As journalists seek out new ways to introduce music to the listening public, many have turned to podcasting. A less formal and often more in depth way of interviewing artists than traditional radio. While certainly a good promotional opportunity for artists, there are some things you should keep in mind before entering the studio.
Guest post by Cait Macmahon from the Symphonic Blog
Journalists are constantly finding new ways to bring music news to the public in interesting ways. One of the newest trends is podcast interviews, where listeners can explore intimate interviews with today’s bands and thought leaders. Podcasts are similar to talk radio but on-demand and provide an opportunity to dig deeper into stories and personalities. If offered a podcast interview, you should definitely take advantage of the opportunity, but before you do, remember this advice to help it run as smoothly as possible.
An important step to take before speaking on any recorded line is thorough preparation. Ask the podcast host for a list of questions or a general guideline, so you and the band can prepare general ideas for answers. Most podcast hosts will happily share these assets since solid answers are preferable than huge edits. Once you receive the questions, it’s important to read them and think about what you might say. Don’t plan rigid answers on note cards, podcasts are meant to be on the informal side, but it’s nice to have a general gist of what you might talk about when you’re put on the spot. Good podcasters are well-versed in editing and don’t mind cutting things out, so don’t think too hard about it.
While it might be a little silly to think about, plan to wear comfortable clothing. Podcasts involve mics and sometimes condensers, so wearing five chains or your earrings that jingle might not be your best bet.
On the drive over, have a chat with other band members about any angles you might want to lean towards, like your upcoming album theme or a tour you’re promoting. Having these reminders can help you sway your questions into some organic promotion that listeners will appreciate. Make sure to address any topics you do NOT want any members to talk about. If you have an album you haven’t announced or drama circulating, remind each other that those topics should be avoided.
During the Episode
So you’ve got a great, quiet outfit and you’re ready with your answer ideas. Great! The important area to pay a lot of attention to is your body language and your dictation. If you have trouble focusing, bring your trusty fidget spinner. Shifting around in your chair or messing with your clothes can cause a lot of unnecessary background noise and make the editor’s life a living hell, so try your best to relax and just hangout.
Remember to stay close to your microphone and speak clearly. If you’re sharing a microphone, lean into it as you speak. Try not to yell into the microphone, or yell away from it if you do. Coming from a podcast host, DO NOT interrupt each other! Many bands are used to bantering back and forth but this can ruin an entire podcast episode. Talking over another person ensures neither of you are heard and the entire section had to be removed. Also keep your “no-go topics” in mind and if a band member happens to slip up and mention it, kindly request that the podcast host edit it out.
Of all the advice that can make a podcast great, “be yourself” is the best anyone can give. The point of podcasts is to allow the listener to feel as though they are casually sitting on the couch next to the band, so the last thing you want to do is to give dry, vague answers. Now is the time to tell those extra detailed stories you couldn’t in previous, short video or phone interviews. Stories are one of the most interesting parts of each music-based podcast, because many of them have never been heard. Talk about your crazy tour story about when you drank too much White Claw, or when you left a member at a venue by accident, those are the pieces that will draw listeners in and help them remember you. A strange but simple request from myself as a podcast host: laugh! Be goofy and don’t take it super seriously, it’s a lot of fun to listen to band members having a great time and laughing with each other, making the listener more likely to laugh along and truly enjoy the episode.
One more piece of advice to use in a podcast interview: PROMOTE. This is a perfect chance to let the listeners know the exciting things you have coming up, whether it’s a new tour, album or merch launch, drop the news along with your website and social media links to make sure everyone stays up to date!
After the Episode is Live
Like any media coverage involving your band, it’s incredibly important to share it on social media, showing thanks for the outlet for featuring you and to encourage engagements. Sharing the podcast episode once it’s live helps fans find it, and in turn helps the podcast reach new listeners. When sharing, make sure to include the links to where you can hear the podcast like iTunes, Spotify, etc and ask listeners to rate, review and subscribe. All of these things are what a podcast needs to become increasingly popular, which means more people will hear about your band! It’s also good practice to take the time to rate, review and subscribe to the podcast yourself.
Lastly, tell your friends about the podcast experience! Besides getting new listeners, other bands can reach out for a feature and everyone benefits. Podcasts are so much fun, so if you haven’t had the chance to speak on one, reach out to local hosts and set up an appearance for your band of your clients for an exciting twist on an interview.
Looking for a music-based podcast? What about one that involves drinking? Check out Drunk & Local, where Cait drinks local beers with local bands, but be warned: it gets rowdy!
Cait McMahon has an undeniable passion for music and developed her self-starting drive when she realized she had to create her own opportunities. She achieved a Bachelor's degree in Communications and International Public Relations through loans and three jobs at a time, and without the ability to pursue unpaid music industry internships like many other underprivileged dreamers, Cait's entrepreneurial spirit bubbled up and she founded a boutique PR firm, Nü Echo Media PR. Running successful campaigns for artists nationwide with one assistant and the help of a few amazing mentors inspires her to tell her story of rising from ashes.