap on your microphone can keep sounds like a loud breath from being picked up by the microphone, and minimizes other soft unintentional noises.
A pop filter attaches to your microphone and keeps the microphone from picking up sound from strong breaths physically hitting the microphone, and also helps to minimize soft unwanted sounds.
For the ultimate sound protection, an isolation shield which looks a bit like a sound booth prevents the microphone from picking up things like echos or other unwanted outside noise.
And, of course, headphones are essential so you can check your audio quality and hear what you need to without the mic picking up unwanted noise.
Gear I like on Amazon
Inexpensive to start with:
- Blue Snowball Microphone ($70)
- An easy, popular microphone for new users who still want professional quality and the ability to use accessories
- Neewer Professional Microphone Pop Filter ($9)
- Microphone Boom ($26.99)
- LyxPro Desktop Weighted Microphone Stand ($18)
- Mudder Mic Cover Handheld Microphone Windscreen ($12.99)
- Panasonic RP-HT161-K Headphones ($15)
- Moukey Desk Mic Stand ($13)
- Foldable which makes it easily portable!
- Foldable which makes it easily portable!
Midrange if you want an upgrade:
- Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB Cardioid Dynamic Microphone ($99)
- A Sweet Fish favorite
- On Stage MY-420 Studio Microphone Shock Mount ($29.99)
- Logitech Webcam ($54.99)
- Neewer Tabletop Isolation Shield with Tripod Stand ($64)
- LyxPro HAS-10 Closed Back Over Ear Headphones ($44.99)
An investment piece:
- Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone ($399)
- Logitech C920 USB Certified HD Pro Webcam ($142.99)
- Microphone Isolation Shield ($84.90)
- Heil Sound PL-2T Overhead Broadcast Boom ($149.00)
What to tell the person you’re interviewing
There are all sorts of things you can advise your interviewee on ahead of time that can help them feel comfortable and make the podcast more professional.
Sending your guest a quick primer via email can help them be and feel prepared so you can jump right in without wasting time trying to troubleshoot or improve something.
If you’re talking to someone who’s camped out, hiding from their family (or their boss) in a basement or a bathroom, good luck. You’ve got a whole mess of issues to tackle here.
First, their signal is going to be especially bad below ground level. Second, microphone could easily pick up any echoing of their voice coming from the many hard surfaces of the bathroom (fun fact: this is why people say they sound much better singing in the shower).
Singing in the shower, good. Podcasting, bad. You want crisp, clear quality, as good as you can get it. But it’s okay if they’re on their phone, or using a built-in laptop microphone — they’re the guest.
That said, you still want them to sound as good as possible. Another thing to have your guest consider to make sure this happens: cut the background noise.
Maybe this means you shouldn’t talk to them while they’re commuting, or they should call you from a meeting room away from noisy printers or chatty colleagues.
Even on a phone call, making some simple decisions to find a quiet area can make a huge difference. The same goes for podcasting.
If you have the equipment, and you have the professional-sounding audio, the podcast will still be high-quality and professional.
Listeners expect you to be good and have the right equipment, but they’re expecting your guest to say something good, not sound perfect, so phone-call audio from their end is ok if necessary.
This is the most basic, and the most important, thing to consider. If you or your interviewee doesn’t have a stable internet connection, they could freeze, and you will lose valuable seconds of audio.
“I examined my marketing strategy and found that I had totally miscalcu—…. And it led to a complete strategic change from what we had been doing to change to organiz—….. And that’s how we got to the point where we are now.”
Did you get anything out of that? No! And neither will your listeners, unfortunately. No one will watch Netflix if it stops and buffers every 10 seconds, and a bad podcast will have the same result.
If you’re wondering how good your internet connection is, just google “internet speed test” and Google will run one for you.
If your guest is having issues with their connection, here’s my recommended troubleshoot
For a quick fix they could try moving closer to their router or using a different internet connection.
If that doesn’t work, speaking via a cellular connection should help but you might not get such good audio.
