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Adapting Your Speaking Topics into Podcast Interviews

For many of us, our public speaking endeavors have been put on hold indefinitely due to the pandemic. It could be some time before we take the stage again, but that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of this time to build experience and grow your portfolio. Podcasts offer a great way to increase exposure through thought leadership, all from your home's comfort.   

Since podcasts provide content regularly, competition isn't as steep as a speaking engagement. Plus, there are countless industry podcasts in the market so that you can book a handful of shows with even just a couple hours of pitching. However, recording a podcast is a very different experience than speaking on stage—and not just for the obvious reasons. 

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We spoke with thought leaders from across the industry about adapting speaking topics into podcast interviews and positioning yourself as an expert without giving away the secret sauce for free. Here are the top recommendations.

Curate your current speaking topics

Podcasts aren’t typically designed to be deep dives into a subject. Listeners can tune in for free (as opposed to paying a conference fee), so it makes sense to keep it pretty simple. You can provide education without giving away all of your secrets; in fact, when you withhold some value, you can use a podcast interview as a lead magnet to draw in prospects (with the host’s permission, of course).

“I always start with my speaking topics and flesh them out very thoroughly with outlines before ever being booked for them,” shares Margaux Fraise of Harmony Creative Studio. “This makes it much easier to then pull sections out to really hone in on and focus for certain podcasts. That way, I’m not giving away the entire topic on a podcast for free and I can turn a single topic into multiple podcast angles.” 

Don’t memorize a speech

While an on-stage presentation may have you practicing in the mirror until you can recite it backwards, podcast interviews are designed to be conversational and a rehearsed script will come across as ingenuous. 

“It is so important to prevent yourself from over-practicing for a podcast interview,” says Shannon Tarrant of Wedding Venue Map. “The best conversations are fluid and stay on topic, but take shape based upon the banter between the host and guest.” You heard it: Keep it simple, know your key points, and don’t be afraid to show a little personality.

Prepare a basic framework 

For each topic, you'll want to know how the conversation should go and the points you want to make. If you've delivered this speaking topic before, this is probably a simple task, but a printed outline can help keep you (and the host!) on-track while recording.

“If the interviewer has not provided talking points or Q&A questions, I may send over a few questions ahead of time based on the topic,” explains Michelle Loretta of Sage Wedding Pros. “If the interviewer prefers to work ‘on the fly,’ I may prepare a list of bullet points for myself. This helps me center myself and get focused. Otherwise, podcasts can go off-course into tangents. All that being said, sometimes the best podcast content comes up in those unplanned questions and moments. As a guest, I try to stay agile.”

Be careful with your environment

When you’re presenting at a conference, all you have to do is show up and let the tech crew mic you up. All of the audiovisual factors are taken care of for you, but that’s not how it goes with a podcast. Most often, you’ll be recording from your computer at home or in your office, so you need to make sure you sound (and look, in the case of webinars) great.

“When you adapt to podcast interviews, be sure that all background noise is non-existent,” states JoAnn Gregoli of Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli. “Also, make sure you are not backlit and have adequate lighting.” 

If you plan to be a frequent podcast guest, it's worth investing in a recording microphone, which will ensure clarity and crispness in your interviews.

Make it personal 

People listen to podcasts on their own time, so it’s not like you have a captive audience listening to your every word. Thus, you need to adapt your approach when being interviewed.

“Podcast interviews are more personal than speaking engagements and allow you to make a one-on-on connection with listeners,” says Aleya Harris of Flourish Marketing. “Instead of sitting in a conference room or convention center, podcast listeners are hearing your voice while they are driving, cooking, or cleaning their house.” 

Harris continues: “I make sure to switch my message from talking to the masses to talking to a single individual. I make sure to incorporate a bit more levity and entertainment with education. You most likely don’t have their full attention, so the entertaining banter keeps them engaged and more receptive to learning.”

Before you start to pitch to podcasts, take some time to listen to your favorite podcasts and evaluate what you like most about them. What keeps you coming back, week after week? You aren’t just a podcast guest — you are also a podcast listener, so use your experience to become a stronger interviewee and produce better content. 


Meghan Ely

President, OFD Consulting, Richmond, VA

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast. 

Photo: Melody Smith Portraits