Learn the best podcast questions that elicit ‘out-of-the-box’ responses from your podcast guests! Here are our best questions to ask business owners.
Podcasting has gained great traction in recent years, and for good reason.
Long gone are the days of painfully unrelatable celebrities being the only ones with a voice. Now, anyone with a microphone can share their thoughts, offer helpful tips, or evoke culturally-relevant conversations as they please. The possibilities are truly limitless. That being said, not all podcasts are created equal. To elicit fresh and engaging content, you need to ask the right podcast questions.
Doing so encourages your guests to provide higher-value insights for your listeners to apply more meaningfully to their own lives—keeping them coming back for more time and time again.
Global podcast listeners will top a whopping 424 million by the end of 2023.
Your brother-in-law who keeps going on about the future of fintech, your friend who’s recently committed to radical self-love, and your procrastinator-turned-go-getter roommate are all living proof that those numbers will only continue to soar.
That is precisely why podcasts can be a wildly effective (and not to mention, low-cost) medium to promote your business. They work to level the playing field while delivering your messages straight to your target audience’s ears.
That’s a lot of pressure, we know. Don’t worry, you can always count on WriteForMe to help you seize the moment.
Benefits of Asking Unique Podcast Questions
It’s always helpful to understand the why before learning the how. Just because you’ve bought the equipment and come up with a catchy show name doesn’t mean you’re ready to hit the ground running on the air. Not without a game plan, at least. So, why should you care about what comes after hitting a record?
Because effectively resonating with your audience is all about providing value. To be fair, they tuned in, so clearly they believe you can give them that—you just need to deliver it. By choosing the right podcast questions, you can rise to the occasion and impart advice that your listeners otherwise wouldn’t have access to in the process. Podcasts can:
- Encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to further develop their skills
- Connect entrepreneurs and help them develop contacts
- Improve entrepreneurs’ knowledge and allow guests to share their expertise
- Showcase success stories and inspire others to follow suit
- Build your community and establish a loyal listenership
That being said, there are millions of podcasts to choose from. You’ve got to do what you can to stand out. On top of choosing the right guests, you can set your podcast apart by asking unique, hard-hitting podcast questions to elicit memorable, authentic responses from them.
Podcast Questions To Elicit “Out of the Box” Responses
A podcast is an excellent avenue to dig deep and really get to know your guest. The podcast questions you ask need to be two things: engaging and distinctive. “Out of the box” responses are usually responses that contain more depth than standard, run-of-the-mill answers. As you’d imagine, they require equally “out of the box” questions to elicit them. However, it’s difficult to come up with them on the fly, so you should prepare them in advance. Here are some tips to formulate important, well-timed questions for your guests.
Start with Lighthearted Questions
While it may be tempting to immediately get into the nitty gritty, avoid doing so. Your guest needs time to get comfortable. Begin the podcast episode by asking easy questions to build trust and rapport. You can ask them lighthearted questions about their origins, hobbies, or personal life, and you can even use this information to uncover something that connects the two of you. By leading with something lighter, you can more comfortably transition to deeper topics later on.
Do Your Research
When creating your podcast questions, you need to know the basics about your guest. What prompted you to invite them to the show? What makes their input valuable to your audience? Nailing the basics about your guest will help you create primary questions, as well as any follow-ups you may have for them. It’s important to note that different guests require a different set of questions. Modify your podcast questions according to the research you have done to create a better experience for your podcast guests.
Crowdsource From Your Audiences
One of the best ways to conjure worthwhile questions is by asking your listeners. The show’s for them, after all. As such, your audience may want to hear about certain topics, insights, or opinions, particularly if your guest is well-known in your community. Use your website or social platforms to ask your audiences what kinds of questions they want to be answered. This will help you create a better flow for your podcast guests and on-the-nose content for your listeners.
Though no one knows what your listeners want better than they do, they can only carry you so far. So, here are our best podcast questions we love asking any guest from any industry.
Caution: only use them if you’re ready to build deeper relationships with guests and audiences alike.
1. When are you most productive?
For many entrepreneurs, time is gold. They value their time above all else, and they likely accredit their success to a routine that maximizes their waking hours. By asking guests about their time management skills—and the productivity they enjoy as a result of them—you can provide your listeners with actionable insight on how to manage their own time and boost their productivity, too. This can transform how they tackle their day-to-day activities by helping them reprioritize and develop a routine that better serves them.
This is one of the podcast questions that elicit “out of the box” responses because no two answers will be exactly the same. While successful people tend to share similar belief systems, their means of getting there are often vastly different. Providing your listeners with such an intimate look into your guests’ lives will keep them coming back for more.
