PE045: Interviews vs Solos – which podcast format should I choose?


Audio is a super flexible medium and I think that we have very much limited ourselves in the podcasting space by putting ourselves into two camps: solo hosted or co-hosted shows and interviews.

Andrea Klunder, Your Podcast Boss

I’m rebutting a rebuttal of an article that I had wanted to rebut from the Podcast Business Journal, which is a daily online resource that’s fairly new in the space and I think is trying to present controversial or conflicting points of views for the sake of discussion on social media, which seems to be working quite well because… here we are.

Should I have an interview show or a solo show?

Article 1: Stop The Interviews. Go Solo. by Robert Crandall

Article 2: Most Hosts Shouldn’t Go Solo by Richard Davies

My opinion???

Read on for more…

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Article Cont’d

Interviews or solos? Interviews or solos? Where do you think I fall in that Spectrum? 

Well, this is kind of a trick question because, as you know, I do both interviews and solo episodes and truthfully, that is my answer.

Well, okay, let me qualify that. That is the simple answerdo both interviews and solos for all of the reasons mentioned in the referenced articles.

I mean Robert Crandall from article one is not wrong when he says that: 

With a solo show, the listener gets to know you, like you, and trust you. 

There’s a connection and that is so so so important because if people don’t know, like, and trust you, they’re not going to keep listening to your show. No matter WHO you have as an interview guest. And if you are trying to build thought leadership or share your expertise, then yes, we want to hear from YOU.

In fact, most of my clients who come to me for launch consulting or for show editing or to produce their show, especially if they’re a solopreneur or a one-person business, they are assuming that they’re going to do an interview show.

And sometimes they have very good clear reasons for doing this like they want to use their show to network with other people in their field that they wouldn’t necessarily always have access to.

Or the mere fact that they have a small following, a small audience, to begin with and having guests on your show can (not always but if done right) be a way to grow your listening audience IF the fans and followers of your guests are likely to be in your target listening audience and IF those guests are likely to share their show with their audiences.

Also interviews are a great way for you, the host, to follow your curiosity and learn and ask good questions and  get new insights and fresh perspectives, especially when as Richard Davies from article two mentions, you interview people who have differing perspectives from you. 

A podcaster who is really great at doing this is Julie Neale from Mother’s Quest! 

Check out my interview with Julie on Podcast Envy episode 036.

So yes, I am a big fan of the interview and there are a lot of reasons to do it. However, I usually encourage those podcast clients who want to do interviews to also consider sprinkling in some solo shows.

And that is for all of the reasons laid out in this article and more: building thought leadership, building that one-to-one connection, etc.  I will tell you that most of my listeners especially for The Creative Impostor have told me that while they love the interviews so much what they really come back for are the solo episodes where it’s just me talking directly to them. That’s what keeps them listening. Those are my core devoted fans and audience.

One great example of a client who took me up on my advice to add solo episodes into the interview mix is Sarah Buino from Conversations with a Wounded Healer. 

Check out my interview with Sarah BEFORE her podcasting days on The Creative Impostor episode 055.

But in article two –  Most Hosts Shouldn’t Go Solo with Richard Davies, I don’t agree with the title, but I do think that…

Purely solo shows can be really challenging to create to keep fresh, to do well, to grow listeners, and  to keep going unless you just really really really love the sound of your own voice

It eventually starts to feel very much the same, like one-dimensional one-sided conversation. Richard also mentions the element of spontaneity of these genuine moments and surprises that can happen when not everything is scripted. 


Podcast Envy Pro Tip!

When I book interviews, I do send my guests an idea of what topics we might touch on and what questions I might ask, but I do not send them every question in advance. There needs to be an element of surprise and moments that are unplanned and I need to have the flexibility to completely go off script.


Sometimes with solo shows they can be hard to pull off. If you are a host who is scripting everything and then you read off a piece of paper, then you’re going to need to do some work on your presentation, possibly acting coaching, marking up your script, using intentional vocal variety. You’re also going to need to think about the way that somebody is listening to your voice.

So the easy answer to this dilemma of interview vs solo is obviously: BOTH!

The more complex answer that I want you to take some time to consider is: 

Why interviews or solos? Is that all there is for podcasting? What else is possible?

Audio is a super flexible medium and I think that we have very much limited ourselves in the podcasting space by putting ourselves into two camps hosted solo hosted or co-hosted shows and interviews.

And yes, I am fully aware as I say this that I am also one of those podcasters who does those two things, but believe me when I tell you that I have been thinking and thinking and thinking about how I would like to do things differently something that I could use the medium of audio to do or convey or express in a more inventive, more creative, more adaptive way, and I don’t have the answer yet.

But what I do have are some examples of shows that I think are exploring the edges of what is possible in interesting ways. And of course, this is not an exhaustive list. 

If you have an example of a show that you think is going beyond the simple solo or co-hosted show or interview format who’s doing something interesting with the way their show is presented with the actual format of the show, I would love for you to share that with me.  

You can actually share that show with me on Instagram either through a DM or you can post it or you can post it and tag me @andreaklunder.

Or you can tell me about it record a voice memo in your phone or, you are a podcaster, right? So record a little snippet of audio and send me a decent quality MP3 file to andrea [at] thecreativeimpostor.com.

Resources & podcasts mentioned

Mother’s Quest

Conversations with a Wounded Healer

Key Change: Creating Opera for All Voices

Flash Forward

Project Woo Woo

Everyone Else

Watching With…

By the Book

Congressional Dish

The Embody Podcast

10 Things That Scare Me

My episode of The Creative Impostor inspired by this show

Sarah’s episode of Conversations with a Wounded Healer inspired by this show

Creative Processing

 

Connect with me

  1. Send me an email and let me know about a podcast you LOVE doing something interesting with their format beyond solos & interviews. So no like formal survey or anything. Just email me. You can write it or record a voice memo on your phone and attach it to the email.
  2. DM me on Insta or post a clip/show that you think is doing something creative with their format and tag me @andreaklunder
  3. Join my Facebook Community where we create social support for content creators with inspiring prompts, opportunities for you to share your work, and more.

My favorite hashtags #thecreativeimpostor #podcastenvy #podcastboss

Email or Voice (send me a question to answer on the show!)
Facebook Group The Creative Impostor
Facebook Page @andreaklunder.creative
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