James Carbary

Founder at Sweet Fish Media

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Getting Started with Sweet Fish: Equipment, Software, Interview Best Practices & More

woman-recording-podcast

James Carbary

Founder at Sweet Fish Media

Full Profile »

Ready to become a B2B podcasting jedi?

In this handbook, we’re going to cover every aspect of successfully completing your first episode, including:

  • The equipment you need
  • The necessary software
  • Pre-interview tips
  • Interview best practices
  • Post-interview pointers
  • Behind-the-scenes stuff

Let’s dive in!

Equipment

To help you record an outstanding interview, you’ll need some equipment. Have no fear, Sweet Fish buys and sends all the necessary equipment to customers upon signing.)

[RELATED: Hear about the equipment you need to start a podcast.]

Microphone, headphones, etc.

The equipment we send customers: 

  • A podcast-grade microphone
  • A swivel arm desk attachment
  • Pop filter
  • Headphones

For assistance setting up all this shiny, new equipment, check out this tutorial video from Jeremy (our Audio & Video Manager). 👇

Software

Along with the recording hardware, there is some software that will help you in your podcasting journey. Sweet Fish customers are lucky — your Producer will set all of this up for you!

Zoom

Zoom is what we often use to connect with guests and record interviews.

You’re probably already using this tool… so we won’t waste words on telling you why Zoom is awesome. 🙂

Trello

Trello is a virtual pinboard where we keep track of the different elements of Sweet Fish shows (audio files, graphics, written content, etc.). It allows us to seamlessly move shows through every element of production.

Our customers are more than welcome to track the progress of their launch and individual episodes via Trello.

Google Drive

This one may not need much of an introduction, but you should be aware that our team stores audio files and content on Google Drive. Our customers have access to their particular Google Drive folder at all times.

Additionally, they can even follow the show’s launch progress, read the intro episode script, and go back to look at the Kickoff Call itinerary.

Email

After every interview, our hosts email the audio file to their Sweet Fish Producer. Then they’re able to kick back and let our team do the rest!

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Pre-interview

The time before you hit ‘Record’ can take your interview from good to AMAZING. This is known as the pre-interview.

When

Depending on who you’re interviewing, we recommend doing the pre-interview at one of two times:

  1. If you’re focused on doing Content-Based Networking with your show (interviewing decision-makers at your target accounts as guests on your podcast), then we recommend doing pre-interviews as a separate,15-minute call a few days before the actual interview. This allows you to build rapport, get the guest more comfortable with you, and it allows you to do more in-depth content planning for that specific episode.
  2. If you’re interviewing an industry thought leader, an author, or someone that is accustomed to doing lots of interviews, we recommend doing the pre-interview during the same call as the actual interview. Just carve out the first 15 minutes of the interview to do POV Discovery (more on this below) and define the talking points for the episode.

What is POV Discovery?

Regardless of who you’re interviewing on your podcast, you’re interviewing them for a reason. They’re either an established thought leader in your space or they’re a practitioner/decision maker at a company that you’d like to do business with.

In either case, the professionals you’re interviewing are really intelligent people. They have tangible thoughts and ideas that can help your audience get better at work.

But not all of your guests have fully developed those thoughts and ideas — that’s where you come in. Through a simple process that we call POV Discovery, you will come alongside your guests (during the pre-interview) and help them define and articulate their specific points of view.

POV Discovery questions

The POV Discovery process is simply asking a series of questions that tee-up your guest to talk about their distinct point of view about the industry that your show is serving.

Here are the top 3 POV Discovery questions:

  1. What is a commonly held belief in our industry you passionately disagree with?
  2. What should everyone in our space STOP doing?
  3. What should everyone in our space START doing?

These questions will likely give you more than enough options to build an episode around. But if you don’t like how your guest answers those questions, here are 5 more questions you can ask them:

  1. What’s something everyone in our industry is trying to do that you’ve discovered a better way to do?
  2. What’s a failure you’ve experienced that you think many are headed for?
  3. What’s a resource/tool/channel people aren’t using correctly or to its fullest?
  4. What’s a recent activity you’ve implemented in your company that the results surprised you?
  5. What’s something you or your team have recently achieved that you’re really proud of?

