Building Authority with an Interview-Format Podcast
Podcasters walk a fine line during guest interviews. We want to showcase our guests, but for many of us, it’s important that we’re recognized as experts as well.
You have a lot of options to do this, such as including solo episodes or doing what “experts” do as far as publishing your ideas, like writing a book.
But what if you want to focus on an interview-format podcast and still be seen as an expert?
Your authority will happen naturally via osmosis.
In science, osmosis is the movement of water molecules through a semi-permeable membrane from an area of lower concentration to an area of higher concentration. The aim is to equalize the concentration on each side of the membrane.
Osmosis in podcasting happens too. Hang around enough [INSERT ADJECTIVES HERE] guests long enough and you’ll absorb some of these attributes, at least in the minds of listeners.
This means that if your guests are seen as “smart, successful, and popular,” you’ll also be seen as “smart, successful, and popular.”’
Eventually. You have to do this for a while—it doesn’t happen overnight.
But when it does happen, it compounds on itself. For example, attracting more [INSERT ADJECTIVES HERE] guests to you. And this boosts your reputation even more.
Want to speed up the authority-building process? Try this …
You’re probably familiar with the curse of knowledge, a cognitive bias that occurs when we assume others have the background to understand what we’re talking about. If they don’t, our communication suffers, since these assumptions leave enormous holes.
This is common in niche podcasts, because of the specialized topics being discussed, but it’s something guests are especially prone to taking part in, since they’re not as familiar with who is listening or how podcasting works—many think of the “interview” you do as a one-on-one conversation, not something thousands of others will be listening to.
For example, if I’m interviewing a musician and he mentions “mechanical royalties” or “The Bluebird,” that means something to insiders, and maybe even to most listeners, but probably not a general audience. And because I have an audience of both insiders and regular people, that’s where I step in and explain these things.
The process is simple. After he mentions “mechanical royalties,” I’ll do one of two things.
Ask him to define/explain what “mechanical royalties” means.
Definite/explain “mechanical royalties” myself.
Should you go for the first option, don’t worry about looking like you don’t know what this is, even if you don’t know what it is. Guests will see your followup simply as bringing them into the conversation and give you credit for this knowledge, regardless of whether you explain it yourself.
Your job as host is to ask questions your listeners want answers for and deliver those answers so they’re understood. This means asking for followup from guests or otherwise explaining things, even if you don’t need additional explanation yourself.
This is how you build authority with your audience.