I believe in preparation.
In fact, I believe in preparation so much, I'll sometimes blow off everyone and everything to ensure my podcast interviews are properly prepared.
Better to have more material than not enough. I'm an info hoarder.
Indeed, reading, or at the very least, skimming a guest's book wins you over. I know this coming from both sides of the podcast world. It's always a pleasant surprise to know that a host has read my book. Both because reading a book requires an investment of one's time (our only nonrenewable resource) and because it feeds my ego.
I remember (quite vividly) something thriller author Brad Taylor once told me after my first interview with him. It was after he complemented me about actually reading his book. He told me some people who interview him don't have much to say to him, other than, "huh, so, you wrote a book."
Since then, I've made a concerted effort to read/skim every guest's newest/most recent book. A tall order seeing as how nearly all of my guests have written books.
Knowing what guests like about an interviewer helps me deliver an interview that listeners will like. After all, how can I tell people I have an interview-focused show if I don't even know what I'm asking my guests?!?
But all of this preparation mumbo jumbo went out the window after a recent experience.
I was a guest on a podcast to talk about my new book Allow Me to Ruin Your Christmas. And the host didn't even know the title of the book. Safe to say, they hadn't even read a page, much less the synopsis.
Anyhow, the conversation ended up being PHENOMENAL. No kidding. We had a blast talking about writing and marketing and plotting.
All of this to ask...
Does preparation for a podcast interview even matter?
The short answer is YES. Of course it does.
However, as with life, the long answer is more complicated.
Indeed, I could have been one of those snobby author-types who got offended and disconnected before the interview had even begun. That's not me, though.
But I found it (and continue to find it) interesting that a host can go into an interview without knowing the title of their guest's book and STILL pull off a great interview. It flies in the face of everything I've ever been taught about preparation.
So why write this post?
I have no idea, actually. I suppose it's just me being dumbfounded.
Nothing about that experience makes me want to skip the "reading in preparation" part of my process. It's in my DNA.
But to podcasters who conduct interviews: Don't take my advice. If you're a great host without the prolonged preparation process (nice alliteration, ehh?), then have at it! Guests like you exist and I think that's great.
If you ever want to chat about your podcast host or guest skills, hit me up. I'd love to connect.