Building your interview: The What/Why/How Framework 

Once you’ve identified a clear and distinct point of view for your guest through the POV Discovery process, you now have what you need to build out the specific interview questions that you’ll use during the interview.

If you’re doing your pre-interview as a separate call, end the pre-interview by letting the guest know that you’ll be prepping some specific questions based on your conversation. Additionally, you (or your Producer) will be emailing them ahead of the interview with the questions.

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The goal of your interviews should be to create the most helpful content on the internet for your intended audience. A tangible way to create this content is by getting your guest to fully articulate their point of view.

What does it look like to fully articulate a POV? In each interview, guide your guest to explaining the what, the why, and the how for their specific point of view.

The WHAT: Identifying and defining their point of view.

The WHY: This is the theory, reason, and rationale behind their point of view.

The HOW:  This is the real meat of the interview. It’s the action guide, the strategy, the potential pitfalls to avoid.

Here’s a list of potential What/Why/How questions that you can ask your guests during the actual interview. Preparing these questions immediately after the pre-interview (while the conversation is still fresh on your mind) can be really helpful.

what-why-how-questions

What/Why/How Templates

Commonly Held Belief/Passionately Disagree

commonly-held-belief-questions

Everyone Should Stop…

everyone-should-stop-doing-questions

Everyone Should Start…

everyone-should-start-doing-questions

[RELATED: Hear about how to be a successful podcast host without a ton of experience.]

Interview

Now that you’ve done the POV Discovery, paired with What/Why/How questions, the actual interview is pretty much a breeze.

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Guest’s name & title

Make sure you’ve got your guest’s name, title, and company written down in front of you so you’re not searching for that info when the recording starts.

Intro

It’s a good idea to have a standard introduction for your show that helps set the rhythm for each episode. The more comfortable you are with the intro, the easier it will be to transition right into the interview.

The intro can be as simple as:

“Welcome back to <name of your show>. Today we’ll be talking about <guest’s POV>.

Introducing your guest

When introducing your guest, share their name, their job title, and their company. 

Example:

Welcome back to the B2B Growth Show. Today we’ll be talking about some specific tactics you can use to execute ABM with your mid-tier accounts. We’re joined today by Sangram Vajre, Chief Evangelist at Terminus.

Don’t be boring

Most interview-based shows start their interviews by asking their guests something incredibly boring, like: “How are you doing today?”

bored-stanley-the-office

Let’s be real. Nobody cares how they’re doing. Instead, open up your interviews by having a little fun before getting into the meat of the episode.

Try asking your guest a fun, easy-to-answer question. After your intro, say something like: 

Frank, we like to open up our episodes with a fun question that helps our listeners get to know you a bit…

  • What was your AOL Instant Messenger screen name?
  • What’s the best vacation you’ve ever been on?
  • What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
  • Have you been reading or listening to anything interesting lately?
  • What’s something about you that most of your coworkers don’t know about you?
  • What have you been bingeing on Netflix?

If you plan on asking an introductory question, it might help your guest to already know what you’re going to ask so they can plan a response. No one likes to look like a deer in headlights.

Transition

Time to transition from intro to content. Use the guest’s background info to make a smooth transition into the main topic of the episode.

Because the guest is speaking from experience, their job title should flow naturally into the material. After all, they’re experts on this stuff.

Content

The bulk of the interview will be your guest sharing and elaborating on their point of view. So your guest is responsible for the lion’s share of the content. You’re there to keep things on track and to ask the What/Why/How questions we talked about earlier.