There’s also always the classic log out and back in again, and shut down and restart the computer (I hate how it’s so simple and always seems to be the answer. It’s just too easy).
Switching from a computer to a smartphone, or the from the phone to a computer, could also make a difference.
If you really have to, it might make sense to reschedule the interview but I would say try your best to get the interview and if you have to repeat any parts later on, it can always be fixed in post-production.
Quality visuals are definitely optional, especially since most podcasts aren’t presented in video form, but they can help set the tone of your interview and improve the flow of conversation.
Having your podcast guest consider the lighting of the room they are in, and any shadows that may occur, can make a big difference in how connected the conversation feels.
If you’re talking to someone who’s washed out, has their face half in shadow, or has blinding light or background shadows distracting you, the conversation will feel much more distant.
If your interviewee considers medium lighting, enough to see their face clearly without shadows or bright reflections, it’ll be much easier to forget that you’re talking via pixels and speakers.
Another tip to keep a professional, focused appearance is to have your podcast guest consider their background beyond lighting.
Is it cluttered? Is there something weird in the background? A bed would probably make the conversation feel awkward, and a messy office can be distracting.
This is an opportunity for your guest to advertise their new book or show off their company logo in a subtle way that also adds to the business tone of the conversation.
Most importantly, if you’re working from home or a glass-walled office, keep an eye out for background visitors. As funny as this viral BBC News interview was, you probably don’t want to star in the re-run.
Software that will help improve your podcasting experience
Schedule a kick-butt interview
Hands-off scheduling with Calendly
What if you could email your ideal podcast guest and not have to go back and forth to find the perfect day and time to talk? If that sounds amazing, you should try out Calendly.
You put in your availability online, and include your Calendly link in the email. That’s just about all you have to do. Sweet!
Your guest, interested but busy, clicks that link and bam — they can schedule by clicking the day and time that they like. So easy that they can’t say no.
The best thing ever about Calendly: Zoom integration. Your guest automatically gets a Zoom link for the meeting once they hit “schedule.” It could not be easier.
And if you’re not a Zoom fan, Calendly can link your phone number if you’re using UberConference, as well as syncing with Google and Apple Calendar so you never miss a meeting.
Calendly offers a free version which is great, in addition to two paid tiers offering more opportunity to customize your page and your guests’ experience if you want to get ~fancy.
See all of your schedules on one screen with Google Calendar
Hey, we’re all busy. I get it. Maybe you’d rather handle scheduling yourself, to have more control over your guests’ experience and your appointments.
If that’s true, Google Calendar is the one for you. You can have tons (or not, no pressure) of calendars that are automatically color-coded, and you can easily send invites with details including notes, links, locations, and times.
As an added bonus for anyone using the Google suite or just Gmail on its own, you can schedule emails to send in the morning when that late-night inspiration hits.
Have (and record) a great conversation with your guest
Most people are familiar with remote meeting software, which means it’ll probably be pretty comfortable for you and your guest to have a great interview.
There are several platforms available to use, and maybe you already have one that you like. Or, maybe you’re here to find the right fit for you. No matter what, make sure the platform you use can easily record your conversations.
For a simple, easy-to-use platform that most people have heard of and a lot of people have used, Zoom has a free version available allowing unlimited 1-on-1 meetings, and 40-minute group meetings with up to 100 people.
If you’re ready for an upgrade, Zoom also has three paid tiers allowing larger groups, no time cap on group meetings, and other customizations and upgrades.
Another great platform is UberConference, where you can add callers mid-conversation without having to share codes or download software.
Like Zoom, UberConference allows screen sharing, and it can also transcribe meetings.
If you’re a big fan of Gmail, Google Meet can work well. Though you have to pay for the recording option, it integrates well with Google products and the experience is described as very similar to a FaceTime call.
For more help creating an awesome B2B podcast, head over to this article by James Carbary, Sweet Fish’s founder, to find the ultimate breakdown of what to know and do.