2. What’s next for you?
Open-ended podcast questions are great for encouraging more in-depth conversations. Your guest will either delve deeper to share more about their personal life, or they can use the opportunity to clue you in on what’s next for their business. Asking your guests what their next step will be can give you a glimpse of what to look forward to.
Furthermore, discussing the future and sharing one’s hopes and dreams for it are also always great conversation pieces. Doing so gives your guest more freedom to divulge what they want while maintaining an optimistic, inspiring atmosphere.
3. What is the biggest misconception people have about your field?
Your guests are bound to have extensive (or even expert) backgrounds in their respective fields. That’s why you chose them, after all. That’s why your podcast can be the perfect avenue for them to debunk any myths and misconceptions about their line of work. This can be valuable for audiences who are seeking to learn more about a certain field, or even promote more holistic views of niche professions.
Asking your guests this question can help them provide more insight into how and why they do their work. Their response may even encourage aspirants to pursue their desired careers. Either way, this is a great question to ask guests from any field. They get the opportunity to put preconceived notions to rest while everyone stands to benefit.
4. What’s one piece of advice you can share?
Experience is the best teacher, and experts have loads of it. This makes them qualified to give tips, advice, and encouragement to aspirants looking to take the plunge. This is one of the most engaging podcast questions to ask because you get to instantly generate value for your audience while reaffirming your guest as an industry authority—one that’s worth asking for advice from.
Audiences are likely waiting for your guests to impart tidbits of wisdom. Similar to how we look to tried-and-true solutions to fix things, we look to tried-and-true people to grow. Better yet, this question can lead to a lot more follow-ups, which will prompt you to keep the conversation flowing smoothly. Remember, your audience is looking for valuable insight that they can use in their own lives. Getting expert advice will help guide them along their personal and professional journeys.
5. Is there any question you wish I’d asked you?
A great podcast episode boils down to the connection between the host and the podcast guest. By asking this question, you get to turn the tables and provide your guest with the opportunity to steer the conversation. They can raise specific points they feel called to talk about and, in turn, create greater value for your listeners.
Moreover, ff all the podcast questions on this list, this question can help you gain more perspective on a topic you as a host may not have initially thought of. It allows your guest to truly showcase their expertise by adding more depth to your conversation.
As a tip, you should aim to ask this question toward the end of your discussion. Doing so nudges your guest to discuss any points that may have been missed up until that point, as well as offers a segue to end the episode.
6. What makes your business unique?
All businesses have competition. Knowing what makes them unique will allow them to stand out and have an edge over their competitors. Podcast hosts often ask this question to allow their guests to showcase their business and highlight what they have to offer. This can help businesses connect with potential customers, which can help them grow.
This is also one of the podcast questions that will reveal what entrepreneurs value the most about their businesses. Listeners can use this information to refine their own business strategies and sharpen their own entrepreneurial skills.
7. What was your biggest failure in the past and what was the lesson that you learned from it?
Not all of your podcast questions have to focus on the positive aspects of a business.
After all, learning from mistakes and failures is instrumental to growth. Asking your podcast guests this question will prompt them to impart valuable insight into how they handled and rose above their worst days.
It also helps dispel the myth that success comes easy, or that it’s a straight line. Hint: it rarely, rarely is. Better yet, the failures along the way make success that much sweeter when you finally get a taste of it. Chances are your guests know this lesson well. They learned from their experiences—yes, the good, the bad, and the ugly—and they’re better today because of it. Your listeners deserve (and probably need) to hear these truths straight from the horse’s mouth. If your guests can stay the course with a little blind faith and a lot of grit, and still reach the light at the end of the tunnel, so can the rest of us.
8. [Insert Your Signature Question]?
Think of your signature question as your podcast’s distinctive feature.
It helps listeners distinguish your podcast from the rest. You can regularly ask guests your signature question at the end of each podcast episode, just be sure it’s related to your niche.
By asking this question, you also get to tie the rest of your podcast episodes together. It promotes continuity between podcast episodes, which further encourages listeners to keep listening for the next guest’s hot takes.
WriteForMe Expert Tip: Our favorite signature question is, “What do you want to be celebrating in your business in the next 6 months or a year?”
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Incorporating a podcast into your content strategy is a great way to provide your target audience with value while boosting your brand’s reach. By asking “out-of-the-box” podcast questions, you can elicit higher-value responses from your guests. This will encourage listeners to keep listening, cement you as an industry authority, and ultimately help your brand grow.
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Dip your toes in the water and get your name out there by being interviewed for our podcast. WriteForMe can help you reach your desired audience and elevate the way you market content.
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