During the interview, keep these pointers in mind:

  1. Try not to get caught up in the mechanics of the interview. It’s a conversation in the end. Focus on what your guest is saying and not on what you’re going to say next. Your questions will be more thoughtful and authentic this way.
  2. Take short notes of things your guest says that you’d like to reiterate or revisit. Let the guest finish the thought they’re on, then circle back to whatever you wanted to hear more about.
  3. It’s okay to interrupt your guest if you feel like they’re rambling. It’s your job to keep the conversation on track for the sake of the listeners.
  4. Think about what your ideal listener wants to learn. They probably want insights on industry trends, best practices, ways to get better at their job, etc. What they don’t want to hear? A sales pitch.
  5. It’s okay to respectfully disagree with your guest. Your goal isn’t to patronize your guest — it’s to create a good episode. Provocative content is usually very engaging.
  6. Focus on actionability. A lot of guests will live in theory, talk in circles, or just focus on their own experience. Ask questions that make your guest tell the listener what to do and how to start.
  7. Don’t lengthen stupid stuff. You’ll be tempted to ask questions or comment on everything the guest says. If they’re talking about their cats, move the conversation on.
  8. Don’t worry about sounding smart. You represent the listener. When the guest says something you don’t understand, say “for anyone less familiar, what did you mean by ____?”
  9. It’s totally normal to be nervous about your first episode. As you get more interviews under your belt, it will eventually feel like second nature.

By keeping these 9 tips in mind, you’ll be able to create an episode that your listeners get really tangible value from. 🙂

[RELATED: Learn how to grow a podcast audience in 14 steps.]

Wrapping up the interview

You’re on the home stretch! The interview is winding down and you’ve guided the guest through the What/Why/How of their POV.

man-saying-wrap-it-up-GIF

If you’re worried the episode is a little short or wasn’t quite actionable enough, here are a few questions you can ask to close it out:

  1. What is the main takeaway you want to leave the audience with?
  2. What is a tangible next step that listeners can take back to their business?
  3. Before we close out today’s episode, is there anything else you’d like to add?

Then, end the interview by thanking your guest for their time and asking how listeners can get in touch with them or their business.

Lastly, stop recording and let the guest know how great it was to chat with them.

Post-interview

The hard work is done. Now all that’s left are some quick post-interview tasks.

Inform the guest

Let them know they’ll be receiving an email once their episode goes live. The Sweet Fish producers take care of this for customers.

Additionally, you should let each guest know that you hope to stay connected with them. If you haven’t already done it, make sure to send them a connection request on LinkedIn.

[RELATED: Discover 23 ways to nurture relationships w/ your podcast guests.]

Audio file

Once you end the Zoom call, download the audio file.

Sweet Fish hosts email the audio file to their Producer with any notes about sections that need to be cut. For non Sweet Fish customers, we suggest partnering with a professional audio engineer. 

It also helps our team of writers when hosts provide the following information:

  • What you hope the main focus of the episode to be
  • Any ideas for the episode’s title
  • Any additional resources you’d like listed in the episode’s show notes
  • Clarification of any jargon or acronyms that may be unfamiliar
  • Any quotes from the guest that stood out to you

Customers can even include these tidbits in their Zoom recording (just pause your recording during the post-interview with your guest, and start recording your notes for the Producer after the guest leaves the call). 

By providing this extra info, it helps our writers deliver a better product to our customers and their audiences.

The Sweet Fish Team

Once customers send us the audio file, we take over the show’s production. This includes the audio engineering, as well as written and video content. 

Audio engineering

As soon as we get the raw audio file, our audio engineer gets to work on adjusting the levels, removing awkward pauses, and attaching the ad spots.

Again, if there are any parts of the audio that you know need to be cut, just make a note of the approximate time when you send the file to your Producer.

Written content

Depending on the service the customer signs up for, our team can turn their episode into written content like show notes, blog posts, and social media updates.

We’ve trained our writers to communicate as best they can in our hosts’ voices with maximum shareability. Even so, any feedback customers have is always welcomed!

Follow-up

Producers notify guests when their episode goes live and will include all the relevant links they need to share across their own professional networks.

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Be the hostess with the mostess

You’re on your way to becoming a first-rate podcast host!

As long as you keep the podcasting best practices in mind and openly communicate with your Sweet Fish Producer, your show is going to be a success.

We can’t wait to get started. 🙂

For more B2B podcasting insights, subscribe to B2B Growth on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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